I paid for Spotify playlist placements so you don’t have to

As part of my ongoing mission to throw money into thin air I decided to promote some of Corserine‘s songs on Spotify.

Objectives: increase monthly streams on my Spotify artist page so I can get picked up by Spotify algorithms better. Which in turn means I get on even bigger playlists which in turn means….er… profit?

Did it work?
Yes, but with massive caveats. I got onto lots of playlists and my monthly Spotify plays went from under 10 to over 2,000. I have yet to be picked up by the big Spotify algorithms though.

Getting your music onto playlists

There are folks on Fiverr who will get your music onto 1934828 playlists for $$$ but I didn’t choose this route as I feared they were crazy high risk.

I used three pitching services: Soundcampaign, Groover and Submithub.

The differences in the pitching services

Groover and Submithub work much the same way: you pay about $2 or $3 to submit to an individual playlist curator. Soundcampaign works very differently: you select a genre(s) and declare a budget and the system comes up with a shortlist of curators for you which it then sends your track. But it’s much more expensive at about $9 per submission. You cannot target individual playlists with Soundcampaign which makes for a ‘lucky dip’ experience (which I actually quite enjoyed truth be told).

A word also needs to be said that Submithub and Groover appear to use the same types of curators as I recognised some names on both platforms. Submithub is incredibly competitive as the number of artists vastly outnumbers curators. This is why approval rates are lower on these types of service.

Relative success on each platform
I submitted the same track 10 times to Submithub, Groover and Soundcampaign:

Results

The cost per stream is my key metric and for that we observe Soundcampaign is the clear winner.

How many streams you get depends on a few things

  1. How many likes the playlist has. More likes means you’ll get more streams
  2. How many songs the playlist has. The more songs means you’ll get less streams
  3. Your position in the playlist. The nearer number 1 you get means more streams
  4. How long you’re on the playlist for. The longer the better. On this note, look out for warning signs your targeted playlist is transient. You’ll see this under the date added column:

This is a red flag. Avoid these playlists.

Some playlists tick all the boxes and some tick none

On Submithub an approval went into a playlist which had over 2000 songs and 44 likes. I went in at position 200+ for only a few days. That playlist referred zero. The caveat here is that some approvals on Submithub are called ‘Shout-outs’ and they are like the curator saying “we really liked your track but we have no more room on our main playlist” or somesuch – a bit like baby Jesus. So you need to watch out for that. All my Submithub approvals were ‘shoutouts’.

On Groover one of the approvals never got added to a playlist. So again, that playlist referred zero.

An approval on Soundcampaign went in at position 50 of a 50 track playlist and was removed a day later. That referred 17 streams.

My best success came with a playlist that had 69k likes and I went in at number 2. This was referring 100 streams per day.

Important update March 14 >>>>>>>>>>>>
I ran another song on Soundcampaign and this time the results are depressingly different:

Launched: Feb 21 2021
Cost: $159
Total streams to date: 290
Cost per stream: $0.55

The reason I’m updating the blog post is because of the 7 playlists the track was accepted, the song has since been removed from 4. Of the other 3, only one has referred any streams yet (3 Streams FML).

To add hilarity, one playlist not only referred zero streams but has since removed the track too! Utterly fuck all use.

So I’d steer a wide berth round Soundcampaign; you just can’t trust the integrity of the playlisters.

The elephant in the room

For all these streams the end goal is more followers and at the very least some ‘saves’ of your track. I can’t pick apart all the data because I don’t have access to it all on Spotify. What I can say is that the big playlist of 69k likes and 100 streams per day I mentioned earlier has unusually poor user retention (23 saves for another song I was promoting) which complicates things yet further: is this a robot playlist I was added to?


In general I observed the ‘save to listener’ rate at around 5-10% which is what seems to be the consensus.

And the number of followers I picked up? Maybe 10.

Key finding
Paying for Spotify playlist promotion does not relate to an increase in followers. Do not use it if this is your goal.

——

Record labels
During my research I also ran into a few record labels. One playlist curator ran a label and liked my track. This is a contact I will use in future. Through Groover and Submithub I would sometimes pitch to labels. Often times I would get no response but sometimes they expressed an interest in hearing more. If this happens to you, have solid back up tracks to send them. Don’t link to your generic Spotify account like I did. But whatever, these responses are more contacts for you.

I also ran into a few labels on my travels on Submithubs Hot or Not feature. More on that later.

Pitching to blogs
I pitched to a number of blogs on Submithub and got approved by none. I find blogs very competitive and running a blog myself know that the blog has to be a really big hitter for your track to gain some traction. I expect this post to comfortably hit a few thousand views FYI and its these kind of numbers your post needs.

Pitching to Instagram influencers
I pitched to a number of influencers of Submithub. If you’re approved, your track will go up as background music to some post about whatever narcissistic nonsense about makeup or how amazing they are. Or as I found out, it won’t go up at all and the influencer is pulling a fast one. Avoid.

In praise of Submithub and its Hot or Not feature
For all the competitiveness Submithub has a really nice social component to it. A chat feature lets you share salty tears of despair with other artists and a Hot Or Not function is quite a good way of getting objective feedback on your tracks so you can refine them further.

If you use the Hot Or Not function be prepared for a lot of potentially hurtful comments as the feedback is often anonymous (with thanks to the Submithub community for some of these):

This track was OK until Elmo showed up

Really bad, you need to learn basic rules of making music mate 

This track reminds me of Kings of Leon. I hate Kings of Leon

Just horrible

So fair warning. But it’s also a way of forging new contacts since some reviewers let you get in touch with them. I’ve gained a few followers this way.

Another tangential benefit of the Hot or Not function are interactions with labels. Often times you’ll see a label favourably reviewing your track. And sometimes a label will flat out ask you for a track they like (before saying yes, make sure you’re happy with what they offer).

The Hot or Not function also has a chart where the best in the website are listed. I’ve had a track go top 5 before but I wouldn’t hang your coat on it as nothing happened: no labels knocking on my door, no world fame, not even a change in my social media stats. PS don’t try and figure out how the chart is worked out: it’s baffling. All I do know is downvotes kill any chance you have of making the charts.

La fin….

So there you have my somewhat lengthy discussion on more adventures through music promotion. If this has been an interesting read, maybe you can follow Corserine on Spotify and make this experiment a totally 360 degree recursive loop of artist promotional weirdness?

And I want to know what you thought too. Think I should focus more on forging individual contacts rather than frittering away petty cash on pointless exercises? Sure! Tell me that in the comments!

PS – Fellow Submithub member Cowboy Destroy will have the final say with this video about Barbie Dolls, erm, partying. It’s amazing!

FEMM Have a New Song

If you don’t know FEMM, they had a catchy wee song a few years ago called FXXX Boys Get Money which was loads of fun and featured the band in full-on mannequin mode. New Single ‘Level Up’ sees them ditch this ridiculous shtick (yo!) in favour of something much more normal. Thank god.

Level Up is from FEMM’s EP 404 Not Found, which you can order from our old friends at JPU Records.

Ps when you get to that page ^^^ it’s not a really a 404. Ahahahaha.

I took out a Youtube advert for my EDM song so you don’t have to: Part 2 and 3

You may remember a few weeks ago I took out a Youtube advert. The advert was one of those ‘In Stream’ adverts that you can skip after 5 seconds. The advert linked to a full version of this song.

You’ll be shocked to learn it was about as much use as an ashtray on a motor cycle and no one clicked through to the full song. Although there was one strange insight where the advert had a higher than normal view retention of 50% (benchmark is 15-40% apparently). I surmised either the Google Ads algorithm is counting views incorrectly or folks hung around for the song but didn’t click through because there was no clear call to action on the advert.

Second Youtube advert
I wanted to run another version of the advert. This time with a button signposting users to the full version of the song on my Bandcamp page.

I also found a way to target the advert a bit better. Google Ads allows you to be a bit more clever with who sees the advert but it does take a bit of digging around the system:

So what happened?
I found out that viewer retention went up and now about 60% were watching 30 seconds or more of my advert:

But how many users actually clicked through to the full song on Bandcamp?

2 people. Out of the 411 views, mostly watching more than 30 seconds of the advert (allegedly), 2 people clicked through to the full song on Bandcamp. I sad.

Key finding
Users really don’t want to be distracted from the video they want to watch so in-stream adverts did not help me promote my track on Youtube although it may have helped raise brand awareness given the good view retention scores.

Third Youtube advert
Armed with another huge marketing budget of around $15 and some more clue of how Google Ads worked I set off on another epic adventure to promote my soon-to-be-number-one international synthwave EDM hit.

This time I was going to choose a different song and used a different type of advert which was a discovery ad. These show up in the related content bar or search results when you’re watching your favourite EDM hyper banger:

One observation was Google Ads forces you to choose a title and subtitle for your advert, I guess to lure users into clicking it. I think this requires lots of experimentation to get just so, but I chose whatever best came to mind; “New synthwave tune” and “Brand new single”. With hindsight this was probably uber lame.

So what happened?
I would say this approach didn’t not work. I only got around 90 folks clicking through to my song over the 5 days it ran. This represented a click through rate of about 1% which is standard. Of these 90 views clicking the advert and going to my synthwave tune, I got one new Youtube subscriber and 3 likes. This is a small victory.

But it turns out Google Ads behaves in unexpected ways which might seriously trip you up if you try to take out an ad.

The first, is that for reasons between Google Ads and the Dark Lord Satan, it decided to target users unevenly:

I don’t know about you, but music played out of tablets or mobile is sucky. So I had to go away and change that so these devices were excluded.

It also skewed the keywords to synthpop music:

View retention on the third advert
I found out view retention was lame when users did finally click through to the tune:

There are two lines here: the orange line is users coming in from the advert and the blue line is organic users who found the song naturally (I think). The users coming in from the advert lost interest very quickly compared to organic users who tended to hang around (which is nice).

Key finding
Even if your advert successfully drives traffic to your full song, you still only have a few seconds to capture their attention. Forget promoting your 11 minute EDM banger with a five minute white noise intro.

Summary
Here’s my key take aways:

  • Google Ads is fiddly and hard to learn
  • In stream ads don’t work
  • Discovery ads kind of work
  • The track you link to must be catchy

But what do you think? Used Google Ads? Like synthwave music? Hook me up in the comments and let me know.

I took out a Youtube advert for my EDM song so you don’t have to

tl;dr
Did it work?
-No

Introduction
As a producer you want to increase the number of folks that hear your song. You might have Soundcloud or other pages. I have a Soundcloud page but what I’m finding is that I reach other EDM producers by virtue of the way I network (feedback channels). This might be just like you.

I wanted to find out if a Youtube advert with a small $10 budget could drive listeners to hear my songs.

The advert I placed on Youtube was a 40 second clip of a song I wrote. The advert linked to the full version of my song on Youtube.

The advert was aimed at a ‘music’ demographic, and that could be any kind of music. The advert was not branded, had no calls to action, was a static image, was just music playing.

I paid $0.04 for anyone watching more than 5 seconds of the advert. I paid $0.07 for anyone clicking through to the full song.

Results
470 folks viewed the advert. 0% clicked through to the full song.
50% watched the full advert compared to a benchmark of 15-31% for an average advert.

Discussion
Is it worth it? I spent $10 and it was a fun thought experiment. If you  want to add views to a video at all costs then maybe this is for you but I was not able to prove its worth beyond that. The only other interesting finding was the advert held attention higher than the benchmark (50% watched the full 40 seconds of the advert).

Comment on low click through rate
Click through rates vary but are around 0.5% for a regular advert. My advert was 0%.

Clicking through to the destination link from the advert interrupts the users task “watch my video”. Probably compounded by no clear calls to action on the original advert. My advert was fairly useless driving users to my full song on Youtube.

What you could do better
Target the advert better: I chose default demographics. You could be more thorough.

Make the advert better: clear calls to action, clear message, not just music playing against a plain background.

See the advert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OXcRiD592I


I’ll be writing more about my adventures in music promotion as and when I can. In the meantime, if you have comments, comment!

Yoshiki feat. Hyde’s “Attack on Titan” theme scores two awards in Hong Kong’s 30th International Pop Poll

RMMS-Yoshiki-feat-Hyde-Red-Swan-Hong-Kong-Radio-award-1.jpg

YOSHIKI feat. Hyde won two awards at the 30th International Pop Poll in Hong Kong on May 10th, 2019.

YOSHIKI feat. Hyde’s single “Red Swan” – the first Season 3 theme song from the hit anime Attack on Titan – was voted “Top Japanese Gold Song” at the event hosted by the major Hong Kong radio station RTHK Radio 2.

The awards were sponsored by RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong), the public broadcasting network founded in 1928, and the Top Gold Songs Awards are the oldest major music awards in Hong Kong. This year, YOSHIKI feat. Hyde was also named the “Top Artist from Japan”, ranking above fellow superstars Namie Amuro and Hikaru Utada. YOSHIKI is the leader, drummer, and pianist of the band X JAPAN, and Hyde is the lead singer of the band L’Arc-en-Ciel.

Complete List of Winners: https://app4.rthk.hk/special/poppoll30/

Released in October 2018, “Red Swan” debuted at #1 on iTunes Rock Charts in 10 countries. The single also reached the Top 10 on mainstream iTunes Charts in 16 countries and climbed the iTunes Rock Charts in the U.S. (#6) and the UK (#8), becoming the first Japanese anime song in history to rank this high on iTunes Rock charts.

YOSHIKI feat. Hyde – “Red Swan” Official Lyric Video
https://youtu.be/r1XE8ON8fos

Listen to YOSHIKI feat. Hyde – “Red Swan”:
http://smarturl.it/1mdn8r

YOSHIKI Official Website: https://www.yoshiki.net/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoshikiofficial/

JPU Records launches new website by introducing ELFRIEDE

ELFRIEDE band pic

JPU Records is proud to introduce brand new Japanese rock band ELFRIEDE! The quartet will release their debut album “real-Ize” in April, with full details about the band, the album and their music videos are available on the brand new JPU Records website.

ELFRIEDE consists of Ryo Yamabuki (guitar), Rina Hoshino (bass), Yu-yan (drum) and Mikuru (vocal). Ryo has been featured in several of Japan’s top guitar publications, including YOUNG GUITAR and Player magazine and is also a popular cosplay icon with over 100 thousand followers on Twitter. Bass player Rina also has a solo career in jazz fusion and both members have supported bands on stages across Japan. It was from doing this that Ryo and Rina could meet drummer Yu-yan and vocalist Mikuru and complete ELFRIEDE’s electric line-up.

Despite ELFRIEDE’s short history, the band has formed a solid and eager fanbase amongst Japan’s indie rock scene. The initial pressing of their self-released EP –LOVE &- sold out despite only being available at gigs and via their website, and more recently when the group set up a crowdfunding campaign to hijack the streets of Shibuya for a video advertising campaign, they succeed their goal by 229 per cent! The campaign will see their promotional video blast across seven giant screens in Shibuya, from the famous scramble crossing up towards Tower Records (one of the biggest CD shops in the world) as well as on trucks with video screens and speakers on the back.

JPU Records’ edition of real-Ize will feature an extended booklet containing the album’s lyrics and English translations and transliterations and will be released on CD from 3 May 2019. Its digital release will be simultaneous with its Japanese release on 24 April.

LOVEBITES Announce First European Tour: November 2018

Japan’s power metal heroines LOVEBITES have announced that their debut European headline tour will take place this November. The all-female five-piece, who recently won the Best New Band Award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, have joined British agency X-Ray Touring and will return to the UK and Germany for the tour, and perform in the Netherlands and France for the first time. Continue reading

LOVEBITES Named Best New Band at The Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards 2018

LOVEBITES: Best New Band pic

Japan’s heavy metal heroines LOVEBITES have won the title “Best New Band” at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards 2018. The finalists were nominated by the staff of Metal Hammer and the winner voted for by its readers. LOVEBITES were crowned Best New Band during the ceremony tonight at Indigo at the London O2 and saw the band’s by bass player miho and guitarist miyako flew in from Tokyo to accept the award. Continue reading

LOVEBITES Release New Video “The Crusade”

New EP Battle Against Damnation Cover Art and Tracklisting Revealed.

LOVEBITES artist picLOVEBITES (L-R: haruna (dr), midori (g), miyako (g, key), asami (vo), miho (b))

Japan’s heavy metal crusaders LOVEBITES follow up their blistering debut album Awakening From Abyss with new mini-album Battle Against Damnation, revealing its track listing, cover art and video to lead track “The Crusade” today – watch it HERE.

The band have partnered with JPU Records for the mini-album’s release on 08 June 2018in North America and Europe, and in Japan on 06 June 2018 via Victor Entertainment. The release is also available for digital pre-order now via iTunes with “The Crusade” as an instant gratification download – get it HERE.

Lead track “The Crusade” sees LOVEBITES – who are nominated “Best New Band” in Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods Awards 2018 – pay their respects to British heavy metal. Their admiration for it deepened further following the band’s appearance at a UK event and their headline performance at The Underworld in Camden in November 2017.

Watch

“Break The Wall” is the first song joint-written by miho (bass) and miyako (guitar, keyboard) and is propelled forwards at breakneck speeds through thrash metal riffs and grandiose solos, and features a change of atmosphere midway through before hurtling towards its dramatic finale.

The final two tracks “Above The Black Sea” and “Under The Red Sky” share similar names and themes. The former written by miyako, the latter by LIGHT BRINGER keyboard player Mao, both tracks see the classically trained pianists pen a metal-themed love letter to the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff, a composer from the Russian empire of the late Romantic period and inspirer of metal today.

Bass-player miho and vocalist asami comment on the themes and title of the mini-album;

“Humanity is faced with battles on a daily basis. Each person has their own fight, whether it’s illness, time, solitude, war or something else they have to face.” (miho)

“However, we consider that humanity’s most serious adversary is its own destiny. Sometimes it’s essential to defy the fate bestowed from the heavens. Battle Against Damnation depicts such a fight.” (asami).

Skilful engineers Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila of Finland’s legendary Finnvox Studiosonce again return for mixing and mastering duties on all tracks. Similarly, the cover illustration is handled once again by David Lopez Gómez and Carlos Vicente León, the Spanish team behind LOVEBITE’s debut album cover art and German heavy metal band HELLOWEEN’s best album SWEET SEDUCTIONS.

LOVEBITES will appear at two of Europe’s biggest metal festivals this summer, appearing at Wacken Open Air on 04 August, the same day as HELLOWEEN, ARCH ENEMY and DIMMU BORGIR; and Bloodstock Open Air on 10 August alongside JUDAS PRIEST, EMPEROR and KAMELOT. The band will also tour Japan with ANTHEM as part of the Headstrong Festival 2018 and performed at the Vans Warped Tour Japan last month.

LOVEBITES – Battle Against Damnation cover art

Lovebites on Twitter

Continue reading

Yoshiki chosen to headline 10-hour long Ultra Fes 2017



Backed by a live orchestra, Yoshiki was invited to perform the closing song at TV Asahi’s “Music Station Ultra Fes 2017″ on Monday, September 18th. Playing a special arrangement of the X Japan masterpiece, “Forever Love ‘Life, Death, and Love…’ Piano with Orchestra Version”, which was prepared specifically for this day, Yoshiki brought an emotional finale to the 10-hour long special program which featured a total of 57 artists.

Marking the first time an instrumental piece without vocals had ever closed the special television event, Yoshiki’s first musical performance on television since his surgery had received a lot of media attention since its announcement. He appeared on stage without his neck brace, showing the painful scars from his surgery four months ago.

As he performed on the TV Asahi stage, a powerful montage of images — Yoshiki flying around the world, his energetic drumming, the deaths of his band members, his own neck surgery, his career with X Japan, and his personal history — played in the background, triggering comments on social media such as “I have goosebumps… riveting”, “Yoshiki is so amazing!”, and “I can’t stop crying” as fans expressed their awe and praise for the elegant musical presentation which climaxed in a shower of rose petals.

Afterward, Yoshiki returned immediately to Los Angeles to work on the final touches of the soon-to-be-released X Japan album. Later, in October, he is scheduled to tour a total of 10 countries to promote the European theatrical premieres of the award-winning documentary film, We Are X.

After the television performance, Yoshiki commented: “I still have sharp pain in my neck, but as my doctor said, moving forward is a part of rehab. I’m thankful for the opportunity I was given. And I want to thank the fans who are always supporting me.”

Yoshiki European Theatrical Tour 2017

October 12 – Berlin, Germany
October 14 – Florence, Italy
October 15 – Vienna, Austria
October 16 – Amsterdam, Holland
October 17 – Oslo, Norway
October 18 – Helsinki, Finland
October 19 – Stockholm, Sweden
October 20 – London, UK
October 21 – Reykjavik, Iceland
October 24 – Paris, France

Yoshiki Official Website