BTS broke the internet on Friday, May 21 with the release of their second English track Butter. It went on to break records on video and music streaming platforms, thanks to the strong fandom power of BTS’ ARMY.
The seven-member group recently delivered an impressive debut performance of Butter at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, which swept fans off their feet. The event was also a big day for BTS as they went on to win four awards, namely, Top Duo/Group, Top Social Artist, Top Song Sales Artist, and Top Selling Song for their 2020 smash hit Dynamite. The song also made music history as it recorded the biggest debut on Spotify and YouTube.
So, it’s no surprise that ARMYs are ready to call for justice if their hard work is not coming to fruition.
On Tuesday, May 25, ARMYs claimed that music streaming platform Spotify was “filtering out” the streams of Butter by a large percentage.
As of this writing, Butter has over 49 million streams on Spotify. The song has also recorded 20.9 million unfiltered global streams and 11.042 million filtered global streams on its first day of release.
Various fans also pulled out a screenshot of the global Spotify filter rates from BHF Data Analytics on Twitter, stating that BTS is filtered more than other artists.
— BHF Data Analytics⁷| Butter is Here?. Spread it. (@BorahaeFunds_DA) May 24, 2021
A fan named Hannah decided to email the music platform after realizing the streams of Butter haven’t significantly increased despite the ongoing streaming projects of ARMYs.
According to Hannah, Spotify allegedly replied that it has “systems in place to make sure that all streams are legitimate.” The music platform added that it “can’t share the exact info on how streams are counted” to prevent manipulation.
PhilSTAR L!fe also reached out to Spotify Philippines for comment. This story will be updated with their responses.
Right after Hannah’s tweet, ARMYs took to Twitter to express their frustration with Spotify. Some even went to accuse the music platform of sabotaging Butter on the charts in favor of other artists. Others also expressed their dissatisfaction with the platform’s services, adding that they didn’t receive what they paid for.
The hashtag “#InvestigateSpotify” became a trending topic on social media, where it climbed up to the top of the Music category on Twitter.
“Am i suspicious of company (sic) that earns billions while paying their artists as little as possible per stream and selling what is virtually payola playlisting while rejecting all requests for transparency,” one BTS fan tweeted.
So this is Spotify's response to our concerns??? They say they have a system in place but in the same sentence they say they don't have resources to dive deep into analytics?? How tf they don't have enough resources to give some transparency to thr users?? #investigatespotify pic.twitter.com/I4XRGwBCE9— sara⁷ ◡̈? (@TEARHOYAA) May 24, 2021
“Seriously, this ain’t normal. Chart manipulation at its finest,” another BTS fan wrote on Twitter.
#InvestigateSpotify I pay you for a smooth consumer experience not to fill my timeline and playlists with artist I'm not interested in, as a premium user I want to know why my streams are getting filtered despite following all of the streaming rules— ᴮᴱM⁷ ? ?? (@_sinpathy) May 24, 2021
“This is a huge concern for anyone doing research on streaming or music consumption... how do we know that Spotify values are accurate if the data collection metrics can't be fully disclosed? Charts/reports that use Spotify could have serious validity issues,” said @alapadma2 on Twitter.
Butter is a retro-inspired dance track that shows off the vocal, dance, rap, and performance abilities of BTS. The K-pop supergroup described the song as a “fresh dance-pop track,” dubbing it as a “summer anthem” in an interview with Billboard.
The group is set to mark its eighth debut anniversary on June 12.