What Artists Should Know About Rise

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:

Tout homepage

Click on “Discover Music” and you’ll be presented with 30-second clips in your selected genre.

Tout Discover

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.

Tout connect with Spotify

Once you like 10 artists, you grant Tout permission to do basically anything with your Spotify account short of baking biscuits:

Tout permissions

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.

Tout custom playlsit

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.

Tout onboard likes

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:

Tout Playlist Creator

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:

Rise create campaign

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.

Rise conversions campaign
Don’t miss the “Pro Tip” above

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:

Spotify followers

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.

Rise campaign report
Report as of April 20, 2022

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:

Tout playlists

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:

Spotify source of streams

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.

Be sure to come back and share your results in the comments!

Got questions? Leave them in the comments! If I can’t answer them, I’ll make sure the Rise team sees them.


  1. Hi Brian,

    Been a lurker on your site for a bit. First comment…Thanks for this new post. I had seen your prior comment about Rise in another post and had actually just reached out to Rise yesterday. I have a brand new music project that started about a week ago. Based on your note that Rise “is far better than I’ve ever done with my own ads”, would this be the your prime suggestion for a new project to put into ads?

    I know you did the conversion campaign, but have you considered the playlist campaign? Any thoughts there yet?

    Many thanks.

    1. Thanks for coming out of the shadows Andrew!

      I’m not sure Rise is an ideal way to build a following starting from zero. They’d undoubtedly suggest running both campaign types (conversion and exposure) in tandem. If literally all you care about is Spotify growth, then maybe that’s the way to go.

      Well, technically you could run TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube campaigns with them too, but I can’t speak to those, and personally I wouldn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.

      I’d probably start by rolling my own video views campaign to get some feedback, learn who your fans are, and build a following. Maybe bribe people to get them on your email list.

      You can learn a lot by running your own ads, and you’ll get followers in the process too.

      Of course it’s not an either/or thing. You can do both if you’ve got the budget for it.

      As for playlist campaigns, I’m very interested! I asked about it and they’re not sure I’ll get better results, since I’ve been running ads for so long and my cost per conversion is low already.

      They have many large Spotify playlist brands as customers, so it might be fun to see what they could do for a small fry like me.

      1. Thank you so much for the informative and thoughtful reply. If you ever get into the playlist campaign option, would love to hear about your experience.

  2. What I’d really like to know about Rise is if it’s possible to launch a campaign without having a Facebook or Instagram account at all. I don’t have one, and I don’t ever want one. Do you know if that’s possible?

  3. THIS:
    “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.”

    Could this be the one I have been searching for dear Brian?! So, my next question is the one I always ask… can I do this and see some kind of results if I am NOT doing any of the other ads via the usual memberships methods (as you know, I just cannot wrap my head around those methods…).

    1. At first blush, it does seem like the sort of solution you’ve been waiting for Paula!

      Since listeners would be discovering you at ontout.com, you wouldn’t need to run a fan finder or be active on social media.

      The real question is: does Spotify growth in isolation align with your goals?

      Remember, you’re not going to be able to reach these new followers. Well, unless you advertise on Spotify Ad Studio, and even then you’d only reach the ones on the free tier.

      I’ll occasionally get a new mailing list subscriber or even patron who discovered me on Spotify, but it’s pretty rare.

      You’ve already got nearly 2K Spotify followers but only 300 monthly listeners. My guess is that the Rise team would recommend an exposure campaign to build your stream count, rather than a conversions campaign to build your follower count. Or ideally, both.

      Keep me posted!

      1. I took the plunge! Paid for my first campaign (thanks for the referral code!) and am waiting… will report back. Fingers and toes crossed!

  4. Hi Brian

    I’m taking in around $7 per month with 1k listeners (mostly in Turkey and Mexico), which would suggest that with ~37k listeners you can afford to pay $250/month to Rise. Is that the case? Does all this actually pay for itself at this stage?


    1. Great question Cormac!

      At $0.004 per stream, I need about 51K streams to pay $202.50 per month. I’m getting 90K streams and about $340 per month as of August (as reported here).

      While I’m definitely earning more from streaming than I pay for Rise, I highly doubt that Rise is paying for itself. Even if we attribute all of my current 34% “listener’s own playlist and library” streams to Rise, that’s only $116. I suppose their playlists are contributing a tiny bit (less than $10 worth) to “other listener’s playlists” too.

      The $250 price is for a one-off campaign, the type that my discount code gets you 10% off on. If you subscribe, you get that same 10% off every month, so $225. I took advantage of a special promotion a few months back to get another 10% off that, so now I’m down to $202.50.

  5. Thanks for sharing this, Brian. Very detailed article, as usual!
    After a disappointing campaign in Moonstrive, now I’m considering Rise.
    Although I understand you took the Conversions campaign, but if any reader here has experience in the Exposure campaign, I hope they can share their experience with all of us here 🙂

      1. Lovely! Thanks in advance for that, Brian. Looking forward to that.
        RIse suggested to me to start with Exposure Campaign, in view of my small followers size. They also mentioned that they can run successful campaign for any artists of any genres. So, really looking forward to get some feedback on that 🙂

        1. Another friend was trying to create an exposure campaign, but got stuck where they ask for video assets. Did you have any handy?

          They probably don’t need those for conversion campaigns, since AFAIK it’s all in the Tout discovery engine.

        2. Ah??! I don’t have any video assets (except those 15s vid with static album cover + background music that was used for FB ads)….mmm…is that a mandatory?

        3. Just got a response from Rise’s support:

          (Video assets are) “Not mandatory. Many artists don’t have those, so we have an extensive library of stock footage that’s proven to work well.”

        4. After some correspondences with Rise’s support, I can summarise that for the Exposure Campaign, basically clients can expect 2 things:

          1. Customised social ads to direct audience to the client’s track; and
          2. The track will also be pitched to a network of in-house & external playlists.

          Now my question is, if we can do our own FB ads with relatively good result, and we can use services like SubmitHub to do playlists pitching, which one would be more cost efficient – Rise or DIY?

        5. Very helpful. Thanks Cal!

          It’s certainly possible for you to create higher-performing Facebook and Instagram ads yourself, but it can take a lot of time and experimentation.

          As for playlist pitching, IMHO you should always do SubmitHub regardless. At the very least, to stay on the radar of curators who’ve approved your music in the past.

          The Tout playlists are otherwise unreachable, so to me that’s not an either/or situation. It’s a nice potential bonus to any Rise campaign, but not really the core offering.

        6. Fair comment, Brian. Yes, totally, time is essential here.

          Well, again, hopefully readers here that had experience with the Exposure Campaign can share their experience with us 🙂 $200+ is not a small change (to me, at least), so really hope can get more insights.

    1. That’s a tough question. If I felt like my cash flow was going well and I was short on time, then yes, Rise would be the way to go. On the other hand, if money were tight and I had all the time in the world, I’d probably work on optimizing my Facebook and Instagram ads.

  6. Hi Brian, thanks for this! Your review convinced me to set up a campaign for an upcoming single release. But I got stuck with actually creating the campaign and uploading the assets. It was confusing to not know how these would be used, as there was no explanation. Also you mentioned that they create a pre-save page for you? Is this automated as well? Does it automatically switch over from presave to save once the single is out? I have a meeting with them scheduled for Monday but overall found the setup to be too simplified and the website so minimal and devoid of details to the point that I am confused. And now I can’t go back and edit the campaign.

    1. Hi Emily!

      Sounds like this will all get settled in two days with your meeting, but in the meantime, you shouldn’t need assets for a conversions campaign. For an exposure campaign, they’ve said that if you don’t have any, they can create some for you.

      They actually don’t create a pre-save page for you. You provide the release info and then on the release date, they execute the pre-saves on your Rise audience.

  7. Hi Brian 🙂

    I found your website a few days ago and this review of Rise really caught my attention. Your articles are very well built, and I appreciate all the details you put into them! However, I couldn’t find any other websites or videos reviewing this service…

    Seeing the number of your followers compared to your monthly listeners, one question popped into my mind: how is the engagement of the followers from Rise?

    Recently, Spotify for Artists put out a new tool called “Release engagement” under the “Audience” tab. For me and some other aritsts, the engagement was between 5% and 6%. If you’re okay with sharing this information, I’d be really interested in knowing what your percentage is.

    Thanks for your help and I wish you happy holidays! 🙂

    1. Happy to share, of course! I’m seeing the same, from 4.7% to 6.2%.

      That struck me as quite low, but if you’re seeing the same numbers without using Rise, then I guess that’s a pleasant surprise!

      Thanks for the kind words and happy holidays right back at you!

      1. Oh wow, that’s really interesting then!

        I agree, the numbers are low, but around 5% really seem to be the average when I talked with different artists. Even if they grew their audience with Facebook ads or organically.

        Thanks again for taking the time to reply to every comment!

  8. Hello,
    This was very informative, thank you! Would you say that it would be better to spend all your budget at once or monthly like you did ?
    I’m planning to spend big money (something like 5000$) to promote my new Spotify project with conversion campaigns, but I’m seriously thinking about using the whole budget at once. My reason behind this would be that I would have the benefit from the whole follower package at once and they would be listening to all my new tracks from day 1 instead of a slow growing until the end of the year. I think with very regular posting (weekly) and the advantage of having all the tracks saved it might break even at the end of the year.
    There is just one concern: it says in this case that the campaign will take 140 days to fly, does that means it will start after the 140 days, or that the total of followers will be reached after 140 days?
    I’m really curious of your thoughts on this!
    Thank you very much!

    1. That’s a bold move Karol!

      I understand the logic, but it seems risky to me. Maybe if you’ve got a knockout brilliant song that will absolutely positively make the world a better place! But even then, there’s a limit to how many new fans Rise can convert in a given time period.

      I don’t have any data to support this, but my suspicion is that as we gain new followers every month, a sizeable percentage of previous followers lose interest and drop off. By investing steadily over time, we flatten out the peaks and valleys. Kind of like dollar cost averaging… maybe?

      I’m not familiar with the 140 days figure, but it must mean that it would take 140 days to reach the promised follower count. They should be able to start in a matter of days, not weeks.

      If you’re going to spend $5K, could you be sure to use my affiliate link and code? Pretty please? 🙂

      1. Of course I’d use your affiliate link!
        Thank you for your reply. It makes me wonder if a middle ground marketing campaign wouldn’t be better: 1000$ as a kickstart, 1200+ followers that will presave all my future rise-promoted tracks, then a monthly 400$ to keep on a attracting new fans. Or something like that.
        I think my best safe bet is to spend those 1000$ and see if it brings the monthly revenue up by 100$ after a few time. If so that might be repaying itself and I might try I again with another 1000$ and so on.
        Just brainstorming ideas. Thank you anyway !

        1. The middle-ground approach seems wiser to me, but my biggest concern is that you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment. I’m 100% confident that Rise will deliver on its guarantees, but I don’t think it will ever come close to paying for itself. Even my cheapest, most effective Facebook ad campaigns can’t achieve that.

          If your Rise marketing budget is part of a broader, more holistic effort, it could totally make sense. As long as you’re not putting all your eggs into that one basket!

  9. Sure, I’m aware of that. It’s indeed part of various other strategies as a grow on the foundation level, with more straightforward playlists, collaborations, etc promotion.
    On the other hand, don’t your daily/weekly/monthly stream count had grow bigger since your following has grown over the year? I suppose it’s not a 100% correlation but I bet you’ve seen a progressive growth over the months, am I right? If not, there is something weird.
    In my case with weekly releases, playlists placements, and already a growing regular audience, I hope that a 1200 followers bump in one month would do a quite (not equal but) correlate bump in my overall streams.

    1. Weekly releases? That’s pretty ambitious!

      My stream count and monthly listeners are too volatile to attribute to any one promotional tactic. It’s likely that my percentage of streams from “listeners own playlists and library” has increased since I’ve joined Rise, but I can’t say for sure.

      Looking at the past 28 days, I have 65K streams, with 40% from “listeners own playlists and library” = 26K. Of course that’s not all Rise, but I’m guessing that’s where it would show up.

  10. Hey Brian, thanks for your thoughtful write up. I am also on a rise subscription. Was curious if you had gotten on many algorithmic playlists like discover weekly or others using Rise specifically? Also someone already mentioned but I’ve noticed a very small
    amount of followers actually playing a new release in comparison to how many followers rise has added. Wouldn’t that many followers at mean that I should be seeing more spins from my own catalog rather than just other playlists?

    Also I can’t find any reviews for ontount.com or any mention of it over a google search. Where are all these users that use ontout.com? Who is using this site? The IG doesn’t have any real fans or comments and engagement and it doesn’t seem to be an established website or service. Are there really that many people that don’t think Spotify or youtube music is enough to help them discover new artists? Are they just running facebook ads to send people to their ontout site? I want to keep using their service, but I wish there was a little more transparency.

    1. Rise actually has a webinar coming up on 2/27 that you can sign up for here. It’s a video walkthrough and Q&A to explain exactly how the service works and how they can make the guarantees they do. I’ll be watching (probably the replay) and afterward should be in a better position to answer your questions!

      As for algorithmic playlists, I have no way to separate my Rise performance from the rest of my efforts. Another reader asked me about my Release Engagement percentage, which is typically in the 4-6% range. He/she said that’s pretty normal, which suggests that Rise followers are listening. I’m up to 22.5K followers, most from Rise.

      1. Sweet thanks again for your response and work. I’ll be watching too! Did you notice if at any point you had been added to discover weekly during the time you were using rise?

        1. I think I’ve usually got tracks in Discover Weekly. Right now only 300 streams in 28 days. Radio, Release Radar, Your Daily Mix, and On Repeat all deliver more streams.

  11. I’ve been a Rise.la user since last year. I’ve run numerous campaigns with them. Here are my thoughts: they seem all right. Not excellent, not bad, not botted–just all right. Here’s why. As others have noted, the followers might be real–I don’t really doubt it–they are mostly inactive. My engagement rate with a 4,000 follower count was 2%. Maybe my music sucks. Maybe I suck. I don’t know. In any case, that’s been my experience. On the other hand, their Tout playlists seem legit. I don’t have bot activity on them. Almost all my streams, as far as I can tell, appear organic. (I’ve been on botted playlists before and can promise you you get 3,000 people “listening now” for a few days during set times and well, it’s all fake. Nobody behaves that way. You don’t magically get 3,000 people listening to you every day between 9 am and 10 am sharp for 2 weeks to get 50,000 streams. Doesn’t happen in the real world. Ever.) I can also promise you Rise.la doesn’t do that. I’ve never seen botted activity with them. I do SUSPECT that some of the users they attract via their campaigns are low-hanging fruit. But, here’s the thing: I’ve run Facebook Ads and gotten the same results: loads of clicks, likes, follows, and near-zero post-ad-campaign engagement. So, if Rise.la is using ads, they are likely running into the same problems I ran into. In addition, when I attempted to promote a video with a song of mine in it on Instagram, they were unable to promote it due to “copyright claims” made by my distributor. They sent me screenshots of their ad campaign–or attempt thereof–and then refunded me. The fact that they attempted an ad campaign–and sent me their screenshots–tells me the following: they actually run ads. They’re not lying.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! It totally aligns with mine.

      I just watched a webinar from Rise a few hours ago, and I have no doubt that they’re as legit as you suspect. They explained exactly how everything works and took questions.

      Many of my songs have over a 6% engagement rate, and based on my presaves, nearly half of my 22.5K followers are from Rise. Some of them must actually be listening!

    2. Are there any other promotion companies that you would recommend that you think are excellent? I’m thinking about giving Rise a shot with my next release.

      1. That’s tough. I used to do PlaylistPush until they became absurdly expensive. The last campaign—to go wide—they wanted north of $11,000. It’s just nuts. I’ve used them before with campaigns around $2,000 and with one of those campaigns I ended up on 4 inconsequential playlists. So I can imagine it’s possible to spend $11,000 and get nowhere. But, and here’s the qualifier, they tend to not have botted playlists in my experience (though they exist on the site as well).

        1. I’ve got a new review of Playlist Push coming up, and I know exactly what you mean! I opted for $400 and the slightest move of the slider would double my budget. I’m just waiting to get my final report after the four weeks are up.

      2. It depends on what you’re hoping to accomplish, but if we’re talking about promoting a release, Rise, Moonstrive, SubmitHub, and Groover would cover a lot of ground. If you can run Facebook Ads, even better.

  12. Hi Brian,

    Very informative article! Just wish to tap your brain:

    Currently I’m also doing my own FB/IG ad campaign. The result is not fantastic, but OK-ish, in view of a mere $5 budget each day. From your experience, would you suggest me to go ahead to invest $250 for a month of promo campaign in Rise, or should I just use the money to scale up my exiting ad campaign? I have a new track coming out in August.

    Note: Due to budget constrain, for Rise it will be an one-off one month campaign for the new track, no intention to do monthly subscription.

    Many thanks in advance for your advice. Cheers.

  13. My $250 Rise Exposure campaign produced very disappointing results. The number of Spotify streams/saves it added to our song could (and is!) have been achieved by myself for a quarter of the cost. My general experience of music promo is DIY is the way to go!

    1. I’m really sorry to hear your campaign was a bust Danny! I can really only vouch for conversion campaigns. Mine is still ongoing and it consistently delivers, both in followers and playlist placements.

  14. Hi Brian, I see Rise is no longer guaranteeing specific numbers of followers etc. Are you still using it and are you still seeing as much success? And are you hearing about other people having similar success? Would love an update— Thx much!

    1. I didn’t know that! But it makes total sense if they’re going to run campaigns for any artist at any level. Looking at my last 12 months, my follower growth is still consistent! I’m still with them but I’d like to test out a blank slate for a bit, with zero outside support, just to see what happens.

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