Release Radar includes wrong artist with same name as desired artist

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Release Radar includes wrong artist with same name as desired artist

abcdefgabcdefg
Visitor

I constantly find my Release Radar recommending songs by an artist (say A) with the same name as an artist (say A') that I might actually wanna listen to. This is extremely dumb as an issue because these two artists are listed as genuinely different artists in Spotify and the newly recommended song by a wrong artist is listed as a song of A' in the system. A reasonable conclusion is that at least Release Radar does not look into the artist IDs but just merely refers to their names. This happens to like 5 different artists to me and my Release Radar is contaminated by songs which I have absolutely no interest in. I believe this is a very basic bug that can be fixed in like 5 minutes.

227 Replies

philippantoni
Casual Listener

So just for fun, after another Release Radar with 5 garbage songs by artists masquerading as someone else, I decided to check those songs in Apple Music... and all of them had correct attribution there.

 

Spotify, fix your broken system that allows this kind of abuse & spam or you'll start losing customers. Or, if you really need your users' help to clean up this mess, embed a proper report function in the app like was already suggested here.

ishi_the_fishy
Music Fan

Yup, I'm still getting garbage in my Release Radar, mostly rappers tagging other artists they are not affiliated with.  Spotify appears to have given up trying to fix this issue, as it's been going on for well over a year and the moderator who claimed to be working on this has gone AWOL.  So that's that.  I'm going to start researching other streaming services.  
@philippantoni wrote:

So just for fun, after another Release Radar with 5 garbage songs by artists masquerading as someone else, I decided to check those songs in Apple Music... and all of them had correct attribution there.

 

Spotify, fix your broken system that allows this kind of abuse & spam or you'll start losing customers. Or, if you really need your users' help to clean up this mess, embed a proper report function in the app like was already suggested here.


 

Dennis666
Visitor

This week 20% of my Release Radar was filled by (c)rap artists that take on the name of metalbands that I listen to. Names like Slayer and Kreator (yes, the (c)rapper even used the K) to name a few. With all the collaborations the so-called artists do, I'm really starting to think that they do it intentionally to get their airplay. I really only listen to metal and avoid playing the Release Radar so I won't be related to actual (c)rap. It's time Spotify fixes their algorithms to differentiate on genre first before actually linking artists. 

yennysz
Casual Listener

ALSO MIGHT I ADD that you can't even report an artist for identity theft.

I'd like to select something like "exploiting another artist's name"

 

These are the only

Screen Shot 2021-05-21 at 7.47.42 AM.png

when I select "deceptive content":

yennysz
Casual Listener

Hey, just popping in here to also express my anger and frustration with getting songs on my Release Radar from artists that are basically stealing the identity of artists that I like. (tweeted about it here https://twitter.com/LiveTweets4No1/status/1395749591044083714?s=20 but obvi Spotify doesn't seem to do anything)

 

Today this random artist named "Chuckklez" appeared on my Release Radar that claims to feature Roosevelt, an artist that I actually like. I checked to see if it was a fake Roosevelt but it actually led to the real Roosevelt that I like so this seems like Chukklez is FALSELY CLAIMING that they made an album with Roosevelt. 

 

anyway this is super disturbing bc Chukklez is a grossly different genre from Roosevelt. 

This is not the first time I've had Spotify bring demonstrate that they allow identity theft and fake artists on my Release Radar.... PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS

 

Screen Shot 2021-05-21 at 7.45.40 AM.png

Suzesun
Visitor

I've noticed that sometimes I get music recommended to me that is not by an artist I listen to, but rather by an artist that has the same name as the artist that I do listen to.

For example, I was recommended a song by https://open.spotify.com/artist/70AOkupQ6B7bd7tqN4zXB6?si=Ssp7wyezQZ2NGqZ2Fw_9uQ, an artist that I've never listened to. The artist that I do listen to is https://open.spotify.com/artist/7ymczLNmjz6AVMGApVNWbB?si=IhPBt6waT9CUL6pgom4Ueg

Both artists are called "Vincent". One thing that is weird is that when I clicked on the artist link for the song by https://open.spotify.com/artist/70AOkupQ6B7bd7tqN4zXB6?si=Ssp7wyezQZ2NGqZ2Fw_9uQ, I get directed to the artist page for the other artist.

This has happened with other artists that listen to as well, RED is another one that comes to mind. In both cases the incorrect music was the wrong genre relative to the playlist that I was listening to at the time, and both times the music sounded like it was produced in cheap/free music production software such as garage band or FL studio with the default plugins, and each time the incorrectly identified artists were new in Spotify (they only had a couple releases at most).

datfenristho
Roadie

Yeah this is still a huge problem. I report several songs each week for incorrectly featuring artists with that support form, and half the time I don't even get a response. And why is it that ALL of these songs with fake artist features are some kind of hip hop or rap garbage? Seems like us being able to block entire genres would help immensely here. A report track option on the actual app would also be very useful.

jakegerb
Roadie

same here. Spotify if you are reading this, shame on you, for letting us hang like this. I used to report to this form, but now the stopped doing that as well.

Today after another HipHop Garbage artist with the name of Pantera (you guessed it, after the famous metal band), I've had enough. This is getting out of hand!!

 

this used to be the form:


https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdXRSzYb5zXmHR2dCcpMtEz_t-gHK8ZlVXqT-s0nYrCtU2Ow/closedfor...


jeremycorbett
Roadie

So, the form for reporting these issues has been closed, apparently Spotify aren't responding to in-app reports, and @Mihail hasn't responded to this thread in over three weeks.

 

Have Spotify given up on the issue?

 

So what's the next step, contact the legit artists' management and report these tracks to them?

philippantoni
Casual Listener

Glad I found this thread, because this is getting beyond frustrating. Every week for the past ~3 months, my Release Radar has contained 5-10 songs by misattributed artists, or people claiming to have collaborated with artists I follow. Selecting "I don't like this artist" has no effect, as literally the same people show up again week-over-week.

 

Here are some examples from today:

https://open.spotify.com/track/34HrXJ8L0wWXyQSLhd305d?si=l79uIz8rQRyRzzNT6i1XEA

https://open.spotify.com/track/12yBFtaEZVyNMEira5wGXL?si=tybvfY7gTfyHKp_uLAlCwg

https://open.spotify.com/track/3urrycg0H2Q5HhaX22Auxl?si=rR7WeKmiTz6G8TRwxI_R_Q

https://open.spotify.com/track/56Y3NI0kN3g4hwOcyBBGl2?si=rI-NcokWQmuk-4t3rZ4Pbw

 

All of these list wildly more popular performers as secondary artists, while I'm pretty sure they had nothing to do in producing these songs, i.e. it feels like people trying to spam their way into playlists. Please find some way to be more rigorous about this, Spotify.

clnr
Regular

I reported a problem from this weeks RR, where as usual a guest artist on a hiphop song was incorrectly linked to a band I listen to.

 

I report it as a broken track, per the instructions. As I do 1-4 times every week now.

However, this time the response from Customer Support is that they will no take any action since I can't provide the link to the correct artist. An artist I don't know anything about who is set as guest artist on a track from another artist I never heard about.

But I can tell the difference between hip hop and Old School Death Metal by just using my ears.

 

So the message from Spotify is that they don't care about your experience anymore. 

And they want their customers not only to report the errors, they want you to do their work as well. This is frankly unacceptable.

MetalRayzor
Regular

I've been falling behind on this thread. I thought there was some progress made shortly after my last post a month ago or more. The number of inappropriate songs decreased by at least half and some of the remaining ones could be legitimate naming conflicts. However, the posts from others show that there is still significant issues here and the inappropriate selections on my own account have started to increase again.

I've received another Spotify email - "New music from artists you love..." and it's another Rap artist. I don't listen to Rap and the only Rap songs touched by my Spotify account are the fraudulent suggestions made in my Release Radar, which I have spent significant time marking as "I don't like this song/artist".

Why Spotify, why? Why would you send me this email? Dozens, of rock/metal artists I do listen to have released new material in the past month but you send me a Rap artist I have explicitly disliked. Could it be that Spotify is being paid to spam this content to us? Why is the Release Radar the only Spotify list that ever contains these inappropriate Rap artists? I've been paying for a Spotify subscription for close to a decade but the algorithm (and only the Release Radar algorithm) still can't figure out what I like. It sure looks like part of the Release Radar algorithm is to include wildly inaccurate selections that pay to be placed on this list.

ishi_the_fishy
Music Fan

I totally agree with MetalRayzor on two important points:

 

1)  I also listen to metal and punk, so why on Earth am I getting recommendations for Christian-Faith music??? As I wrote in a previous comment, it's like serving a rare steak to a vegan.

 

2) Like MetalRayzor, I'm concerned that it feels like there's an advertising mechanism at work that is promoting new artists on to listener's RR.  It's not unthinkable, as most companies are always hunting for new revenue streams.  However, since I pay a monthly subscription I expect an ad-free experience.

 

A recent comment pointed out the absence of the moderator and that the reporting form isn't working.  I believe the moderator wrote that they were taking a short vacation.  As for the form, I've never used it and never will. It's not my job to fix what is clearly a widespread problem Spotify is aware of.  Moreover, it was a Google Doc and I'm always suspicious of those for good reasons.  Why isn't their a a legitimate form with a Spotify URL, like they have for artists?  Or even better, a tool built right into the app itself.  

 

For a company with billions in assets, this situation is shameful.  Often when a company is only interested in subscriptions and revenue, and not the customer experience, it's because they're pumping their valuation in anticipation of sale or merger. Wireless and cable providers have been known to do this. I wonder if something is brewing behind the scenes.  

ianhandsup
Music Fan

Just got recommended a new song from (ford.), but it's someone else with the same name.

arcadechan
Regular

Not that bad this week. Just two weird tracks.

#1. Looks like its just someone tagging their song with the 1970s Electric Light Orchestra to get some visibility.

https://open.spotify.com/track/4bEE5reerYchv3EYmQSPfy

#2. It's obvious they have a rapper featured on this track that goes by the name Bully, but its pointing to the Bully I follow, which is an indie rock band.

https://open.spotify.com/track/5yRLP9Hb2TawVCYzdJuRH9?si=H_jZRbUERk25ATH0dpa7Hw

It's even more unfortunate that the Bully I follow has their "Appears On" section filled with all of the albums/singles where the rapper Bully appears. Can't imagine how much it must suck as an artist to have other artist's stuff you have no association with show up on your artist page to all your fans.

arcadechan_0-1615564304653.png

 




Keith00000
Regular

timerickson
Music Fan

This happens every single week!!!! 

 

An example from this week. Artist using name BT showing in my radar: spotify:artist:5hvgLtG4i37Zo8kigzFD50

 

I do not follow this artist.  The BT I follow: spotify:artist:64MoFdq8ORI3V98AR5SPWL

ThomWim
Roadie
BT already knows about this confusion. He contacted Spotify in October 2019 and asked them to remove music that wasn't by him.

https://twitter.com/BT/status/1184108453146574848
https://twitter.com/BT/status/1184859724560437248

Mihail
Moderator
Moderator

Hello everyone,

 

we'd like to share an update of the findings that we got from investigating this in greater detail. Heads up, long read upcoming.

 

First, some data facts!

 

Since we asked for your reports a month ago, we received a total of 61 reports.

Out of those, 27 were actually valid reports that looked like the algorithm isn't functioning as intended, but for all intents and purposes, if you're not happy with your RR, that means we have room for improvement and we'll count all reports as valid for the discussion at hand.

 

Let's dissect these numbers and put them into perspective.

There're roughly 340 million RRs generated each week. For the 1 month investigative period, that would be 1,360,000,000 Release Radar playlists generated.

That amounts to reports for 0.000004% of the playlists.

Now, we know the algorithm is not perfect so there're probably more errors. And we also know there're reports submitted elsewhere and maybe even a lot of people don't even bother, so let's boost that number by a significant amount - let's make it a factor of 100 000. We pick that number because it would already be outside of our scope to handle if we received so many reports each week, but at the same time we want to be pessimistic about the accuracy of the recommendations.

That still amounts to 0.4% of errors.

 

For us that is 0.4% still too many and we'd love to bring that number even closer to a total zero, even if, let's be honest, an auto generated playlist will never be 100% accurate for 100% of all the music fans out there.

 

So the question is what can we do to improve the experience of those affected?

 

Well, we think we have just two options available to us:

  1. Provide information and clarity on why things happen as they do.
  2. Commit to continuously improve our recommendations.

The 2nd one's a given, you have our word. Good recommendations is a big priority for us and we're continuously and constantly tweaking things backstage to improve those. You can do your share by feeding some data to the automatic systems using the Like and Hide features and listening to music that you like from as many different sources within the app as you find useful for your personal listening habits. If you find something new that you like, it will have a more positive effect on recommendations than established favorites.

 

I'll try and tackle point number 1 now and provide you with as much info as we were able to gather during the course of this investigation. I'll post part of this again in a separate post that will be pinned to the top of the thread to improve visibility, so apologies beforehand for a double post.

 

There're several complaints that we have to address and unravel. Let's look at them one by one.

 

  • I receive tracks from artists I don't follow at all in my Release Radar - This is intended and we don't plan on changing this. The Release Radar doesn't only help you keep track of artists you follow, but is meant to allow you to discover new music from others we think you might enjoy. It is also one way for Spotify to help artists get their music noticed.
  • I get music that I don't enjoy at all in my Release Radar - This means our algorithm doesn't know your music taste so well. There can be many reasons behind this, but the rule of thumb to improve the music you receive in the automatically generated playlists for you is to listen to music without a private session, use the like and hide features, have more intentional music listening habits rather than opportunity based and when you discover something new that you enjoy, listen to it proportionally more than other content. Following these guidelines should give you better recommendations in time. It will still not be perfect and it can vary from person to person, but as mentioned, we're constantly improving these as we go.

Now here's the big one that didn't sound right even to us.

 

I get tracks from artists that are named exactly the same as ones I follow and enjoy, but it turns out the track is unrelated to that artist and they only have the same name. What gives?

 

There's also the question if there is some sort of malicious intent behind this so that artists capitalize on others' success. Well, we'll try and answer this with concrete examples based on your reports.

 

For the Release Radar that was generated on the 26th of February, a lot of you reported this track:

spotify:track:4pFDWJmUVY82I4Gn0A1eBI

 

It appeared to those of you who follow:

spotify:artist:6kFay2DQ5aZfeu5OsrF3Pw

 

Another common report from the same week was 

spotify:track:3E9JGbmGk1w0mQvX6KLM1v

that appeared on RRs for folks who followed

spotify:artist:64MoFdq8ORI3V98AR5SPWL 

 

And a third one was

spotify:track:5EjufVUD5PLlw4RxxJpyBa 

which landed on Release Radars for people who followed

spotify:artist:6c0mTNAxJxlp9HpKTUZwA8

 

Thanks to your reports we found out why this actually happened.

 

Here's a bit of backstage info - all of those millions of Release Radars don't get generated on the exact date. They don't look what got released exactly then, but they use data from a release data pool and the systems start compiling your playlists quite a bit in advance so that there's no delay in deliveries due to the amount of data that needs to be processed.

 

Turns out, "Hypercolours" was uploaded a couple of days earlier to

spotify:artist:6kFay2DQ5aZfeu5OsrF3Pw.

The distributor uploading this then spotted the error and sent a correction request. The track was then moved to a separate artist profile, but alas, it was already captured in your Release Radar.

 

The exact same thing has happened with the other two reports in the example and with all valid reports that were submitted. During upload, metadata submitted by the distributors erroneously attaches a track to a wrong artist, the Release Radar sees that artist that you follow has new content and captures it to present it to you and by the time the error is corrected and the tracks are associated with different artists, it's already been added to your playlist.

 

Mind you this can happen and actually happens more often with featured artists as well, as it seems those are more often really small and share names with more popular ones.

 

Based on how these errors happen and that they usually quickly get corrected afterwards, we don't suspect malicious intent. The first track has been taken down completely for a majority of markets, while the others in our example were separated from the bigger artists even before your Release Radar synced in your app. The only positive effect this would bring is a temporary boost in streams, but looking at the numbers, this is minimal and if you don't like that track, it would actually have an averse affect on capturing an audience and generating revenue. (Remember that Spotify does not pay on a "per-stream" basis.) If however you happen to like that track and decide to follow the artist, we would argue it falls under the principle of genuine discovery, even if it might've been recommended in error.

 

Now here's the point where we're sure we'll still receive complaints - you still don't want those tracks, even if we explained the technical reason for them appearing. We want to be honest with you - at this point we don't have a solution. Your reports allowed us to receive an incredibly valuable insight on a flaw in the system, but for now, we really can't provide a fix for it. And it's not that we don't want to, it's that the reason for this is deeply ingrained in a complex amalgam of both human error and technical limitations during the upload and distribution process. We do not have the manpower to fact-check the metadata of the tens of thousands of songs uploaded to Spotify every day. And the distributors we work with are human as well. The systems we have set in place do limit errors by requiring specific data to be submitted, but without teaching an AI to audibly differentiate two artists from another, the systems still use the metadata provided to them.

 

That leaves us with the 2nd best option - making corrections based on human input and reports on incorrect content. This really helps and is one of the reasons why some tracks even get removed from the platform as can be seen in the above examples. And we've read your posts that you can't know on which artist profiles these tracks belong, but here's the thing - you don't need to. The report just needs to be clear and state that you're reporting a track that is by another artist of the same name, but isn't actually the one on whose artist profile the track or album is attached to. This is often the case - a new artist profile for this same-name artist just needs to be created and you can't find that if it doesn't exist yet, so no one expects that 🙂 It will get created by the team after your report is processed.

 

That being said, we'd like to ask you for your understanding that processing these reports can take a while and yeah, sometimes you might get a question that doesn't seem to make sense but it's just because the person looking at your report maybe didn't understand it, so help them out to help correcting content errors for everyone.

 

I know this is a lot to digest, but as mentioned, at this moment this is what we can do - give you insights and information. We hope you understand but at the same time have to point out that aggressive and offensive behavior will not be tolerated on the Community and could lead to the closure of this thread. We'd think that after what it helped accomplish in terms of insights it would be really sad to see, so we're keeping our fingers crossed to receive more constructive discussions and understanding surrounding this topic.

Once more, thank you to all who participated and submitted reports to the form we posted here. The data received is set for complete deletion and we'll only keep the knowledge and non-verbatim feedback we gained from it.


All the best!

MihailModerator
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“Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” - Keith Richards
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