How To Spot Bot Playlists On Spotify (Before It’s Too Late)

Bot playlists on Spotify can seriously mess up an artist’s chance of making it big. Back in 2021, Spotify axed over half a million songs from Distrokid that were added to these fake playlists with artificial streams. Playlist Push has been on the front lines of this battle since late 2018, using algorithms and human checks to verify playlist authenticity. Here are some easy methods anyone can use to spot a fake playlist without needing any fancy tools.

Check Followers

First, take a look at how many followers the playlist has and how many the user account has. While Spotify doesn’t show playlist followers, you can see profile followers. It’s unusual for a playlist with 1,000 followers to have the same number of profile followers. If the followers have weird, random usernames, it’s likely a bot playlist. Conversely, a big playlist with 20k-40k followers but only 0-100 profile followers is also suspicious.

Things to watch out for:

  • Profile Photo: A big playlist without a catchy image or branding is fishy.
  • Number of Tracks: Less than 40 tracks is a red flag. Fake playlists often have a small, mainstream collection.
  • Artists in the Playlist: If all the artists are small and unknown and the curator lacks an existing platform, that’s suspicious.

Check Artist Profiles

Looking at the artist profiles in the playlist is useful for two reasons. First, you can see if the playlist appears in their top 5 “Discovered On” lists. If higher-ranked playlists have fewer followers, that’s a red flag. Second, check the other playlists the artist is in. Bot playlists usually have boring or generic titles like “Top 40 Hits” or “Best Songs,” which helps them exploit a wide range of artists and genres.

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Ask the Curator How They Grow Their Playlists

If you can contact the playlist curator, ask how they grow their playlist. Playlists boosted by follow and submission gates often have lots of followers but very inactive ones. The number of followers is less important than the number of average monthly listeners. Remember, followers don’t matter as much as monthly listeners or real streams.

Avoid Fake Playlisting Services

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of websites promising a specific number of plays for a fee. This violates Spotify’s Terms of Service and can get your artist account compromised.

Signs of fake services:

  • Guaranteed streams
  • No real contact person
  • Promises of “going viral”
  • Low-quality website
  • Cold or unsolicited emails
  • Low prices, especially under $50
  • Adding your song to a playlist and asking for a donation to keep it there

How Playlist Push Fights Bots and Fake Streams

Playlist Push uses KYC (Know Your Customer) technology to verify curator identities. They track playlist history and spot sudden changes in following or content. This helps prevent fraud by ensuring the list runners are legit.

Common Questions

Can bot engagement affect an artist’s chances on legitimate playlists? Yes, it can. Spotify’s algorithms detect fake engagement, which can reduce visibility or even get the artist’s music removed.

How can artists avoid bot activity in promotions? Artists should carefully vet promotional services or playlist curators, ensuring they follow Spotify’s guidelines. Look for transparent practices, real user engagement, and positive reviews.

Are some genres more targeted by bots? Bots can target all genres. Scammers often aim at emerging artists across various music types, exploiting those eager for more exposure.

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John Miller


July 10, 2024