Music fans are accusing Justin Bieber of trying to game the streaming numbers of his new song “Yummy” to achieve a No. 1 placement on next week’s Billboard Hot 100. While it’s common practice for artists to encourage fans to stream and buy their new projects — and just plain good business sense — some think that Bieber’s latest strategy, which involved posting detailed instructions to employ VPN apps and play “Yummy” on repeat at low volumes, is just “dirty pool,” especially as “Yummy” is currently locked into a neck-and-neck race with Roddy Ricch‘s “The Box” for the No. 1 spot.
if u don’t have a number one, just make a 5 page slide show ASKING UR FANS TO GAME THE SYSTEM BY LISTENING TO UR SONG ON REPEAT QOIETLY WHILE THEY SLEEP and also buy it multiple times
— ol’ flirty bastard 💕🤗 (@unclenappy) January 10, 2020
While the Instagram post link in the tweet above is currently disabled and there’s little way to tell whether it was an official post from Bieber’s account or not (it purports to be a repost from a fan account, where the original post can still be seen), fans have seemingly accepted it as a legitimate effort by Bieber to game the streaming system. Some have called it a “desperate” move on the part of the 25-year-old pop star, while others have joked that they’ll instead employ the tactics described to promote “The Box.”
All my friends from high school are married with kids and I’m sitting here, streaming “The Box” on repeat so Justin Bieber doesn’t get a #1 hit.
— ItsTheReal (@itsthereal) January 10, 2020
It’s not the first time artists have been accused of trying to game streaming numbers. Rappers were criticized last year for making overly-long albums to encourage more streams, while the modern trend toward shorter tracks overall has been called a ploy by artists to goose their metrics with repeat listens. While Bieber has yet to respond to the accusations, he and Roddy Ricch will have to wait until Tuesday to find out which will actually come in first. In the meantime, check out our review of Roddy’s debut album, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial here.
Roddy Ricch is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.