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Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Pay For Streams & Playlist Adds

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Music Gateway Team


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At Мusic Gateway, we care about your music and your future. We know that paying for streams and playlist additions causes more harm than good, and we want to connect you with the people who will really engage with your music.

Paying for streams is a pointless waste of time and money, so just don’t do it!

Why Shouldn’t I Pay For Streams?

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Paying for streams and playlist adds is against the terms and conditions of Spotify. They are cracking down on the pay-to-playlist game because – trust us, as the most data-driven streaming company around – Spotify knows where your streams come from! If they find your song on a playlist that runs on payola (pay for plays), you risk tarnishing your relationship with Spotify and killing your algorithms. This can be especially damaging to emerging artists who aren’t yet backed by a label and therefore lack the connections to avoid getting banned. 

It is also important to note that PR companies, record label teams and music media are all able to see where your streams have come from. If you’ve paid for streams, it can be spotted from miles away! From data such as the play count of your tracks versus your monthly listeners or which playlists appear under the ‘Discovered On’ area of your Spotify profile, inauthentic streams and playlists are impossible to disguise and can affect the willingness of other curators, radio stations, music press and more in terms of covering your releases.

When it then comes to booking shows or capitalising on an audience, those with fake streams will suddenly find themselves realising that although their numbers look great – there are no real people supporting them and thus their numbers effectively mean nothing.

An artist could think they have tens of thousands of fans based on their streaming data, only to find that their only genuine listener is their mum! The Мusic Gateway strategy centres around gradual organic growth and promotion of your music to real fans, something that will build your foundation as an artist or successfully build upon an existing reputation.

So, How Should You Get Streams?

Spotify player on phone

Playlists are the area where you can build engagement with both existing fans and new ones, but you only want to be on playlists with real listeners and followers. Sometimes these are smaller playlists, but they have a more active dedicated following. Algorithmic playlists are a good way to grow on Spotify and build a following in a predictable, sustainable, and affordable fashion.

Independent playlists are playlists curated by users that are not employees at Spotify. These are real people who own and curate their own playlists, to an audience. These tend to be based on genre, theme, mood and style. Today, a sufficient amount of popular independent curator playlists can break an artist or a song. It’s one of the keys to promote your music and have a stronger presence. By getting your music added to appropriate playlists, you’re able to build your audience, engage with new fans and grow.

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What Playlists To Target

spotify playlist on macbook

Being on the correct playlists can have a real impact on how people discover your music on Spotify, as well as how people engage with it. For example, a rock band on a hip hop playlist is unlikely to reach the right type of audience. This can really hinder the future promotion of your music.

We’ve run hundreds of campaigns and have spent the past few years building our relationships with some of the biggest independent curators to ensure your song is only going to the correct playlists. 

Being on relevant playlists for your music can help you gain new followers, saves and repeated streams. Playlists that don’t fit your style lead to low saves and a high skip rate. This kills the algorithms on Spotify and leaves you with little chance of gaining a larger editorial placement.

How Does The Algorithm Work?

A lot of data on Spotify comes from more than just by what people listen to. It also includes how they listen and where they listen. Algorithms are; simply put, formulas that are driven by this data. By keeping these in mind when promoting music, we’re able to bolster this information with honest and transparent information that ultimately helps your music be on the right radars at the right time.

How To Get Your Music Heard By The Right People

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Promoting music doesn’t just mean trying to get on Spotify playlists! It’s really important to stay active on social media, to market, promote and engage with your audience. Unfortunately, having a great song doesn’t mean it will be discovered. It’s absolutely necessary to maintain a presence on social media both before, during and after a release.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither will hundreds of thousands of streams be! By helping you develop more authentic and organic growth, you will be investing in your longevity as an artist as opposed to a quick flash in the pan where your song is only heard by robots.

Remember: You don’t need a hit! Success cannot be gained and maintained overnight. despite however many ‘one hit wonders’ you may have come across – there is a considerable amount of hard work and effort that goes into promoting music properly. By having a consistent release schedule and a clear plan for both promotion and marketing, you’ll be able to play the long game and have a better chance at triggering the algorithms. It’s a bit like surfing in the way that you need to hit the peak at just the right time. It takes a fair amount of work to get to that breakthrough point. With a firm knowledge of Spotify and strategy – we can advise on the best strategy, tailored especially to you.

Anyone promising a set amount of streams or playlists from a campaign is not to be trusted. Music is entirely subjective and our promise instead centres on presenting your music to the most suitable people in the best possible way. Whilst we do not promise specific results in advance, our hard work, effort and ethics are enshrined in everything that we do.

Do you have a release coming up? We’d love to help you with it. that you would like to discuss with the Artist Services Team, please complete the form.


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