Guest post by Brian Hazard of Passive Promotion
My Spotify numbers are weak compared to my other social stats. I hover around 1200 listeners and 3600 streams per month. Very few of those streams come from playlists, which means I’ve got a lot of room for improvement!
Sadly, the stats above are after my campaign with Playlist Push, a paid service that promises to get your music on Spotify playlists. So uh… spoiler alert?
That said, another Spotify playlist pitching service I was hoping to review, The Falling Apple, rejected it.
Anyway, Playlist Push followed up with an approval email explaining how the process works:
I sent them the $285, and as promised, heard back from them the day after the campaign launched with links to three playlists that added me. After two weeks, I received a link to a page detailing the results of my campaign.
Of the 53 curators the track was sent to:
- 17 didn’t listen or chose not to respond
- 13 responded neutrally or critically to the track
- 10 said it didn’t fit their playlist(s)
- 8 responded positively to the track, but didn’t add it and didn’t explain why
- 5 added it to their playlist
You can download a PDF of my results if you’re so inclined.
Let’s dig into the five playlists that added my track:
Viral Chill by viralinsomnia – 24,953 followers
This is by far the biggest playlist from a followers standpoint, and contains some great tracks. Glory Days is currently positioned 126th out of 128.
Despite the positioning, it would be a big win if the followers were genuine. Unfortunately, Spot on Track reports some suspicious activity. The number of playlist followers doubled in two days, from 13.5K to 25K.
I looked at another source to confirm, and found the same pattern reported by Chartmetric:
One viralinsomnia playlist doubled in follower count in the last 28 days (again, over two days), while the others didn’t budge. Note that the doubling of Viral Chill followers happened just before the 28-day window Chartmetric is reporting.
This strikes me as very unlikely.
Spotify for Artists lists all playlists featuring my songs that have reached 25 unique listeners, and the only one it has ever shown is Release Radar. If 25K actual listeners really followed Viral Chill, don’t you think my song would hit at least 25 of them?
Dreaming Awake by criticalnetwork – 8,458 followers
This playlist is a grab bag of artists with low listener counts. My guess is that it was created as a repository for all Playlist Push tracks. Their mini-review of my song is “Fantastic work! Added to our playlist!” which doesn’t inspire confidence that they actually listened to it. No matter — they dropped my track after a couple of weeks anyway.
Chartmetric reports the same suspicious follower count activity across criticalnetwork’s playlists:
Critical Network has only 294 followers on SoundCloud, and no website or social links. Something doesn’t add up!
Worldwide Select by worldwiderecordsmx— 4,998 followers
Worldwide Records is a legit label. I can’t find any data on the playlist on either Spot on Track or Chartmetric, and they already dropped my track, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt despite their suspiciously generic non-review: “It’s a good track, I like the vibe on this.”
Fortunately, you don’t need to pay $285 to submit your track to them, as the playlist description reports:
Sunday Selects by eternitynetwork — 6,462 followers
Eternity Network is legit. You can submit directly to them on SubmitHub, so again, no need to spend $285. The follower count increase for Sunday Selects has been slow and steady, with a reasonable 2.9% change over 28 days.
Sadly, my track was dropped after 24 days, before reaching 25 unique listeners. The review of “i like this, adding it” doesn’t suggest that they actually listened. Maybe they just accept all tracks and rotate them regularly.
Indie Discovers by Manel Juanico Iveldie – 505 followers
It’s clear from Manel’s thoughtful review that he listened to my track, but I’d be willing to bet that he approves everything. He adds several tracks every day, and 100% of the currently 159 tracks were added this month. Listen for yourself and decide if these really are “the best upcoming artists and new releases on Spotify,” as the playlist description promises.
The description ends with, “To be in this playlist visit http://ift.tt/2BYlxS3.” It strikes me as a side business rather than an artistic enterprise.
Yes, curators are paid. On a sliding scale from $1-7 based on a variety of factors, one of them being the quality of written reviews. So in Manel’s case, it would be easy to make a couple hundred bucks or more every month by taking a little time each day to review and add tracks to his all-inclusive indie playlist — without needing to fuss about quality or genre.
Playlist Push CEO responds
I spoke with George Goodrich, CEO of Playlist Push, this morning after sharing a draft of this article with him. We talked for a solid 40 minutes about not just my campaign, but the difficulties in running this sort of platform.
Playlist Push launched in May and hosts 170 curators as of this writing. Their small team hasn’t been able to keep up with the influx of curators, and clearly hasn’t been screening as judiciously as they should. Their primary focus now is weeding out the bad apples. In fact, at least two of the curators who approved my track have already been dropped (that’ll teach y’all for liking my music!).
Specifically, they want to review artists’ CSV files from Spotify for Artists, to see which of their playlists are generating actual streams.
Another issue I brought up is that artists aren’t provided with the names of the playlists from curators who declined to add their track. Therefore I have no way to judge the quality and legitimacy of the other playlists my track was submitted to.
George explained that it’s mainly for privacy reasons, because they’ve had problems with artists hounding curators on Facebook. I suggested that they instruct curators to disconnect their Facebook accounts from Spotify, and he promised to look into that solution.
Conclusion and recommendations
To put it bluntly, my Playlist Push campaign did nothing for me. My Spotify for Artists account doesn’t register even a slight bump in streams, listeners, or followers, and none of the playlists that added my track hit 25 unique listeners.
Of course, your mileage may vary, but I’d recommend starting by pitching to Spotify curators on SubmitHub (my review here) for $1 per submission. You’ll know exactly who you’re pitching to, and if they don’t provide written feedback within 48 hours, you get your money back.
George offered to try another campaign with a different song in the future, providing more hands-on assistance to ensure it goes to the right curators.
Until then, I’m going to try out the platform as a curator with my Synthpop Wonderland playlist. I’m targeting a very specific niche, so I’m curious to see if anything fits within the broad genres I selected (Electronic, EDM, Pop).
Have you tried Playlist Push, The Falling Apple, or any other Spotify pitching service?
Please share your results in the comments!