Fasten your seatbelts, for the story following is unique to great sorts and I will try my best to instigate about the particular matter.
I am not the most passionate follower of Strange Fruits (not the kind of music I usually listen the most), but the imprint seems to be a cash machine behind the curtains, with massive playlists generating tons of banknotes. Inside these extensive listings of different tracks, a vigilant friend suggested me to analyze few artists so included. Especially, names such as Avocuddle, Formal Chicken, Fets, Green Bull, Poky, Weegie, Zambonini, Sea Flap Flap, Tempura, Orange Stick, Sorbet, Kuku, Hayai Sake, Ai_No_Hana, MatsuMatsu, Damaruuu, Bonz Eye, Nikibi, Tsundere.exe, BamBOOO!, Bathtub Vibes, Banana Katana.
All of these accounts follow the same blueprints: a cute mascot (usually a pet or a food, whatever catches the eye) with a flat background, releasing music on Strange Fruits music solely and collaborating with other accounts of the same “network”, having gargantuan amounts of listeners (often > 1 million) and a combined amount of 26 millions of monthly listeners. No credits, no names, no further information… now isn’t that a mystery?
Their social handles even have well-curated videos and images, adding to this superficial polish which is, if not eccentric, dubious pitching at the most.
At first, I simply thought that this were the accounts to be sold (very unlikely, since they have such a unique structure) or that there is a method of “Pickle” strategy (an alias from someone in Strange Fruits for releasing experimental music), but in the end, the conclusion came that they are simply “fillers”.
Spotify applied the same trick with their classical and nature playlists: they bought music, added them in there under the names of artists who don’t even exist officially, just to “fill them up” with songs which won’t have to pay royalties to any external parties. Highly unethical, for which they earned criticism recently.
With Strange Fruits, the case extrapolates more or less to this same methodology, even if they aren’t a streaming platform and have the liberty of stacking whatever they want in their playlists. The question which remains unanswered is, considering the profit being made from this: is it really important to “fill spaces” with these fake accounts, instead of promoting actual new and up and coming artists? Sure, it could be that behind these profiles the individuals least care about building a career, as they just want a presence and the dividends associated with it, but where is the transparency in this?