If you’re an artist who’s struggling to get their followers and stream count up, it can be very tempting to buy some online. After all, when someone finds your profile, it’s better to have a lot of high numbers right? Well, you may want to keep on reading, because it turns out that buying plays and followers can actually damage your brand significantly in the short term, and potentially have a permanent effect on your success.
While there have been some successful cases of artists buying plays and getting to stardom in the past, these days, it’s a lot harder to fake real engagement. Even if you have thousands of followers, having no interaction on your posts is a dead giveaway that you paid to play. Digging yourself out of this hole can be very, very challenging. Let’s take a look at some of the potential consequences.
If you buy followers on Instagram, Facebook, et cetera, you’ll find that your page’s engagement will go down a lot. That’s because your page’s post will be displayed to the bots that liked your page instead of the actual fans you have. By buying followers, you are effectively making your posts less visible and also more suspicious to people who find your page. If you have 50k followers and less than 50 likes on a picture, something is off.
When it comes to buying plays on Spotify, it’s a bit easier to mask the fact that the plays are purchased because there is no discussion element and likes are not public. However, you run another risk - the risk of getting your track removed by Spotify. Spotify’s algorithms look out for fake plays and know how to identify them. If Spotify identifies that the song has fake plays, they will remove the song, meaning your money is gone, and you received no promotion for it.
You may think it’s a better idea to find a service where you can pay for placement on a Spotify playlist instead. While this is less risky, Spotify has been known to flag tracks in paid playlist services as well. If you are purchasing placement in a playlist, be aware that there’s always the chance that it’s a scam with a fancy website and a lot of bot listeners that overcharge their clients for fake plays. Playlist placement services are still a bit of a grey area, can be very expensive and can go against you, so make sure you do your research and that you know what you’re getting into before you pay anything.
Remember - fans don’t like it when they find out artists bought plays. If it becomes a topic in your fanbase, you can certainly expect some drama and controversy.
So, what can you do if you want to spend some money and promote your music in a more efficient way?
The key here is consistency - slow and steady wins the race. Expecting to spend money and get a huge, authentic following overnight isn’t something that just happens. You need to come up with a diverse plan, and find a way to leverage every last cent and get the most out of it.
Ultimately, what matters the most is the content you have. If you have money to spend, but you still don’t have a complete brand with a lot of content, the best way to put your money to use is content creation. Templates, videos, photoshoots, you name it - posting good content consistently is the real secret to growing your socials, and if you don’t have consistent content which looks nice & professional, you’ll find it hard for your socials to grow organically, even if you dump your available cash into music promotion services.
One good way to grow your followers is to use a download gate like Hyppedit. A pro subscription allows you to exchange free downloads for followers on various platforms, making an authentic exchange that consistently grows your channels with people who are actually interested in what you have to offer.
Learning how Facebook and Instagram ads work will also allow you to grow your brand in a more authentic way. Spend some time studying the specifics, and learning how to target the exact audience you want for a low cost. Consistent investment in ads can bring in a lot of new people to your page.
If you’re already established and have some merchandise, giveaways are a fantastic way to grow your socials, especially when mixed with ads. Asking people to comment and share in order to win gets great results, and you can then re-target that audience with ads later.
If you have a lot more to spend, and want to really hit promotion hard, using a PR agency can also be an option. This is a very expensive option, but it’s a great way to get your music out to the media, especially if there’s a good storyline and twist to the song. PR agencies are different from pay to play services, and can actually benefit you greatly if you use them wisely. If you’re looking for a good PR agency, make sure to look at their clients list and do some research to make sure it’s something you actually want to do, and that it’s worth it for you.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours - but you should be aware of the potential risks of taking shortcuts, and the benefits of taking the high road if you’re in this game for the long run.
If you want to keep learning about how to invest in yourself as an artist, keep on reading our blogs. We have a lot of content that can help you achieve your goals and dreams in an authentic, long lasting way. Work hard, and make your dreams come true!