Indie musician and music marketer Brian Hazard shares his experience with the Spotify music promotion service Rise. Keep reading to find out if it’s right for you.
by Brian Hazard of Passive Promotion
I’ve been running a Spotify growth campaign through Rise since May of 2021, to the tune of $225 per month.
Yessirree, that’s a lot of money! Nearly $4K to date.
I first mentioned Rise in this post from September 2021, and have been promising a review ever since.
Why the delay? They’ve revamped things significantly since when I started, and I didn’t want my screenshots, or worse, my conclusions, to be obsolete right after publishing the post.
I’ve been told that now’s as good a time as any, so here goes nothing!
For the record, Rise also offers YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok campaigns. Perhaps I’ll test another campaign type in the future, but for now…
I’m running a Spotify conversions campaign, designed to increase followers and song saves.
$250, either as a one-off campaign or monthly subscription, guarantees 300 followers and 275 song saves.
Rise also offers exposure campaigns to increase monthly listeners. They recommend running both campaign types in tandem.
Last year, a good friend of mine tried an exposure campaign and was disappointed with the results, so I haven’t bothered. Things have likely changed since then.
Naturally, there’s going to be a lot of skepticism around this sort of promotion. How can they guarantee followers and song saves? How do you know the followers aren’t bots?
Let’s start by explaining where the listeners come from.
Tout Playlist Network
The easiest way to see how listener acquisition works is to try it yourself at ontout.com, preferably on mobile.
Here’s what you’ll see:
Click on “Discover Music” and you’ll be presented with 30-second clips in your selected genre.
Rise runs ads on Facebook and Instagram to fans of specific interests and genres, directing new listeners straight to the genre that they’re most likely to engage with.
For example, here’s a link for Indie fans.
Once you like 10 artists, you grant Tout permission to do basically anything with your Spotify account short of baking biscuits:
Of course, we approve these sorts of permissions all the time, even just for a presave. There’s nothing sinister about it.
You might be wondering if they force every Tout user to follow every Rise artist and presave all their tracks. They don’t.
Every Color Theory follow and pre-save is from a user clicking “Like” after seeing/hearing Color Theory specifically on the website.
Once you’ve granted permissions, you’re treated to a customized playlist that combines Spotify and Tout recommendations.
Keep in mind that my Spotify username is Color Theory. The playlist title refers to me as a user, not as an artist.
Lurking at the bottom of the playlist are the 10 tracks that I liked during onboarding.
From the listener’s perspective, it’s a pretty sweet deal. You get a customized, regularly updated playlist of new tracks tailored to your tastes, for free. It’s one of those “the customer is the product” sorts of arrangements.
Why is my track at the top of the playlist? Because I went back to ontout.com to try out their Playlist Creator. It added 10 new tracks to the initial 20, using one of my songs as the source:
Users can always refine their playlists further by heading back to the discovery page to like and skip more artists.
Rise campaign creation
Creating a campaign is straightforward. First, you choose a platform:
Next, choose a single campaign or subscription, and what to optimize for. I’ve only tested conversions, but if you don’t have much of an audience to begin with, exposure might make more sense.
Next up, choose whether it’s a single or EP/Album. Not worthy of a screenshot.
Finally, set a budget, $250 minimum:
And that’s as far as I can go without entering credit card information.
I remember adding Rise to my Spotify for Artists account, granting some Facebook permissions, and uploading visual assets.
My Rise campaign results
In that nearly year and a half, my follower count grew from just over 10K to 21K:
Of course, those aren’t all Rise followers. Based on their guarantees, I’d only expect 17 x 300 = 5.1K new followers from Rise.
Turns out they overdelivered by a wide margin, with 9.3K new followers to date.
The “Total Rise Fans” figure is current since it’s cumulative, but the other numbers only go back five months. That’s when I relaunched my campaign to take advantage of a promotion that brought my monthly subscription cost down to $202.50.
Here’s my follower growth over the last 28 days:
It’s always been a slow and steady climb, with no sudden jumps or suspicious leaps.
A few months back, someone posted a comment saying that all Rise followers were from The Philippines, presumably because ad rates are low.
That’s not what I’m seeing at all. I see very few followers from India, The Philippines, and other “red light” countries.
In fact, the biggest chunk of new followers in the past 28 days are from the US:
Poking through the countries dropdown, I see 10 from Argentina, 27 from Brazil, 7 from Canada, 27 from Colombia, 9 from Italy, 26 from Mexico, and 6 from Sweden. Nothing from Germany, France, or the UK.
None of that strikes me as iffy. Historically my playlist ads tend to convert best in South America, so it makes sense that theirs would too.
As for presaves, you need to let Rise know about your release ahead of time (duh). I’ve seen the number of saves for my releases grow preposterously. Here’s my latest after two days:
Note that the 8.9K saves shown above is lower than my 9.3K “Total Rise Fans.” Over time, users drop off by revoking permissions, deleting their Spotify account, etc.
The real question is, do those presaves convert to streams?
The honest answer is, I’m not sure. One month the presaves didn’t go through by mistake and the track seemed to do just fine.
On the other hand, 20% of streams from my latest are from “listener’s own playlist and library,” and that’s after only two days. That sounds like presaves to me, and 98% of those are from Rise.
As far as I can tell, presaves alone don’t do anything to “boost the algorithm.” Nor do presaves without an accompanying stream seem to hurt.
Rise playlist placements
But that’s not all!
In addition to custom-generated user playlists, Tout boasts a network of high-quality curated playlists with impressive follower counts, promoted with ads:
They feature both major label and indie artists, and are genuinely good! Every Spotify campaign includes an automatic submission to their curators.
I’ve racked up over 30K streams through Tout playlists over the course of my campaigns:
It’s a nice bonus that I wasn’t expecting when I signed up. Between Release Radar and Tout playlists, each of my releases is guaranteed a certain bedrock level of support.
Rise Spotify promotion conclusion
I have to admit, the Rise Spotify conversion campaign makes for a nice package.
You’ve got listener discovery, follower growth, guaranteed presaves, and playlist placement, all rolled into one monthly subscription. It’s the sort of “set it and forget it” solution that Passive Promotion was named for.
My Spotify numbers have grown considerably over the past year and a half, but there’s no way to know how much of that growth is attributable to Rise.
Today I’m at 33K monthly listeners and 90K monthly streams. A healthy number of those are coming from listener libraries, which presumably includes Tout listeners:
What I can say for sure is that the enterprise seems legit. I’m getting followers for $0.40, which is far better than I’ve ever done with my own ads.
If you’d like to give Rise a shot, you can get 10% off any one-time campaign using coupon code PASSIVEPROMO here.
The coupon may be removed at any time, so let me know if it doesn’t work!
Subscriptions are already discounted, but I’d appreciate it if you’d use my referral link. You have to create your campaign in the same session for it to count.
I’ll make a small commission, which will go towards further experiments like this one.
Brian Hazard is a recording artist with over twenty years of experience promoting a dozen Color Theory albums, and head mastering engineer and owner of Resonance Mastering in Huntington Beach, California.
His Passive Promotion blog emphasizes “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion.
Catch more of his promotional escapades in his How I’m Promoting My Music This Monthemail newsletter.
Alana Bonilla on 11/08/2022 in D.I.Y. | Permalink |Comments (0)
Tags: DIY, DIY musicians, music, music industry, music promotion, music tech, musician, musicians, Rise, Spotify,YouTube
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November 9, 2022 at 09:59AM
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