It really hurts me to see bands and artists fall for the scam playlists. This topic is close to my heart as these scammers doesn’t just trick new artists to think they will get an organic promotion. They are also messing up their stats and hurt the possibility to grow by target the right audience .
I’ve researched these playlists for a long time and seen the pattern from which people curates the biggest fake playlists in the metal industry. My goal with this post is to raise awareness to artists and music lovers to understand, why this will will hurt your music career and why some artists have a huge success on Spotify, while not on any other platform.
These scammers will always keep doing this and new will appear for every week trying to make money on poor small-artists dreams. We can take action and harm this business by making this issue more known around artists, bands and also listeners.
A way to spread knowledge and make more artists do wiser decisions for their careers to avoid these predators. The music industry is a tough business and a survival of the fittest game. Learn to see the sharks, before they eat you!
What fake playlists do:
Short term success (Bot plays, no real potential fans)
Valuable stats are misleading and can’t be used to target the lifetime fans
Bot followers (will be removed when Spotify cleans up)
If not the most important reason. Your music can be taken down!
So, to begin with. Let’s talk about what a fake playlist is all about!
A playlist that use bots to stream songs and follow profiles in a playlist. Simple as that!
The reason why this hurts an artist is because of the stats you are receiving isn’t real. This means that you will have a big trouble to track and target a true fan if you want to advertise or market your music.
You won’t know where in the world or which cities your music is popular. Most likely your stats would be from cities with large servers like, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, Frankfurt etc.
Another issue is that you will get bot followers.
These will eventually be removed when Spotify do their "bot clean-up" which will lead to a devastating down curve in your stats when that happens.
There are also a risk of your music being removed if Spotify finds out that you use bot-plays. That actually happened to 750 k songs not long ago!
I hope the above are convincing enough for you to not pay for playlist placements. Also remember its on a short term. This means your stats will drop dramatically once the ”promotion” is over. Also a good sign that there was no real listeners.
How do you recognise a fake playlist?
Short answer would be: "if it is too good to be true, it’s fake".
But i will explain that a lot more, of course!
The most obvious signs are that a playlist with, let’s say 20k followers. Will NOT feature only underground bands. They will NOT add their contacts in the description.
A third part Spotify user will not get 20 k followers by throwing underground/undiscovered bands (even with poor production) in their list.
A real curator takes pride in her/his list and are very picky with what goes in the list. Leaving their contact in the description would mean a lot of messages from artists pitching their music - No one wants that amount of traffic in their dm's.
The lists following numbers are like a rollercoaster.
For example, 500 followers gained in one day, 800 lost another. It’s the curator buying bot follower accounts and Spotify removing bot accounts. This stats can be time-consuming to track if you don’t use a site called chartmetric to see the following stats over a months time.
So now you’ve learned how to separate a fake playlist from a real one just by looking at it. Great!
The following section is about how these scammers behave in messages.
When pitching your music to one of these lists dm’s or mail inboxes you will always get a positive response that your track is awesome and it would definitely fit the playlist.
"However, it’s a paid feature! Are you still interested? "
Now they will send you a price list with the amount of money for each spot and even bundles if the scammer curates more lists. They will also always use the word ”we” or ”our” like they sit in an office with several people and ”promote”. It’s just one little scammer behind a screen. Probably a phone to be even more unprofessional.
A dedicated curator would thank you for sending the music and maybe ask you to share the list, but often not even that, But (side-note)
ALWAYS SHARE THE LIST!
That’s good manners.
I want to clarify that i don't say that everyone who takes donations have a fake playlist (even though i think it's wrong to do so). You should analyse the list yourself (with your new knowledge) and ask the curators how the donations are invested. A serious curator who ask for a donation will be able to explain how the money are used or why there's a fee involved. The amount of money would be small and in relation to an ad-investment or as much as a coffee.
A real list will not give you a ridiculous amount of streams either.
Always be suspicious and lookout for your precious creations.
To end this first part
I would like to remind everyone of the hard work. Being a musician is tough. No one believes in you as much as you do. Your family maybe thinks you are silly and your friends don't bother.
Don't' fall for the predators with false promises and your empty pockets. Months after months. I'm not saying "don't pay for promotion" Note again: fake playlists are not promotion.
There are several ways to market yourself and it involves money for sure.
But. Hard work pay off. Aim for the real audience and always remember.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
Don't hesitate to dm asking me to explain or discuss fake playlists. @aristicmusic