Latvia’s Supernova has a potential drama brewing less than 24 hours before its first heat. LTV have announced that they are looking at potentially “dishonest” streaming on Spotify by some of the competing acts. This is relevant as, in October, it was announced that Spotify streams will count towards votes at Supernova 2017.
In a statement, Supernova producer Ilze Jansone explains that she wouldn’t like to think the acts themselves are “so naive” to try and rig the voting. She explains that “a global company like Spotify” would know “how to recognise any manipulation”. Therefore, any attempt would immediately be caught out.
However, there are apparently examples where acts have, for example, suddenly become popular in new areas. Any listens deemed suspect will not be counted, with only “real data” to be used in voting.
Supernova 2017 — Spotify Data
LTV have not given any specifics as to which acts are under investigation. Even just glancing at Spotify data, however, gives clues as to which acts could have attempted to improve their chances.
For example, one act — who we will not name — has amassed over 3,200 listens in the city of Boardman, Oregon, USA. As of the last US census in 2010, the city only had a population of 3,220 people. The same act achieved a staggeringly similar amount of listens in Los Angeles as well. Riga appears fourth on their list with around 1,400 listens.
Boardman is a known location of suspicious Spotify figures. It appears in the top-five listener locations for five Supernova acts, including three with noticeably high listening numbers.
Other acts have a much more Latvian feel to their listeners. Acts such as Miks Dukurs, My Radiant You and Anna Zankovska for example, have only Latvian cities in their top 5. Even Markus Riva — who appeared in the Russian iTunes chart with his entry “Dynamite” — has Riga as his top location.
Similarly, some acts have had a meteoric rise in streams in a short period of time. In the past week, two acts have achieved over 20,000 streams of their Supernova songs. The average amount of streams for the remaining acts is around 4,900. Whilst these acts could just be popular, they again seem to mainly attract streams outside of Latvia.
LTV have not announced any further measures, but it may be interesting to see what happens with the results in the first heat. The first heat of Supernova 2017 kicks off on February 5 at 20.25 CET.