Why You Should Never Buy Spotify Promotion Services

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    Why You Should Never Buy Spotify Promotion Services
    Published: April 18, 2024

    There are countless companies out there advertising Spotify streams and playlist placements, commonly known as Spotify Promotion Services. I’m here to tell you that 99% of them are pure scams. Do you want to know how this stuff really works? I’m going to explain it all right here, plus some tips for organic Spotify growth.

    Bot Streams

    Most of what you buy when you pay for Spotify streams are listens from bots. The bots don’t actually hear your song, but the streaming numbers do go up.

    If you doubt what I’m saying, think about it this way. How could these people selling a service like this possibly get thousands of real people to listen to your song? The answer is simple: they can’t.

    You will get streams from bots based in third world countries by IP address. These are called proxies, which the scammers use to hide their footprint.

    It is a predatory business practice and it should not be legal. It is also against Spotify’s terms of service but is difficult for them to detect.

    I’m all for gaming algorithms, but this is not the way. This is a gauging of artists rather than community and collaboration, and you SHOULD NOT SPEND YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY ON THESE THINGS.

    Bot Playlists

    Picture this: you found a playlist with a couple thousand followers. They reached out to you, or you saw an ad on social media for it. They want a nominal fee and they will put your song first on the playlist.

    Don’t buy it. It’s an absolute waste of money. Most of the “people” who follow that playlist are just bot accounts. Your music will be placed among all the other sorry chumps who got tricked into paying for it, and you’ll get zero genuine engagement.

    This stuff is no different than the countless calls that spam our cell phones every day. The difference here is that these companies are preying on vulnerable artists who just want their music to be heard. I’m so sick of seeing this stuff advertised and hearing about people wasting their money on it.

    Spotify’s Own “Showcase Campaigns”

    The existence of Spotify’s own services for promotion on their platform shows us that they have gone too far. Spotify is no longer an organic growth platform (and has not been for some time). Them offering these services allows corporations to manipulate the Spotify algorithm to show us artists that they want us to hear.

    Not only are these services likely a waste of money for a struggling independent artist, but they also contribute to the corporate greed that has infected the music industry and continues to spread like a cancer.

    Caden Mellor recently posted on Medium about this topic, echoing my own sentiments. Here is a quote from the article:

    The underlying issue is deeper than just poor ROI. Spotify’s business model, especially evident in its Showcase Campaigns and “Discovery Mode,” preys on artists’ hopes for more exposure by offering increased visibility at even lower royalty rates. This approach is not just disappointing; it’s exploitative.

    Moreover, the alleged known involvement of major record labels in practices like stream boosting and botting further distorts true artist visibility and undermines the integrity of the platform (which Spotify knowingly and willingly turns a blind eye to).

    Caden Mellor on Spotify’s predatory business practices.

    The Real Way to Do It

    Oftentimes, going back to the old school methods still remain the most tried-and-true, even with the rise of social media. There are a few things you can do to increase Spotify streams organically that can really help you get your music heard.

    Tips to Increase Spotify Streams

    1. Email Campaigns

    Yup, the classic PR campaign is still one of the most effective ways to promote your music. Personally, though, I do believe that many PR companies you can hire online are a total waste of money, because they don’t contact the right people. I know this because I ignore hundreds of emails per week.

    However, when I get an email from an artist who has clearly checked out my website, knows what Extra Chill is all about, I’m much more likely to check out their music.

    The PR people who get the furthest in my inbox are the ones that I know personally (or the ones offering me My Morning Jacket tickets), because I trust their recommendations. This leads me to my next tip.

    2. Your Local Music Scene

    The most classic format of the music industry, and the very foundation of it all, remains one of the most powerful drivers of independent success. Going to shows, gigging locally with other local artists, and collaborating remains the most reliable and fulfilling way to achieve success in music.

    The people you meet in your local music scene become real fans of your music. These are not bots who are playing your song to an empty room or in a room full of internet servers humming along that don’t even have speakers attached to them.

    These are real people who will listen to your songs multiple times. These are people who will add your music to their personal playlists, and tell their friends about you. These people spur organic algorithmic growth and allow you to reach people well outside the scene. But it starts in the scene, and spreads outwards from there.

    The people who work in PR that send me emails about new music, that actually get a response from me, are people who I met in my local music scene or in some other genuine way. Think about this and recognize that these connections were only made because I went to a bunch of local shows and met the people there.

    3. The Power of Community

    I can’t discount the internet as a vast resource for music discovery. I mean, I run a blog that does music discovery things, and we even have our own Spotify playlist.

    Joining niche music forums, or discussing music on Reddit or other community-based platforms is an excellent way to promote your music.

    And I’m not talking about direct promotion where you share your song in hopes that people will listen to it. I’m talking about engaging with real people, getting to know them, and then having them check out your music because they like you as a person.

    These are the people who become your true fans. People who like you both for your music and your mind and the things that you represent. Our own community forum is a great place for this. It’s free to join, and all are welcome, including artists who want to share their music with others.

    I share this knowledge because I care and I want to make a difference. I’ve seen a lot of music industry nonsense that is totally unacceptable to me, and I want to use my platform and my voice to make a positive difference.

    Hope this helps a few people. If it does, please share it with your friends and fellow artists, and support grassroots music journalism.

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