Vulfpeck Sleepify

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.

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Comments (14)
  1. Good for them. Of course if you don’t pay for Spotify then their silent album becomes random commercials waking you up at night.

    On second thought, couldn’t any band take advantage of this? If fans streamed, say, the new Future Islands record overnight and turned the audio all the way down, they could make some extra money too.

    Given all our discussions on Spotify’s lack of paying the artists, seems like a decent exploit that I fully support.

  2. As I type this, there’s a Spotify ad below the submit comment button.

  3. This brilliant AND subversive to Spotify. Love it.

  4. This is funny and everything, but my first reaction was to feel deeply uncomfortable with the prospect of people leaving Spotify playing on a loop all night. So much wasted energy.

  5. :: slow clap ::

  6. I stream albums overnight all the time for bands I like. Especially if they are lesser known and haven’t hit the 1,000 play mark. OWWWWOOOOOOOOO.

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spotify somehow cracks down on this kind of behavior, not just for this album but all albums. Something like determining if a song is being played multiple times back to back and then not making the subsequent plays count toward earnings. They will ruin it somehow.

  8. Fortunately, Spotify gets the money it pays out from the groves of dollar bill trees on Big Rock Candy Mountain.

  9. I’m surprised this post doesn’t mention one of the most compelling details…that Vulfpeck is planning on making the shows free, too. Vulpeck is funding a tour of free shows by streaming silence on Spotify. Now that’s a headline.

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