Universal Music Declares War on Streaming Noise

Every night, I bury my tinnitus under brown noise, cats’ purrs, and the tap of rain on leaves. This “functional music,” as it is known, certainly serves its function—lulling me to sleep. It also accounts for a vast portion of the streaming world: Spotify recently revealed that white noise and ambient podcasts rack up 3 million hours of listens a day.

In a weird industry quirk, these ambient sounds, often recorded or generated by AI, are assigned the same monetary value as actual songs. One stream is one credit—one equal piece of the pot that’s shared among everyone. A system like that is pretty easy to game.

A deal struck between

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