Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Active or passive listners? How to detect fake numbers.

I have been writing about fake numbers, here and here before. So how do you check fake numbers? Many artists just ask for certain things but if you fake one thing it shows on other things.

Normally I don't hang out bands, but in this case, I have to. Nothing wrong with these bands, probably they don't know it, it might be done by their label, management or something. But to learn how things work I have to do it.

The artist KIDDO, it's a Swedish artist, pretty few have her of her before. I would guess most of my friends would say KIDDO who?
I just looked on her Spotify numbers. KIDDO has 323 463 listeners a month on Spotify Her first single trouble has 500 000 streams, her second single 1,8 million streams and her new one released 7 of September 3,5 million streams.
Good numbers and this is what many artists thinks that we should focus on. It looks really good with three singles and that many streams.

Yes if you are an amateur booker or people not from the industry it looks perfect. But right now the whole industry is learning how to look into this fake numbers, because yes they are fake. Or not fake, they are passive streams. Passive means that it's used as background music, like music in the roof of a store. Active is when you go in and type in the song you want to listen to.

To check the streams you just sweep to another channel to see if these numbers collaborate with Spotify. So we check her facebook page. And here you easily find that she only has 1136 people following. Yes, all these streams are coming from passive listening on playlists on Spotify. The real followers are more like this number on facebook and that is what a normal new beginning artist has. Clearly, someone has pushed something just for Spotify.

Then we have Instagram, she is young so she would have more here, 2398 followers, but only 61 posts, so she is not very active.

Then we go to the real killer, Youtube. It used to be the cheating channel but it's harder to do it now so it has become a check tool to Spotify. Only one video out, but it's the last single that had over 3,5 million streams. Here you got a 54 000 and only 73 comments since September. Usually the mistake is that they only go for one channel, in this case Spotify, then forget the other channels. With real fans, the numbers actually go up on all channels at the same time.

I was on a panel on Viva Sounds this weekend and they were discussing this and the biggest booker said. Yes, they might have many streams but that doesn't indicate that they are a good live. KIDDO don't have any live videos! Booking this artist could be a really big gamble, and many have lost a lot of money by test the numbers out. In reality, KIDDO is just a small artist on her way up. But if you look on just Spotify she would be a top 50 artist.

So how did she get so many playlists (a thing artists always ask for), well, one thing her social media reveals is that she is part of a Spotify program for female producers. That can help, I'm not saying that is the reason. Also, some bigger lables has put in their playlists just to pump numbers. Still, they just put on playlist where we know there are fake accounts just listen to the list over and over. And the Spotify playlist she has is mainly the ones where people use it as background music. The active listeners are revealed in the other social media numbers. So the numbers are probably pumped by her record label and maybe also her connection to Spotify.

Many artists wish that they had a company pumping numbers. But look out for what you ask for. The booking industry will be harder and harder that the numbers make sense, so if your company cheat like this it might cost you other stuff. Just good numbers on one site is not good enough. It has to be on all platforms.

Another example is Noëp from Estonia. He was signed to Sony music in Sweden. He released a couple of singles there. "Move" with 8,1 million streams, "Rooftop" with 5,1 million streams and "New Heights" with 1,7 million streams. The rest of his catalog have a couple of hundred thousand streams each. But these three sticks out. and yes those are the one released of Sony. It's pretty evident that Sony pumped the numbers.

Also here you can easily see how Sony went for streams on the first one. Of course, it was massive but Sony also knows that the streams are passive listeners. They test out if the audience like it. But it seems no they didn't. I guess it actually cost Sony more then they got on these 8 million streams, they try one more with the second one and you can see that the third one they just add it to some smaller one.

After that, they seem to have dropped the artist? All releases after that are on the artist own label. Here you can easily see that they just go up to a couple of hundred thousand which is the capacity for Noëp. This match his Facebook following of 17 000 people. Or does it?
I guess he has cheated here too. Yes, he has 17 000 followers but on average all post he does just get around 60 likes or interactions. yes, another tool is to check the interactions on posts.
On Instagram, he has 15 000 followers with an average of 1500 interactions, better and more likely and actually fits with a hundred thousand streams. A good key point is that the interaction should be 10% of the followers.

Then we go to Youtube and it gives it away, the channel only has 7000 followers. The videos are around 25 000 views each. Then "Move" stands out, the single Sony bought numbers on and that has 1,2 million views, still far from the 8 million on Spotify.

Of course like I wrote nothing bad about the artists and in many cases we see that they're not in it. Still by doing numbers and it can be so easily checked and now is the trend that you can hunt that on live side. The live side is now taking over just because it's more money there and harder to cheat. So be careful what you wish for. Get real fans that is what will keep you alive in all weathers, even on Spotify.

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  1. Awesome and illuminating post Peter. Thank you