Musician blacklisted from music stores by his own online distributor

Benn "The Flashbulb" Jordan has released a dozen albums and earned over $400,000 in sales, but realized on Friday that all his work had suddenly disappeared from the internet: it was gone from iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, YouTube, the lot. After two frantic days he finally received word from TuneCore, the company that he employed to manage his music online: they took it all down because Spotify said he was a fraud.

Accused of fraud, Jordan defended himself on X (aka Twitter). He accused TuneCore of blacklisting him without providing any evidence or giving him any way of maintaining his playlists and streaming statistics by hiring another digital distributor. He asked TuneCore to reinstate his music for 30 days so he could swap distributors and demanded evidence of the fraud that Spotify had detected.

TuneCore CEO Andreea Gleeson responded to Jordan on X, confirming that TuneCore didn't have support staff working over the weekend who could address Jordan's concerns. Jordan would have to wait until Monday to sort things out.

By Monday, Jordan had already met with a lawyer in case he would have to take TuneCore to court. Relying on savings to float by after his only source of personal income was suddenly shut down, Jordan knew that if this same situation happened to other musicians, it could result in a dire loss of income. He was experiencing "the worst thing that could possibly happen to a musician," Jordan told Ars.

As for TuneCore's claim that Spotify instructed them to remove the music…

Spotify told Ars that it never instructed TuneCore to remove Jordan's music. … Removing Jordan's music, not just on Spotify but across all streaming platforms, was TuneCore's call, Spotify said.

Rentiers inside rentiers, and a musician blacklisted. Also a good example of Schrodinger's mistake: whether it was intentional policy enforcement or an inexplicable computer error depends on the observer (and their ability to inflict legal or PR pain.)

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