Image Credit: Spotify

Spotify may withhold royalties generated through artificial streaming. Here’s what artists should spend their money on instead of fake streams.

Can you buy Spotify streams? Of course. Should you? No.

Spotify itself has just issued dire new warnings about the consequences for artists paying for Spotify plays. The new Spotify for Artists video explains how Spotify deals with bot streaming, and why artists should stay well away.

What are fake Spotify streams?

Artificial streaming is when a human isn’t listening to a track but multiple plays are generated, often in exchange for payment. It’s a bad idea. At RouteNote, we’ve strongly advised against bot and fraud streaming in the past. As Spotify itself said: “These are precisely the wrong ways to find success on Spotify.”

Watching your stream count stalling or slowly inching upwards like a lazy slug can be really demoralising, and it’s tempting to look for short cuts. But those short cuts can end with your music banned from streaming services, and your play counts wiped. All that hard work wasted.

Bot streaming can also end up costing you a bomb. In the words of Spotify: “Trying to game the system is a waste of your budget that can adversely affect your music.”

The fact is, artificial streams aren’t actual real life humans, and therefore you aren’t gaining new listeners. You’re not building a fanbase by buying streams, and bots aren’t going to come to your shows – it’s just unsustainable, pointless numbers.

How does Spotify detect fake streams?

Spotify tracks listening habits and will flag up suspicious streams. In terms of paying for playlisting, it removes user-generated playlists that claim to offer huge stream increases in exchange for payment – so you’ll just end up losing those streams anyway.

Spotify stresses that you can’t buy your way onto any Spotify editorial playlist. To get a coveted slot you must pitch through Spotify for Artists. Let Spotify for Artists support know if you spot something that doesn’t seem right.

How to tell if Spotify streams are fake

Keep an eye on your Spotify for Artists dashboard for indicators like having a surge in streams for no apparent reason, especially from seemingly random locations on your Top Streaming Cities.

If you’ve just starting working with a new marketing company, Spotify suggests fronting it and asking outright if there’s any streaming manipulation going on.

Should Spotify suspect bot streaming is involved, it threatens to withhold royalties, demote artists from chart positions and reset streaming numbers.

How to generate streams on Spotify without buying plays

Start treating your music as a career, and focus on promoting your new releases in smart ways. For example, social media is the best free marketing tool there is. Use it wisely to generate growth. We’ve gathered some tips below:

Spotify for Artists itself has suggestions for what artists should be spending their budget on instead of bot streaming. Advertising, visual content and music videos will help to grow your fanbase, whilst in some cases enriching you creatively as an artist. Your music is worth it.

Check the full video out below:

Here’s something that ISN’T too good to be true – getting your music on Spotify for free with RouteNote. We’ve been supporting unsigned artists and independent record labels since 2007, helping artists to release music to all the big streaming services around the world.

It’s easy, empowering, and free. Find out more here.