Why Does BTS' Army Want to #InvestigateSpotify?

Not long after BTS earned Spotify recognition for breaking its own record of most opening day streams with its latest single “Butter,” the group's Army of fans are going against the streaming giant, making #InvestigateSpotify the top worldwide trend on Tuesday. 

What riled them up this time? Fans are protesting an "anomaly" in Spotify' stream counts that they believe undermines the fandom's concerted effort to break its own chart records.

Citing data pulled by BHF Data Analytics, fans pointed out how BTS songs appear to be "filtered" much more than other artists it's competing with in the charts. 

For example, on May 22, 43% of the streams were not counted for "Butter" while 32% were not counted for "Dynamite." In comparison, Olivia Rodrigo's "good 4 u," which is Tuesday's top song in the global charts, had a 6% filter rate that day. 



What exactly is a filter rate? It pertains to a percentage in a song's streams that isn't counted, put in place by Spotify to curb "play inflation", Forbes said.

According to SpotifyCharts.com, charts are “are generated using a formula that protects against any artificial inflation of chart positions.” The streaming giant basically caps the number of plays a user can contribute to a song’s chart position in a 24-hour period.

It can be seen as a mechanism to prevent "cheating", including the possibility of using bots or ghost users to listen to the same song over and over again in a single day, which may account for huge numbers. Given how charts are everything to the artist  from the visibility clout can give them, to how that ultimately translates to money for record labels or independent artists, the system idea makes sense.

But what of fans who are just genuinely appreciative of their own idols? This is how BTS Army makes their case.

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On Twitter alone, BTS' followers are over 36 million. If those are all unique fans streaming Butter for a "decent amount" of time, not to mention, the burst of excitement they have given how it's a fresh era for the fandom, they could very well overpower global charts. 

BTS could easily become #1 on Spotify's Global Charts if it weren't for the high rate of their filtered streams, one BTS fan on Twitter said. 


Another reached to Spotify support for an explanation, which got a reply that only fueled the fandom's call for transparency even more. 

"The only info we can share for this at the moment is that we have systems in place to make sure that all streams are legitimate. We can't share the exact info on how streams are counted in order to prevent manipulation," a Spotify representative said.


As of May 25 in Manila, #InvestigateSpotify has over 66.5 thousand tweets. 


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