How to know if a playlist is ruled by bots?

How to know if a playlist is ruled by bots?
4th October 2021 sandra
bot looking at camera

How do we spot a fake playlist? how do we know if the playlist we just got added to is ruled by bots?

Like with everything in this life, playlists can also turn on the dark side. Everybody knows that nowadays there’re several services that have developed fraudulent bot camps focused on every internet platform you know.  That’s why we really need you to know how we can detect these strange activities. These playlists could give you a lot of streams but also a lot of problems.

Bot with middle finger up


As the Indiemono manifesto says: This is important; artists don’t have to pay for curation and we live by that standard. (That’s why you can always submit music to us for free) The first easy sign to detect these fraudulent services is that they always are going to demand a high fee. We already know the name of this practice, the payola system.

However, there’re few more practices to detect these activities. But we couldn’t be able to know more if big data platforms or streaming platforms would haven’t developed their tracking software. Let’s quickly check some possible signs:

First, you’ll surely get most of the streams from free accounts.

If more than 90% of your consumption comes from a specific country (frequently from South America or remote Asia markets) without a justified cause like artist origin or music genre market share from this country. No, Turkish people didn’t suddenly realize that you’re the greatest singer ever, sorry 🙁 there’s a high chance that these streams are coming from bots.

Check out tools like Chartmetric to detect strange activities on playlists like unexplained rises of followers. For example, a growth of 2k unchanging followers per day on a playlist can be suspicious. Irregular peaks can mean a lot; perhaps, we’re in front of a digital marketing campaign, but we should also check where the consumption comes from.

Watch out for profiles where all playlists have reached a similar level of followers, usually big thousands. If you find a profile with eight playlists, all of them are between 30k – 35k followers. Or a profile with millions of followers appearing from nowhere.

More useful tips:

  • Does the playlist have a lot of followers but the curator himself doesn’t have any?
  • Do you get a lot of streams but your “save” ratio doesn’t correspond to them?
  • Does the playlist only feature unknown artists but it still has a lot of followers?
  • Be mindful of this, bots could be very detrimental to your music career. Spotify watches out for these shady practices and labels do their research too before signing up artists.
  • Have you ever been added to one of these playlists? How did you notice it?

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