The New Pay to Play

By Kyle Gilbert

Kyle is the writer / drummer for the alternative / punk band Second Player Score He is also DJ Dex , Host of Gettin Squatchy every Thursday at 2:30pm PST on 99wnrr . com
Spotify is the top dog for music streaming now , and bands are doing anything to get noticed . One thing that I have been seeing a lot of recently are playlist promotion sites , as well as playlisters that will put you on their playlist for a monthly fee . Are the numbers alone enough to grant you further success ? Do you get return on your investment dollars ? I have seen a lot of commentary on this , and even gave it a quick try with my own band to find out . Let me tell you what my understanding is on this , and what my personal experience turn out to be .
With the rise of Spotify and the desire to obtain more plays and followers on the platform emerging bands have started working with playlist promotion sites and
playlisters themselves to obtain those bigger better numbers , but unfortunately in my experience the only true winners are the ones accepting the money . The problem with a site that says they will promote you to playlists is that you really have no control over what you get put on , nor do the sites have to prove that the playlists you ’ re on are legit . Plus , there really isn ’ t a way to prove that anyway . My own band has been on some playlists with huge follower numbers , but when looking at our stats would never see anything coming from these playlists . We even had a place that had payment tiers . We never paid , but they did give us a trial run for about 3 weeks . Now that playlist got us a lot of plays , like numbers we ’ d never seen before , but the issue was this . Even though we had plays we got little to no followers from it , and of all those listeners there was no way to tell who were real listeners , and which ones were bots just running you on repeat . Also , of the real life listeners one thing that we encountered was a lot of passive listeners . These listeners are just people that will listen to whatever is on the playlist . They aren ’ t actively looking to add new bands to their roster . So really , in the end , even with all these awesome plays we were getting we weren ’ t seeing really any more engagement with our band than before . Luckily for my band that was the end of our story on chasing playlists , but I know personally of bands that got added to playlists that were loaded with bots and they eventually had their tracks removed permanentaly from Spotify . This is definitely not worth the price of admission , even if its free .
I ’ m not here to tell you to ignore Spotify , or that you don ’ t need it . I mean , they are the name of the game right now , but if you can elicit more engagement your Spotify numbers will improve in a far more substantial manner . Another thing to remember is that Spotify is lacking in a return path . When you get new followers the
only way to get on their radar once you ’ ve dropped off is to release new music or post an upcoming live show . You have no real way to contact your audience to engage with them . You ’ d be better off to work to get people following you on social media outlets where you can interact on the daily . ( Continued on page 77 )
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