Last week, something strange popped up on the Spotify Release Radar for fans of the rapper Future. Instead of bassed out, pop-infused hip hop with Future’s vocoded vocals, listeners heard a smoked out groove with German lyrics. Many fans wondered if the American rapper’s Spotify got hacked. But no hacking had occurred. Rather, a glitch with Spotify led to a 15-year old German rapper, also named Future, to have his debut release shared with the US Future’s 21 million fans.
“Waking up, it felt a little surreal” said Emre, the Future from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, who has a YouTube gaming channel with 500 subscribers. “But actually everything turned out really good because so many new people came along with the press about the mixup.”
While this represents an extreme example, with over 20,000 tracks per day delivered on Spotify, there are bound to be duplicate artist names. So how do you ensure that your name ends up on the correct profile? In this article, we’ll take a look at how music can end up on the wrong artist profile and share how to fix it.
The windfall for Emre came from the way Spotify handles their metadata. Think about metadata as a form of tagging. It helps track everything from artists and composers to copyright information so that people get paid. Other tags, like EAN and ISRC, help track streams and sales across platforms.
With artist pages, Spotify and Apple Music use their own system to track the artist name. Spotify uses an artist code called a URI. Apple Music uses their own code, which can be found in the URL of the artist profile page. If this isn’t entered before the release, then sometimes artists with the same name can appear on the wrong artist profile.
So how do you ensure that your music shows up on the correct profile? If you don’t want to change your name (take out some vowels, like “The Weeknd”), then the best way is to talk to your distributor before release day.
If you distribute with iMusician, we make it easy for you to make sure there aren’t any bad surprises on release day. If you’ve released music before, just send us the Spotify URI and the Apple Music URL after you submit your release for distribution. You can find the link to the form in the email confirmation. If your release has multiple artists (for example, "Feat.", "Remixer") remember to provide us with their URIs and URLs as well.
You can find your Spotify URI here:
If you haven’t released before, be sure to send us your music at least 15 days before you want to release it. Check on Spotify and Apple Music to see if there are other artists with your name. If so, let us know as soon as possible. We will get your Spotify URI or your Apple Music URL and you can check to see if there is a problem.
If your release is already out and on the wrong profile, please email our Artist & Label Managers with the release name, a link to the release, the shops that have the incorrect artist profile, link to the wrong artist page, and a link to the correct artist page, if you have one. If you don’t have an artist page, we can create one for you.
Of course every musician would love to wake up to find their debut release getting thousands of plays on a top artist’s profile — but don’t go changing your name to Beyoncé just yet. There are many safeguards put into place to prevent you from hijacking another artist’s name. For example, we have a list of names that we will not approve for release. These are names of global artists who have achieved a certain level of acclaim (for example, Madonna, Jimmy Buffet, Lady Gaga, etc.). Spotify and the other platforms also have similar lists. So don’t get any crazy ideas — and also don’t try to buy Spotify streams.
As for Emre, “I claimed my artist profile...and yes, this one is my own.”
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