Hacking Spotify To Put You In The Algorithim

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So Spotify has always been somewhat mysterious. And no, I don’t mean like that quiet person who plays guitar in a corner at a party looking hot that you’re drooling over. I mean mysterious in that way that we should probably be worried about what bodies are buried in the basement. Joking joking, please don’t sue me. But the mystery is, what in the hell do you have to do to make Spotify happy so you can get in the algorithm which we all know is where most of the streams on Spotify come from these days?

And so many of you have trouble driving your popularity score up to get into the algorithm because let’s be honest, it’s really hard to see what’s affecting it and you don’t understand it. Well, that’s all been changed for the majority of you now, thanks to a website I’ve been a big fan of called MusicStax. So this video, I’m going to show you how to use that site to track your popularity score and how you can learn to hack the algorithm with this free tool.

So first things first, I know some of you are probably wondering, Jesse, what in the goddamn hell is this popularity score or index or whatever you’re calling it? Think of it like this, what many people confuse the popularity index for is some sort of charting position. As many of you know, Spotify has a top 500 chart, which measures what song is getting the most streams each week, whereas your popularity score is an accumulation of every stream share, save, like, playlist ad, as well as it gets subtracted when there’s skips, but added when there’s repeated listens measured from a single user. And that’s on a scale of zero to 100. So it can figure out enthusiasm towards your track each day rather than just listens.

Since for example, a lot of songs get listened to, then people hear how bad it is and don’t listen after a few times, but can appear popular at first. This commonly happens when a washed up artist, like say Kanye, who chart high initially on the first week, because we all want to hear the crazy he says, and then their new album streams fall off faster than I do when I hear him rapping about Jesus. Anyway, the popularity score helps since this way Spotify can measure listeners susceptibility to liking your tracks as well as their enthusiasm towards it. Since just knowing you like a song isn’t as helpful as knowing how much you really like it. Since Spotify wants to promote the songs, listeners will rinse repeatedly and keep using their app so they keep paying that pitiful $10 a month so that musicians can get to split it like that pee on Christmas and all the movies about being poor.

Anyway, so if you look at the chart of the most popular songs on Spotify that Luke from MusicStacks made, and seriously, I wouldn’t be making this video if he weren’t such an angel for making this site, so none of this would be possible without him. And he has this nice buy me a coffee button on his website where you can thank him if you use this site a lot, and if you do use it, you should really do that since he should really be charging a monthly fee for this. Anyway, let’s look at this chart he made. As you can see, more than one song can have a number, so it’s not a top 100. And since he sent this to me a few weeks ago, I have seen all sorts of different clumps of numbers. But you can also see this isn’t just new songs. I mean, that Coldplay song is 20 years old and yet boring people are still listening to it, shaking my damn head.

Anyway, let’s get to why this is important to you. In case you didn’t know, you need a popularity score of around 25 to 35% at least to get into the coveted Spotify algorithm, depending on the week and your genre and how crowded it is. And if you get on it, you’ll be on Discover Weekly and Release Radar. But as well, it seems like it’s pretty rare to land an editorial playlist unless you’re above 25%. And this makes a lot of sense. Since Spotify needs to keep people listening to their playlists, and if people aren’t susceptible to your track, well, they’re going to skip it and drive down your popularity score, and people won’t listen to the playlist as much, so it’s lose-lose for both of you if they put your track on.

And in fact, what we see all the time is that songs that get added to editorial playlists that don’t do well get dropped pretty fast by the playlist. And we can usually see the popularity score take a dive if it’s on a playlist it doesn’t match on. Now, sometimes it’s a bad fit on the playlist and the popularity score goes back up after it’s dropped, and then the song does better score-wise once it’s off, whereas sometimes, well, it just keeps going down because the only people who liked it were the artist’s biggest fans. So the goal here is to get your song to get that nice popularity score.

Now, not to say that the most obvious thing in the world here, but what obviously matters the most is if people like your song. But there’s plenty of songs that are good enough to get on a playlist. And in fact, what so many playlists, whether they are editorial or algorithmic, are good at is make it so users get songs they are very likely to like because they follow that genre that the playlist caters to. And while your mediocre song is never going to get on this chart here of the most popular songs, it can find tons of fans and change your life and set you up to grow into one of the artists on this chart as you mature and write better songs. So let’s talk about how we’re going to bring music stacks into this.

Let’s first head over to Spotify and copy a link to the song we want to monitor. Then we’re going to paste that link to music stacks. I’m going to use my personal song of the summer so far, which is Aries and Myodotus’s Banger Snake Eyes, which I’ve read like a hundred times in the past two weeks and really driven up its popularity score. Now I should say, you don’t need to paste it. You can also look it up on here, but since music stacks relies on Spotify’s data for search, that can get tricky with small artists who have common names. So my way ensures that nothing goes wrong. As well, if the song has never been looked up, it sometimes takes a second to generate the data. Come on, the site’s free. What do you expect?

Anyway, as you could see, if you’ve never been to music stacks, there’s a ton of cool data here, including key, tempo, and even loudness. But what we care about is that popularity score. So now we’re going to use this very cool new feature on music stacks, and we’re going to click on the popularity score and now you can watch it grow or maybe for some of you shrink. Anyway, some of you may be thinking you have already done this on chart metric and that is correct. But as I’m told consistently, chart metric is way too expensive for a lot of you. And this is a free site for now where you’ll be able to track it and that’s kind of cool. And Luke from music stacks also told me you’ll soon be able to log in favorite songs and see a dashboard of every song you favorite. So this is just going to keep getting better as he improves the site as he has been for years.

But now how is this useful? So let’s say you get added to a playlist called Dean’s playlist of tunes to pick up dive bar lizards to which curates only the fiest tunes that Dean uses to get the girls at his local dive bar to pretend they’re in the movie Coyote Ugly and dance on the bar. Honestly, as someone who’s done a lot of dancing on the bar in my day, I can relate. Anyway, what a lot of you don’t realize is that getting on some of those playlists that you pay for can actually knock down your score if the playlist is super diverse and has a lot of listeners who aren’t feeling you. And those playlists can really knock down your popularity score like 10, 15 points. So especially if you’ve paid to be on one of those, well, you could ask them to take you off if it’s driving your popularity score down.

Now I know some of you are thinking, why can’t you just do this on Spotify for artists? And like I said at the start of this video, Spotify is mysterious and above all else, it’s never helpful to musicians. And frankly, you’re kind of a fool for even asking since this is Spotify after all. And of course they aren’t going to do good for musicians. But seriously, opening this each day as you do your promotions helps you understand how your popularity score is affected by the things you do as well. You can often see things like for example, when artists do email blasts on the day their song comes out and really go hard on alerting their community, their new track by getting similar artists to post about it. Well, you can often see the popularity score go up faster because those are the people most likely to rinse the song.

But inversely, one of the funniest things I’ve seen for one of my consulting clients, they showed me what happened when an influencer friend who posted their song and that influencers fans really didn’t like the type of music they made, which let’s just say that some popularity score was pretty much ruined for life. So watching this only helps you to get to understand the game better and what promotions actually work for you.

So here’s the thing, while you just learned how to game your popularity score, like I said, promoting on TikTok is the best way to drive your popularity score up. And I have a brand new video that tells you exactly what TikToks you should make to blow up on Spotify on the screen right now or in the description. So make sure to watch that next if you really want to level up. Thanks.

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