Streaming farms, chart manipulation, and paid TikTok influencer campaigns threaten to discredit the Nigerian music industry. The scandal reared its head on Wednesday, after new school Afrobeats singer Daniel Benson (formerly called Buju) hinted at its existence in a now deleted tweet.
The tweet was an offshoot of his ongoing beef with colleague Ruger, whose real name is Michael Adebayo Olayinka.
“There are streaming farms in Nigeria now. A room where your label bosses pay money to get your songs up by automation, no real fans, no real people, just a facade. Y’all make the people who really work for this bleed and your day is coming,” the singer now known as BNXN had tweeted.
Following his tweet, Nigerian rapper and social media famous celebrity, Emeka Akumefule or Blaqbonez, also supported him, saying that everyone using streaming farms would be exposed soon.
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What are streaming farms? They are designed to inflate streams or add fake listens to a song on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and so on. The goal is usually to take songs to the top of charts in a short time.
While in Nigeria’s music space, it has become a trend for artists to share screenshots of when their songs reach the number one spot on music streaming platforms, these so-called farms also help increase curiosity of real listeners about a top trending song.
The discussion about streaming farms could be harmful to the global recognition of Afrobeats. However, it is not just a Nigerian music problem. Before its popularity in Nigeria, several American artists have come under scrutiny for turning to this technique. Its earlier version was ‘payola’, which referred to money paid to radio DJs to keep paying particular songs repeatedly.
Besides fame, streaming farms have good ROI for streaming royalties. It is not yet clear how streaming platform plan to battle this issue but it does take the shine off what being number one on a chart means these days.
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