John Matrix is the Spotify hit artist created by internet security consultant Peter Fillmore. Not being a musician Fillmore generated short midi clips using WolframTones: “WolframTones works by taking ‘simple programs’ from Wolfram’s computational universe, and using music theory and Mathematica algorithms to render them as music." Fillmore’s scripts would then splice these with public domain samples, creating a generative sound unlike anything else.
Then to get these songs to the top of the charts, the engineer created some bot fans that would listen to John Matrix’s music 24/7. Running on Amazon servers, a bash script would automate the act of playing the tunes on Spotify. John Matrix soon had amassed millions of plays and made $1000 in royalties. The high chart positions of these songs prompted human listeners to complain, resulting in the account being shut down after a month.
Fillmore narrates the whole story with technical details at his Ruxcon talk.
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