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‘I asked Siri to play recently added songs. Instead, it played songs of the artist named Recently Added’

Is it like... SEO for music streaming or something?!

Photo by Daniel Cañibano / Unsplash

So here's how to boost your streams, artists—just come up with a stage name that sounds like one of the streaming platform's features. Recently Played and Favourite Songs are still available, thank us later.

A Reddit user shared this story on the Apple Music subreddit: "So when I was driving, I asked Siri to 'play recently added songs,' expecting it to play, well, songs recently added to the library. But instead, it started playing a song from this artist who happened to name themselves 'Recently Added.' This has happened a few times, when I forgot to say it more rigorously. I wonder if they actually named themselves in anticipation of what happened to me? Like, for more listens?”

When reading this, only one thing came to my mind: this mysterious artist is AI-generated. However, when I followed the link shared in that thread, I saw that the artist who goes by this name has only one album on Apple Music and the same one on Spotify called Go Hug Yourself and released in 2016, so it’s unlikely AI is behind it, however scary artificial intelligence might seem.

Based on the streaming information, the album was released by the record label Music Kickup. We wanted to reach out to Music Kickup, a Finnish label and distributor initially known as Music Kickstarter, but it seems the team no longer functions, doesn’t answer emails from their fans, and their Facebook group was last active in 2017.

This case reminded me of another mysterious incident when a bunch of AI-made metal bands appeared on Spotify having no digital trace outside YouTube or Spotify whatsoever. All they had was a few songs streaming, stolen recordings from other artists slightly slowed or pitched down, and very weird names.

What’s with the name, though—Recently Added? Was that a strategic move to boost listens? Considering it was released in 2016, it was rather visionary to predict that without such "cheating," you can’t earn enough streams as an indie artist—at most 86% of streamed songs don’t even reach the 1,000 streams threshold. According to the 2023 year-end music report from Luminate, 158.6 million tracks fell short of the 1,000 mark, and 45.6 million songs earned no streams at all, 86.4% and 24.8%, respectively, of the 184 million tracks measured, DJ Mag reports.

So, unless we’re not having Recently Added reading us now, we’ll never know who they are and their reasoning behind the stage name.