Learn more about artificial streams

The consequences of opting into (paid) services that promise more streams, followers or playlist placements can be quite severe. Learn more about the risks in this guide.

What are artificial streams?

An artificial stream is a stream that doesn't reflect genuine user listening intent, including any instance of attempting to manipulate DSPs by using automated processes (via bots or scripts). There are unfortunately a lot of promotional services that offer more streams, more followers or playlist placements in exchange for a fee or a donation. It might not always be obvious that these are fraudulent, but they are almost always a scam.

What the DSPs are saying

"Paid 3rd-party services that guarantee streams aren’t legitimate. 3rd-party promotional services that advertise streams in return for payment violate our terms & conditions, and using them could result in your music being removed from platforms. Any service that claims to offer guaranteed placement on playlists in exchange for money are in violation of our terms & conditions, and they shouldn't be used."

DSPs have great tools and resources to detect artificial streams. When they identify confirmed cases of artificial streaming or stream manipulation, they can take action such as withhold the associated royalties or remove this content from the platform.

Tips and tricks

  • If you're planning on running a promotional campaign for your music, please do your research beforehand and only work with legitimate companies. We would recommend staying away from the following offenders: WAVR.AI, Varsity Playlists, ThePlaylistBros, CraftPlaylists, PlaylistGoats, and TopShelf Playlists, to name a few.
  • We would also recommend checking the playlists your releases are added to. There are unfortunately playlists that use streaming fraud to get more followers. This in turn can cause artificial streams for your release and can have negative consequences for you.
  • One handy tool we found online was the following website, where you can check if a playlist you have been added to is 'botted': https://www.artist.tools/bot-checker
  • And here is an article that explains how you can get out of a 'botted' playlist: https://www.artist.tools/post/how-to-get-out-of-a-botted-playlist

How to grow your audience organically

Check out the links below to learn more about how to grow your audience organically on Spotify and Apple:

Spotify - https://artists.spotify.com/blog/release-guide-preparing-for-release-day

Apple - https://artists.apple.com/support/3913-protect-from-streaming-manipulation

And you can always reach out to our team if you have more questions: support@makewaves.fm

Last updated in July 2024
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