How Band Is Cashing In on Album of Silence
Vulfpeck asks fans to stream 'Sleepify' on Spotify while they sleep
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2014 6:20 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Lots of musicians—notably Thom Yorke of Radiohead—hate Spotify because it pays out a tiny fraction of a cent for every track played. But now a funk band out of Ann Arbor called Vulfpeck has come up with what Quartz calls an "ingeniously simple" way to actually make some money off the online streaming service. The group has put out a new album called Sleepify that consists of 10 tracks of absolute silence. Vulfpeck asks fans to stream the album overnight while they sleep, on repeat, figuring it could make about $4 per listener per night. The band promises to use the money for a fall tour in which shows would be free.

Guardian music blogger Tim Jonze does some more math and observes that diligent fans could join together to help their favorite groups "make a load of money from this scheme." (Jonze also reviews the album in tongue-in-cheek fashion: "Opening track 'Z' certainly sets the tone, a subtle, intriguing work that teases the listener as to what may come next.") At Businessweek, Joshua Brustein is impressed. "It’s an ingenious publicity stunt and, if you squint hard enough, a commentary on the way music is valued in the digital age." Spotify, meanwhile, seems to be taking it in good spirit, with a spokesperson calling it a "clever stunt." As of now, the company doesn't plan to crack down on the musical silence. (Click to read about how YouTube is planning a service to rival Spotify.)

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Mar 24, 2014 12:31 AM CDT
I love thom yorke and all but what people like him fail to realize is that one play on spotify only has an audience of one person while radio play reaches thousands, if not millions per each play. So if a song is played 1 million times on Spotify, this is to 1 million individual people, which could amount to one single airing on broadcast radio.
Mar 23, 2014 7:52 PM CDT
This kind of thing only works once, after the novelty wears off, it becomes a waste of time and fans move on. Digital or otherwise, musical artists have to make music to make money.
Mar 23, 2014 11:04 AM CDT
I'm still waiting for a real web site or service to start up that the artists can directly place or upload their music on for their fans and the public to download and purchase that doesn't require a music label or distributor to act as a third party and claim most of the profits. Just imagine all the undiscovered bands that would be available. They could then set their own prices and collect most of the profits and eliminate the many middle men who each take their cut. Unlike Apple iTunes setting the price and keeping more of the revenue and the artist getting a tiny portion after paying their agent, record label and distributing company. Don't tell me people wouldn't use it or quality would suffer. Because I see many sites where music is exchanged in many formats where quality is not a problem or issue or many band sites that offer free or reasonably priced downloads of some of their songs. I would be willing to legally pay for downloading songs directly from bands that I like and it would be even better if I could find them all on one site rather than having to stumble on the band and search for a site.