A clever band from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Vulfpeck, figured out how to scam Spotify for $20,000 by essentially doing nothing. The royalties started pouring in after the band wrote Sleepify, a completely silent album and uploaded it to Spotify.
The scheme was designed to fund a tour of free shows and called on fans to stream the silent album throughout the night. Spotify’s royalty rate is only $.007, but with the band’s fanbase streaming the album all night, the plays—and the royalties—began to add up. Eventually, Spotify owed Vulfpeck $20,000.
The streaming service soon figured out what was going on, though. "It's a clever stunt but we prefer Vulfpeck's earlier albums," Spotify spokesman Graham James told Billboard. "Sleepify seems derivative of John Cage’s work.” Last week, Spotify made Vulfpeck remove the silent album, citing a violation of the terms of service. But interest in the album hasn’t faded just yet: “So where can I buy the vinyl?” a fan recently asked on the band’s Facebook.