Major Music Industry Companies Sign “Code Of Best Practice” Against Streaming Manipulation

A variety of music companies, including three major labels (UMG, Warner, and Sony) as well as an assortment of major publishers, industry organizations and streaming services, have partnered to release a 21-point “code of conduct” aimed at eliminating fake music streams.

The code of conduct defines streaming manipulation as “the artificial creation, by human or non-human means, of online or offline plays on audio and audio-visual streaming services, i.e., where those plays do not represent genuine listening.” This includes the artificial creation of music plays by an automated process (including “bots” and “click-farms,” but excluding any playback functionality available as part of the relevant streaming services.)

“Manipulating streamed music causes economic harm to streaming services, right holders and musicians alike. Any such manipulation distorts data and affects royalty streams for those who invest in, create and distribute music. This code is a signal from across the industry of our determination to tackle it where it arises. The motivation is ever greater translation and fairness. The Code contains measures to be taken by everyone in the industry to detect and mitigate against this problem. It’s great to see such collaboration from across publishing, labels and service providers,” commented International Confederation of Music Publishers Director General John Phelan.

Other industry players who support the code include publishers UMPG, Sony/ATV, Kobalt, and Concord, streaming services including Amazon, Spotify and Deezer, and industry organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), and the Recording Academy.

However, it is noted that the code is not legally binding and that it does not affect the terms of private agreements between rights holders and streaming service providers.

To read the full Anti-Stream Manipulation Code of Best Practice, visit


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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