Mar 15, 2024 2 min read

Nine stream manipulation sites taken offline in Canada

Nine stream manipulation websites have gone offline in Canada as a result of action prompted by a formal complaint from the country’s record industry to the Canadian Competition Bureau. Music Canada says this development sets an “important regulatory precedent that can be followed in other markets”

Nine stream manipulation sites taken offline in Canada

The Canadian record industry, working with global trade group IFPI, has forced a number of Canada-based stream manipulation services offline, with the boss of Music Canada urging music industry groups elsewhere in the world to take similar action. 

Nine connected websites, the most popular operating at the domain, have been taken down after the IFPI and Music Canada together filed a formal complaint with the Canadian Competition Bureau

“Alongside IFPI, we’re committed to taking action against streaming manipulation sites and the bad actors who deliberately steal from artists and rightsholders”, Music Canada CEO Patrick Rogers says. “This is an important regulatory precedent that can be followed in other markets to protect rightsholders and the integrity of the streaming marketplace". 

Stream manipulation services allow companies and individuals to artificially boost the number of plays for any one track on the streaming platforms. Doing so makes the boosted track look more popular than it really is, and allows the owner of the rights in that track to pull extra royalties out of the digital music platforms. Various tactics are employed to manipulate streams, with entities both within and outside the music industry involved in the scamming. 

Tackling stream manipulation needs a multi-pronged approach, including targeting those stream manipulation operations that openly promote their services through public-facing websites, like The legal arguments employed to force those websites offline will differ from country to country. IFPI has now been involved in action in multiple jurisdictions, including Germany and Brazil. 

Explaining the legal approach taken in Canada, the IFPI says that its complaint to the Canadian Competition Bureau "alleged that the group of sites contravened the Canadian Competition Act by, among other things, misleading Canadian consumers and distorting their impression of what content merits their attention, undermining the accuracy of the music industry charts and distracting from the effective functioning of streaming services by manipulating the algorithms on which they rely".

Welcoming the latest developments, Lauri Rechardt, Chief Legal Officer at IFPI, adds, “Streaming manipulation has no place in music. Perpetrators and enablers of streaming manipulation cannot be allowed to continue to divert revenue away from the artists who create the music. The activity also harms consumers and distorts the fan experience".

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