There’s been a buzz about streaming farms lately in Nigeria and for some of you, yesterday was your first time coming across the phrase. Buju(Bnxn) granted an interview yesterday where he opened up on major record labels employing the services of streaming farms for their artists.
“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,” BNXN said.“
A lot of people in the music business and music enthusiasts have also had a lot to say on the matter. Podcaster and Music journalist Joey Akan recognized streaming farms as a moral crime;
“I know showbiz is rooted in invention and everyone creates a facade for sale. But stream farming isn’t just synthetic social ops. It’s a moral crime against the perpetrator, and the other artists looking to advance. You deceive fans, business partners and even your colleagues.“
Breaking the yoke of love Singer, Blaqbonez had this to say;
“One day these platforms would catch you streaming farm guys, and then everyone would know the yahoo artists from the real ones. continue“
There’s been much venom for streaming farms and this conversation continues to go and come in cycles. What really are these farms and why are they so reprehensible. Streaming farms are services designed to inflate streams or add a lot of fake listens to a song. They are a network of devices such as smartphones or computers that play a specific to create an appearance of a large number of online listeners. They imitate online listeners and add to the streaming numbers of the song. By taking advantage of the business model of streaming platforms like Spotify, they massively increase the number of listeners and in turn raise the hype surrounding the artist. This is illegal and can lead to the removal of the song from these streaming platforms.
French Montana was accused of faking Spotify streams in January 2020. G-Eazy’s management was caught red-handed through leaked phone calls in 2021. A lot of big Nigerian artists like Asake, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Olamide etc. have been accused of using streaming farms to top charts and make the numbers they make. Buju(BNXN) and Ruger had once had an altercation on twitter with BNXN accusing Ruger of employing streaming farms to grow his numbers.
Streaming farms are highly condemned for various reasons. First, It fosters the short cut approach to success. If your music really is something you are passionate about, you should be focused on finetuning and evolving your craft daily rather than chasing cheap fame and accolades that are not as a result of your creativity and hard work. They may guarantee you numbers in the short run but cannot guarantee an artist longevity. These artists are packaging and selling a lie. While perception does matter, impact is the principal thing. It’s impact over numbers, if your music touches and makes just one person happier. It is more impactful than getting to the top of various chart. They are just for bragging rights and to show off your so-called influence and popularity.
Streaming farms are like the black market of music, the ”special centers” of the Nigerian music industry. They do not add any real value to Afrobeats except padding of numbers. Charts used to be a reflection of hot songs on the streets, anywhere you turned to, you heard the music everywhere. Now, songs are topping charts but totally non-existent on the streets.
It goes further to discourage upcoming talents who may feel rigged out of the game. Do new comers without cash to splurge, who believe their talent is their ticket out of poverty even have a chance. According to Rolling Stone, musicians could potentially be losing around $300 million per year due to streaming farms.
In addition to this, the Nigerian music industry may suffer from numerous consequences of streaming farms. They can result in audience misrepresentation, unjust royalties revenue distribution, a skewed perception of popularity, poor streaming platform advertising, unethical competition, damage to the credibility of streaming platforms, and manipulation of trends in the music industry.
It is not too late to desist and take the long road. Eventually, this bubble will burst and it will be premium embarrassment for all parties involved, that is if your career ever recovers. Stayed tuned for the latest happenings in the Nigerian music industry.