After Anitta became the first Brazilian to reach the top of the Daily Top 50 Global ranking with her song “Envolver”, the singer’s team was accused of “manipulating” Spotify’s algorithm. With this, the company can start an investigation into the use of bots or irregular ways to “stream” the singer’s music on the platform.
The track was broadcast more than 6.4 million times on March 25 alone, with 4.1 million of the total being played by Brazilians — in all, there are more than 146 million reproductions. However, according to information gathered by the websites Rest of World and Folha de S. Paulo, part of the song’s success may have been caused by manipulation of the streaming platform’s algorithms.
If confirmed, this would break Spotify’s terms and conditions, as the artist’s own team encouraged fans to play the track in bulk. Thus, Anitta’s consumers may have ‘hacked’ Spotify’s algorithm by creating thousands of playlists with the song and playing it thousands of times.
According to the accusations, fans would have used bots to play the sound indefinitely on the platforms and even adopted different IPs via VPN. However, the most serious feat may be the engagement that the singer’s team created to encourage fans to increase numbers on the platforms.
Manipulation or success?
According to information from the Rest of World, Adriano Ferreira da Silva Filho, 19 years old, a fan of Anitta’s, created several different playlists with the song “Envolver” to play it more than 2 thousand times a day using two cell phones and a notebook.
“If you only play the track repeatedly, Spotify doesn’t count as a stream. They think it’s a bot. So, you have to create a playlist with different tracks and alternate with the one you want to increase”, said Adriano.
The case in point would not be the first time that Brazilian artists have used these devices. In July 2021, the Cyber Crimes Division ended the operation of 84 Brazilian websites that rented bots to artificially pump numbers from streaming services.
What does Spotify say about Engage?
In a statement sent to UOL, the company avoided commenting directly on the success story of Anitta’s music. However, the company stressed that it has ways of identifying manipulation in its system and can change the numbers if any irregularities are found.
“When we identify or are alerted to potential or confirmed instances of stream manipulation, we take steps that may include withholding royalties, correcting streaming numbers, and taking steps to ensure that the artist’s or song’s popularity is accurately reflected in our graphics,” the platform says.” “Spotify reserves the right to remove manipulated content from the platform.”