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What Artists Should Know About Playlist Push

Playlist Push

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!

Spotify How They Stream

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?

The way it works is, you start by submitting your track for review. I went with Glory Days, which as you may remember, received my highest score yet on ReverbNation’s Crowd Review (see my review).

The track is approaching 16K plays on SoundCloud, without any recent promotion from me. Maybe my $500 Deezer campaign helped? The song seems to be doing pretty well everywhere but Spotify.

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:

Playlist Push instructions

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.

Viral Chill followers

I looked at another source to confirm, and found the same pattern reported by Chartmetric:

viralinsomnia on 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:

criticalnetwork on Chartmetric

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:

Worldwide Select

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 https://playlistpush.com.” 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!

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    waltenstein
    November 30, 2017 at 6:04 am

    It seems to me that most “listeners” these days are not real people. I have no idea how to solve that problem when web traffic, follows, subscribers, and page “likes” can simply be spoofed.

    I guess it’s a matter of supply vs. demand. There are so many of us artists out there making so much music, but real listeners who are interested in what we’re making and willing to spend time finding it are rare.

    I just got another “top 10” 100 pop score with my song “Dream Together” on Radio Airplay / Jango last week. Zero sales. Zero free downloads. Zero plays on my bandcamp page (which is front and center on the promo unit). Does it mean anything at all about my music?

    As an artist I’m looking for income, ideally, even a small one. $20/month would be fantastic! But failing that, I’d really appreciate some validation from real people who enjoy my music. So far… nothing, except from people I personally knew already.

    Brian, thanks for kicking the tires of this “service” so that I don’t have to.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      November 30, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Walt! Dare I say congratulations on the top 10?

      You’re absolutely right — when every possible metric from followers to streams to video views can be bought, how do we measure success?

      I’d argue sales is a poor choice. I’ve always opted for email subscribers, but that doesn’t capture the totality of a fanbase.

      For now I guess we just keep putting out our best work, and figuring it out as we go!

  • Reply
    Jake
    December 1, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I’ve found them through George’s blogpost (https://medium.com/@DemoDropGeorge/top-spotify-promotion-companies-reviewed-and-rated-7060a8b9617f). He acts like he’s just regular guy who tries these streaming services. But with a little google search, i found out he’s the CEO. That explains so much.
    Thank you, Brian.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      December 1, 2017 at 9:48 am

      That’s disappointing.

    • Reply
      Mark Swanson
      December 1, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Good catch, Jake. I just outed him in the comments section of his Medium article, with a link back to Brian’s post here.

      Brian, thank you for all the time and research you spend on these services. This is some real investigative journalism type shit you’re doing. I’ve invested money into most of the services you speak highly off and I’ve never been disappointed. But more importantly, you’ve helped me dodge a lot of bullets. You’re great.

      • Reply
        Brian Hazard
        December 1, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        My pleasure Mark! I actually thought this was going to be another success story until I started writing the and researching the playlists.

      • Reply
        waltenstein
        December 1, 2017 at 1:13 pm

        Hey Mark. Which services are you talking about specifically that have worked for you? Cheers.

  • Reply
    Nathan
    December 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for this review, Brian. A band I manage had an equally disappointing experience with Playlist Push. Mainstream pop rock song, which George happily accepted. Lots of promises were made, but none fulfilled. He got them on two very small individual playlists, neither of which ever hit 25 monthly listeners. He refused to tell us how many playlists he pushed it to, what genres they covered, etc. He claimed at the beginning that 80% of his artists make their $200 back with at least 60,000 streams. Yet he refused in the end to provide any backup or examples for this stat. The band later worked to contact playlists themselves, in the end being added to over 70 legitimate playlists, over 30 of which send over 25 unique monthly listeners to the song, and some of which send hundreds of monthly listeners. So any argument that the song wasn’t good enough for the Playlist Push curators doesn’t ring true.

    Also, in the comments section of his review in which you called him out, he claims that Playlist Push hired him in late September after he published his review. That is an all-out lie, we worked with him in June and he was the only person contacting us from Playlist Push. I included that little detail in the comments section.

    Playlist Push is just another outfit out to grab artists’ hard-earned money. I recommend artists work on their own to submit songs to playlists. They’ll get the music into real ears, and many of those playlists don’t drop a song after a week or month.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      December 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      I’m sorry to hear Playlist Push didn’t work out for you either Nathan.

      But wow, the band did an incredible job on their own! With tools like Chartmetric, I suppose it’s within any artist’s power to handle pitching on their own if they’re willing to put in the time.

      Fwiw I’ve been on the curator end of Playlist Push for a few days now, and have been getting some quality submissions, many from artists who have hundreds of thousands of monthly listeners. I’m not sure what kind of value they’re seeing from the service, or how much they’re paying, but in theory it’s legit. I for one am providing the most helpful reviews I can, and adding tracks when they are “close enough” — all for a measly $0.75 a pop.

  • Reply
    YAWA Media (@YAWAmedia)
    December 11, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Was just searching through a few of these services for one of my artists and this helped us decide what to do (or rather which service not to use)

    Just a quick note, the URL you linked for Chartmatic is incorrect, seems like the right one is : https://chartmetric.io/

    Thanks again, I’ve subscribed to the newsletter as well.

    Emily

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      December 11, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Great catch Emily — updated!

      Glad I could help. If you have better luck with a competing service, do let us know!

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