Skip to main content

Spotify begins cracking down on third-party playlist services

In the wake of an investigation by the Daily Dot, Spotify has kicked a major third-party service off its platform. SpotLister, one of many services that specialize in placing songs on the streaming service’s highly coveted playlists, has been now been deemed non-compliant with the streaming service’s terms of use. As a result, SpotLister noted on its website, “Our API key has been deactivated [and] we will no longer be able to operate our platform.”

For the last couple years, SpotLister sought to help musicians gain a spot on Spotify playlists. How did it do it? When the company started in 2016, it offered “pitching services” in order to create buzz on SoundCloud, and soon thereafter, Spotify. Clients would pay the two 21-year-old college students and co-founders anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 to ensure that their music ended up on a prominent playlist. After all, Spotify is known for introducing its listeners to new music via its pre-determined lists of new and emerging songs. Indeed, playlists represent nearly one-third of all listening that takes place on the platform, as per a recent SEC filing.

“We started out paying $5 [for a playlist add] and that worked in the beginning,” SpotLister co-founder Danny Garcia told the Daily Dot. “When more people started getting into the game, you saw the prices starting to rise, and then the playlisters started seeing that they were relevant and worth a lot more. There are some playlists that have 90,000 followers that can charge $100-$200 for an add, all the way up to playlists with 500,000 who can charge $2,000 for one placement.”

The problem is that Spotify explicitly prohibits this practice. In a statement, the company noted, “There is no ‘pay-to-playlist’ or sale of our playlists in any way. It’s bad for artists and bad for fans. We maintain a strict policy, and take appropriate action against parties that do not abide by these guidelines.”

But for quite some time, it would seem that the policy wasn’t enforced all that well. After all, SpotLister at one point purported to have access to more than 1,500 curators who reached around 11.7 million followers. And once songs began appearing on more and more playlists, they would eventually make their way onto Spotify’s official playlists. Most importantly, because artists actually generate revenue based on streams, they’re effectively paid (or paid back) by Spotify for initially paying to get their music on the platform.

Now, it seems that these services are truly meeting their end — or at least, SpotLister is. The company is refunding users for any outstanding balances, and will delete its services once this process is complete. So when it comes to paying for play, in this case, the fat lady has sung.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
If you sign up for Spotify’s Car Thing, you might get one for free
Spotify Car Thing

Spotify's Car Thing, a gadget that lets users access the company's streaming music offering in a driver-friendly format, is finally a product regular Spotify Premium subscribers have a chance of getting their hands on.  As part of the device's formal launch, subscribers can sign up to get one, and, remarkably, Spotify is discounting the entire $80 price, asking that eligible customers only pay the $7 shipping charge.

What exactly is Car Thing? It's a device that Spotify has been working on for a few years, using early prototypes to understand how its customers interact with Spotify's streaming audio content while in their cars. The version that the company has just released looks like a smartphone with a large rotating knob attached to the front of the display.

Read more
Spotify vs. Pandora
Spotify logo on a phone.

You’ve probably heard that there are two types of people out there: people who listen to their music on Spotify and people who use Pandora. While Pandora has been around for decades and many people credit the streaming service for revolutionizing the music industry, there’s also a reason Spotify has become so popular in the past few years.

If you're a music lover, both services are certainly worth using. Still, if you're considering upgrading to paid tiers like Spotify Unlimited or Pandora Premium, you will want to know what you're getting for your hard-earned cash. We pit Spotify and Pandora against each other to help you decide which is right for you, and after comparing these two music services closely, Spotify comes out on top.
For better or worse, Pandora's Music Genome Project helped revolutionize the music industry when it debuted in 2000, creating a new standard for online music streaming. Since then, numerous competitors have sprung up, with iHeartRadio,, TuneIn, and more borrowing Pandora's "radio station" model with varying degrees of success. In fact, Pandora has been so successful at radio-style programming that SiriusXM recently agreed to purchase it.

Read more
How to change your Spotify username
How to change your Spotify username

When it comes to streaming music, podcasts, and other audio content, Spotify provides an enormous variety of customized selections for your listening pleasure. Sadly, when it comes to changing your username, there are no official options to do so that are supported by Spotify, so it would appear that you should choose with care. However, with a bit of ingenuity, you can circumvent this obstacle by either setting up a display name for your account or linking your Spotify and Facebook accounts on your mobile or desktop app. Our handy guide will show you how to change your Spotify username as quickly and conveniently as possible.

To clarify, each account on Spotify is assigned a unique identifier that becomes intrinsically linked to the username that you use to create your account, whether free or premium. This makes your username unalterable, at least employing anything the Spotify mobile or PC apps are capable of doing on their own. That being said, the two methods below will either create a display name that the public can see or merge your Facebook username into your Spotify account and replace your original username.

Read more