Except it's not really cheating, they're just really clever.
Spotify is a great way for most musicians to make money. By most musicians, I mean a superstar economy of 1% who account for 77% of all artist revenue from streaming. And by “money” I mean the $0.007 per stream that most artists receive.
Step in Vulfpeck, the half-Jewish German-American rhythm section, who decided to play the system by recording a totally silent album and persuading their one thousand strong fans to put the album on repeat whilst they slept. Through the streams the band would then be able to work out where most of their fans were playing their album and then plan the tour around that. This tour would be funded by all the streams so every show would be totally free.
The idea almost seems like something KLF (the notorious band who burnt a million pounds) would have thought of if they were around in the internet age. When they’re not cruising at 0 decibels, the band’s music sounds like the best parts of the early 2000s yacht rock revival with my personal favourite of the non-silent songs being “Outro”.
When I emailed Spotify about the project they responded with "it's a clever stunt but we prefer Vulfpeck's earlier albums. Sleepify seems derivative of John Cage's work", which is the best backhanded compliment any band could expect. The band has taken this all tongue in cheek and have tweeted regularly about how important the tracklisting of the silent album is to them and if people could stop torrenting it.