Social Caterpillar Finds Their Music Renamed, Reuploaded on Streaming Platforms
Milwaukee psych-punk band Social Caterpillar learned they were victims of a reuploading scheme when one member accidentally discovered songs from their latest album were uploaded to Spotify and other streaming platforms under a different name.
The band learned songs from “When You Woke Up To Dances Of Light” and earlier music floating around on Spotify, iTunes, Tidal and other major streaming sites slowed down and renamed to avoid copyright detection, drummer Derek Barnett tells Breaking and Entering.
The band has been working to get the reuploaded music off different platforms since Barnett on March 24 discovered the copycat by chance from his personal Spotify recommendations. They located copycat music on well-known streaming platforms and some obscure ones as well.
“We know it’s happened to at least one other band, but most likely a lot of other bands. If Spotify didn’t randomly recommend I listen to it one morning, I’m not sure we would have even found out about it,” he said.
The tracks were posted March 11 with Social Caterpillar’s original work with slight changes to the tempo and song titles. For example, songs like “Anti-Prayer” were uploaded as “Counter Prayer.”
“As far as we can tell, (the music) was uploaded under a fake name that’s really hard to trace. All of these are all uploaded through third-party websites that can’t share information with us. When we contacted Distrokid, they couldn’t tell us if they were the ones who uploaded all this music to these sites or not,” Barnett said.
As of publication, Spotify and Apple Music have taken down the infringing album.
If an artist wants to make a legal claim on Spotify, they have to fill out a five-page form through the service’s support site. The company warns artists to consult an attorney before making a claim.
According to Spotify’s intellectual property rights, users must promise to post content they own or have the right to post and that the content they post doesn’t violate intellectual property or other rights of another party. “Spotify respects the rights of intellectual property owners,” according to the streaming service’s rules.
But the damage to Social Caterpillar’s music and other artists may have already been done.
It’s not clear who uploaded the band’s music, but they’ve had more than 2,000 listeners per month on Spotify and are among the first search terms to show up in a Google search as of publication.
The imposter also generated streams quickly and had their music added onto playlists, Barnett said. They were streamed around 20,000 times for two weeks before the band noticed, which adds up to $300-$400 from revenue from Spotify alone, he added.
It’s not clear who reuploaded the music or who Gaige Mitchell is, but they’ve had more than 2,000 listeners per month on Spotify as of publication. That number was 20,000 before and the copycat could have made a few hundred dollars, the band said.
“We’re confused and shocked this happened to us. We’d be open to the idea of having this information shared and hoping other bands don’t get affected by it. We’re not really sure how bands can detect this, we think we got really lucky by discovering it,” Barnett said.
The actual, real “When You Woke Up To Dances Of Light” is below: