The publication, Svenska Dagbladet, reported that gang members convert money received from drug deals, robberies, fraud, and assassination missions into Bitcoin, which they then use to acquire fake streams for artists with gang associations. They then collect the money paid out to those streams at a later date.
One source Svenska Dagbladet spoke to said that Spotify is “very good for recruiting purposes,” since gang members can use popular artists, particularly in Sweden’s gangster rap scene, as a front for their activities. “If you’re a network and you want to attract kids and you have a rapper who’s going big, that’s half the job for you,” the source said.
One French study found that 3 per cent of streams on services like Spotify are known to be fraudulent. The vast majority of those detected in 2021 – 84.5 per cent – were found to be from hip-hop artists. However, hip-hop is the most popular genre in the French streaming market, and only 0.4 per cent of the total hip-hop streams recorded in the country in 2021 were determined to be fraudulent.
Spotify declined to comment for the Svenska Dagbladet story and insisted that they had “no evidence” that money laundering occurs on the streaming platform.
In other Spotify news, Taylor Swift has made history by becoming the first female artist to hit 100million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Earlier this year, the streamer increased its subscription prices for the first time, affecting users in the UK and the US.
For the UK, the Premium plan now costs £10.99 per month, up from the previous price of £9.99 monthly. Various plans for multiple users have also gone up by £1 per month, with a Duo subscription now priced at £14.99 and a Family plan – covering six people – now faring at £17.99. So far, the only plan to remain unchanged is the Spotify student subscription, which remains at £5.99 each month.