Spotify has reportedly removed tens of thousands of AI-generated songs

Universal Music claimed bots were used to inflate the number of streams and generate revenue for uploaders.

SOPA Images via Getty Images

Spotify has reportedly pulled tens of thousands of tracks from generative AI company Boomy. It's said to have removed seven percent of the songs created by the startup's systems, which underscores the swift proliferation of AI-generated content on music streaming platforms.

Universal Music reportedly told Spotify and other major services that it detected suspicious streaming activity on Boomy's songs. In other words, there were suspicions that bots were being used to boost listener figures and generate ill-gotten revenue for uploaders. Spotify pays royalties to artists and rights holders on a per-listen basis.

“Artificial streaming is a longstanding, industry-wide issue that Spotify is working to stamp out across our service,” Spotify, which confirmed that it had taken down some Boomy tracks, told Insider. "When we identify or are alerted to potential cases of stream manipulation, we mitigate their impact by taking action that may include the removal of streaming numbers and the withholding of royalties. This allows us to protect royalty payouts for honest, hardworking artists."

Universal Music's chief digital officer Michael Nash told the Financial Times, which first reported on Spotify removing Boomy's tracks, that his company is "always encouraged when we see our partners exercise vigilance around the monitoring or activity on their platforms."

AI-generated music hit the headlines last month after a song that appeared to include vocals from Drake and The Weeknd went viral. Universal Music Group, which represents both artists, claimed that using the duo's voices to train generative AI systems constituted “a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law." Both Spotify and Apple Music removed the song from their libraries.

Music industry figures have been sounding the alarm bells about the overarching impact of AI-generated tracks, as well as people using bots to drive up listener figures and siphon money out of the kitties that streaming services use to pay royalties.

Boomy, which opened its doors in 2021, enables people to generate songs based on text inputs. Over the weekend, the company said that "curated delivery to Spotify of new releases by Boomy artists has been re-enabled."

Boomy says its users "have created 14,554,448 songs" or just under 14 percent of "the world's recorded music." Its website states that users can create original songs in seconds, then upload them "to streaming platforms and get paid when people listen."