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A Spotify loophole allowed people to upload bootleg remixes as podcasts

The company has taken aggressive action against the practice.

Billy Steele / Engadget

When most people want to find a reworking of their favorite songs, they usually turn to platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube. The fact almost anyone can upload a track to those services has allowed songs like ‘Plastic Love’ and ‘Dead to Me’ to find entirely new audiences thanks to dedicated fans who took the time to tweak those songs. You don’t think of a service like Spotify as a place for bootlegs, but for a short time, it was possible to find some of the more popular fan-made remixes on the service. Some crafty people found a workaround that allowed them to upload their favorite remixes to the platform’s podcast section. Using terms like “chopped” and “screwed,” it was apparently easy to find those tracks.

However, that was before Variety published an article on the phenomenon, and Spotify began taking action against them. It’s hard to know how long these tracks existed on Spotify, but what is clear is the company has stamped down on the practice. Since Variety published its article, Spotify has removed all the tracks mentioned in the piece, including ‘Dead to Me.’ Moreover, when we tried to use the terms highlighted by Variety, we weren’t able to find any remixes in the podcast section. It’s possible some other combination of search terms could allow you to find tracks Spotify missed, but now that the practice has been highlighted, you have to imagine Spotify is keeping a closer eye on people trying to sneak tracks past its content filters.

It’s not surprising the company has taken swift action against these tracks; Spotify’s terms and conditions explicitly note its podcast platform “is not intended to be a music distribution tool.” Naturally, it points people to its Spotify for Artists platform if they want to upload music to the service.

“We take intellectual property infringement extremely seriously. Spotify has multiple detection measures in place monitoring abuse on the service to detect, investigate and deal with such activity,” a spokesperson for the company told Variety. “We are continuing to invest heavily in refining those processes and improving methods of detection and removal, and reducing the impact of this unacceptable activity on legitimate creators, rights holders and our users.”

Spotify understandably doesn’t want its service to become a place where people can find remixes that potentially infringe on an artist’s copyright, but at the same time, it’s a shame some of the more popular fan-made remixes can’t find a place on the platform.