It's a fairly well known fact that Spotify pays musicians mere pennies for making their music available on the streaming service, and big names like David Byrne and Radiohead's Thom Yorke have spoken out against the company (Yorke rather memorably called Spotify "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse"). But one Midwestern funk band has found an ingenious way to expose Spotify's disservice to musicians while making money in the process.
Ann Arbor, Michigan quartet Vulfpeck just released their new album, Sleepify, on Spotify, and they're encouraging people to stream it as many times as possible. This is actually a fairly easy task, considering Sleepify is made up of 10 short tracks of complete silence. To stick it to Spotify, "listeners" are encouraged to stream the silent album on loop overnight. By Vulfpeck's estimation, steaming Sleepify repeatedly over an eight-hour sleep period will earn the band $4 in royalties. All the money will help to fund a special tour of free shows, in which Vulfpeck will visit the cities that provide the most streams.
While the Sleepify album is likely as much of a publicity stunt for the band as it is a knock on Spotify, you've got to hand it to these guys for keeping a straight face throughout the album's release. "Please don't 'shuffle' sleepify," the band tweeted. "I know this might come of [sic] snobbish, but we spent a lot of time on track order."
Spotify, for its part, has acknowledged the stunt and seems to be playing it off well. "This is a clever stunt, but we prefer Vulfpeck's earlier albums," a Spotify spokesperson told Digiday.
Watch Vulfpeck explain Sleepify's premise below. You can stream Sleepify here. --Samantha Rollins