Every artist hopes to earn money on Spotify by having glorious stats and streams. Budding artists are known to dabble in Spotify streams on mute to boost their stats. Some of them even urge their fans to play their tracks on repeat in multiple browsers to support them.
There is nothing shady about an artist streaming his/her songs on repeat, endlessly. The stream count is the same if the listener is a fan or the actual artist of the song. But it was only a matter of time before someone created a stream farm to game the system. Too far?
This led music streaming services like Amazon Music, Deezer, and Spotify to find ways to counteract these dodgy practices. As of today, Spotify has a complex algorithm in place that rewards positive engagement and discourages inorganic or bot-like behavior.
So, is streaming as simple as you think? Is Spotify aware of these dubious practices and have they put any restrictions to prevent misuse?
Here, we discuss how Spotify streams are counted on mute, repeat, and every other way.
Do Spotify streams count on mute?
Spotify streams count on mute as the app cannot check volume levels on your device’s hardware.
In our research, we saw posts that suggest Spotify might not count the played minutes if the song is muted via the volume slider on the bottom right of the app. But that’s not accurate.
Any song played for 30 seconds or more (on mute) will count as 1 stream. The popular opinion is that this doesn’t work. However, our research found that this information has been verified by moderators on the Spotify forums.
From the looks of it, it is possible. Additionally, you can stream an entire playlist using headphones or earphones with the volume on low – real low.
The stream will count even at the lowest volume. These tricks are also handy to build momentum and promote your playlist.
You can occasionally mute songs and leave them running for hours. But not to an extent where it appears as inhuman behavior.
While it may seem like a lucrative idea, it’s best not to overly repeat a song. Doing so may lead to getting flagged for artificially boosting your stats.
Does Spotify count streams on repeat?
Spotify counts streams on repeat if a track is played for 30 seconds or longer. In other words, playing the same song over and over 24/7 can contribute to the revenue for an artist.
But also note that the first play on each track generates more revenue than subsequent or repeat plays.
To our knowledge, Spotify counts streams on repeat because they don’t factor in what song was played before. However, it is clearly stated in their Terms & Conditions that users are not permitted to play songs on repeat to pump up the play count and generate revenue.
The truth is that Spotify keeps most of these details confidential. They are wary of these facts being abused if people became aware of it.
So, there can be negative consequences if your behavior is dubious i.e. you repeatedly stream a song to game the system.
Listening to a song on repeat 24/7 is likely to get flagged as ‘bot behavior.’ Anti-spam measures may kick in and withhold the count from the number of streams.
Therefore, no one can officially confirm the details of how repeated or looped songs count toward streams.
For a clear explanation take a look at this YouTube video.
Does Spotify have anti-spam measures?
Music streaming services like Spotify make payments to artists per listen. Thereby, fake streams or any related dubious activity is a serious problem for them. Each service has a discreet algorithm in place to tackle this.
But they don’t disclose how they deal with these issues to prevent users from finding a workaround. Our guess is all streams are counted normally as long as the song follows other parameters.
Here are some measures used to identify fake streams and accounts:
- They monitor and flag abnormal or questionable user activity, especially if a user is listening to the same track over and over for days.
- They embed CAPTCHA to ensure that users don’t create bots or fake profiles to inflate stream counts.
- They regularly screen the average listens for tracks and look into sudden peaks.
- They raise flags (backend) in sudden changes in the trends for a specific artist or song.
How are streams counted on Spotify?
According to Spotify, streams are counted if a user listens to a song for “30 seconds or more” on the client or app. Additionally, song streams are also counted for offline listening when the listener goes online and the app connects to the Spotify servers (at least once in 30 days).
Secondly, streams contribute to the artist’s stats regardless of a Free or Premium plan. They add up with repeat streams as well.
For instance, if you play a song for 30 seconds and then loop back to the start and listen to it again for 30 seconds or longer, it will count as 2 streams.
Streams are credited to the revenue of the artist who earns per play. Our research indicates that streams from a paid account weigh more and spamming comments or acting like a bot can lead to being flagged.
Spotify may not count your streams if you engage in such activities.
Do streams count if you are a free Spotify user?
Spotify will count streams from free accounts but it leads to a lower streaming royalty rate for an artist. The Spotify payout ranges from $0.0033 to $0.0043 per play or stream. Streams from free Spotify users have a lower payout compared to streams from users with a Premium account.
Simply put, free streams have the same impact on an artist’s stats but don’t result in the same revenue. Spotify does not disclose the difference in the streaming royalty payout for artists.
Why is Spotify not counting my streams?
Streaming providers have identified fake streams as one of the major concerns. Most, if not all, are trying to create tools to separate genuine and fake streams to prevent unethical practices.
These are anti-spam measures created by the backend team to prevent intentional misuse.
Spotify may not count your streams if you are – intentionally or unintentionally – doing something that gets flagged as suspicious activity. Your streams may also not count if you aren’t following the rules of streams. Here are a few reasons that could be happening:
You are using a VPN to stream Spotify
Music streaming platforms are aware of fans using VPNs to boost streams. Additionally, the charts and trends take note of the region from which a song has been streamed.
Platforms like Spotify have anti-VPN measures. If you are using a VPN that could be the reason why Spotify is not counting your streams.
You are flagged for ‘bot behavior’
Now this one is somewhat unclear, but most educated guesses on the topic suggest that platforms will identify dubious behavior from listeners. So, your streams may not count if you are playing the same song on repeat for days. Avoid getting flagged by anti-spam measures by adding a few other songs to your playlist and/or using multiple devices to boost plays.
You are streaming a track for less than 30 seconds
As stated earlier, you have to stream a song for at least 30 seconds (or more) for it to count. Ensure that you are listening for that long before you repeat the track or skip to a different track.
Failure to do so could be the reason Spotify isn’t counting your streams.
Does Spotify count your own streams?
Spotify will count the artist’s streams in the exact same manner as fans or other users. Many amateur artists often play their songs on repeat to increase their song streams to earn royalties.
However, it’s not an effective way to make money.
Moreover, playing streams on repeat can be a bootless errand if the goal is to earn money. Why? Assuming the artist gets paid $0.0033-0.0043 per play, you would need to stream a song thousands of times to earn a dollar. That’s a lot of streams and barely any green.
Lastly, if an artist plays their own songs 24/7 for days, it can look extremely fishy and may get flagged as an intent to artificially increase the stats. It’s not worth the risk to do this to earn more money, especially because there are better ways to hack the Spotify algorithm.
Does Spotify remove or take away streams?
Yes, Spotify may lower or take away streams if it identifies misuse of its terms and conditions or fraudulent streams via streaming farms. In other words, they are cracking down on artificial streaming to prevent artists from engaging in unethical activities.
In extreme cases, Spotify may remove a song from its platform or prevent an artist from uploading songs in the future.
For more information take a look at this YouTube video.
Whether you are a new artist trying to generate income/fame or a fan trying to support someone to a spot in the charts, the real purpose of streaming is to support and enjoy the music.
If you are an artist, it’s best to find ways to push your songs into Spotify playlists to increase your reach. If you are a fan, the best way to support an artist (monetarily) would be to share and/or buy their music.