The Spotify Playlist Test - An Update
The Spotify Playlist Test - An Update
A screenshot of the Spotify page for the song “I Wish I Had Her Back.”

Back on August 10, I wrote about the band Vulfpeck and how they’d utilized the power of Spotify playlists to help fund a U.S. tour.  You can read that HERE.  I then rambled on about how I was going to try my own test, somewhat similar to Vulfpeck but based on one song, so that I could figure out how much revenue can come from Spotify streams.

How I Got To 10,000 Streams On Spotify – A Playlist Test Update

Part I of the test is complete.  I created a playlist made up of one song, my old high school/college band’s song “I Wish I Had Her Back,” on Spotify. The playlist repeated the song 127 times; it was approximately 8 hours of music.

For about 50 days, I played nothing but  the “I Wish I Had Her Back” playlist on my home computer.  Before I went to bed, I started the playlist at the top and clicked Play.  I’d wake up in the morning, head over to the computer, and click on Play again.  (For some reason, the playlist would automatically stop after what seemed like 6 hours.)  I’d leave the house for work, come home, start the playlist from the top, rinse and repeat.

How I Got To 10,000 Streams On Spotify – A Playlist Test Update

I wanted to reach 10,000 plays before the end of the fiscal quarter.  I’d used CD Baby to upload the song to Spotify.  My hope was/is that I could get a royalty check from them before the end of the fourth quarter (December 31st for those of you playing at  home).  I hit goal #1.

On September 30th, the song passed the 10,000 stream threshold.

You’ll see in the picture at the top of the page what the “I Wish I Had Her Back” song page looks like on Spotify.  In this screengrab, the song is at 10,215 streams.  It’s higher now, only because I clicked Play on the playlist a few more times out of habit.

Once the big, massive, humongous royalty check comes in, I will share it with you.  In the meantime, I have learned some lessons that I will share below.

Lesson #1 – This Was A Pain In The Buttocks

I had to remember to keep pushing Play.  I had to remember to run to the computer in the morning, at night, or whenever somebody in the house had pushed pause so they could watch something on YouTube.  I had to be incredibly vigilant in order to reach the goal.  It wasn’t a whole lotta fun.

Even worse, I love Spotify.  I love listening to lots of different music on other people’s playlists or some of the playlists I’ve created.  Here’s a favorite that gets 1 or 3 new followers every week called “Songs About Leaving, Loss And Goodbyes”:

By participating in this test, I couldn’t use Spotify the way I liked using it anywhere.  If I went to work (I’m a professor of the music business at William Paterson University) and used Spotify there, it would pause my playlist at home.  I’d lose valuable hours needed to get to the 10,000 plays goal by simply listening to Spotify for pleasure.

This wasn’t pleasurable at all.  It was work.  The saving grace was the purpose of the playlist – getting to the 10,000 streams.  It was a good day when the goal was reached and I could unshackle myself from this burden I’d forced upon myself.

Lesson #2 – You Need Buy-In From Your Full Group

How I Got To 10,000 Streams On Spotify – A Playlist Test Update
Your “I Wish I Had Her Back” crew – Joe Hubert (L), Professor Dave Philp, Bob DeMaio, circa 1985. The fish was never named.

In theory, this should be easier if you’re not a solo artist.  If there are 3 or 4 or 8 of you in a band and you can get everybody on board to be very disciplined and follow the steps to 10,000+ streams, you’ll get there faster.  Or you can set a higher goal.  If each member of the band is responsible for 10,000 streams and you have 3 or 4 members in a group, you can get to 30,000 or 40,000 streams (note how good I am at math) within a couple of months.


You need buy-in from all the peeps in your band.  This is not something that I got with my test.  This song was recorded in 1988.  I am no longer in touch with the bass player.  I don’t remember the sax player’s last name.  I’m still good friends and in a band with the guitarist and am longish-distance chums with the keyboard player.  In our case then, we had a trio.

My chum said no.  He didn’t think this was ethical; he thought we were skirting the rules of Spotify – he’s very smart and looked it up HERE; maybe we were:

“Please respect Spotify and other users of the Spotify Service. Don’t engage in any activity on the Service or upload User Content, including registering and/or using a username, which is or includes material that… (g) uses automated means to artificially promote content.”

Is a Playlist considered “automated means”?  I will ask an entertainment attorney on an upcoming Music Biz 101 & More radio show and find out for sure.

I know my lil’ friend didn’t care enough to go through this.  He’s not a musician anymore, has two kids, one wife, a job.  He’s got other things on his mind.  As they say on Sharktank, “I’m out.”

My guitarist friend is a busy fella too.  Job, kid, spouse, house, mouse, louse – aww, now I’m just rhymin’ away.  Anyhoo, he may have played the song once just for the thrill of hearing one of our old songs on this new Spotify thang, but he wasn’t going to be able to participate either.

It was just me, therefore.  The goal was reached.  Refer to Lesson #1 for my emotions during the process.

Lesson #3 – YouTube Isn’t As Good For Background Listening

“I Wish I Had Her Back” – The Spotify Playlist TestTo me, Spotfiy is the better service for music discovery and for listening to music in the background while you do other things, like work out, teach, or yell at the dog for pooping on your favorite Egg McMuffin finger painting.  Spotify’s culture is a Playlist Culture.  People go there and create playlists.  Or you can click on an album and hear the whole thing non-stop, save for the occasional commercial (I use the free service, not the subscription service).

While performing this Spotify test, I used YouTube as my background listening device.  It was harder.  I had to search harder for playlists that I liked.  Or I had to try harder to get to full albums.  Used strictly for music playback, I felt YouTube was not as good as Spotify (at least for the music I like to hear) for long-term background listening without the need to interrupt what I was doing to go back into YouTube and click on something else.

Mid-Test Recap

How much money will I earn?  I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to buy you all a healthy Egg McMuffin breakfast with the proceeds.  My hope is that I get enough to cover the costs of my CD Baby subscription.  I’m assuming I’ll get somewhere in the vicinity of $13, based upon an estimate of $0.0013 per stream – yes, that’s a portion of a penny each time the song streamed.  Either way, once I had a number I’ll pass it along.  Then we can see if this test is even worth it for DIY musicians.

My question: I wrote above how I felt about using YouTube for my background musical needs.  Do you feel the same way, or do you think there’s a better way to use YouTube.  Comment below and let a boy like me know.  If you want, click below and listen, just once to “I Wish I Had Her Back.”  Maybe I can earn another thirteen bucks by blogging about my wonderful experience.

3 Replies to “How I Got To 10,000 Streams On Spotify – A Playlist Test Update”

  1. I’ve had nearly 10,000 plays on a music site called number one music, does it add up to anything I should be excited about? Loyalties? charts? I’ve not had a single penny yet. I’m a strugling artist trying to get my career off the ground and its hell.

    1. You’re not going to see any money from 10,000 plays. If you’d sold 10,000 CDs, there’s money in that, especially if you released it completely independent of any third parties. But streaming one song 10,000 times isn’t going to drive revenue. But, lots of individual tracks have NOT received 10,000 legitimate streams. I would make sure your press materials make it clear that you’ve reached that level streams. But it’s just one part of your bigger story. Now, can you translate that into 10,000+ YouTube views and 2,000 or 5,000 Facebook fans and Twitter/Instagram followers who regularly engage with you? Now the story becomes more interesting. Keep track of your progress and keep building those numbers. Just do NOT ever buy followers or try to go around the system. Do it the right way. It won’t happen overnight. Work extremely hard and push yourself to constantly improve.

      Let us know how it goes!

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