Home Tech Swedish composer becomes Spotify’s most-famous musician you’ve never heard of

Swedish composer becomes Spotify’s most-famous musician you’ve never heard of

by Elijah
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Swedish composer becomes Spotify’s most-famous musician you’ve never heard of

A “secret” composer who has released music under hundreds of different names has been identified as the most streamed Swedish artist on Spotify – with more plays than Britney Spears or Abba.

Johan Röhr, a Stockholm-based musician, has been unmasked as the person behind more than 650 different artists on the streaming service that have been played 15 billion times, making him Sweden’s most played artist at the time. actual hour.

According to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), which identified the 47-year-old, Röhr created more than 2,700 songs on the platform under names such as “Maya Åström”, “Minik Knudsen”, “Mingmei Hsueh” and “Csizmazia”. Etel.”

Even by international standards, according to the newspaper, the success of Röhr’s multitude of identities places him among the 100 most listened to artists on Spotify – ahead of Michael Jackson, Metallica and Mariah Carey.

Much of his success is believed to be associated with his presence on over 100 official Spotify instrumental playlists, maintained by the company itself.

With names like “peaceful piano” or “stress relief,” these piano-heavy playlists are especially popular among users who are looking for music to play in the background while they work, eat meals, or to relax. Inclusion on one of these wildly popular lists can make or break a musician’s career.

Last year, Spotify celebrated paying a record 90 billion Swedish krona (£6.7 billion) to the music industry. “Many new and promising artists are now appearing on Spotify and can finally make a full-time living from their music,” Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive, said at the time. “We are very, very proud of it.”

Swedish band Abba has strong competition with Röhr, who sits behind more than 650 artists on Spotify. Photograph: Olle Lindeborg/TT Press Agency/AFP/Getty Images

But critics say the success of a few anonymous artists like Röhr, who quietly dominate the market, goes against the spirit of the company’s promise to help small, independent musicians, record labels and composers.

It is unclear how much Röhr, who has worked as a conductor on pop star tours and on television, earned from his deal with Spotify. However, his private company is reported to have earned 32.7 million crowns (£2.4 million) in 2022, as it had a record year.

He declined to comment to DN and did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment. But Overtone Studios, the label that released the music, said Röhr was a “pioneer in the ambient music genre” and confirmed he had used several names.

Niklas Brantberg, Managing Director of Overtone Studios, said: “Johan Röhr was the first artist that AP Records (now Overtone Studios) worked with. Röhr released music for many different artist profiles and became a pioneer in the field of ambient music, which is extremely popular today. Many of these are now historic, inactive music projects and we have already significantly reduced the number of artist profiles actively releasing music.

“We maintain that artists with diverse talents should be able to release music under different artist names – which is common in the industry – spanning different genres and moods, with different collaborators and at different points in their musical journey. This allows them to unleash the full range of their creative potential, and Overtone Studios’ focus on providing an equal partnership through 50/50 royalty sharing helps our broad roster of artists earn a living in industry.

Spotify said it did not comment on the agreements it had with distributors, to which royalties are tied, but that artists were allowed to use pseudonyms.

A Spotify spokesperson said: “There is growing interest in functional music created to enhance daily activities such as relaxation, concentration or studying, and these playlists are created to meet listener demand . This type of music typically exists in Spotify’s Focus hub, which limits competition with artists in traditional popular music genres.

“As listener demand for functional music for relaxing, focusing, or studying increases, more artists and record labels are also choosing to produce this type of content. This music, like all other music on Spotify, is licensed from the rights holders and we pay royalties in accordance with the agreements we have with the distributor. Each deal is unique, but we don’t comment on any details, nor do we prohibit an artist or group from making music under their own name or various pseudonyms.

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