Music Business

How To Avoid Spotify Playlist Scams

There are currently a rash of ads being presented to musicians pledging to get their music on multiple massively influential playlists, all for a small fee. Unsurprisingly, these offers are often too good to be true.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

The most prevalent ads for musicians on social media promise guaranteed placement on hugely influential playlists for a small amount of money. But how do you know when an offer is too good to be true?

Anyone working in music will recognize this scene: You’re scrolling through social media on your phone when you see an advertisement for a company you don’t know claiming that they can get you onto influential Spotify playlists. These ads often feature an image of one or more playlists, such as the wildly popular Rap Caviar. These companies typically charge a fixed rate for this life-changing opportunity, and it’s often less than the price you pay for rent in any American city. It’s the kind of thing that sounds too good to be true, and that’s because — by and large — it’s a lie.

Selling people on the idea of achieving their wildest dreams is nothing new, but in the age of social media and targeted marketing, snake oil salesman are more cunning than ever. Facebook and Instagram offer a robust set of tools for advertisers to market their products and services to the people most likely to click on their messaging. That makes it incredibly easy to find desperate people willing to take a chance on false promises of significant returns being real. After all, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity appear on a playlist with millions of followers? That’s a feat very few artists ever accomplish!

The simple truth is that if such services were real, then everyone in music would use them. If that were the case, then every significant playlist would be flooded with talent that no one knows to promote songs nobody has heard. But anyone with Spotify can tell you that is not the case. None of the company-curated playlists can be hacked through third-party promotion services. Nobody can buy their way onto these playlists, especially not someone from a company you and your music friends have never heard of that is run by people you can’t find or chat with over the phone. That’s not how the music business works.

In the latest episode of Music Biz, host James Shotwell breaks down the truth about playlist placement services, where they come from, and how anyone can easily spot scams from a mile away. His words will save you untold amounts of money, which you can then use to pay for a proper PR or marketing team that cares about your work. Check it out:

Music Biz is brought to you by Haulix, the music industry’s leading promotional distribution company. Join today and gain immediate access to the same promo tools used by Bruce Springsteen, Slipknot, Jason Isbell, and thousands more. Visit to start your free trial.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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