In a since-deleted post, Justin Bieber laid out detailed instructions for fans to boost his new single “Yummy” to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Among other tactics, the post directed international Beliebers to download VPNs which would allow them to cheat Billboard’s American charts.
VPNs are Virtual Private Networks, and here the privacy includes the ability to hide IP addresses. This would allow fans in other countries to make it appear as though they were consuming “Yummy” in the United States. The Billboard Hot 100 only charts the popularity of songs in America,
The instructions appeared on Bieber’s official Instagram page, having been reposted from a fan account. The first slide read, “How to get Yummy to #1,” and the following images explained different strategies for YouTube and iTunes. Most of this is considered above board by Billboard’s very loose standards, and music’s most devoted fanbases organize these campaigns all the time, although pop stars and their official accounts rarely endorse such extreme tactics.
However, the Spotify slide included additional details for international fans which would allow them to distort and manipulate Billboard’s counting. The image read:
Create a playlist with Yummy on repeat and stream it. Don’t mute it! Play at a low volume. Let it play while you sleep. If you are not from the US you can download a VNP app. Set the VPN to US and then create a Spotify account.
We’ll see if the gambit worked tomorrow when Billboard releases the next week’s charts. But we wonder if it was necessary — or worth the stress. A few days ago Justin Bieber revealed long battles with Lyme disease and chronic mono which have been sapping his energy.
— anna (@alyciasbish) January 11, 2020