What Artists Should Know About Playlist Blaster
I gave up on Spotify playlist pitching services. They just aren’t worth it.
First off, there’s the risk of bots, which could get you booted off Spotify. Every service denies using them, but what human would choose to listen to unthemed collections of random songs by unknown artists? And yet there they are, sometimes with tens of thousands of followers.
The services that don’t employ bots tend to place your songs on ultimately worthless playlists. In my case, workout playlists, fake movie soundtrack playlists, and 80s playlists, quietly buried among actual hits from the era.
Sure, those playlists generate streams, but not fans. The minute the campaign ends, your monthly listener count plummets. Your Fans Also Like is skewed towards the pitching service’s other clients because Spotify can’t tell who your real fans are.
If you’re lucky, you earn back enough royalties to cover maybe a third of the cost of the campaign, and then you’re back to square one.
Normally I wouldn’t, but I received an offer too good to refuse from someone I trust.
Meet the Blaster Twins
I’ve previously worked with Vicky Edward on three campaigns: one on SoundCloud and two on Spotify. That was with Midnite Blaster, which specializes in EDM.
Now she’s got a new service called Playlist Blaster that accepts all genres and promotes on Spotify, YouTube, and TikTok.
They offer Spotify campaigns ranging from $500 to $5000, with a guaranteed number of streams depending on genre, quality, and mainstream appeal.
In return for writing about my experience, she offered me a $2000 campaign with a guarantee of 120K streams. To no one’s surprise, I said yes!
Playlist Blaster Targeting
Vicky suggested the following targets in order of importance: Synthwave, Night Drive, Gaming, TikTok, Anime
I added Retrogaming and Synthesizer since those interest targets perform well for me on Facebook.
To be clear, this isn’t some sort of automated search. They hunt for appropriate playlists manually.
TikTok didn’t immediately strike me as a match since my audience skews older. I asked Vicky why she suggested it, and she explained that TikTok playlists include all genres and would allow me to reach a younger audience while also being associated with trending songs.
My Playlist Blaster Results
The campaign for my song “The Outset” started on its April 16 release date and ran for nearly seven months.
While it performed admirably, it may have been a tough sell considering that the vocals don’t enter until the one-minute mark. Also unhelpful is the lack of any obvious chorus, though the refrain has a solid hook if I do say so myself!
Vicky landed five big playlists within days, with five more to follow shortly thereafter.
Here are the song’s all-time top playlists, with Playlist Blaster placements circled in red:
Busting out the old calculator, that’s 165K streams to date, blowing past the promised 120K.
Here’s how those streams played out over time:
And here are my past 7 days, with the vast majority of plays still coming from Playlist Blaster placements even though the campaign is over:
Playlist Blaster Conclusions & Recommendations
No question, Playlist Blaster overdelivered.
Based on a payout of $0.004 per stream, I anticipate receiving about $660 in royalties for streams to date.
While I wasn’t placed on any workout or fake movie soundtrack playlists, not every placement was a perfect fit. Obviously, the song isn’t an actual TikTok hit, nor is it chill trap.
To be fair, there aren’t that many big synthwave playlists, and the one she placed me on might be the biggest. I’m already on or have been declined by most of the others.
Gaming strikes me as the next best thing, and “relaxing music” is broad enough to work. My music is copyright-free in the sense that I don’t enable Content ID, and I encourage streamers to use it on Twitch and YouTube.
With all that in mind, I don’t see much room for improvement. I’ve spent hours searching for more appropriate playlists only to come up empty-handed. If I had any better suggestions, Vicky would’ve been happy to approach those curators on my behalf.
I highly recommend Playlist Blaster and see no reason to go anywhere else.
It’s been a couple of years since I wrote about Spotify PR, and in that time I’ve heard nothing but tales of woe from friends and fellow artists who’ve tried other services. That includes the one that comes up in my Facebook and Instagram feeds constantly, and likely yours too!
There is one thing I’d do differently though!
I’d wait a month or so before launching the campaign, to maximize my chances of getting algorithmic traction using Facebook ads. The higher the percentage of streams from playlists, the lower the save ratio, so holding off might yield better results in the long run.
That’s all theoretical though, and I don’t think there’s a reliable way to test out that hypothesis. There’s probably an ideal balance between stream count and save ratio that calls for a mixed approach.
If you’d like to give Playlist Blaster a shot, submit your music via their homepage or email [email protected] and let them know I sent you. There’s nothing in it for me, but it’ll signal that you’re a discerning customer!
Have you tried a playlist promotion service? How does it compare with Facebook ads? Share your results in the comments!
Yes I ended up on a workout playlist too. The whole thing is tragicomic, as your articles regularly show.
Ooh, you gave me an idea! I should record a cover of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” specifically for workout playlists. 😉
I’m trying to work with them now, I’ll follow up with my campaign success. Hopefully as good as yours. I’ve compared our Spotify for Artists pages and noticed your followers have sky-rocketed the last year and a half, how? Just Facebook/IG adds? My luck with those ads have been pretty awful.
I’ve been getting at least a couple hundred a month through my ads, but even more of that growth is through Rise. I’ve been planning to write about it for ages, but they’re in the middle of a complete revamp, so that’s on hold for at least a couple more months.
Thanks as always for the amazing and transparent content. You’re a legend.
I’ve tried a $500 Drop campaign and the results on my track were next to nothing. I could have done a lot with FB ads with that budget.
1000 followers wouldn’t have been out of the question, depending on the track of course!
True! The bots will work out to that one
Great grist, as always Mr. Hazard!
Any ideas how they might do with a singer-songwriter who straddles Americana, indie, pop, folk, rock genres, slightly retro (60’s – 90’s)? Maybe a touch in with your rep there, Vicky will reveal some of this?
I have a new release – with singles and full-length album – coming in mid-to-late 2022 and am scanning all horizons for marketing ideas/avenues. Been saving for that side of things, along with actual production costs. My “war chest” is in the $25K neighborhood, with about half of that planned for my “BMP” (Big Marketing Push.)
Maybe TMI here, but thought I’d share in case it might help you or anyone else reading this. (And I know there’s one school of thought that says one should actually spend two or three times on marketing what one spent on making the actual record!)
A side note, though relevant. In 2021, I’ve gotten airplay on more than 100 radio stations. Most are internet, but a few terrestrials. Worldwide. Many are still playing me. But it hasn’t translated to any movement at ALL on Spotify. Nothing discernible really. Now, that might mean because my songs haven’t resonated with any listeners, or enough to motivate them to check me out on Spotify. Might mean my songs suck! Ha ha. Seriously, that is a possibility. Or they are out-of-step with the marketplace? Well, that’s for sure. LOL. Or all of the above, or none of the above. (And not playing out live certainly can help build that fan base; but there was a whole lot of nothin’ happenin’ on that front.)
The good news silver-lining, which I think I previously might have shared with you, Brian: I’ve cultivated great, warm relationships with all these stations’ dj’s, programmers, etc. They’re all looking forward to my next songs and have promised to play ’em, do interviews, etc. While that might still not lead to any Spotify followers/listeners, etc. it’s certainly not nuthin’. And it’s all free, though a lot of time and energy spent by me. But I’ve established beachheads with hundreds of radio folks and other artists in the same leaky but erstwhile boat as me! We’re all cross-promoting each other and acting as cheerleaders for all! Kinda cool, fun, and good for morale, at least.
Thanks again Brian. If I contact Playlist Blaster (and I likely will), I will definitely tell ’em you sent me. Should I ask for Vicky?
Maybe Playlist Blaster, combined with all the airplay, plus other stuff I’m planning (suggestions welcome, like “Rise” maybe?), it’ll trigger some Spotify activity? As we know, no guarantees ever…
For all this great intel, you should definitely be getting some “Hazard Pay!”
Sorry. Incorrigible punster. I go away now…
I suggest reaching out to Vicky directly at [email protected]. To be safe I’d ask for her by name and mention this post.
As for genre, the process should be the same, but considering their EDM roots, they may not have as many established relationships in guitarland.
That’s quite a promotion budget! Certainly more than I’ve ever spent promoting an album or three. Then again, I haven’t bothered with radio outside of a handful of scene-specific shows. But like you said, that’s all free.
Which makes me wonder where all that money is headed! I suggest getting your house in order (socials, mailing list, website), running some Facebook ads, and slowly scaling up your budget when you find something that works. Not just direct-to-Spotify ads, but maybe an Indepreneur-style fan finder video views campaign.
Beyond that, Playlist Blaster and Rise conversion campaigns are safe bets for Spotify growth.
I’d hate to see you fall prey to an expensive PR outfit that promises the world but ultimately delivers a handful of blog features, which do next to nothing to grow your fanbase.
Hey Brian, Mea culpa for not responding sooner to your thoughtful response! I saw it earlier, but then got waylaid and swept away! LOL. Thanks for reading. I will definitely reach out to Vicky and mention you, absolutely. Thanks for her email address!
Good counsel re social media, especially the FB ads. I know they’ve been fairly effective for you and others. I have read at least one of your blogs on it. I know there’s a bit of a learning curve, though seems they’ve tried to make it a little more user-friendly…That said, it does seem to take some time to really navigate all the ins and outs…but seems worth the effort. Certainly good at targeting one’s specific audience, as we all know, those sneaky, stalker bastards!
As for my budget, I haven’t decided yet where to spend it all. (And while $10K to perhaps as much as $15K may seem like a lot, we know it’s really not and can easily be gone with the wind!) Ideas and suggestions welcome! Will seriously consider Playlistblasterpromo and Rise.
I’m trying to be strategic about my recording and not blow my budget there. Then again, it IS our “product” and we don’t want to skimp too much there. (Oh to be able to spend six-figures on production like the “Big Boys and Girls!”) That said, marketing is so KEY. But, then we get back to the chicken, or was it the egg? If you promo, you’d better have the goods to back it up. The age-old dilemma we all face.
You are spot on about the pr firms, “360”or otherwise, no matter how earnest and/or well-meaning they are. (I know from experience.) One’s marketing budget can definitely be “gone with the wind” with those folks! And, as you accurately point out, not much to show for it. Now, if they get one a blurb in Rolling Stone, Mojo, Spin, or Americana Songwriter, that’s not too shabby. But that’s a loooong shot.
My ace in the hole – lucky me – are these dozens and dozens of radio folks I’ve made friends with. Spent hundreds of hours accomplishing this, but it has already paid off and stands to pay off in the future if I can “deliver the goods.” I do know that some of the big publications, blogs, etc. love to be able to exclusively world-premiere a song, ep, or album, but that’s a lot of work and kinda limiting. Again, if it’s Rolling Stone, yes! Ha ha. But part of my strategy is to get on as many stations as possible. My goal is 200 stations. Then leverage THAT cred to get some traction with mags, blogs, podcasts, etc. And get more airplay. Tried and true formula. I didn’t come up with it. Ha ha.
Finally, to your point, Brian, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if I DO get a ton of airplay, and even some reporting to the trades, which some of “my” stations do, in terms of streams/sales. Will any of that move the needle?
Which I guess brings us back to things like FB ads and controlling one’s own destiny. (And maybe I’ll actually be able to do some live shows in 2022! What a concept!)
Thank you sir! Keep up the stellar work.
I wrote a post not too long ago about a $500 song promotion. You could start with that and scale up if/when you find something that works! Spoiler alert: it’s mostly ads on Facebook/Instagram and YouTube.
With even $10K as a budget, you should probably include some kind of PR. You could reasonably expect to pay $1K per month for say, three months. But then you have to know how to leverage that press coverage since it won’t do anything by itself.
I suspect that radio play won’t do anything by itself either, even with 200 stations. I once spent $4K on a European radio promotion that got me “into regular rotation” on over 40 commercial stations (if the reporting is to be believed). It amounted to, no joke, ZERO fans. I never once even got an email from anyone that heard me there. And I never got royalties either. Fishy, right?
If you can’t draw a straight line from radio play to sales, and I certainly can’t, I’d reconsider your focus.
I went to your website to see if you had a mailing list (I thought I remembered getting one of your emails), but I don’t see anything. Let’s just say it doesn’t look like the website of someone with a $10K promotion budget. Even the EPK was last updated over a year ago.
So I’d reiterate getting your house in order and the fundamentals down: mailing list with regular and engaging (and not too long-winded tisk tisk!) updates, website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud. Save your money for when it can do some good! Fwiw…
Thanks Brian! I’ll look for your $500 song promotion post.
Hiring a PR firm is in the mix. (Yep. I paid about a thou a month for the last pr firm I used for four months.) Only question: which one? Homework time. Suggestions welcomed from anyone reading this.
Totally fishy about that Euro radio campaign. Sorry your dollars went down a possible drain…Dang.
Your comments re my website, duly-noted and agree. Part of my budget is to get some website help. EPK too. Vids on YouTube as well.
You may have gotten that email from me via ReverbNation…?
No one said it was easy. Few straight lines. (In zee old days, it often took relentless touring for even great bands to break through. That’s not in the cards for everyone anymore. But I’m looking at that too. I don’t think that’s part of your business plan though?)
Hearty thanks and good luck to us all! I’ll try and share any educational victories (or cautionary tales)!
I wish I had a PR recommendation, but the one I used specializes in my genre.
Yes, I may indeed have gotten that email from ReverbNation.
Nope, no touring or even livestreaming for me. I make records, period.
Good luck and I’ll look forward to hearing some good news from you!
Thanks Brian! Btw, I emailed Vicky at Playlist Blaster and heard back from a guy named Kevin within two days! I put “Hi Vicky, Brian Hazard sent me” in the subject line. We’re exploring…I’ll let you know where it goes. Cheers!
Sounds good! I’m interested to see what they can do in your genre.
Glad you mentioned that, Brian. I was going to circle back and share what Kevin from Playlist Blaster said in reponse to my wondering if my styles of music might be a fit for them…
“We extended our network a lot since we started with only EDM and might be able to help.”
I sent him a link to a song of mine (kinda dark soul rock with EDM touches) that’s been out for a while. Kevin’s response:
“I just had a listen and that’s definitely something we could help push.”
We’re exploring. My thought is to see how they do with this one song. Then, depending on how it goes, I may use ’em for releases coming up later in 2022.
Hoping it goes well!
Thanks, Brian. As always, if you like, I’ll keep you, and your readers, posted.
That’s good news so far! My guess is that your song will push them to expand their network in your genre. They do a lot of reaching out directly to playlist curators, and of course once they’ve established those relationships, it’s much easier to pitch your stuff the next time. Please do keep us posted!
Hey Brian! What kind of jump with this did you notice in spotify followers from your usual growth? I’m curious to see what effect these plays will have on your next release via Release Radar and such..
Thanks for all you do!!
I don’t typically see much follower growth from playlist campaigns, but in this case, there’s really no way to tell because of my simultaneous Rise and Facebook ads efforts. I’ve accumulated over 5K followers just from the former.
Tried to reach out to Vicky to discuss a campaign but didn’t hear back. Guess my music didn’t make the cut.
I just asked Vicky. She searched for both your name and email address and didn’t find anything.
Ah, I used a different e-mail (and using a nickname here). I appreciate you taking the time in following up with her though! Thank you. I’ll try sending another e-mail — maybe the first landed in her spam or something. Either way, thanks for the informative article as always.
You bet! If you don’t get a reply this time, I’d be happy to pester her on your behalf again!
Great article and amazing to hear your insight as always. I have had campaigns with Midnite Blaster before – is there any difference between that and this new one? Was thinking of reaching out for this one
I don’t remember the two campaigns being fundamentally different. There wasn’t much to it, to be honest. Vicky periodically emailed me the URLs of playlists I was added to.
Thanks! I’ll try reaching out to the playlist blaster email as I wasn’t able to get a response recently on the midnite one.
Love reading all your in-depth posts, truly great work that you share with everyone here.
I was initially quite impressed with what this company could do. I landed on a playlist with some big names and was getting a staggering 1,000 avg plays per DAY!! (playlist has 101k followers)
After the campaign was over, my song remained in the playlist (for a couple of months), but then the avg dropped to 2 plays per day.
This made me think that perhaps there is some bot activity happening here? : )
That’s some playlist! Care to share a link?
I’m sure Playlist Blaster wouldn’t knowingly work with any curator that implements bots. Imagine if one of their clients got booted off Spotify! Not a good look.
What I’ve seen time and time again is that playlists overwhelmingly serve passive listeners. I don’t expect much in the way of saves or followers.
Still, you’d think those streams would help boost the popularity of the song to where the algorithm would at least get it on Radio more than 2x per day!
To clarify, by “2x / day” I meant plays from this playlist alone. It did kick the algorithm into motion for radio plays, so I definitely saw results from that. I’m just saying the amount of plays from the playlist alone was shocking in daily volume, and the sudden drop was equally strange.
here’s the playlist:
Oh! I thought you meant the track dropped to 2 streams per day, which would be pretty dang dramatic!
What you’re describing seems completely normal and not suspicious in the slightest, to me anyway. Did you think you were going to continue getting streams from the playlist after your track was removed?
I believe the residual streams came from people who downloaded the playlist to their devices. For example, I used to download playlists to my Apple Watch for streaming on my runs.
As for the playlist itself, it looks legit enough. Mostly huge artists, which would be a reasonable thing to follow if I were looking for “Dance Hits.”
After the drop from 1,000 plays/day to 2 plays /day, the song was STILL IN THE PLAYLIST. I checked a few times. That is what disturbed me about it.
With 100k followers and 1,000 plays /day avg means that over the three months, literally everyone who follows the playlist, listened to the song.
I think if the playlist had 1 million followers I could be convinced, but you know how people follow playlists and then forget about them. It’s just hard for me to think it’s possible.
Third time’s a charm! Now I understand.
I just looked the playlist up on Chartmetric and everything checks out. Very consistent growth over time. Granted I have a free account so I can only see 30 days, but at least it doesn’t look like bots based on follower count.
You didn’t mention whether your track stayed in the same position or not. I agree it would be odd to get 1000 streams one day and 2 the next, with all other things being equal.
With my playlist, if I stop my ads, follower growth and streams stall. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re using ads too.
My playlist has nearly 30K followers and my songs got 115 streams from it in the last 24 hours. 1000 streams from a playlist 3.3x the size of mine isn’t out of the question.
The curator has a bunch of other genre playlists, but you were on the biggest. There’s more sleuthing to be done if you feel so inclined, or you could just ask Playlist Blaster what they think.
Personally I wouldn’t be too concerned.
Hey Brian just a quick one how are you advertising your playlists? Facebook ads? Or other? Also what are the metrics you’re having in terms of money spent and people listening/following the playlist. Cheers mate.
Facebook and Instagram ads. My cost per follower has gone way up, over $1.00 now. 1.8K streams for me in the past 28 days. I’ve been meaning to spend some time optimizing, but it just hasn’t been a priority.
Wow that is incredibly steep. Have you considered using Google Adwords for this? By the way thanks for being a very important resource when it comes to finding out these services and test driving them for us.
You bet! All my experiences with Google Adwords have been flops.
I think FB and IG are best since people are more likely to actually hear the music, at least with stories. I just need to find some time to experiment and optimize.
I tried playlist blaster and was very happy the first times. But then I decided to test another service called club restricted promo. I got on the same playlist (over 700k followers) but now the streams were like 900-1200/day compared to 2000/day with playlist blaster. So with playlist blaster I was on the playlist for one month and with club restricted for about 1 1/2 month. I got more playlist adds from the time with club restricted but more streams from playlist blaster. I def think playlist blaster used bots to stream my song from the playlist to enhance the results. Because when I used club restricted the followers had increased for the playlist so it should have been more streams then?
Hey Dan! I don’t think you can draw any conclusions from those data points.
With my playlist, the biggest determinant of stream counts is how much I’m investing in ads. When I turn off the ads, streams slow way down and follower growth stops completely. A potentially bigger factor is where your track(s) are placed within the playlist.
If they’re growing the playlist with ads (why would you assume bots?), then performance will naturally vary over time, even if the budget remains the same. If it’s an SEO playlist like with Moonstrive Media, search performance varies over time as well. I’d be more suspicious if your results were identical!
If you want to provide a link to the playlist, I’d be happy to take a look and let you know if I spot anything suspicious.
Yeah, maybe you’re right! It just seems like everyone is using bots though.
This is the playlist:
Thanks for all the great info you are providing! Really important stuff to know for all DIY musicians
The playlist definitely passes the most important test: it’s something that people would genuinely listen to. The songs all seem to fit the theme (sad and depressing) and most of the artists have millions of monthly listeners.
I’m searching for some outliers with 500 monthly listeners and crappy production, but so far I haven’t spotted anyone with less than 100K monthly listeners. Oh wait – here’s one towards the end. Two. They’ve still got a decent following and the songs sound professional.
I don’t spot any red flags! I’d certainly love to have a track on there myself.
Wonderful! Thanks for checking this! Now I feel much better about it.
I am in contact with Laurie from playlist blaster. I am considering running a campaign with them tomorrow for a release. She sent me a PayPal address to send money to. Is that how you paid? I want to make sure I’m not getting ripped off.
That is indeed how I paid, with the friends & family option or whatever it’s called these days to eliminate the fee they’d otherwise have to pay.
Thanks so much Brian! Really appreciate everything you do. Will update with how our campaign goes.
Hey Brian it’s been over a week with Laurie at playlist blaster with spotty replies and no results. Should I request a refund on PayPal? We were trying to trigger the algorithm
When you say no results, do you mean no Spotify algorithmic plays? They certainly can’t guarantee that, and it wouldn’t happen in a week regardless. If you’re getting the playlist placements they promised, there’s no problem, right? Other than potentially the lack of communication.
Unfortunately no I mean that we haven’t gotten any playlists at all or updates.
Hmm! Well, that’s a different story. I’ve heard from many, many readers who did campaigns with Playlist Blaster without problems. If you don’t get it sorted in another week or so, let me know and I’ll reach out on your behalf!
Okay great thanks so much!!
Hey Brian so here’s our update with these guys. We absolutely would not recommend this service to anyone. They are delivering streams but they are fake. The two playlists we got put on I cross checked with chartmetric and they have spikes of thousands of follower growth in one day. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and contact them about it. It took days to get a response after multiple follow ups and another team member responding being quite condescending. He tried to play it off as if the playlists were real and said “if you think you know better than me then we can stop”. So yet again we let them continue. Now we are watching our song on Spotify for arts go from 0 streams one minute to 60+ streams the next and then back down again. It’s a well played scam but a scam nonetheless. We wanted to let everyone here know so they don’t waste 600+ dollars on fake streams.
Thanks for the update! It sounds like you’re frustrated with them for their slow response, and they’re frustrated with you for accusing them of using fake playlists.
They highlight their promise to deliver real listeners both on their website and blog (“We can spot fake playlists in the blink of an eye and all curators that we pitch to are thoroughly vetted”) and I’m sure all playlist promotion services are accused of using bots on a daily basis, regardless of whether they are or not. That doesn’t excuse the snarky reply though!
What you’re describing is of course absolutely suspicious, and I’d like to get to the bottom of it! Is there any way you can email or DM me links to the playlists in question along with a link to your track?
I’ve never spotted anything shady across multiple campaigns (between Playlist Blaster and Midnite Blaster), and I’ve heard from several readers who’ve had great experiences, but it’s been over a year since I’ve worked with them myself.