Music Marketing & Promotion Experience (Part 6)

Strategies for sustainable Music Promotion

In the dynamic landscape of the music industry, navigating the digital realm is paramount for indie artists seeking sustainable success. Amidst the plethora of platforms and technologies, strategic promotion is becoming the cornerstone of visibility and growth. Especially in the age of streaming, where algorithms have a huge influence, promoting your music is essential.


This blog in the series looks at the strategies I've explored to improve streaming results as well as their sustainability. In an age where streaming services reign supreme, understanding the intricacies of these platforms is tantamount to tapping into a virtual stage with global reach.


From placement in playlists to targeted advertising campaigns on social media platforms - the possibilities for increasing streaming metrics are diverse and are evolving rapidly in the age of artificial intelligence. Developing compelling stories around releases, engaging fan communities and using data analytics are just a few aspects of a multi-faceted approach to sustainable music promotion.


By exploring the symbiotic relationship between artists and streaming services, this discourse aims to shed light on ways to increase visibility, engagement and ultimately revenue. Through innovative tactics and strategic partnerships, artists can find their niche in the digital ecosystem, building meaningful connections with listeners while fostering sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive environment.


The following chapters were written from my very personal perspective and reflect my own experiences. Of course, this does not mean that there are not other possible perspectives and experiences.


Experiences with different Distributors

Music distributors play a crucial role in the modern music industry, serving as intermediaries between artists and digital platforms. They facilitate the distribution of music to various streaming services and online stores, ensuring that artists' work reaches global audiences. Distributors handle tasks such as metadata management, royalty collection, and content delivery, relieving artists of administrative burdens and allowing them to focus on their craft. Moreover, distributors provide valuable insights through analytics, helping artists make informed decisions about their promotion and distribution strategies. In essence, music distributors are indispensable partners for artists seeking visibility, reach, and sustainable growth in the digital age.



 When I started publishing my music in 2019, one of the best choices among the different established distributors at this time was AMUSE located in Sweden. Amuse claims to revolutionize music distribution with its user-friendly platform and commitment to artist empowerment. Offering free distribution and transparent royalty collection, Amuse democratizes access to the global music market. AMUSE further claims that its innovative Fast Forward feature provides advances to artists based on future royalties, enabling creative freedom. With data-driven insights and seamless integration with streaming platforms, Amuse empowers artists to navigate the digital landscape with ease, as they proclaim. 


My personal experience with AMUSE (Boost) was initially pretty good. The upload of music to their platform worked fine and the workflow was further optimized through the years. Both, iOS and desktop (browser based) platforms were supported.


After quite some time it appeared that AMUSE had some difficulties to accumulated the consolidated streams from the different platforms. Streams that accumulated on AMAZON Music, for instance, were not showing up in AMUSE correctly. Same issues were noticed with the new AUDIOMACK and PANDORA platforms as well. Upon inquiry, AMUSE answered that they were knowning these difficulties and work on them. One year later, they still existed and their answer was still the same - no progress during one year. All interactions between artists and AMUSE are by the way funneled through a "help desk" and it is not possible to talk or interact with a living person.


Moreover, the financial statement that AMUSE offers to download did not contain the above streams as well. It turned out that from May 2019 to end of 2023 just 270k streams were listed in the financial statement sheet, whereas a total of >2.4 Mio streams were collected according to their own statistics. Hence, approx. 11% of the streams were paid out, 89% were missing in the financial statement.


In January 2024, Spotify published their new policy, which contained the new threshold value (<1.000 streams/a per song are not regarded as eligible to get any revenues) as well as the new regulation against botted playlists. The artist is hold accountable for any use of botted playlists. This by itself is weird in my opinion, since 1) the artists do not have all the metrics and insights to identify a dotted playlist, 2) the platforms are running bots themselves (algorithmic playlists), 3) the platform providers should make sure that mis-use isn't possible, not the artists.


Based on this new policy of Spotify, in 2024, AMUSE started to cancel contracts with indie musicians without prior notification, without proof of violation of Spotifys policy and, without any rights of the artist nor hearing. Moreover, AMUSE is withdrawing any remaining revenues that haven't been transferred yet to the artist bank account and transferred it back to Spotify (regardless if the revenues were also including fees from other platforms).


This new behavior of AMUSE is totally random, non-compliant and incompatible with the principles of the rule of law. 


Hence, AMUSE is principally acting against everything what they claimed their platform should be (see above):


- There are lacks in streams / royalty collection

- AMUSE is transfering any remaining revenues back to Spotify

- Lack of compliance with rule of law


Therefore, from my perspective, AMUSE cannot be recommended as a distributor anymore!


The case has been shared with SUISA and other organizations keeping track on this trend and behavior on behalf of the artists.



Recordjet, the Berlin-based distributor, champions independent artists with its artist-centric approach. Offering flexible distribution options and fair revenue sharing, Recordjet empowers musicians to retain control over their work. With personalized support and transparent analytics, it fosters meaningful connections between artists and audiences. Founded on principles of transparency and fairness, Recordjet provides a vital platform for emerging talent to thrive in the competitive music industry.


Prior to switching to Recordjet, their terms of use have been reviewed by lawyers from SUISA and found to be compliant with current legislation and rule of laws. Especially, Recordjet is providing a personalized support with minimal reaction time. Their stream and royalty collection appears to be in agreement with those provided by the streaming platforms themselves (e.g. Spotify for Arists, Apple Music for Artists). As I receive it, Recordjet is indeed providing more transparency and fairness in the collaboration with artists.


Existing Reports on Promotion Services

Many promotion companies are out in the space offering their services. However, there are not many reviews out that summarize the experiences with those promotion providers independently. Mid 2023, the Youtuber 'Two Story Media' referenced below tried out the following 16 promotion services and included a blog article and detailed tabulated results (spreadsheet):

  1. Music Diffusion 
  2. Musicvertising 
  3. Boost Collective
  4. Groover
  5. SubmitLink
  6. SoundCampaign
  7. Orion Promotion
  8. SubmitHub
  9. Playlist-Promotion
  10. Omari MC
  11. Daimoon Media
  12. Moonstrive Media
  13. Partnered Projects
  14. YouGrow Promo
  15. Playlist Push
  16. Indie Music Academy

Those promotion services highlighted in bold were selected as the (subjective) Top 12 legit services for Spotify promotions with no bots being involved. The author provided an in depth analysis and detailed Pro's and Con's for each services as well.








Own Experiences with Promotion Services

The following 16 promotion services were tested by myself for Spotify promotions:

  1. Artist Push
  2. Artist PR
  3. Drop
  4. Fiverr
  5. Groover
  6. SubmitHub
  7. ModernMusic Marketing
  8. MySphera
  9. Music Diffusion
  10. OMARI MC
  11. Pitch-Us
  12. Repost NG
  13. SoundCamps
  14. Playlist Push
  15. Sparking Music
  16. Tobias Strom / Vertex Consulting Group

In the following section/s, I will not repeat on previously assessed promotion services rather contribute to the ten (10) additional service providers highlighted in bold.



The results of the promotion campaigns highlighted in bold (above section) are compiled in the following table.


Please note that the Pitch-Us campaigns are still in-progress, especially most recent one for the single "Emphasis".


The explanation of the terms in the spreadsheet are listed here:



Tabulated Results of Promotion Campaigns
Please click to enlarge this table.

The results are illustrated in the bubble diagram by plotting the campaign cost (US-$) on the x-axis versus the estimated total streams on the y-axis.


The Pitch-Us campaigns are giving pretty good results and their high engagement KPIs (stream/listener, saves - data not shown) are indicating an extremely good service. Moreover, their promotion strategy is triggering the Spotify algorithm resulting in promotion of the full back-end catalog as well.


MySphera were sharing the promoted song with different tastemakers. At the end of the campaign they offered an extension by another couple of weeks:


Shared to following Playlists:

Boom bap Mix


Indie Christian


Leopoldo Ulivieri Gasoldo

Just Fede Playlists

Citrus Music

Malmo Music



Afternoon Tea


V.X.D selects

Feel the Boogalo

Daniela Spadini

Absolute electronics


Additional playlist adds:


Common Good - Instrumentals!


Another way of looking to the data is to plot the cost per streams versus the campaigns / promotion providers.


Interestingly, most promotions resulted in cost per stream in the order of <0.03 US-$/stream. Exceptions are Fiverr (Apple platform) and ModernMusic Marketing.


Fraudulent Providers

Two promotion providers listed below showed weird behaviors or services:



Though they initially responded timely, after the payment (<50 US-$) they stopped responding on emails and did not provide any promotion - obviously this is a scam. Be careful with Amigosounds.



MusicDiffusion provided promotion services for both, Amazon Music and Audiomack, however, the profile appeared to be botted. This was also observed previously by Two Story Media.


A couple of providers (e.g. Artist Push, Sparking Music) appear to work with bots or botted playlists based on the stream profile and other KPIs indicative for bots.


Experiences with different Promotion Agencies

In 2023, several promotion agencies were engaged to support new releases (singles / albums):


Liberty Music PR (Brighton/London, UK)

- Streaming promotion

- Music Magazine promotion


Promokativ (Zürich, Switzerland)

- Radio promotion


Toby Webster (Hamburg, Germany)

- Streaming promotion


Liberty Music PR

This is a british PR agency located in Brighton / London that is specialized in supporting Indie musicians like me. The whole spirit and values of the agency was pretty much speaking to me. They offered a service bundle consisting of a streaming promotion package and a music magazine package (articles, reviews). In total, Liberty Music PR charged 1.558.- Pounds (1.880.- €) for the entire 4-week campaign. Interviews and exchange of information / payments went pretty smooth and serious. Liberty Music PR is claiming to invest a significant effort to make sure that no botted playlists are engaged during the promotion. They provided a single-point-of-contact (SPOC), who was taking care of the connections and flow of information. Other staff members were included in all email communications as well.


The campaign preparation time ahead of the release date (Nov 17th) of my album 'Harmonious Fusion' was approximately 8 weeks. This time frame was used to collect all information into their systems and prepare the music magazine campaign. Upon release, the streaming promotion campaign started off as well. Liberty Music PR is providing a web page where all the results are collected. However, the streaming results were not reported (as promised initially), but added upon request later.


Streaming Promotion Campaign

As opposed to other streaming promotion services, Liberty Music PR focuses on a single "lead track" of the album, hence not all songs on the album are equally being promoted. In close collaboration with my SPOC, the track "Air Stream" was selected for the streaming promotion campaign. 


After release on Nov 17th, the streaming promotion campaign was having a significant lag-time and mid of January, all of the sudden, the playlist adds shoot-up. Prior to this, the lack of significant streaming activity was brought to the attention of the SPOC at Liberty - maybe, the peak was a reaction to this inquiry.


Other streaming platforms like Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, Pandora and Amazon Music, were also pitched (editorial playlists), but without successful response according to Liberty Music PR.


Looking into the playlists associated with the campaign a little deeper, "Air Stream" was generating streams on some playlists while the song wasn't appearing on those playlists:


Night Vibes🌌open.spotify.com

STUDY / background musicopen.spotify.com

ALL NEW 2024!open.spotify.com

just a cool indie playlist✨open.spotify.com


The report below was provided by Liberty Music PR to indicate the progress on playlist pitching - just Spotify playlists appeared.


Mid of January, two significant peaks of playlist-adds appeared that were linked to the Liberty Music PR campaign. Although the report just indicates 12 playlist-adds, the Spotify for Artist page showed significantly more (100x, 1.455 playlist-adds) which is kind of interesting.


In total, the streaming promotion campaign at Liberty Music PR yielded 12.5k streams with moderate engagement (1.735 streams/listeners ratio) and good playlist-adds and saves numbers.


However, the cost per stream ratio is estimated in the order of 0.075 €/stream, which is not a good value (see figure above).


Music Magazine Promotion Campaign

In parallel to the streaming promotion campaign for "Air Stream", Liberty Music PR was also running a music magazine campaign as well.



Promokativ is a Zürich-based promotion agency providing a network to radio stations in Europe and across the globe. Although Promokativ is also engaged in other areas like direct promotion of musicians/bands/acts, streaming and music magazione promotions, in this case they were engaged for broadcasting promotion only in order to circumvent overlap with the Liberty Music PR campaign running in parallel.


The planning for broadcasting promotion started some 8 weeks before release date providing sufficient "head-space" to setup the campaign. Only a single song of the album 'Harmonious Fusion' could be selected for pitching to the radio stations. For several reasons (track length, danceability, vocals, solo) discussed intensively with the Promokativ team, the song 'Bottom Mercy - Remix' was finally selected for the radio promo. The total expenses for this campaign was 1.615.- CHF (1.670.- €)) and also included a press kit. The results of the campaign are shown in the next tables.


Basically, all mainstream radio station denied spinning 'Bottom Mercy - Remix' for different reasons. Therefore, a total of 48 Indie radio stations were spinning the song, some only once, some multiple times. Additional 19 plays were reported on WARM in January and Februray 2024 matching up to 67 overall radio plays. The cost per play is 25 €/play which is enormous compared to streaming campaigns (see figure above).


Summarized, the radio business seems to be pretty difficult to tackle as Indie musician since most main stream radio stations are fully booked and there is very little room, if at all, for unknown independent music.






Toby Webster Promo Agency

This ageny located in Bramstedt (near Hamburg, Germany) was intended to foster the Apple Music platform. However, after setting up the campaign and running it for a couple of weeks it appears that very little streams accumulated. Therefore, the campaign was cancelled and fully refunded. Very fair agency.



Fantomacs alternative logo

 When looking to the overall picture it appears that the paid promotion campaigns on can partially pay-off. There are some promotion providers available that run un-botted campaigns resulting in good quality / high engagement rates. Looking at the cost per stream ratio it appers that, for the majority of promotion campaigns, the revenue (average 0.2 ct/stream) is approx. 5x lower than the cost for promotion. Hence, approximately 1/5th of the campaign cost may be earned back. 


As discussed in part 5 of the blog series, however, there is also a "soft factor" to be taken into account since the paid promotion campaigns generate much more visibility, which will not happen if no promotions are performed. The question is - is there any alternative to this approach? Does anyone know ways to promote efficiently without paying for it? 


So, stay tuned, keep reading this blog, enjoy listening to my music and take care! 


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