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Swedish composer becomes Spotify’s most-famous musician you’ve never heard of


Major Contributor
Oct 10, 2020
Sweden - Слава Україні
Fascinating what is most listened to these days:

Johan Röhr’s 2,700 songs have been streamed 15bn times and have more plays than Britney Spears or Abba.

A “secret” composer who has released music under hundreds of different names has been identified as Sweden’s most-listened-to artist on Spotify – pulling in more plays than Britney Spears or Abba.

Johan Röhr, a Stockholm-based musician, has been unmasked as the person behind more than 650 different artists on the streaming service who have been played 15bn times, making him Sweden’s current most-played artist.

According to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), which identified the 47-year-old, Röhr has created more than 2,700 songs on the platform under names including “Maya Åström”, “Minik Knudsen”, “Mingmei Hsueh” and “Csizmazia Etel”.

Even by international standards, the newspaper said, the success of Röhr’s multitude of identities puts him among Spotify’s top 100 most-streamed artists – above Michael Jackson, Metallica and Mariah Carey.

Much of his success is believed to be associated with his presence on more than 100 of Spotify’s official instrumental playlists, which the company itself curates.

With names like “peaceful piano” or “stress relief”, such piano-heavy playlists are particularly popular among users seeking music to play in the background while they work, eat meals or relax. Inclusion on one of these highly popular lists can make or break a musician’s career.

Last year Spotify celebrated paying out a record 90bn Swedish kronor (£6.7bn) to the music industry. “Many new and promising artists are now breaking through on Spotify and can finally make a full-time living from music,” Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive, said at the time. “We are very, very proud of that.”

Plus this:

Swedish fake artists dominate on Spotify
DN reveals: Has accepted lower compensation than normal.

Swedish songwriters hide behind unknown artist names that dominate popular playlists on Spotify.

By paying them lower compensation, the streaming giant saves money, reports Dagens Nyheter.

Dagens Nyheter has found at least 5,700 fake artist names created by Swedes. The artists have songs on several popular playlists where Spotify places music according to mood and music genre, such as "peaceful piano".

The songwriters are connected to a few Swedish music companies, which, according to DN's sources, have accepted lower compensation than normal. And Spotify has created a cream of the crop for the fake artists' music to the desirable playlists that can have several million listeners.

- I myself have seen agreements where one of the conditions is to lower the price of the music in order to get a place on the right playlist, says Alfons Karabuda, chairman of the interest organization Skap, Sweden's composers and lyricists.

Spotify has declined an interview with DN. In a written statement, communications manager Julia Levander writes:

"Each agreement is unique and we do not comment on details regarding our agreements. We also do not stop artists or bands from creating music under their own names or various pseudonyms”.

Interesting stuff for sure, Do you have any playable links to this music? :D
I took a song from one of the names mentioned in the first article. Typical relaxation music:

Another song from another "artist" mentioned in the first article. Sounds the same:

@DanielT. Holy crap man! I'm gulping high strength caffeine pills to keep alert as my sleep requirements are lesser than some time ago and now you link me to this sleep aid stuff... RFLMAO.... hehe... :D
This might actually be a huge money laundering scheme.

tl;dr: A published report in Sweden claims Spotify is currently being used as a primary source of money laundering for organized crime.
This might actually be a huge money laundering scheme.

tl;dr: A published report in Sweden claims Spotify is currently being used as a primary source of money laundering for organized crime.
Welcome to ASR.:)

Probably OT for this thread, but still:

This was discussed quite intensively for a few weeks six months ago. I don't really know what it led to. Spotify denied the accusations:

Spotify strikes back:

Denies the information about money laundering

Spotify hits back against Svenska Dagbladet's information that the streaming service is used by gang criminals to launder money.

"We believe that Svenska Dagbladet's article is largely based on information that does not correspond to reality," writes a spokesperson for Spotify in an email to Aftonbladet.

In an exposé in Svenska Dagbladet this week, gang criminals themselves told how they use Spotify to launder money by buying fake listens. The money that is laundered comes from, among other things, drugs or fraud, and the laundering via Spotify is used when it comes to large sums, a source stated.

Spotify said then that less than one percent of all streams are fake.

In an email to Aftonbladet, a spokesperson writes, via Monica Enqvist, PR and communications manager at Spotify in the Nordics, that the information about extensive money laundering is not correct.

"We believe that Svenska Dagbladet's article is largely based on information that does not correspond to reality. Manipulated and artificial streams are a challenge for the entire industry and something Spotify is working hard to combat. Regarding the article in SvD, we cannot comment on far-fetched claims and hearsay, and we have no evidence that our platform has been used for the purpose of money laundering".

"Combats all artificial streaming"

The spokesperson believes that the company had no contact with the police about this.

“However, as always, we welcome their contact in all types of matters. The articles published so far have referred to illegal money being converted into cryptocurrencies entirely outside of Spotify. But on our platform, we combat all artificial streaming, regardless of the fraudster's purpose, using our industry-leading automated processes and manual monitoring”.

According to the company, it never goes so far that the payouts reach substantial levels.

"It is important to understand that streaming revenue is not paid out to rights holders in real time, and that our systems regularly detect and remove artificial streams before they reach material levels," the spokesperson writes.
SvD has spoken to four independent sources from the criminal environment who all confirm that money laundering has taken place via Spotify.

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Oups, I think I had listened many of Röhrs greatest hits at my dentist’s office as an attempt of relaxation when extracting a teeth!

Hopefully the anesthetics helped to overcome both experiences… :)
The title is just teasing me with the prospect of Pettersson finally hitting the big time. :mad:
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