You may have seen them on social—posts that basically go, “Get your music heard on official Spotify playlists! Pay us to do it for you because we’re awesome at it!” If so, here’s the deal with pay-for-play scamsright from Spotify’s playlist editors:

It’s a Scam

No one can pay to get music on an official Spotify playlist. If someone does offer to place your music on an official Spotify playlist in exchange for cash, you’re better off spending your money on swamp land.

In a March 2020 interview with Forbes, Spotify’s co-head of music, Jeremy Erlich, said, “We don’t talk to any of these people at all. They’re scams.”

Going through Spotify’s Artist Portal is the only way to pitch your music to Spotify’s official playlist editorial team, and anyone can do it.

For details, visit the Spotify page Pitching Music to Our Playlist Editors.

User-Generated Playlists

As for user-generated playlists, Spotify’s editorial team said in a July 2020 interview with that the practice of offering playlist placement for cash is against Spotify’s terms of service, and Spotify routinely removes playlists by people engaged in this practice.

In other words, by paying hard-earned cash to some random playlist maker for the promise of getting heard, you just may wind up slamming your head against a desk when that playlist (and the cash you shelled out) disappears.

The Bottom Line

Even if some pay-for-play offer seems irresistible, remember one thing. Spotify may stand as a dangling carrot of fame for bands, but Spotify represents a negligible source of income for musicians.

Yes, the fundamental impetus behind music is creativity, passion, and expression. These things will always be the underpinnings of music. Yet music is also a business, and in its best form, the business side of music complements creativity.

Within this, Spotify can certainly be called useful. Yet since Spotify puts few dollars into the pockets of most musicians, Spotify cannot be viewed as an end goal to itself. Spotify falls more within the area of unpaid promotion, like giving a radio interview or speaking with a music journalist—activities that ideally direct people toward things that do generate income for musicians, like album sales or ticket sales for live shows.

Keeping this in mind helps keep Spotify in perspective and steers you away from people who promise to “get your music heard” when they may get you no plays at all. You do not need such people on your team when there are countless places to submit your music and get heard without paying for play, like radio.

>> Here’s why radio still matters to bands and live shows.

Not interested in radio? Simply want to promote your band better online? Here are two recent RCS blogs to help you:

From the whole team at Royal City Studios, stay awesome and stay healthy, and we’ll see you again soon.