Rise

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.

31 Comments

  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?

    Cormac

    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.

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