The new report disclosed that the scammers are using the online music streaming platform Spotify to clean their dirty money and organize illicit activities.
The report claimed that crime networks related to money laundering and drug trafficking have been using streaming platforms for the purpose of their illicit activities. According to the report, an anonymous police officer from the money laundering investigators believed that “Spotify has become a criminal tool and suspect that the gangs launder millions of dollars each year from drug dealing, robberies, fraud and assassination missions via the platform.”
The officer stated criminals proceeded with this scam by purchasing bitcoin “cash-in-hand deals” from the crypto trader, on Facebook. Then, use that to open a fake streaming channel for artists with criminal links. Afterwards, using money obtained from contracts, assaults, scams, contract killings, and bitcoin, they utilized those streams to pay for songs released by artists. Cop has quoted, “Spotify has become an ATM for them which is deadly violence because they have direct connection to the gangs.”
The report also pointed to the French study that up to 3% of streaming artists on Spotify are fraudulent. Furthermore, the report also revealed that this is the only number which can not be detected by the platforms; it does not count those which they can not find. Spotify Nordics-based communication manager stated, “We have no evidence that money laundering occurred via Spotify.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, the head of Universal Music Group, called out “bad actors” in January for utilizing illegal methods to steal royalties from music streaming services. Grainge claimed that these platforms’ prevalent “pro rata” distribution model needs to be reformed. Four months later, Spotify deleted the AI music app Boomy because of alleged streaming fraud. Spotify stated, “Manipulated streams are a challenge for the entire industry and a problem that Spotify is working hard to combat. It is important to know that Spotify does not make any payments directly to artists but to rights holders and distributors. It is equally important not to misunderstand the extent of the problem with manipulated streams. Thanks in part to the fact that our payouts are not real-time, our systems detect and address anomalies before they reach material levels.”