So, i've mentioned in the comments of this topic that i had my music 'stolen' multiple times earlier this year and some of you were interested in having more details so i'll try to explain as much as i can.
One day i received a message from one of my fans saying that somebody uploaded one of my tracks under another name on Spotify. I went to look it up, and this 'artist' had only a few releases, some of them with 20-50 MILLION streams, and then there was mine with thousands of streams. I started doing some research on that 'artist' and i couldn't find anything. You know what i'm talking about.. No profile picture, no bio, no instagram, no facebook, no website... NOTHING.
I panicked for a bit. Then i thought: ''Well, as long as i get my royalties, i guess it's ok.'' but then i started to wonder if i would really get paid at all, since this person never asked for my permission and you couldn't see my name anywhere... no mention at all that it was a cover.
I started to ask around.. checked with my distributor, with my PRO.. i'm talking days and days of research and emails. Nobody could guarantee me that i would get paid my royalties. So i decided to reach out to Spotify and they pretty much told me the same, and that if i don't approve this i can always file a copyright infringement claim. So i did. The track was almost immediately taken down.
The next day, i get an email from a guy named Andreas Romdhane. (Now, remember this name because it's very important) Andreas said that he represents the 'artist' that i've reported and that he's simply a fan of my music and there's no law that forbids covering music we love. He then gave me some examples of how many covers of Bob Dylan you can find on Spotify and bla bla bla. and finished by asking me to remove the copyright claim or otherwise, he will dispute it.
I kindly explained the situation to him and my concerns. I said that while i have no guarantee that this was done THE RIGHT WAY and i would get my royalties, i preferred not having my music uploaded to Spotify, specially without my permission. Then i told him how much i appreciate their support for my music and invited him to share it on YouTube instead, just like many other people have.
He replied a few minutes later saying that this isn't right, that he is free to cover anyone's music and i have no right to oppose myself. Which i respectfully replied: ''I composed this piece. I own this music. I have the right to oppose myself to anyone getting paid for my work. Go ahead and dispute if you want, my decision remains the same.''
I didn't hear back from him again, the piece was taken down, that was the end... or was it?
A few days went by, i kept doing some research. I was relieved to know the piece was taken down, even if i'm sure he probably got SOME money out of it before it was removed from Spotify, but i was also worried because it made me wonder how many other pieces of me could be on Spotify without me knowing..
Then i had an idea. I told myself that i would search for my own name on YouTube and start looking for anything suspicious. This took me a while but i ended up finding two 'automated YouTube 'videos' (automatically shared to YouTube by some distributor) that were named after my pieces.
So then i panicked again, i looked them up on Spotify. SAME THING. a few tracks, MILLIONS of streams, and another one of my pieces. So i reported them and both tracks were almost immediately taken down.
Next day, Andreas Romdhane emails me once again with the same bullsh*t. I answer the same exact thing, i tell him that i haven't changed my mind and to please stop insisting.He threatens me to take legal action, bla bla bla. and i simply ignored him.
For the next few days/weeks i would go to YouTube almost EVERY DAY and search for my name, then filter the posts to 'UPLOADED THIS WEEK' and every few days i would find a new 'cover' of one of my pieces. Frustrated, i would look them up AGAIN, notice the fake profile, millions of streams, report them, repeat.
Here's one of the emails he sent to me and also my last reply to him:
Never heard of him again. To this day, i keep checking once a week on YouTube the same way i said. I look up for my name, filter to 'THIS WEEK' and make sure there's no new releases of my music by random fake artists.I would strongly advice you to do the same. At first, You might need to check on YouTube as a whole and not only the recent videos, which will take you quite some time, but once you do that you'll be up to date and can only search once a week filtering to the recent videos only like i do. Of course this is NOT a bulletproof method but it's the only method i've found so far.. other than that, there's not much i can do other than hope my music is not being released on streaming platforms without my permission...
I was lucky enough to find and report these releases pretty quickly even if some of them had already THOUSANDS of streams. Christopher Dicker on the other hand found out that his piece 'dream river.' (woodsman moniker) was also stolen, had 900K streams and was added to some editorial playlists. I spoke to him when he shared it on his stories and explained my situation. We found out that we were both receiving emails from the same guy, telling us the same things.
I believe that the reason they KEEP the original name of the track is because if they get caught, they can just hide behind the excuse that this is simply a cover. If they stole your music and uploaded it under another name, that wouldn't be possible and they would probably get in trouble.
Now, i told you to keep in mind the name Andreas Romdhane. So here are two very good articles to better understand who he is. SPOILER ALERT: He's linked to UNIVERSAL MUSIC and is behind many (if not most) 'fake artists' found in editorial playlists.
Who in the f*ck are Andreas Romdhane and Josef Svedlund – aka Quiz & Larossi
The secret Universal ‘fake artists’ behind a bunch of Spotify’s most streamed tracks – revealed
If you made it this far, thank you for reading and please share! I'm sure this happens to a lot of people and they have no idea... These people are making money on your back and seem to aim at emerging artists or 'smaller' established composers.