Written by Kyle Kraft of Krafty Entertainment
Krafty Entertainment is a music business development coaching company dedicated to providing guidance to musicians (and their teams) on how best to nurture supporters and profit from doing so. Krafty Entertainment’s founder Kyle Kraft has over 20 years experience in assisting both developing and established artists in substantially growing their net income from their music. Interested in working with us? Let’s talk!
YES, SOCIAL PROOF MATTERS.
The psychological principle of social proof is an important one to help get people to listen to or otherwise engage with your music, no question. People are far less inclined to click on anything that doesn’t have the social proof of at least thousands of other people having already co-signed it by listening, watching, or subscribing to it. Unfortunately many artists (or their teams) take that need for social proof to mean that they should make the massive mistake of paying for fake padding of their numbers to increase their social proof.
FAKING NUMBERS HURTS YOU ON SPOTIFY
Paying to have your stream numbers increased on Spotify (even if you thought the user generated playlist “promotion” services you were paying for were legitimate) actually hurts you with Spotify’s algorithms since you aren't getting engagement (in the forms of saves, downloads, adds to the “listeners” playlists, etc) from those bot or click-farm based "listeners" beyond the stream numbers.
That is essentially indicating to Spotify that many people who listen to your music aren't feeling it, so they shouldn't share it with other people which is a tough hole to dig out of. When detecting legitimate engagement (which includes more than just streams) Spotify’s algorithms can be a MASSIVE help to artists to get their music out to new people, so their importance shouldn’t be underestimated.
Spotify has gone as far as completely removing A BUNCH of artists’ music from their service that they deemed to have fake streams directed at on multiple occasions, so not only is paying for fake streams hurting you with their algorithms but it could also result in your music being removed from the platform. Not having your music on the most used audio streaming platform in the world wouldn’t be very good for your social proof, would it?
FAKING NUMBERS MAKES IT HARDER FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO MARKET PROPERLY
Paying for fake numbers dilutes the veracity of the metrics you’d otherwise have access to about your engagement, which allows you to make informed decisions about where to focus your marketing efforts. When you have legitimate engagement, your metrics and analytics are a great resource for you to determine where it makes the most sense to spend your time and money. Since both of those are limited resources, it would be wise not to waste either.
Used correctly social media can be a great means of building engagement with your listeners, ultimately allowing you to move them on to your mailing lists and turning them into customers who make purchases from you. If you compromise your ad account by training it to focus on audiences who will give you the cheapest social proof (which will likely be in third world countries that won’t actually translate to fans that can provide you with much income) as opposed to conversions (ie mailing list signups and ultimately sales of physical products and show tickets), its going to take even longer and cost you even more to actually build the extremely viable revenue stream that making sales should be for you. Given that the ultimate goal of your business should be to maximize income, you should steer clear of faking the funk to increase social proof as that makes it harder to use social media properly to reach the goal of maximizing income.
INDUSTRY PEOPLE AREN’T DUMB
While you may be able to fool a consumer with your faked numbers, most industry people have a good bullshit detector and know how to spot fakery, whether we’re talking on Spotify (by looking at the Top 5 markets in the “About” section of your artist profile, looking for inconsistent growth spikes in the audience comparison section of Spotify for Artists, or using a third party services like Nielsen/ MRC) or on social media (by looking at engagement of posts as opposed to just the vanity metrics of followers, subscribers, views, etc.
When industry people in the know see you have faked numbers, that indicates to them that they should probably have serious reservations about working with you or otherwise supporting you. If they see fakery going on in one area, they have good reason to question the accuracy of EVERYTHING being presented about you. Giving cause to people that could otherwise help you to question the authenticity of everything you present about yourself is definitely not an ideal position to get stuck in when trying to build your business.
YOU CAN BUILD SOCIAL PROOF WITHOUT PAYING FOR FAKERY
While it takes more time and money to get the same amount of vanity metrics by building a legitimate audience for your music as opposed to paying for faked numbers, not putting that time in (or paying someone else to do so for you if you have more money than time) is shortsighted and lazy. If you have good music and a solid work ethic, you can build a legitimate audience of people who listen to your music, watch your videos, engage with you on social media, and support you in even more tangible ways (by buying physical products, show tickets, etc).
Building genuine engagement with real people (primarily with well orchestrated social media advertising, and then nurturing your supporters with mailing lists) does your business A LOT more good that faked social proof. Don’t be a dummy paying for smoke and mirrors, it hurts you in the long run and makes it harder for you to make a profit.
Here’s some recommendations I put together on how artists can build legitimate engagement on Spotify:
And here’s some recommendations on using video ads to grow your audience:
This information was compiled by Kyle Kraft of Krafty Entertainment. Whether you are an artist who is in the early stages of building your career and have next to no money to invest into it looking for the best paths to generating income, are an artist that has established a following and are interested in getting assistance with securing tens of thousands of dollars in funding to further your career, or are an artist or collective with an extensive fan base that would like assistance with increasing the efficiency of your business development, we can help you.
Want to read more articles written by Kyle? You can do so here.
If you want to get recommendations on how to build your music business as well the inside scoop on opportunities to grow, hit us with your info and we’ll send you occasional emails.