Sites & Services

What Artists Should Know About

Every musical artist wants their work to be heard. Many are happy to give it away for free. Some are even willing to pay for people to listen, even if the cost is never recouped.

If you’re looking to increase your YouTube views or SoundCloud plays for vanity purposes, there are dozens of options. To play your songs to potential fans, I know of two.

I’ve covered Radio Airplay (previously Jango Airplay) extensively, and will be revisiting it soon. The other is, a relative newcomer and the subject of today’s post., and Grooveshark no longer offer paid campaigns.

How much does cost? Less than 2 cents per play. Unlike competing services, you’re only charged for plays over 30 seconds. About 40% of my plays never made it that far, so they were on the house.

plays over 30 seconds

Where do plays occur? They plan to bring other streaming partners onboard, but their sole partner right now is 8tracks. 8tracks hosts millions of user-created playlists which anyone can stream for free. Here are two that I lovingly handcrafted just for you:

Indie Synthpop from colortheory on 8tracks Radio.

Music for a Late Afternoon Nap from colortheory on 8tracks Radio. doesn’t just inject your song into the middle of a playlist. That would be rude! Instead, it places it between playlists, which explains why the percentage of listeners who don’t make it past 30 seconds is so high. They may realize their playlist is finished, and either select another or exit  the site completely. If they do make it through your song, 8tracks automatically selects another playlist for continuous listening.

A huge bonus is that streams your song through SoundCloud’s API if you provide the link. In other words, every play counts as a SoundCloud play! I’m happy to spend $10 on every upload for the approximately 600 play jumpstart. All those free plays under 30 seconds still count towards your SoundCloud play count.

I was able to confirm my SoundCloud plays by temporarily signing up for a Pro Unlimited account ($15/month), which provides detailed stats.

SoundCloud stats

Over the period I promoted the song in question, was responsible for 5,048 out of 6,138 plays. The top websites column lists dozens of 8tracks playlists (click image to enlarge).

So yeah, it’s legit.

Setting up your campaign

Once you specify the artist and name your campaign, there are three main screens: step2

The Song Upload page is pretty straightforward. They’re working on a feature to help artists choose the best tags. In the meantime, ask yourself, “What would people search for to find my music?”

Whatever you do, don’t leave that SoundCloud URL blank! If you don’t already have a SoundCloud account, now’s the time to create one and upload the song there first. It’s going to look mighty popular over the next few days. step3

The Targeting page allows you to drill down on who will hear your song. In addition to gender and age, you can select the countries you’d like your song heard in, and even specific states in the US.

Daniel Sander, Head of Market Development at, recommends always targeting by location. It doesn’t cost any extra, so why not? My best performing campaign by engagement targeted California, New York, and Utah. Bet you didn’t know that indie synthpop is big in Utah!

On the other hand, Daniel doesn’t recommend setting any age or gender restrictions until they integrate more streaming services. While 8tracks won’t play your song to listeners they know fall outside your specified range, few listeners provide demographic info. I tried targeting males 40-50, my key demo based on other sources. My results showed less than 0.2% of listeners were known to meet that criteria.

8tracks users are split about evenly male/female, and the vast majority are 18-35. That’s a key demographic that’s tough for traditional marketers to reach, and likely what you’re aiming for anyway.

You can select from four calls to action, or create your own. Daniel recommends going with a custom CTA, even if it’s just “like me on Facebook,” because the big green custom CTA button performs better than the ubiquitous standard Facebook button. In the campaign shown above, I linked to a free download of the song.

My message to users was a short bio, but you could just as easily share the story behind the song or album. I suppose you could also include another call to action, though URLs aren’t hyperlinked. step4

Last but not least, the Budget page determines your spending rate. I highly recommend you set a daily limit, because you can easily burn through thousands of plays in a single day, even with a highly targeted campaign.

That’s it! Most likely, your song will be approved and plays will start within an hour or two.

My results

I ran six campaigns from Dec 16, 2015 through Feb 19, 2016, for a total spend of $220. provided $170 worth of plays, and I paid $50 out of my own pocket.

That $220 generated 12,043 plays, for an average cost per play of $0.018. That includes 471 organic plays, which occur when a listener adds your track to their playlist, and another listener hears it there. Organic plays continue to accrue after your paid plays run out.

For a play to count as organic, it must be the direct result of a specific campaign. I ran three campaigns on the same song, and organic plays are tracked separately for each. Your song may very well be in the 8tracks catalog already (mine are via CD Baby), and getting regular spins, but those don’t count.

Engagements, meaning listeners clicking on stuff in the overlay that accompanies the song, were relatively sparse. Here’s the breakdown from the campaign above, with the custom “Free Download” call to action:

plays breakdown


Is worth it?

Clearly the engagement numbers alone don’t justify the $40 spent from a return on investment standpoint. Those 46 clicks are unlikely to generate $40 in sales. Of course, if one listener buys my discography on Bandcamp for $70, all bets are off. is working on allowing listeners to share their contact info, which will tip the scales further.

Throw in the 2,248 plays on 8tracks, which also count on SoundCloud, plus the potential for future organic plays, and I’d say that yes, is worth it.

Some will wonder, as they do with Radio Airplay, whether real people are listening. Some will call it payola. Some will call it a scam. I addressed those concerns back in 2009, and the same reasoning applies here.

I know from experience that many of these listeners will become genuine fans, just as Radio Airplay listeners did. For example, here’s a new fan who liked my song enough to follow up with directly:

And a couple more who commented on my song on YouTube:

YouTube comments

It’s clearly superior to a traditional radio campaign, like the one I spent $4,000 on with literally nothing to show for it.

I asked for a discount code, and they set me up as an affiliate. If you’d like to try it out for free, you can support this site using this link, or click on the banner below.

Feature.fmFor it to be truly free, you’ll need to opt for a weekly budget and cancel before the second week starts and your credit card gets charged. You sneaky devil you!

Obviously $10 worth of plays isn’t going to make or break your music career. Daniel at suggests investing at least $50 to see an impact.

More to come

There’s a lot more to and 8tracks, but your eyes are already starting to glaze over.

If you’re interested, I may follow up with a post on one or both of these:

Spotlight – An ongoing campaign to fan-fund your song plays and engage with fans. Spotlight

8tracks – Why not include your songs in your own playlists, and get plays for free? As you can see, I’m already giving it a try.

8tracks stats

Regardless, I’ll report back with my results over the coming months as I continue to use the service.

Have you tried What do you think?

Share your questions, thoughts, and results in the comments!

If you’d like to hear more of my promotional escapades, be sure to subscribe to my How I’m Promoting My Music This Month email newsletter.

Better yet, join me on Patreon for a behind-the-scenes look at my creative process and promotional efforts!


  • Reply
    Dan Sander
    February 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Dan from here. Thanks for the awesome writeup Brian! We would love to hear as much feedback as possible from your readers and look forward to seeing comments! Anyone can also feel free to reach out to us directly along the way with any questions or for recommendations on how to get the most out of! Email us any time at or reach out to us directly through the website chat 🙂

    • Reply
      September 3, 2017 at 7:32 am

      I had negative experience with this service. I wouldn’t recomment it to anyone. Here I explained why

      • Reply
        September 3, 2017 at 7:36 am

        In short for me it looks like false plays. Sorry

        • Reply
          September 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

          Nice to hear from you Akasha!

          I read your short article, and while you didn’t actually present your data, I don’t think you interpret it correctly.

          Unlike you, I had plenty of skips . Engagements are always low to nonexistent because most people listen passively.

          Most importantly, I’ve had several people tell me they first heard my music on 8tracks — in other words,

          • secretsofakasha
            September 6, 2017 at 8:58 am

            Thank you for you answer!
            yes, actually I had 3 skips in the first 2 and last 4 seconds of the track.
            I had also engagement – 1 from Finland (my song was played 1 time in Finland, few times in other countries and about 1200 times in Canada. It’s sad that once you make a mistake and you don’t choose the countries where you want your song to be played, you cannot change it later and basically everything goes to Canada).
            Apparently my song is very “well tolerated” for listeners but not engaging enough (apart from that one person from Finland)(that could be the interperation)

  • Reply
    Rob Grabowski
    February 24, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Great review Brian! Didn’t know about the Soundcloud plays feature! That’s awesome!

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      February 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks Rob! Let me know if you give it a shot.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the amazing tip Brian- as always! =) I’m trying out RIGHT NOW. Exciting.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      February 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Much appreciated Nathalie! Let us know how it goes!

  • Reply
    Glow Lee Mamba
    March 12, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I’ve tried out and it brings me direct sales when users click on buy song or the custom call to action, this site rules! I recommend it.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      March 14, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Nice! I haven’t traced a sale to the custom CTA yet, but I need to be more focused in my usage of it.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks for the write-up Brian I’m giving this a shot right now!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Nice write up Brian! It seems like a good service, I’m definitely going to give it a try.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Brian, have you tried any of the new options on yet such as Website placement and the Deezer option?

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      November 10, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Not yet! I was talking with Dan about trying out Deezer but we left it hanging. I’ll email him again right now!

  • Reply
    tony newton
    June 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Excellent write up Brian on the details that matter because on the website there is not much detail at all and just leaves you more confused than clear. I don’t understand if they are so effective why the website is so short on detailed explanations. There isn’t even artist testimonies or comments on the services – I had to Google reviews to find yours – this is not good. What would be so helpful is to read or hear about good experience and results artists are getting. That’s what would get me to spend money, not the fluff-hype stuff on the website. I have used RadioAirplay/Jango for about a year and it was an OK experience but not really a slam dunk because they seem to change things around periodically. Originally you could connect with listeners who made comments and left their email or Facebook info, now all of that has changed and it is not as useful. It would be really nice to find a great service which can actually give us useful information and bang for the buck and not just hype. Music artist need services which have integrity and can bring something to the table-you are spending money thus provide some real benefits instead of profit, profit, profit. _ Thanks again Brian so very much, I would like to know more of yours and others experience “before” signing up.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      June 2, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Glad you found it useful! I find and Radio Airplay are best to build awareness of your music. Of course, that’s hard to measure, and even harder to see how much it translates into sales. If you try one of the newer Deezer campaigns on, you’ll at least be able to see your promoted song move up the list of your most popular songs. If you’re lucky, you may get some playlist adds as well!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 6, 2017 at 9:23 am

    To Akasha (sorry, the threading only goes five comments deep) —

    Dan stressed to me repeatedly that the value is in the plays themselves, not the engagements. So I wouldn’t say your song isn’t engaging because of a low engagements number.

    One could argue that the low number of skips means your song is VERY engaging! Way to look on the bright side, eh?

  • Reply
    Tom from Telamor
    November 21, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Hey Brian – As a test, we spent $50 on to promote an older Telamor track called “Trippin'” on Deezer. We got 2,455 plays and 67 engagements for a 2.73% rate. The plays and engagements were 90% from the UK. The interesting thing is that the track is also on YouTube, and we immediately saw a sharp uptick in YouTube views from the UK. Because it’s an older track, there was no reason for this mini-surge other than the Deezer campaign. Clearly, someone was listening.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      November 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Very nice! So the plays were 90% from the UK, but you didn’t restrict the targeting? I find that I get 90% or more from France if I don’t restrict it, and when I do restrict it, the plays come very slowly.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Great article Brian! You have inspired me to give Feature FM a shot:)

  • Reply
    March 30, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Hey Brian, thanks for this article. It encouraged me to create my own campaign for a track I have on Soundcloud. I was interested in knowing if the plays popped up immediately or the next day? I did a day campaign and I’m not seeing the plays on my Cloud. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      March 31, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      I thought they showed up right away, but I could be wrong! You sure you entered your SoundCloud URL when you set up the campaign?

  • Reply
    Lewis Beard
    June 23, 2018 at 10:55 am

    I’ve been running a campaign for the past few weeks, but I never saw an option to promote through 8tracks or connect my Soundcloud account. Has that collaboration ended? I can’t really find any evidence on the internet at large, but maybe you’ll know just from glancing at the page.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      June 28, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      I don’t see 8tracks anymore either, unless it falls under the “Internet Radio” category. I’m only seeing Deezer, Internet Radio, and Popular Music Websites.

      I’ll see if Dan can clarify…

  • Reply
    John A Pratt
    August 21, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Can you help interpret my results? This is a one day campaign which cost me $99.99, the majority of the plays were in France, this is my overall numbers.
    5,099=Sponsored Plays


    7.86%=Engagement Rate

    France 1,965 176 9.0%
    United Kingdom 472 41 8.7%
    Brazil 467 26 5.6%
    Germany 336 32 9.5%
    United States of America 183 8 4.4%
    Netherlands 109 10 9.2%
    Morocco 99 7 7.1%
    Belgium 89 11 12.4%

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      August 25, 2018 at 1:39 pm

      Looks about right to me, since Deezer is headquartered in France. Are the engagements all playlist adds? It’s been awhile since I’ve done a campaign.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Thank you so much for all your advice here, it’s an excellent resource! I’ve been trying feature FM and I’m not sure but did they stop using the Soundcloud API for their internet radio campaigns? Currently I can only give a Soundcloud link on the website campaign forms and that doesn’t seem to generate as many Soundcloud plays as it sounds like the internet radio campaigns that you wrote about did.

    I wrote to customer service there and haven’t heard back, maybe now the best way to go is with their Deezer campaign but it would be great if Soundcloud streams were still an option. Can you shed any light on this?

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      September 26, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      I just confirmed with that you just have to enter your SoundCloud link at the bottom of the song upload page.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Ad banner reads 400 plays but when you try to use the promo it says 250 plays. Pretty shady.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      November 4, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      That’s no good! If memory serves, the link gives you a $10 credit, which used to correspond with 400 plays back when they were on 8tracks. I’ll follow up with them and get a better credit or a new banner!

      • Reply
        Brian Hazard
        November 5, 2018 at 8:49 am

        Alright, just heard back from Dan:

        It depends what campaign you choose. On Deezer, it should actually be 500 plays. I believe internet radio has higher bidding and would be 250. Also, the $10 can even be used on a website ad where it would get around 5,500-6,000 impressions.

        Still, I’ve asked for a new banner that’ll reflect the flat $10 credit. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  • Reply
    Berta Puzyan
    November 11, 2018 at 3:01 am

    Must have been loads easier with SoundCloud.. now they ask a Deezer link to the song, so it should be already released, right?

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      November 11, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Mine was. I suppose maybe you could get a pre-release link from your aggregator, but then listeners probably couldn’t add the song to playlists or share it.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Their targeted web campaigns are a joke, and the customer service is non existent. Stay far away from

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      December 20, 2018 at 8:57 am

      You mean the banner ad campaigns? I’ve never had any luck with banner ads, on any platform. Last I tried was with ReverbNation’s Promote It, which I documented here somewhere. Basically no measurable benefit.

  • Reply
    BABYLON-X (@babylonx_music)
    December 26, 2018 at 10:43 am

    I’m wonder if it is even real numbers on Feature.FM. My results looks too good to be true. For example, I had 200% engagement on Guatemala – 1 play with 2 engagements :)

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      December 26, 2018 at 10:51 am

      That particular stat doesn’t strike me as suspicious in the slightest. If you said you had 200 plays with 400 engagements, well, that’s another story.

      I have no reason to doubt their stats. It would be difficult if not impossible, or at the very least, not cost-effective, to fake those kind of numbers across an entire platform.

      • Reply
        BABYLON-X (@babylonx_music)
        December 28, 2018 at 3:52 am

        Thanks Brian,
        Yes, I think it make sense what you say.
        Technically, the data about plays and engagements can come from different tables, which are updated with different frequency.
        But more probably, I think their data quality is just not very good.

        • Reply
          Brian Hazard
          December 28, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          Likely it’s whatever Deezer passes on through their API.

  • Reply
    Sex Cauldron (Mike @sexcauldronband)
    March 27, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Hey Brian!

    I’d really love to start using for my band Sex Cauldron, and your articles are really convincing me it’s worth it, BUT (always a but lol) does it work for Spotify? or is it mainly Deezer?

    Admittedly, I could care less about Deezer plays. I don’t know a single person who uses Deezer, and most don’t even know it exists! Of course I want my band’s music to be heard around the world, but as a local band from Toronto (Canada), Spotify numbers are almost exclusively what the promoters are looking at in terms of music.

    Soundcloud plays are a nice touch for sure, but it just doesn’t have that same cache as Spotify. Everyone knows you can very easily fake those numbers since there’s no listener/area count.

    Are there any legit promotion companies/sites dedicated to Spotify playlists, if not I realize Spotify doesn’t allow payola, but surely there are some backroom dealings goin down somewhere that aren’t just bot plays. I was looking into sellers on Fiverr, and although those artists do have big stream/follower numbers now, it’s painfully obvious the playlists were curated by bots and it just looks so tacky.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for the interesting read!

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      March 27, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Mike!

      Right now, Deezer is the only major streaming service that supports.

      Yeah, I’d stay away from Fiverr if you don’t want to get banned from Spotify.

      Playlist Push is definitely legit. I’ve written about them here, including a discount code.

      I’m currently in the process of testing out two more Spotify PR services, so look for those reviews soon!

      • Reply
        Sex Cauldron (Mike @sexcauldronband)
        March 28, 2019 at 12:01 pm

        Thanks for the quick response Brian!

        I just read your article on Push, seems very intriguing! Although I’ll admit I’m scared to hear what curators say about my band lol we’re stoner rock/post grunge. I’m gonna try and talk my bandmates into this investment asap. Thanks again for your guidance! I’ve subbed to ensure I keep up to date with your promotional adventures haha 🙂

        • Reply
          Brian Hazard
          March 28, 2019 at 12:19 pm

          The worst thing they can say is “not a good fit for my playlist”!

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