Getting your music to circulate online is key to success in 2024. Period. But with millions of songs saturating online platforms, how do you gain traction on Spotify playlists? You may be tempted to use a service that utilizes music bots to increase your streams. Or worse, you may not realize the promotion company you’ve hired is using these illegal forms of boosting streams. Understand that Distrokid has agreed with Spotify to analyze and penalise any artist(s) they deem to be using fake streaming.

First of all, don’t lose heart. You definitely need an A&R company that only uses safe promotional methods. There are lots of great ways to promote online, however, trusting a third-party cheap promoter who guarantees you streams is a red card in this game. Our team works with artists to personally pitch your music to music curators who head up thousands of large playlists worldwide.

But it’s equally important to learn what NOT to do so that your Spotify profile or other streaming platforms don’t lose revenue.

What Are Music Streaming Bots and Fake Streams?

Some promotion companies will guarantee a certain amount of streams within a certain timeframe. Beware. If this is the case, sometimes they could be using illegal bots. “Bots” are software programs that are programmed to repetitively play the same song(s) or playlist(s) over and over (this is the song that never ends . . .) Note, there are legit companies that will guarantee a certain amount of plays, but not within a set time. ie. Continue the promotion until a song hits XX amount of streams.

One, that’s a bummer because as artists, we work so hard on our music, we deserve real plays. Two, Spotify and other streaming platforms are really cracking down on this, and your profile could get penalized for that.

Spotify Cracks Down On Music Streaming Bots

In the last couple years, Spotify has caught major label artists and independent companies alike trying to use bots to generate millions of fake streams. Because of this, they have hired huge teams of researchers and engineers for the sole purpose of finding and removing artificial streams and creating negative repercussions for companies and artists that use them.

How can you be sure that the promotion company you’re using is above board on the bot issue? Start by asking any promoter you’re looking to hire these questions. In addition, we’ve included some tips below for doing some investigation on your own.

How to Spot Bots On Playlists

Step 1: Check the playlist username’s follower list

You can empower yourself as an artist or industry exec to do a little investigation of your own. There are a few tell-tale signs that a playlist is using bots. Here’s how to take a quick look.

Spotify doesn’t make playlist followers public, but you can see the owner of the playlist’s personal followers by clicking more under their username. Take a close look and if most of the profile names under a certain playlist curator look bogus, they probably are.

Step 2: Check the details

If a playlist has hundreds of thousands of followers and is running millions of streams a month, it’s highly (and we mean highly) unlikely it is legit without a playlist/username profile photo and branding. Usually the playlists that are generating this amount of streams are the A-list Spotify editorials. If it’s a newer playlist with lower volume, and it’s running millions of streams a month, it’s more than likely bot’ed.

Another way to sometimes tell is by looking at the amount of saves a song has. Usually saves are about 6-10% of the streams. With bot’d tracks, saves are a lot less, more around 3%.

Step 3: If you’re not sure, ask someone you trust

Our team of A&R pros are here to help you navigate your career as it pertains to all things online music promotion. That means we are here for any questions you might have about bots, playlists, and creating real promotion plans that will make the most impact in your music. That’s why we’ve created an exclusive Q&A group on Facebook. Visit us here or set up a meeting with our A&R team and we will answer any questions you may have.

Our team are made up of primarily music artists, who understand and want to promote their songs organically. We take the greatest care to ensure you receive a real-life response to your promotion. 

Talk to us today about the best practice and also the best way to promote your next release.