Founding Members Include Digital Music Companies CD Baby and its parent company Downtown, TuneCore and its parent company Believe, DistroKid, UnitedMasters, Symphonic, EMPIRE, and Vydia as well as Digital Service Providers Spotify and Amazon Music
The National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance - a neutral third party - will operationalize protocol for the centralized prevention of cross-platform streaming fraud, currently costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year
June 14th, 2023 – Digital music companies CD Baby and its parent company Downtown, TuneCore and its parent company Believe, DistroKid, UnitedMasters, Symphonic, EMPIRE, and Vydia along with digital service providers Spotify and Amazon Music, today announced they have come together in an unprecedented alliance to form Music Fights Fraud, a global task force aimed at eradicating streaming fraud. Music Fights Fraud represents the first time all corners of the music industry have aligned as a united front to combat fraud in music streaming.
Music Fights Fraud will focus on streaming fraud and streaming manipulation across digital streaming services and will work to ensure that the global music streaming market is fair and that all members actively contribute to solutions intended to balance the equity of its operations. The objectives of Music Fights Fraud are to detect, prevent, mitigate and enforce anti-fraud measures, thereby moving closer to an industry where fraud has no place.
The members of the Music Fights Fraud alliance will provide greater cross-platform collaboration and data sharing in coordination with a third party, the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), a nonprofit partnership between private organizations, government, and academia. The NCFTA’s mission is to provide a neutral, trusted environment enabling multi-party collaboration to identify, mitigate, and disrupt cyber crime. This will ultimately create a healthier music industry where genuine content creators are able to thrive.
The founding members of Music Fights Fraud are all strong advocates for artists’ rights. Each participating company has instituted internal measures to contend with fraud and, by creating this task force, is ultimately creating a healthier music industry where genuine content creators are able to thrive. It has been estimated that industry-wide, streaming abuse could account for hundreds of millions of dollars lost each year.1 Streaming abuse, encompassing bots, streaming click farms, and imposters, impacts all artists - both self-released and those signed to labels. It affects the music industry by diluting the royalty pool, reducing revenue for legitimate streams, and slowing the approval and release process for creators.
Music Fights Fraud is a self-governing association with future membership subject to approval by its members. Parties interested in joining Music Fights Fraud can find more information at www.musicfightsfraud.com. Additional companies will be announced shortly.
Andrew Bergman, CEO, Downtown Music Holdings added, “Downtown holds Trust and Safety for our clients and industry partners as a core pillar of our organization. We are proud to combine forces with our colleagues across the industry and build on the fantastic work already developed at Downtown to identify and address abusive streaming behavior. Given our deep commitment to empowering creators, we recognize that working with parties outside of our organization is also an important step in developing a comprehensive plan to strengthen the music ecosystem.”
Said CD Baby’s Chief Revenue Officer Christine Barnum, “For 25 years, CD Baby has been committed to offering access for independent musicians and songwriters to grow their careers. As streaming has grown and dominated our industry the opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of the fragmentation has grown as well. I am proud for CD Baby to be a founding member of Music Fights Fraud and for us to join forces to build a united and comprehensive solution to ensure all music creators are being compensated, with royalties generated making it to the right hands.”
Said Believe’s Founder & CEO Denis Ladegaillerie: “Believe is committed to fostering a fairer, balanced and diverse artist and label market, where all music creators can thrive. As we build the future of our industry, we must ensure fake streaming and abusive streaming do not have a place. The launch of Music Fights Fraud is an important step towards that goal, and I am proud to join hands with our digital music partners and distributors to ensure we find effective ways to stop fraud streaming, to ultimately bring more fairness and transparency to the music sector.”
Andreea Gleeson, CEO, TuneCore commented, “Streaming fraud is a costly issue, with bad actors diluting the royalty pool and taking money out of the pockets of legitimate music creators. This has a great impact on self-releasing artists, who account for 5.7% of the world’s recorded music and represent the fastest growing sector of the global music industry, with over 6.4 million artists.* TuneCore is proud to join other leading digital music distributors and DSPs to, for the first time ever, pool our resources and stand together to fight streaming fraud and create a fairer, more equitable streaming landscape for creators.”
*according to MIDiA Research
Said Shirin Keen, General Counsel, UnitedMasters, “UnitedMasters is working to provide our artists the tools and education they need to grow their fanbases and own their futures. To do that, we must tackle one of the issues plaguing the industry and reducing the earnings of independent artists, streaming fraud. This alliance represents unity across the industry that will advance and impact all artists, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
Jorge Brea, Chief Executive Officer, Symphonic commented, “Symphonic has proactively taken measures at great expense to combat streaming fraud based on our own internal data and research. We know our industry counterparts have diligently been fighting their own battles as well. This has been a struggle we are all enduring individually. As part of Music Fights Fraud we can go beyond commiserating with one another to taking real action together. There is strength in numbers and, collectively, we have the best chance of tackling streaming fraud. Joining forces of both distributors and DSPs provides for a transparent compilation of knowledge that can be actioned upon. Symphonic looks forward to collaboratively partnering with our digital community in an effort to eliminate streaming fraud for the health of the industry as a whole, particularly our creator community.”
Said Stephen White, Chief Product Officer at EMPIRE, “The launch of this industry-wide initiative marks an unprecedented and significant stride forward in protecting the rights of creators. EMPIRE is proud to stand with industry leaders to collectively maintain the integrity of the music ecosystem for artists, songwriters, and everyone involved in the creation of music.”
Matthew Skiba, VP, Rights and Content, Vydia comments, “Vydia continues to create tools and resources that allow its label clients to operate in an environment impacted by the onslaught of streaming fraud, however, the bad actors continue to pursue and pivot their approach. This illicit activity not only affects artists, labels, and the DSPs, but consumers, too. As such, Vydia is proud to champion this cause, alongside other industry leaders, to create parity amongst artists and labels in the streaming ecosystem.”
Charlie Hellman, VP, Global Head of Music Product, Spotify: “It is critical to the Spotify mission that royalties are paid to legitimate artists for legitimate streams. Artificial streaming is an industry-wide issue, and we are encouraged by the collaboration of this new alliance.”
Rishi Mirchandani, VP Licensing and Strategy, Amazon Music: “Amazon Music is committed to supporting a healthy music industry where artists and creators are able to thrive. We are proud to join Music Fights Fraud alongside key leaders across the industry to address streaming fraud and tackle this issue together.”
Said Portia Sabin, President of Music Biz, “The music industry is an ecosystem, and the Music Business Association has members from all sectors of the music industry, allowing us to see the effect of fraud on the ecosystem as a whole. We applaud Music Fights Fraud for working together to combat this industry issue and we look forward to supporting their efforts moving forward.”
Mitch Glazier, Chairman & CEO, Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) comments: “Digital streaming has been a game-changing innovation for artists, songwriters, and the entire music ecosystem, rising from a 15% share to 84% of US recorded music revenues in the last 10 years. Music creators, distributors, and services all have a shared stake in a healthy, reliable streaming economy that values human artistry, protects creators’ rights and supports authentic streams. RIAA supports new innovations in the fight against all forms of stream manipulation, fraud, and piracy and welcomes the efforts of Music Fights Fraud.”