There are dozens of companies who will promise you the world when it comes to promoting your track.
The first thing to be aware of is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
The second thing to know is that play counts and follows from fake accounts might get you a short-term profile boost, but it could backfire and be a total waste of money (and credibility!).
Let’s take a look at the official policies of SoundCloud and Spotify, which are generally the two sites that most of these companies focus on boosting plays on.
SoundCloud’s Policy on Promotional Services
Promo companies offering SoundCloud services offer the ability to boost plays on a track and to increase follower counts on a profile. Some may also offer repost services in exchange for money.
This is what SoundCloud’s official FAQs say about such services:
If you are detected for ‘faking’ your popularity on SoundCloud by using these services, you will risk being permanently suspended from the platform.
Please be aware that many of these offerings are likely to be fraudulent or malicious and we would like to remind you to stay safe online and always be aware of phishing.”
Spotify’s Policy on Promotional Services
Companies offering Spotify promo services will offer to boost plays, increase followers or get your track added to certain key playlists.
“Something to keep in mind: Avoid services that guarantee streams or playlist placement. Their illegitimate practices could result in your music being removed from Spotify. It’s important to know you’re putting your career at risk any time you engage with one of these bad actors.”
When it comes to playlists, it’s important to remember that there are two kinds of playlists: user playlists and Spotify editorial (in-house) playlists. “If anyone asks you to pay to end up on a Spotify [editorial] playlist, it’s a scam,” says an official video on getting playlisted on Spotify on their Artists website.
What Promotional Techniques are Allowed on SoundCloud?
Check out SoundCloud’s guide to promoting your tracks and improving stats to see what legitimate methods there are for boosting your music on their platform. If you’re concentrating some promo on Soundcloud, make sure to keep an eye on your Soundcloud stats in your Spinnup account, find it in the Fanbase tab of the Stats
Our guide to self-promotion for musicians is also packed with tips on how to squeeze the most out of your uploads.
What Promotional Techniques are Allowed on Spotify?
Read Spotify’s guide to promoting music on its platform for the official line.
We also have some extra tips in our blog post on how to get your music heard on Spotify. Don’t forget that they have a free-to-use tool at artists.spotify.com (once you have registered and claimed your artist account) that lets you submit your music to their editorial team for playlist consideration. For help on that, you can read our step by step guide on how to use Spotify’s playlist pitching tool.
Why Fake Followers and Play Counts Won’t Help You
First of all, ask yourself this: what’s more important — quantity or quality?
Of course, every successful musician needs to reach a critical mass of fans to thrive, and for labels, radio and press to be interested in them. But particularly when starting out, it’s much more important to have a core, engaged fan base rather than loads of empty numbers.
All the serious tastemakers and trendspotters will see through empty numbers if they aren’t backed by real fan engagement. If you have 100,000 fake followers and only 2,000 real ones and a promoter books you for a show that no-one comes to, you’ll find that the illusion of your short-term ‘success’ comes back to bite you. Smart people can also see when a profile’s big follower numbers don’t match up to the play counts it’s getting, and what that indicates.
There’s also the question of integrity. Do you want to be a faker? Or do you want to be a real artist who goes the hard route, and gives it their all to succeed? And there can be real consequences here, including having your music actually removed from the stores if they think you’ve faked your plays.
There are no shortcuts if you want to be a genuinely successful, talented musician. Fake plays and fake followers are not a good look for anyone.