Musicians from Thom Yorke to David Byrne aren’t fans of Spotify, mostly due to the fact that the service pays artists somewhere around half a cent per stream. Rather than let that miniscule amount get them down, funk band Vulfpeck figured out an ingenious, hilarious way to make money from the popular music service.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan quartet’s album Sleepify consists of 10 short tracks of silence, with the idea that fans can “listen” to it on repeat overnight without any disturbance, thereby racking up the play counts and raking in the pennies. The band estimates that people can stream the 376-second album enough times during an eight-hour sleep period to earn them $4 in royalties.
And while it sounds like a scam, the group is using the proceeds to fund a tour of free concerts, playing towns where Sleepify is popular. Also, to their credit, Spotify is taking the ploy in stride: “This is a clever stunt, but we prefer Vulfpeck’s earlier albums. Sleepify seems derivative of John Cage’s work,” a spokesperson told Digiday, referencing the revered experimental composer behind the music-less song “4’33”.”
Vulfpeck are also playing up the ruse with a straight face.
“Please don’t ‘shuffle’ sleepify. i know this might come off snobbish, but we spent a lot of time on track order,” they tweeted. They also took to Facebook to complain about people illegally downloading the album and, for whatever reason, used the occasion to promote this bizarre coconut water commercial. For more, enjoy Vulfpeck’s trailer for the album up top, and stream Sleepify below.