Home » Knowledge hub » Fake playlists on Spotify: how to avoid them? (2023)

Fake playlists on Spotify: how to avoid them? (2023)

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As you already know, Spotify playlists are a great growth engine. Aim your music at big, robust playlists, contact the curators, and get streams and exposure. But not every playlist is quite what it claims to be. Sometimes a 25K followers playlist won’t get a 25K-followers-playlist’s results.


Unfortunately, many playlists on Spotify use bots as followers and buy bot-generated streams. This is dangerous to you and your music for reasons we will explain right away. We will also teach you how to detect and avoid these harmful playlists, and what you can do to make sure you get your music on the right (and legal) playlists.

Why are fake playlists dangerous?

First, fake playlists – Spotify playlists that use bots for streams and followers – mislead you about how your music performs on Spotify. They appear to be popular and alive, and even show some nice stream numbers to artists, when in fact these followers and streams aren’t real. Seeing thousands of streams on your Spotify for Artists is nice, but it doesn’t help you when there are no real fans behind it.


Even worse – if it does work, these “followers” listen to your music and it gets noticed, who will the algorithm recommend it to? Right. To more music-tasteless bots, meaning 0 new real listeners or streams through algorithm exposure. The platform will also link you to the other artists on the playlist, again misleading the algorithm and damaging your exposure and promotion effort.


As an artist, your real fanbase is your most important asset. They are the people who love your music, play and share it and engage with the content you make. When they’re gone – what’s the point in numbers?


Second, fake playlists are illegal. Buying streams or followers is against Spotify’s terms of use and may lead to punishment against the user. In the case of playlists, that will also affect you in two ways:


  1. Spotify will remove the fake songs and streams generated on the playlist. I.e. your numbers will drop, especially the number of streams, and the monthly listeners as a result.


  1. Because your song got bot-generated streams, Spotify might take actions against your songs and artist page. In other words, buying streams may lead to less exposure by the algorithm, a bad reputation, and sometimes even removal of the song from Spotify!


Beyond the direct damage that might be caused by a fake playlist, it also damages the industry and your career. You don’t want to be identified as “the one who uses fake followers” or “the stream buyer”. Building legitimate and robust relationships with playlist curators and artists is much better, both in terms of reputation and real, rewarding promotion.

How to detect (and avoid) fake Spotify playlists?

The first and most important tool for detecting fake playlists are graphs and metrics about the playlist. Followers over Time graph is the first indicator you’d like to check, as it’s the easiest way to detect bot-followers. Try to find any peaks or weird boosts. If a playlist gets new 10K followers in one day, they probably use bots.

After that, you’d like to go deeper to either be sure it’s OK or confirm your suspicions. You’d like to see if the tracks on the playlist indeed match the genre or mood they’re supposed to, if it features artists you want to be connected to, and assure the curator isn’t some stream-selling “promotion” service.

Here are some things to check and questions to ask, so you can have a better idea of the playlist’s

  • How many playlists does the curator have? Do they feature the same artists? Do they have the same amount of followers? If the answer to one or both questions is yes, it doesn’t look good.


  • If the playlist has dozens of thousands of followers and features only unknown artists, it might be using bots.


  • Does the playlist feature the music it’s supposed to? For example, a (real) hip-hop playlist will contain hip-hop songs.

How to detect rogue campaigners?

Sadly, alongside the legit and professional Spotify promotional services there are also scammers, people who try to make easy money on the artist’s behalf and sell them air in form of fake streams and followers. In this section, we will share a few tips on how to avoid these crooks (who use fake playlists more than often, and might get you in trouble).

  1. They offer campaigns based on a number of streams/followers/playlist placements. never believe in guaranteed streams or followers. If they promise you 5K streams, they probably buy them.


  1. Their website has loose edges. For example, I’ve seen a site offering promotion packages but their refund policy says that “To be eligible for a return, your item must be in the same condition that you received it, unworn or unused, with tags, and in its original packaging.” Yeah, sure.


  1. Their playlists, of course, are suspicious (If you find playlists linked to them).


  1. Name dropping. They say they work with industry leaders and well-known artists, but have no proof of that.

How can analyzing followers over time help detect fake playlist followers?

Our platform offers a new technique for analyzing followers over time, which allows users to detect if a playlist curator has bought fake followers for their playlist. By examining the graph, if an artificial spike appears, such as an increase of 5,000 followers in a single day, it’s a clear indication that the curator has fake followers. With this feature, Playlist Map provides musicians with another layer of information to make better decisions about which playlists to pitch their music to.

Use legit and professional Spotify promotion services

In order to get real results, and boost your exposure on Spotify and other platforms, you can use services that work with real playlists and ones that help you manage your promotion strategy – where you should submit your track and what you need to focus resources on.


Here at PlaylistMap, you can create long-lasting relationships with playlist curators that will support your music for years. Using smart filtering to find the best playlists for you and professionally-written emails for an excellent first impression, your career can take off easily.


Now, with our new Insights section displaying important info on each and every playlist, Don’t look further. You’ve got all you need at your fingertips, and can now start promoting your music big time, efficiently and easily.




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