Primary Blog/Spotify/Why Playlists are BAD for Music Artists

Why Playlists are BAD for Music Artists

Saturday, November 12, 2022

In this post, I’m going to be talking about Spotify playlists, are they good or bad, and how to avoid being thrown into Spotify jail.

And if you don’t know what Spotify jail is, I’ll be explaining that later.

One word: Obsessed.

A few years ago I was obsessed with getting my music onto playlists because I thought they were the best way to grow my fanbase, because once you’re on a playlist, a person has no choice but to listen to you right?

Or so I thought.

And so every song I released, I submitted my songs for Spotify’s editorial playlists and I would cross my fingers and say a prayer to the Music God’s, “Please get my song on Rap Caviar, please get my song Rap Caviar”.

And every time I would hear *crickets*.

I was like a child waiting for his dad after he said he’s gone out to get milk…only to never return.

And so I pretty much gave up on Spotify’s Editorial playlists, because let’s face it there’s hundreds of thousands of artists all vying for limited spots and the top spots all go to major label artists who bribe their way onto those lists.

But I didn’t give up on playlists entirely.

I figured I’d try my hand and get on user generated playlists that have large followings.

Now if you don’t know what a user generated playlist is it's a playlist that any Spotify user can create.

And the cool thing about these playlists is that any Spotify user can follow them, which has led to some of these playlists racking up thousands and even millions of followers.

So what I would do is look up playlists and look at the username and profile picture of the playlist creator and I’d basically Liam Neeson-style hunt them down by matching their user name and profile with their user name and profile pic on instagram and twitter.

And I’d send them a nice message saying something like, “I’m digging your playlist and have a song that would go well with it. Here is the link to it, if you think it’s a fit I would love to be on it”.

And they would respond, “Yeah dude would love to include it on my playlist. The cost is $100 and here’s my paypal.”

And I said, “Cool”.

And I would send them $100 or $60 or whatever they were charging.

And I did this about 10 times and ended up spending about $2k.

I kind of became addicted to playlists.

I even started seeing ads on instagram selling spots on playlists.

And I bought those as well.

They were a little more expensive from $300 to $700.

I remember one was $30 (and that alone should have been a red flag).

And after spending $4k on playlists, I concluded that was a complete waste of money.

But the lesson was this…

First, playlists will give you a spike in traffic but it won’t lead to followers or even streams of your other songs.

Second, the playlists you get on are likely using farming streams and fake followers to look legit.

So an easy way to know if your plays are fake is to simply listen to the songs that are on that playlist.

If they are bad, like really bad, then you know that playlist is not legit right?

No one is going to put bad-quality songs on their playlist.

If you do want absolute scientific proof your streams are not legit, open up your Spotify for Artist’s profile and look at your data.

Specifically, look under the Music tab and choose Playlists and set the timeline to the Last 28 Days.

Now scroll down to the bottom and look at how many playlists your songs have received streams from.

A good rule of thumb is 100 playlists for every 1000 streams.

And you can see your total streams by clicking the Audience tab and clicking on Streams.

If you’ve gotten fake streams, you’ll have a high amount of streams but are being added to very few playlists.

Remember a majority of these playlists you’re being added to are user generated playlists, so they are definitely legit playlists from real people.

Sidenote: I once saw an account of someone with 5,000 monthly listeners and their songs were added to only 5 playlists, which is a huge red flag that they purchased fake streams.

I should also point out another reason why you don’t want to buy fake streams is because it goes against Spotify’s terms of service and can get you banned.

Imagine being banned from Spotify? Yikes.

Third reason is that playlists can result in you being thrown in Spotify jail.

What is Spotify jail you ask?

Spotify jail is basically when Spotify’s algorithm can’t tell who your ideal fans are because you’ve fed it so much bad data because you’ve received negative signals on your music.

And since this is the death blow for many independent artists (and it's also why you see so many artists with like 33 monthly listeners), it’s because they have unknowingly thrown themselves into Spotify jail.

And so now I don’t pay to get on playlists or even submit my songs to playlisters like on Submit Hub because I want to train Spotify’s algorithm to find my ideal fans and the only way I can do that is by sending them clean data (i.e. real and qualified fans).

Want to know how to feed Spotify's algorithm clean data? Watch our Free Masterclass

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Hi, I'm Andre

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