The sound of silence: Spotify takes down silent album over T&C

7 May 2014

Spotify has removed the album Sleepify by Vulfpeck after deciding the entirely silent album violated its terms and conditions.

The album garnered a lot of attention after the band announced its release on the music-streaming website. Vulfpeck earned enough royalties to fund an entire tour with free entry by encouraging fans to listen to the album continuously while they’re asleep. Spotify’s royalty rate is US$0.007c per song.

Each track lasted 30 seconds, the amount required to be considered a legitimate song on Spotify. Over the space of a few weeks, Vulfpeck raised the US$20,000 needed to fund the tour.

However, it appears Spotify has not taken too kindly to its service being used as an easy fundraiser for small bands and has decided to pull the album from its catalogue.

According to The Verge, the keyboardist in the band, Jack Stratton, has since issued a three-track EP entitled Public Statement, which includes the band’s reaction to Spotify pulling Sleepify. “The gist of it was while they enjoyed Sleepify and thought it was funny and clever, it violated their terms of content.”

Spotify’s royalties have been criticised in the past by mainstream and lesser-known artists for what they see as an unfair economic model for the bands who receive little reward for their work being released on the streaming service. Vulfpeck’s attempts will no doubt make Spotify more wary of any future attempts by bands looking to use online communities to raise funds.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic