I, your always-thinking Professor Philp, am going to try something.  It is a musical experiment, inspired by the band Vulfpeck.  Have you heard of these guys?  Do you know what they did in the spring?  I won’t recap.  Watch this video for all of the answers, then keep reading about my ultra-cool experiment.

Spotify ultimately took Vulfpeck’s album down, considering it more of a stunt aimed at gaming the system than an actual collection of songs meant for human consumption.

Is it possible, however, for us all to “game” the system?

I recently went back to some music my high school/college band recorded.  We took our best track, “I Wish I Had Her Back,” and uploaded it to CD Baby.  Just for laughs, check out our page HERE.

Our band had two names back then.  The first was Ph.D (which stood for the first initial of our last names, Philp, Hubert & DeMaio).  We had to change it because there was another band from England with that name.  We became The High Fives.  Oops.  Another already-taken name.  Faced with a massive public relations crisis as I put this CD Baby page together, I became the authoritarian leader of the band (keep in mind, we haven’t recorded together since 1989) and our new name became:

Philp, Hubert & DeMaio



“What about Vulfpeck?” you ask.

Thank you for your question.  We don’t have an album.  We certainly don’t have an album of silent songs.  (Teaching Moment: In case you didn’t know this, silence as a musical composition isn’t a new idea.  Check out the piece “4’33” by John Cage below:)


Back to the idea.  Vulpeck did their math like this:

1 Listen = $0.005

That’s 1/2 a penny per listen.

800 Listens = $4.00

According to Billboard Magazine, Vulpeck’s Sleepify received approximately 5.5 million plays on Spotify and the service paid out between $0.0030 to $0.0038 each time the song was streamed.

Overall, the band is set to earn $20,000.

Here’s where my experiment comes in.

“I Wish I Had Her Back” – The Spotify Playlist Test

There are three members of Philp, Hubert & DeMaio ($3 cash to the first one to hit me up on Twitter with the names of the three members – @MusicBiz101wp).  I made a playlist on Spotify for “I Wish I Had Her Back.”  See it below:

Note that the playlist includes one song, “I Wish I Had Her Back.”  The song repeats 127 times until it reaches the 8-hour mark.  Using a combination of Vulfpeck and Billboard math, I came up with this equation:

1 Song Listen = $0.0030 (note that equals one-third of a penny)

1 Complete Playlist Listen = $0.381 per total listen

3 Listens per night = $1.143 (because there are 3 of us in the band)

That’s Money In My Pocket!!! (split 3 ways)

If the three of us start our playlist each night before we go to bed, and you assume we’re good boys who get 8 hours of sleep per night, after a month (30 nights) of playlist playing, we should earn collectively $34.29.

Meanwhile, the song will receive 381 plays per night and 11,430 over the month.

“Um, that sucks,” you just said out loud.  Um, yeah.

“I Wish I Had Her Back” – The Spotify Playlist TestBut, think about it like this:

1.  That’s basically a free $34.29 every month.  It’s easy.  All you’re doing is clicking the play button with your mouse and going to bed.  Or going out to work.  Or leaving the house for 8 hours and returning.  Why not make time work in your favor?

2.  Here’s a way to incorporate the full band.  Not everybody is going to be good at social media.  Maybe your lead singer JUST sings and nothing more.  Rather than feel angry at him for doing nothing but singing, tell him to use the mouse-click method with Spotify to help raise a few bucks.  You never know.  He/she might be secretly glad they can finally help out.

3 A.  Just like Vulfpeck, turn it into a game for your fans.  Ask your fans to post screenshots or Vines or Instagram videos of them playing your playlist.  Comment on their posts.  Make a special hashtag, #SpotifyMouseClick.  Have fun with this and give your fans another way to have fun with you.

3 B.  While we’re onto the fan thing, ask your fans to add your songs into their playlists.  Again, request them to take screen shots to upload onto Instagram.  Reward those fans with big thank yuze, or concert tickets, or a t-shirt, or a phone call.  Be personal and be good to them.  If they’re into you that much, they deserve a few moments of your time. (I took this idea from HERE and built it up a wee bit more.  You should read what CD Baby puts out on their blog.  They do good work.)

4.  You can always extend this to other streaming services, including YouTube.  Make a lyric video of your song(s), turn the videos into 8-hour playlists, and click Play.  You should eventually earn a few bucks from your PRO (performance right organization) and rack up more views on YouTube, which you obviously want.

The Final Thing

Spotify announced earlier this year that their service featured 20 million tracks.  They also stated that 20% of those tracks had NEVER received One Single Stream.  That means not even the band streamed the song.  Not even the band’s moms streamed the song.  This is crazy to me.  It’s so easy to use your mouse, click, and listen to your song.

I Wish I Had Her Back A Spotify playlist testMeanwhile, there are lots of songs that don’t have 2,000 or 5,000 streams.  Let’s say you’re trying to get some interest from a record label (major or indie, it doesn’t matter).  If they see your song has over 11,000 streams, they may be somewhat impressed.

More Math:

If my power trio performed this experiment for 12 months, our song would receive 137,160 streams on Spotify.  In theory, we should earn $411.48 from this at $0.003 per stream.

It ain’t much, but it’s better than zero.  Plus, there are all of the benefits above.

Your Big Lesson?  Don’t be a victim of time.  If you’re going to sleep for 8 hours tonight, stream your stuff.  Get those numbers up a bit and make a few bucks.  It’s not real – meaning your fans aren’t doing this, you are – but who cares?  Did anyone ever tell you life was fair?  Here’s your chance to be smart and do something you can control.

I will report my findings of this experiment to you sometime in the autumn.

In the meantime, do you think this is smart or sleazy?

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