The silent listening party is over for Vulfpeck. For about seven weeks, the Los Angeles-based groove band reaped payouts from streams of its album “Sleepify” on Spotify, even though the album’s 10 tracks — with names like “Zzz” and “Zzzzz” — didn’t contain any music. The group encouraged fans to stream the album repeatedly, piling up play counts — and the micro-payments that go with them — in order to fund an upcoming tour of free shows.
But Spotify only tolerated “Sleepify”‘s existence for so long. The company’s first email was friendly, offering assistance if the band needed anything, according to keyboardist Jack Stratton. But in late April, the act received a respectful request to take down “Sleepify” for an unspecified terms-of-service violation, before Spotify pulled the plug itself.
“I’m genuinely surprised they took it down,” says Stratton. “Or at least at the timing — that they waited instead of doing it immediately. It maybe would have reflected better on them if they did it right away instead of getting all this press first.”
Vulfpeck’s cheeky response: a new three-track album titled “Official Statement” that contains one primarily spoken-word track describing Spotify’s removal request, a 31-second silent track and a keyboard instrumental.