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Hype Machine Reveal The Shocking Truth – There Is Hype In The Music Industry!

Dead End - Out July 6th

Dead End - Out July 6th

There is delicious irony in this storyHype Machine, in an effort to protect their integrity, have revealed a list of 40 artists who they claim were manipulating their charts by creating multiple profiles and favouriting themselves. In other words, hyping their position in the ‘Most Popular’ chart.

One of the artists, Master Shortie, happens to be one of the artists we work with. I’m going to declare now, it wasn’t us or Master Shortie – frankly, we have better things to do in our lives than create 50 fake profiles.

But the point is, what is the difference between hype & promotion, when is it marketing or manipulation and where is the balance?

For many years labels, fans and artists have collaborated in forming online street teams – dedicated fans who will promote the artist via link building, posting, recommending and favouriting. It seems that in many of these cases, some fans took the time to create multiple profiles on Hype Machine to boost the rankings.

No-one likes to be manipulated and since Hype Machine is Anthony’s website he can do whatever he likes. If he believes this is against the spirit of the site, that’s his call. But by the reaction of some people (here, here), you would think the artists had defrauded a little old lady of her life savings.

The web is full of opportunity for hype/promotion/marketing. Perhaps this crossed the line? Or, what if we had managed to get bloggers to talk about the artist, which are then listed on Hype Machine. Because it’s a step removed is this OK? Or is it because some blogs questioned Hype Machine’s integrity he reacted badly.

The bad taste & anger I feel is simply because Anthony has automatically punished the artists rather than digging deeper and banning the IP addresses or sending a warning first. Why not go the whole hog and ban any artist who employ’s people to promote, market or talk about them?

About Neil

Neil Cartwright founded Million Media in 2006 with the aim to help people understand digital marketing and use it to their advantage. The vision hasn't changed but the technology has.

6 comments on “Hype Machine Reveal The Shocking Truth – There Is Hype In The Music Industry!

  1. Mark Ryan
    July 6, 2009

    Hi, hype or promotion in my case is required to break an artist. Or at least for the artist to gain much required exposure.

    I would with unsigned or DIY artists. These guys and girls do not have the might of the record company money, power and support so they need someone like me to work on their behalf will they’re in work or school.

    There is an exceptable amount of promo. If you find every time you open a digital store or read a blog that you faced with this new artist from one of the big 4 then I feel that this is going to fare.

    But money talks….. you know how this finishes.

    Mark, Dublin Ireland.

  2. Ben Patterson
    July 6, 2009

    Nice analysis. In an era when websites tossing out free music directly or via an “index” call foul anytime a band or label asks for some compensation, it’s ridiculous to ban bands that put in time and effort to make the sites already profiting from their music actually benefit the artist financially. All the sites claim it’s exploratory and promotional, but when they are making copies in order to deliver a stream (it has to happen) and charge labels and bands to advertise, the actual end value for the band is debatable. There are always anecdotes of success … but clearly no replicable model anywhere out there. Keep on fighting for the bands.

  3. Anthony V
    July 6, 2009


    We’ve blocked the accounts and have now improved the system, that’s a given. We wanted to make the changes we’ve made public, along with everything else we’ve discovered.

    We’ve also made it clear in the post that we don’t know who’s responsible, but we do have solid data indicating it happened (for ex. a group of 16 accounts made from a single NY cable connection to vote for Master Shortie tracks), and that’s what people have the right to know.

    16 accounts may not sound like a big deal (the effectiveness is limited and some individuals have made many more, say 200), but it is also true that people don’t sit around making accounts for no reason in their spare time.

    The issue you bring up is key, however, and the details above distract us from it: the lines between hype, promotion, marketing and manipulation are very fine. We find it entirely possible to market and promote music with integrity, however, we also find that not everyone does it.

    I will have more on this in a followup post shortly. Thanks for writing!


    • millionmedia
      July 7, 2009

      I think Anthony’s response here is entirely reasonable and thank him for changing his stance on publishing the artist’s names.

      I’m sure changing the system will go a long way to solving the problem.

      Sites like Hype Machine,, Big Champagne, & Spotify are radically changing the way we can measure the success of an artist, based not upon (decreasing) sales but on actual plays and popularity. Incidentally, I’ve been writing the chart analysis on Music Ally’s buzz chart for over a year, advocating an entirely new approach to how success can be measured, and agree entirely that the integrity of the charts is paramount.

      Hopefully this episode will enable us all to progress the debate, share our thoughts and continue to shape the future!

  4. Pingback: Machine Shop: The Hype Machine Blog about Hype Machine (and things we love)

  5. Pingback: A Monkey Wrench in The Hype Machine: Music Marketing and Integrity « CONDEMNED TO ROCK ‘N ROLL

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This entry was posted on July 3, 2009 by in marketing.
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