Spotify has hit back at an investigation by a Swedish newspaper that said the music streamer’s platform was allegedly being used by gangs to launder their ill-gotten gains via fake streams.
Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), a daily paper published in Stockholm, reported on Tuesday that criminal gangs have been paying for false streams of tracks by artists they are in cahoots with, then pocketing the money Spotify pays out in response to the high number of streams.
SvD reported that an anonymous police officer said the streaming giant has “become a bank machine for the gangs” who have direct links to “deadly violence”.
Responding to the report, a Spotify spokesperson said: “It is our belief that this story, full of anonymised sources, is largely a work of fiction.”
“Regarding the article by SvD, we cannot comment on far-fetched suggestions and hearsay, and Spotify is not aware of any contact by law enforcement about this,” they added.
“As we made clear before this story ran, less than one percent of all streams on Spotify have been determined to be artificial,” Spotify said, adding their systems can detect any anomalies as streaming revenues are not paid to rights holders in real-time.
But while Spotify claim to have no evidence of their platform being used for money laundering, SvD stood by its reporting.
SvD’s managing editor, Daniel Kederstedt, said: “We find it interesting that Spotify chooses to discredit the messenger instead of curiously wanting to find out more about the information in order to, if necessary, develop its business for the better.
“The fact that Spotify, for example, does not know the platform has been used for money laundering doesn’t mean it is not true.”
SvD said it used anonymous sources due to the “great risk” interviewees exposed themselves to, adding that it backed up each allegation with documentation and/or testimony.