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My Experience With PlaylistPush

I like to dabble with various types of music promotion. When I find new services I often try them out. A few months ago a few members of the /r/indiemusicfeedback community started talking about a new service they found called PlaylistPush. Among community members, no-one pulled the trigger on it because of its relatively high price point to get started. I added it to my list of things I’m willing to throw money at just to see what happens.

Meanwhile I had been trying to hire what is essentially a personal assistant for my music. I wanted to hire a playlist scout, someone who took time to listen to my tracks, look over playlists, and come back to me with playlists taking submissions who they thought my music could mesh well with. I hired someone on Fiverr for this at one point and it ended up sending a bunch of bot traffic to my Spotify (I’m still cleaning this up). I have yet to find the assistant I’m looking for (taking applications!!).

overview of playlistpush.com
PlaylistPush does this probably better than any other playlist submission platform I have used. The service itself is the best in the category, but the price point makes the value questionable.

Now lets talk about value for a second here, it is after all the crux of my argument on why the service is not a good idea for small budget DIY acts in niche genres.

Value = benefit – cost

Benefit is a hard to define with music promotion. its not necessarily a dollars and cents thing. Expect to go massively into the red when promoting music on your own.

Playlists don’t appear to be great in general for picking up followers and new fans. However, if I can pick up a few new fans amongst the stream of people skimming along playlists, ill take that as a win that adds to the benefit. Plays alone provide benefit via streaming royalties, for value to be met on streams alone, you would need to nearly guarantee 40,000 plays per playlist push campaign. They also do expose music to new potential fans, if some of these plays like and follow my artist profile that is a non-monetary benefit that can help me in the long run as I continue to release new material.

I think even for successful placements, the value is questionable. The value is less about playlistpush itself (however the $400 entry point does not help), and more about playlists as a strategy in general. (See example at the bottom of this post)

Ok now that my thoughts on value are out of the way… back to my experience.

As I started to look closer at playlistpush, it seemed like the closest thing to a personal playlist scout that is sold as a package out there. This might be exactly what I have been looking for. I bought the cheapest campaign I could at $391 and came in knowing that I very well may end up with a goose egg on plays and followers – Know that on any playlist submission website this is a possibility.

I selected an older track of mine, Quick Draw, for a few reasons.

somewhat incognito quick draw track artwork
Quick draw is quirky and atmospheric. It is a little odd in its production choices. It may not have been the ideal selection for PlaylistPush, but I think it is an overall good representation of my sound (I make quirky music, this is me) and I KNOW there are people who love the track. If anyone hears this and enjoys it, they will probably enjoy my other material.

1- I have never promoted it – its a fresh track as far as stats go and no other campaigns would obfuscate the stats or results coming in

2- Its a fan favorite, of my small base of actual fans many of them have told me its one of their favorites , especially amongst ‘non-producer’ fans, which I thought was a tell in some way that it might be good for playlists.

3- It leans toward rock in its sound but draws on synthwave and synthpop and I thought it could fit along side other indietronica style acts in a playlist.

Shortly after signing up I got this email:

playlist push first email to customer
This was a big plus, was I getting a human to look over my stats and help me out with who to send the track to? I’m not sure but thats what was running through my head at the time. I didn’t talk to a person or get any personal emails after this. In retrospect I think this is just for reporting purposes to pull data into their dashboards. In the end human-to-human contact didnt happen, im not sure exactly what goes on on the other side of the platform at this point.

I later got an email about genres:

playlist push genre selected email
As I looked this over I was pleased to see there are genres on this list that I did not select. I see this as a benefit because I took that to mean someone at playlistpush listened to my track and made adjustments to my selections that they thought may work better than my original selections. This is what I wanted from an assistant! excellent – we are off to a good start with impressions of the service. I also had to google what Omaha Indie is – cool a new niche to check out.

Overall the process was easy, quick and had a good user experience on the website. I would like to see more one-on-one interaction for the price point, an agent that emails me and says ‘hey I think these are good playlists and we want to submit to them and here is why’ – the service when I used it does not do this. It appears to be solely based on genre selection ,and I did get some adjustments made for me on that front (i dont know who did it however). I understand it will cut the margin for them to offer a personal touch like this, I think two hours of allocated time from a PlaylistPush ‘playlist agent’ for a $400 asking price should be doable and would greatly increase the benefit of the service.

The Placement I Got

I did get a single decent placement, that generated around 800 plays on my track Quick Draw over a few weeks on a moderately active playlist that looked to be real traffic – this is still a win for me by the numbers, the service is ‘real’ in that they do what they say they are going to do. I think it will work well for artists with very ‘playlistable’ material – staple genres, mood music, and sonic profiles that closely resemble other established acts will likely see bigger numbers and more placements. For artists or acts like me, who don’t fit exactly into any genre cleanly, its a gamble with odds against you, imo.

playlistpush playlist placement
The placement I got via playlist push This was a decent playlist, not huge, but ill take it.
Spotify stats after playlistpush campaign
The placement did result in a big bump for the track, note I never promoted quick draw so all these other plays prior to the promo were organic. The placement lasted a couple of weeks and drive steady traffic to the song.
listens and saves on song after playlistpush campaign
Listener to like ratio of 5% is a little low, and probably isnt doing much to help me long term.. but time will tell. These stats are the last 28 days which contains mostly playlist push placement traffic.

On The Feedback

I did get feedback from every decline. I get good feedback for free from online communities like indiemusicfeedback, so I dont see it as a huge addition to the benefit, unless its truly exceptional feedback. I did get a few good takeaways but most of it was not helpful. The feedback is part of the benefit of the service, here’s a sample of some that I got from declines.

poor feedback from playlistpush curator
This feedback is nice, makes me feel good and all but all its doing is telling me he wasnt a good person to pick to send the track to – ill note what his playlists look like and avoid that for songs in this style in the future.
playlistpush sample feedback
This is little more helpful. More variation in future tracks if possible might work better. I got similar feedback on IMF discord.
bad feedback on playlistpush campaign
This was a decline believe it or not. No reason why it wasn’t a fit, or what they didn’t like. this is not very helpful.
targeting on playlistpush campaign
Again, ‘I like it but its not a good fit’ for the curator. There were a handful of these.

On the customer service

As my campaign started to draw to an end, I considered buying a second one, maybe Quick Draw wasn’t the best choice. I just could not stomach another 400 bucks to do that. I do have the money to play around with stuff like this and if my blunders can be used to inform other artists like me, ill take that as a small win. However, I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere and move to trying out other things when the costs would get to close to 800 bucks just to do an evaluation. In advance of writing this post, I sent playlistpush an email:

somewhat incognito email to playlistpush
I sent this email asking if I could get a 2nd free campaign to evaluate more before doing my write up. I waited 1 week to see if they would reply before giving my opinions to the IMF community and my followers. They never replied. Note I would not have asked for this if I wasn’t planning on providing a recommendation to a large internet community I want to be fair, and people should take my experience with a grain of salt, my tracks are hard to playlist well (this does not mean they are not ‘good’), playlist strategies often require certain vibes, genres, or produced sound to do well. And yeah I was flexing a bit, but hell – I’m not fabricating anything this write up is going out to the community and I’m giving them a chance , and letting them know in advance. Failure to respond is a ding against customer service.

On Playlist Vetting

I think PlaylistPush does a good job of vetting curators, unlike SubmitHub. Most of the curators on the platform seem to be legitimate curators with real followings. If you have ever used SubmitHub, you probably know that taking a lot of time to carefully review curators is basically a requirement because the sheer quantity of junk playlists on the platform. Playlist push appears to be seeded by quality , populated playlists, and this is done via rules around vetting and who can and can not accept tracks on the platform.

My Recommendation for Artists like me

By ‘artists like me’ i mean DIY, hobbies, indie acts, whos genre/sound is not a square peg that fits in a square hole. Hybrid genres, offbeat productions, and signature sounds im not so sure are great for the spend.

I ended up NOT recommending playlistpush to friends in the music community mostly because of the value the service is bringing. And I do think for artists like me, who have a niche sound, with a variety of influences genre wise, should consider other promotional avenues when asked ‘how should you spend this $400 to promote your track. The service itself is good, but if you need advanced targeting $400 is probably better spent on Facebook ads, or hire someone for 100 bucks to spend 300 bucks on SubmitHub and carefully research each playlist submitted to, I probably would have ended up with more placements that way.

If playlistpush had a lower tier packaged priced around $100 I think the value would be more in line and possibly worth a recommendation to ‘give it a shot’ to other artists like me. OR if playlistpush offered a more personal experience with the ‘agent’ idea above, I think I would feel better about spending 400 bucks.

I posted this tweet in advance of this post with my verdict:

At this point playlist push did respond via twitter and issued me a full refund:

tweet with playlistpush about refund for services
I did not expect a refund. They did everything the said they would and delivered the service as promised. Playlist push is definitely not a scam, it is legit and they do seem to care. I did want a 2nd free campaign in my blackholed email (ideally before I write up my thoughts on it) – I will use this refund to give the money back to PlaylistPush on another track and follow up with an update to this post. The fact that it took a social media post to turn their head is maybe a little telling, would someone without a community around them get a refund? I don’t know – maybe.

After I tweeted to playlist push and the community that I recommend against using the service I got a comment on the tweet from this guy (Kache):

comment on tweet about playlistpush campaigns
Kache is right, my music is very niche, the track i selected is an oddball for sure, but as soon as i saw this i thought ‘OH! someone to compare in artists.spotify who DID have success on the platform, lets take a look. (playlist push retweeted this by the way… which I think is them agreeing they didn’t think the track was great for the platform – some artist vetting might be a good idea for them if this is the case – more on that later)

Heres Kache’s spotify – check it out. The music is well made and produced. The sound is a little generic, but would certainly fit easily into many popular types of playlists. Overall it is well presented and made.

Heres the pull comparing Kache to my page from artists.spotify.com:

spotify comparison of artists using playlistpush
Kache had a huge bump and then dropped off to a level similar to me before I ran my playlistpush campaign.
zoom in of spotify data of artists using playlistpush to promote music
And a closer look at the last 28 days. My Playlist push placement got removed on Oct 19 after shortly after the last large bump.
kache, an artist who uses playlistpush
Kache has some very impressive numbers , nearly 100k plays on losing myself is amazing. its clear when campaigns were running by looking at the spotify stats. Retention is bad even on these highly successful campaigns. His current monthly listeners is what mine was before I started on playlistpush at all.

Did Kache get a good value? I cant say without knowing how much was spent on playlist push, if Kache spent $400 like me, then yes that is for sure a good value based on ROI alone. If the spend was over $1000, probably not. If Kache wanted to garner fans, or get better algorithmic plays, it does not appear to be working for that. In this example the sole benefit appears to be raw play counts, and streaming revenue from those plays, his music did get in the ears of a shit ton of people, which is all some people want.

Final Thoughts

I think playlisting in general should be a secondary strategy for indie artists with mixed-genre sounds like me. The bulk of your budget should be spent on platforms that offer dynamic and machine learning targeting, like Facebook, to narrow down just who likes this stuff anyways. Playlists placement being done on the side with a smaller portion of budget to garner extra exposure along side similar artists.

If you are going to playlist, PlaylistPush is expensive for what it does. For ‘artists like me’ I think spending time, or hiring someone to spend time to research SubmitHub playlists would be a better way to spend your playlist placement budget. As of right now (October 2020) I don’t think its a great value for the price. I will do another campaign at some point with PlaylistPush and re-evaluate.

My thoughts for the PlaylistPush team:

A vetting process similar to what they do with curators for artists might not be a bad thing to work in. You could still charge a fee for the evaluation, say $15 to have an employee experienced with playlisting listen to the track and give an opinion on how playlistable it is. This would get into some muddy subjective waters however, and I see why it’s not a common thing and could be difficult to implement.

A personal touch via human-to-human discussions with the playlistpush team would up the benefit of the service and give a better value prop. For this price, curators who don’t have a playlist that matches my sound should not be getting presented the track at all. I got rejected by a ‘chill’ playlist when none of my genre selections had much at all to do with chill kinds of sounds. At the least, consider crediting and re-submitting in instances where this does happen, and tighten up the process around who gets presented what.

A lower tier package, possibly with less features would sell to people in my category. A price point of around $100 would be good. Maybe a ‘B’ list of curators who have to earn their way up the the A list.

Now…. what track of mine on do yall think is best for a re-run of this The Reason I’m Here maybe?

One reply on “My Experience With PlaylistPush”

Thank you so much for taking the time to detail your experience and feedback.

I didn’t know about Playlist Push at all before your article but now feel like I know it better than SubmitHub. Will read it again, it’s a goldmine of information for any indie artist.

About your next song to promote, I personally really like Fake Authority, it sounds quite personal, and the title really resonates with this peculiar year, without being “another lockdown song”. And production wise I think it’s my favorite of yours (and I love your productions).

Best of luck with your next campaign!

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