Beat logo

Be wary of the playlist

What harm can getting on a playlist actually do?

By Charlie SmithPublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 6 min read
What tricks are Spotify up to ?

So, what's the harm in a playlist? Let me set the scene. You are a musician and you want plays. They pay like crap. So, you need a lot of them. Naturally, you're pretty eager to get some. You take what you can get. So you use your time and effort to apply to different playlists. Finding them manually or using sites like Submithub. As a musician, you're eager to get your music out there. So if someone approaches you with the promise of getting many plays, you take it. Right? I mean this is the age of the internet. Not exactly some dodgy man down an ally way. Maybe it's a fake account but you don't realize, you're in a rush. You've got tunes to make. One simple mistake. You don't even consider it.

Nothing happens.

You check on your plays, a steady increase.

Another day goes by.

Still nothing.

You get booked onto a neat and hip podcast to talk about your latest release.

The next day.

Oh, wait. What!

The music that you spent so much effort on; Week after week of writing and recording. Not to mention the money spent on the studio and promotion. Only for Spotify to decide, strike one and you're out.

Just like that. You've just been pulled. Your music is completely taken off Spotify with no warning. It has been scrubbed clean with no knowledge of it ever existing. No way to appeal, no way to complain.

You're independent, no label, no shame, but no one to talk to you all the same.

What do you do next? Who is left to blame?

Now there are 'artists' that surely do bot their plays. After all, you can upload pretty much anything onto Spotify these days. Surely you could easily tell from the music itself? Well, I guess music is subjective. Take the case of a band uploading nothing at all but they did make a cheeky 20k before it was pulledIn this case, it was quite obvious as they uploaded nothing at all. What about hard-working artists who actually upload music then? Surely they should not be getting removed?

Data and more data

Spotify collects a lot of data. I mean a lot. Who is listening, from where and even if they're male or female. They collect a ton of metadata. This is all available for artists to see. Not surprising then that Spotify could collect even more detailed data that they don't share with artists. How many songs that you listen to and how many songs that you skip. Surely they can weed out bot accounts from a mile away? I mean who on earth can listen to music 20 hours a day? I mean I love it, but I think that might be overdoing it.

You would think then, that it would make sense if Spotify could find these bot accounts with their own data they could ban them, but no it seems that Spotify will just ban the artists instead.

If you fall asleep listening to your favourite band, could that really get them banned?

Although I've made this article sound dramatic, Spotify certainly isn't pulling bigger artists. They are just purging indie artists. Some of the artists who have been pulled aren't exactly the cleanest. As one anonymous artist revealed to me. They had been streaming their own playlists and had also been spending a lot of time on natural playlisting. By their admission, they had just recently joined a playlist that looked slightly too good to be true. That playlist could have been the straw that broke the camel's back. One thing is for sure, it leaves artists feeling venerable. It's not exactly against Spotify's TOS to stream playlists you are involved with and it's not exactly within your control if a playlist is botted or not. Falling asleep listening to your favourite band, could be beneficial to them by increasing their numbers, or so you would think, but Spotify isn't so clear on rules.

I think it's obvious what Spotify has to do. Delete or ban, accounts that are clearly botting. Accounts that are streaming for 20 hours a day, every day. Not artists who have nothing to do with it. After all, if fans want to stream an artist's tracks to help them out, they should be able to. The purpose of streaming is that you can stream it whenever where ever you like. If Spotify doesn't like it because it hurts the advertisements that's fine. Just leave the artists out of it. Take action on people selling fake plays.

Let this be a lesson to you if you are an artist however because according to Distrokid (One of the biggest music distributors) you can get your music removed from Spotify. In the case of our anonymous artists, this includes a loss of royalties to boot. Who keeps this money? Probably Spotify. Fair enough for those attempting streaming fraud but, what about all the artists that keep caught up in this?

Any third-party promotional services that charge for plays can get artists banned plain and simple. This means as an artist you should never be paying for plays. It's a practice that is becoming more and more standard in the indie music scene. Pay to play could you lead you astray.

It's time to go undercover as myself

After all, I'm an indie artist and that's the perfect cover to find some of these 'scam' playlists and see how it plays out. I'm scrolling through #playlist on Instagram and finding accounts. I'm sending them a casual message to ask if I can submit to their playlists (Cheeky I know). I'm also emailing some of them directly.

I won't share their names or accounts but I do plan in the future to make a list of all pay to playlist and scammers. I think that would be a great resource for musicians and maybe Spotify will take some action too?

The terms are pretty pricey! Probably the biggest red flag is when the terms are offered without even listen to any of my songs. The amazing results would you be getting banned from Spotify.

Now the admission comes the guilt..... At least they're honest.

This one looks more legit? I mean your paying to pitch your track? 1k-3k listeners estimate really draw the red flag! How can the grantee a minimum of one playlist placement anyway? 3k plays aren't very likely to pay any more than 10 dollars so, I would say that's a terrible deal considering you could get banned.

This is crazy! I would show you how easy it is to add a song to a Spotify playlist as I run my own here.

But you probably already know how to because anyone with a Spotify account can do it......

Would you like to add some Spotify placement to your cart? Nope, I really wouldn't. $4.99 is the cheapest offering yet but remember folks. You're breaking the rules if you pay for any of these services.

I've said my piece I've written my article. Soon you will have a great big list of playlists and frauds. It might not be that useful to know who to avoid, but it will make me feel better at least to expose 'Some of them'

If you want to check out a totally legit and kicking playlist then feel free to check out the one I made with some great alternative sounds :

If you want some advice or just someone to talk about your music woes my DM's are open on my Instagram


About the Creator

Charlie Smith

I'm new to this but hey I'm giving it ago. I sing and play guitar. I'm here to share a few bits of info I learn along my journey

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.