In Spotify's Terms of Service (specifically, Section 8: User guidelines, Statement #8.22 of https://www.spotify.com/us/legal/spotify-for-artists-terms-and-conditions/), Spotify states that in uploading content to their services, you're expected to not impersonate or misrepresent your affiliation with another user, person, or entity, or engage in activity that is otherwise fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading.

If this is the case, then would a hypothetical anonymous musical artist be in violation of said agreement if the artist entered their songwriting credits (through a distributor) under their alias' name as this could be seen by some as a form of impersonation/misrepresentation?

Thank you in advance.


End Users

Spotify adds the songwriter names, so no. Spotify adding a songwriter name does not bound the artist to the contract you agree to when you sign up.

The terms of service apply to users signing up.


Now that you have changed the link to the link for artists, yes using a pen name is misrepresenting yourself in a way. However I would think that if the music is published with the songwriter listed as the pen name, that it is not misleading, as in saying you are some artist when you are not.

The pen name is a made up person, so you can not impersonate a fictitious person and are therefore not violating the rules.

Tons of artists have pen names. John Bon Jovi's real name isn't that. He and plenty of others are on Spotify. They obviously do not care as long as you are not trying to say you are someone famous when you arent.

  • Hi, thank you for the response, I added some clarifications about the hypothetical that were initially supposed to be included, mainly that the artist is the one that is submitting the credits as being under the alias via a distributor, not Spotify, Spotify is merely taking the information given and displaying it/using it for other purposes – 1a28934 Nov 14 '19 at 22:39
  • Either way, the artist is not physically adding it to the service and may not have a user account and you agree to terms of service when you make an account. It's a contract to use the software, if the artist is doing something on their own, it has no bearing on them. – Putvi Nov 14 '19 at 22:42
  • Ah okay. Noted. Thank you for the input. – 1a28934 Nov 14 '19 at 22:44
  • Yeah the terms of service for software don't have anything to do with people not using the software. – Putvi Nov 14 '19 at 22:45
  • After further searching, I realized that by mistake, I included the incorrect documentation and meant to attach the Spotify documentation relevant to artists, not the consumer, and will edit that in, feel free to take a look if you'd like, but I totally understand if that's not possible – 1a28934 Nov 14 '19 at 22:58


In most jurisdictions, your "name" is whatever you answer to.

Pen names are a time-honored tradition: Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Suess, George Orwell, George Elliot to name some of the more well known. In musical circles, they are referred to as stage names: Gerry Samuels, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Prince have all used them and Axi Rose, Slash, Marylin Manson, Dean Martin, Connie Francis, Frankie Valli, and Lady Gaga are stage names.

Pseudonyms can be misleading if they are actually being used to deceive or if they infringe someone else's trademark.

  • This answer does not relate to the Spotify terms of service. It just says pen names are used in general. – Putvi Nov 15 '19 at 20:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.