Spotting fake playlists with analytics
As independent artists we've been pitching our music to playlist curators. A few songs were accepted on high quality playlists - which helped a lot gaining new followers and streams.
Some curators got in touch asking to pay for placements. We are not against this in principle - maintaining high quality playlist takes a lot of time and dedication to screen and select high quality music, and to promote the playlist itself. Even large, quality indie outlets such as Indiemono accept contributes to keep the project running.
The issue is that many (most?) curators asking to pay for placements maintain fake playlists made up of paid followers and bots. Which is wasted money and - worse - may get you in trouble.
There are a few articles covering how to spot fake playlists, mostly along the lines of the one on Hypebot, which appears as #1 result on Google on the topic. Very good advice, but it does not give a "final answer" on whether the playlist is legit or not.
Here is a way to get to a clearer answer. You will need a free account on Chartmetric and to use the great service from isitagoodplaylist.com. Both are free to use for the procedure described here.
Here is an example of a bad playlist
This is an example of a 190k+ followers' playlist asking 50$ for a top-30 placement.
From Chartmetric it's clear they're buying followers: they have huge bumps of thousand of followers on specific days, in an otherwise stable follower count.
Now the question is: do they have at least SOME real listeners among their followers? Here is where isitagoodplaylist.com helps. The service basically identifies which of the artists in the playlist had streams coming from the playlist itself. To do that they use the "Discovered On" list on each artist Spotify profile.
In this example (same playlist as above) a few artists got indeed discovered on the playlist by new listeners, so at least SOME listeners are there.
Looking at the artists who are NOT discovered on the playlist gives us additional information. There are artists with less than 150k listeners per month who did not get enough streams from this playlist despite having been on it for 2 weeks.
How a good playlist looks like
Good playlists look very different. Here is the example for Indiemono's Clean Pop Hits 2021.
Followers growing smoothly, no bumps.
Artists with millions of monthly listeners have the playlist as #1 on their "Discovered On" section, after one day in the list.
I guess the difference is now clear :) - don't waste money on fake playlists.
Hope this can help some fellow indie artist, drop us a message if you have comments!