Genius MI Band Vulfpeck Earns $20k in Spotify Royalties w/ Silent Album
Many artists have complained that free online music services like Spotify have destroyed their ability to make a profit selling records. That may be partially true, but the band Vulfpeck, formerly of Ann Arbor, have learned how to game the system.
In attempt to fund a free-to-attend tour for their fans, Vulfpeck (a funk band comprised of U of M grads now based in Los Angeles) created a silent album with 10 tracks, each just over the Spotify minimum length for payment of 30-seconds. Since the streaming service pays about $0.007 per play (yes, fractions of a penny) in royalties to the artist, the band made a hilarious marketing video (see below) asking fans to stream their silent album on repeat overnight... and it worked!
The album, cleverly titled 'Sleepify,' racked up enough spins to net the band over $20,000 in royalties since being uploaded in March. Once Spotify caught wind of what was happening -- they pulled the plug on the album and said it was "funny and clever," but it violated their terms of content. Regardless, the band has funded their free-to-attend tour, which will stop at the areas that streamed 'Sleepify' the most. You can still catch some of their non-silent albums on Spotify. They've also uploaded some new spoken word tunes explaining the entire situation.
Now if only we could get Limp Bizkit and Nickelback to release all of their albums in this format...