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What is the cause of artificial streaming on Spotify and how can I avoid it?

Hey, I received an email about artificial streaming or a strike on my Spotify account. What is this about? 

You may have heard the news that Spotify is further cracking down on artificial streaming as an initiative for the coming year. The initiative has started with notices from distribution services. As a result, artists have received strikes for allegedly violating the platform’s terms of service. 


Did my Rise campaign cause this?

The short answer is, no. Rise runs thousands of campaigns for artists globally, across many genres and many platforms. We have received questions from only a few of our artists who reported they were warned by their distributors. In each of these cases that we’ve researched, the data always indicates that previous, and sometimes unknown, fake, third-party playlist activity is triggering these notices. 


How do I know it wasn’t Rise?

As an artist-minded marketing platform, we take these matters very seriously. Rise’s goal is to increase visibility across platforms, putting your music and content in front of real people. Rise campaigns, run by our team of music-industry and marketing veterans, engage real listeners and real listeners alone.


Rise is an advertising and listener/artist matchmaking service first. While some campaigns involve a playlist pitching component, it is often just a supplementary bonus when great music is present. But you can ensure that every playlist your music lands on is legit, was grown authentically, and is controlled by, or authenticated by Rise, so it’s a safe place for your music.


In fact, every campaign Rise offers, which includes TikTok, YouTube and Instagram too, ensures 100-percent compliance with each platform’s terms of service, and delivers real (and realistic) results. 


Why did I receive this Spotify strike or warning now?

If you have used other marketing/playlisting tools in the past, even if it was years ago, this has become the clear culprit. We would recommend you check in with all other promo companies or consultants used prior to Rise. One telltale sign of artificial streams is the ratio of listeners to streams, or playlist Likes to streams.


Take this playlist for example:

This playlist has only 1 like, it includes 750 songs, totaling 43 hours and 13 minutes of listening time. Not the craziest thing in the world, and seems pretty uninteresting, right?

Well, if you dig a little deeper into Spotify For Artists analytics (and you can do this quick audit on your own Spotify For Artists account. Just click Music → Playlists → Sort by all-time), you can see the listener playlists where you’ve been placed. 

Spotify will display every public playlist you’ve been on in order of streams. A red flag to look for here is seeing a large number of streams from a single playlist, with an unusually small number of listeners. This is where you can usually spot the culprit:

As you can see, Buckle & Boots 2023 allegedly delivered one artist nearly 13K streams, from a total of just 83 “listeners.”

We are always sorry to hear about bad actors in the music industry, and we strive to separate ourselves from them, and we have. Just check our testimonials on the bottom of our homepage, and you’ll see some of the biggest companies in the industry also trust Rise.

What do I do now?

Most importantly, keep focusing on making the best music you can, and practice patience. There are no shortcuts in life (unless you’re using Waze), and there are certainly no hacks to skipping ahead in the music industry.

Most of the time when something sounds too good to be true, it is. If someone has or does promise you streams for payment, you should know that at the very best they’re breaking Spotify’s Terms of Service, and at worst, they’re more than likely trafficking fake streams. 

So if you’re an artist with a few hundred listeners a day who all of a sudden gets 20,000 streams from a third-party playlist, be aware that this is likely inauthentic engagement, and is sure to catch the eye of Spotify regulators. 

In the unlikely event your account is issued a “Strike” please, the first thing to do is contact your distributor, and ask them to provide as much information as they can on the issue. Once you do that, you can contact Rise Support via your dashboard, and be sure we have reader access to your Spotify For Artist’s account, and a specialist on our team will take a closer look for you. While we may not always be able to identify the source, we will do our best to help you find out so you can avoid being a victim of shady offers and practices in the future.


Further information on this can be found on Spotify’s website:  (

Rise Mailbag: Your Questions, Our AnswerWhat is the cause of artificial streaming on Spotify and how can I avoid it?