4 Ways SiriusXM Media Is Fighting Fake Streams

Brendan Kelly, Director, Ad Quality Measurement and SXM Media TAG Compliance Officer

The term, “spin fraud,” also known as “fake streams,” refers to instances where bots stream music for monetary gain or improved rankings. It's become an infamous occurrence in the digital music industry, but with our strong cross-functional team, we’ve taken steps to stay ahead of the fraudsters and fight this issue across all of our brands—creating one of the safest places to buy audio.

Here are four key ways we’re tackling this issue: 

1. We are constantly vigilant.

We take fraud very seriously, and we bring in the best in the business to help. We work with multiple third-party fraud measurement partners and have developed internal flags for unusual activity. By closely monitoring this activity, we are able to quickly identify new threats and have our internal teams (from the product and analytics to marketing and ad quality) work together to mitigate them.

2. We block non-human “users” from our platform.

In partnership with our measurement vendors, we’ve become skilled at identifying which traffic is likely to be non-human. Using that knowledge we deployed a mechanism to identify and remove these phony users at login or reauthentication. This stops bots in their tracks helping to keep their fraudulent activity off our platform.

3. We quickly identify and remove bad content.

Not all content is good content, and we keep our eyes out for fraudsters who create audio tracks of questionable quality to gain royalty payments. Our content team works with a third-party to analyze meta-data at the track level and identify potentially bad content. Removing the content stops the revenue stream and cuts off the incentive for these bad actors.

4. We share what we learn

We work with our content providers to help them improve their own efforts in fighting fraud. By sharing best practices and feedback on what attacks look like, we are able to help them quickly identify and remove bad content themselves. Spin fraud is often a sophisticated series of attacks where the methods are constantly evolving, and we are diligent in our work to keep up with it as it changes.

We also share best practices across all of our SiriusXM Media brands and partnerships. This ensures that everyone understands the threat and can do what they need to do to help in avoiding fake users and content, keeping ad buys on SiriusXM Media safer.

Finally, we’re committed to TAG certification and continue to uphold this. And by sharing our knowledge with industry working groups, we strive to create a safer, more reliable, and transparent industry for all artists, listeners, and advertisers.

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