Ashley, or music spam on Spotify

For some time now, a Spotify user named Ashley he has become a celebrity in certain circles for his music recommendations. She is tremendously active, because she participates in any open Spotify list that crosses her path, and there are already many users of the service who know her, who are aware of her recommendations, and who have not remained indifferent to her constant activity. Seen like this sounds good, right? There is only one problem, and that is that it is actually quite a negative thing.

Most theories point to Ashley is actually a botbut regardless of whether it is or not, the truth is that it has become a rather annoying presence, because for some time now it has dedicated itself to searching for all kinds of open shared lists on Spotify, to add to them a very , a very small selection of songs, always the same, whether or not they have some relationship (which is what happens in the vast majority of cases) with the theme of the lists.

Ashley is not alone, parallel to its proliferation, other accounts have also appeared, also with a woman’s name, they are acting similarly, filling lists that until then were very interesting, in a catalog of a few songs repeated ad nauseam. The first posts denouncing this spam have taken place, as we can read on Mashable, and the reactions have reached the point that some of the authors of the lists that have received this unpleasant visit have changed their names, to refer to this annoying bot. .

And why do Ashley, Jeni, Olivia, Claudia, Julia and Lily dedicate themselves to filling Spotify’s collaborative lists with certain songs? There are several theories, mainly two, that try to explain the raison d’être of these bots, and personally I think there is a bit of the first, and a lot of the second.

The first is the one that comes to mind in most cases: an annoying joke. The presence of trolls is a constant on the Internet, and creating a supposed Ashley who is dedicated to disrupting the shared lists of Spotify users sounds like the practical joke that many of them would go through the imagination. The possibility of creating free accounts on the service is, unfortunately, an open door to such people and, therefore, to such actions.

The second is that the choice of songs that Ashley adds to the lists is not accidental. As I mentioned before, these bots they have a fairly limited selection of artists (in some cases they only add music from a single artist), so everything points to it being a spam technique. This is not something new, for years now artists with their catalog on Spotify have been known to try to add their creations to as many lists as possible. Ashley would be nothing more than an automated version of said technique.

And because? Very simple: surely you already know that artists get paid from Spotify for the total playback volume of their songs. Now, these do not have to be played completely to count as a reproduction, with 30 seconds being played, it will be added to the accumulated number of reproductions. Thus, if Ashley adds a song to a collaborative list that they regularly listen to, let’s say 1,000 people, she bases on each of those 1,000 people listening for 30 seconds to raise the counter by that amount.

This is with one list, but if Ashley does her homework and adds her spam to hundreds or even thousands of lists, the numbers multiply, and the launch of these bots becomes a very profitable action for those responsible, although as a direct consequence it completely undermines the selection work carried out by many people to draw up the lists. Something that, in turn, will surely result in them being less and less listened to.

The problem is that, at least for now, Spotify does not have a feature to limit or prevent a particular person from adding music to a collaborative playlist. Furthermore, this data is public, so in the short term we can expect the presence of Ashley and other bots to increase. The only solution is for Spotify to quickly identify these bots, either on its own or with the help of user reports, and put in place a system that not only bans such accounts from the service, but is also capable of reversing their actions in real time. collaborative lists.

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