Indie Band Vulfpeck Are Funding A Tour By Streaming Silence On Spotify

By Chris DeVille / March 19, 2014 - 11:46 am

Vulfpeck is a funk band, but you might confuse them for minimalist composer John Cage after hearing their latest project. The Ann Arbor quartet has discovered a crafty way to exploit Spotify’s royalty payout system: They uploaded recordings of silence and asked fans to stream them overnight, paying for touring expenses a fraction of a cent at a time. Vulfpeck’s new album, Sleepify, features 10 tracks of complete silence, each one clocking in at 31 or 32 seconds to meet Spotify’s 30-second minimum for royalty payouts. Here’s The Guardian with further details:

There are two questions. First, how much money would it actually make? The company itself admitted last year that it only pays out $0.007 for each track, which sounds rubbish at first. But that means we’re only looking at 100 streams of a track to make 70 cents, or about 143 streams to make a dollar. Sleepify will get through 10 streams in just over five minutes. So if a fan slept for seven hours (plus some added time for the extra one or two seconds on each track) and streamed the album for the whole time, they’d play 840 tracks, generating $5.88 for Vulfpeck. If you can convince one hundred fans to do the same, that works out at $588 per night royalties – and that’s assuming each listener only has one playable device and only streams through the night (if they let it play all through the day, Vulfpeck’s earnings could be more than tripled). You could, with willing fans, make a load of money from this scheme.

It’s genius stuff — even more so because the band is routing its tour according to where Sleepify is being streamed most. Watch the band’s humorous fundraiser video below, where you can also stream Sleepify in full.