So here’s a big lesson you need to learn if you want to get anywhere in the industry it’s that paying for likes listens, followers or whatever is never going to get you anywhere. Or at least not if you’re buying them outright. Now I know that might be a weird thing to wrap your head around at first, after all, I’m still the guy who has said that your social numbers probably have a bigger impact on the sorts of opportunities your band gets than anything else. That’s simply part of why the music industry can be so stressful and annoying. But that’s only the beginning of the madness that defines this whole thing, and we haven’t even begun to delve deeper into what really makes paying sketchy third party sites to increase your numbers so bad. Before we go any further just realize that taking part in these schemes will only bite you in the ass, and yes, those bands that you like actually did get all those likes themselves, there’s a reason you like them after all, right?
First and foremost, I want to clarify that any site whose main selling point is “We will get you X amount of likes/follows/etc for Y dollars” is a scam. Not only do most of these sites not deliver, because they are already on the borders of legality and don’t need to worry about getting reported, but also the sort followers they get for you aren’t real and this creates a huge issue for the bands paying them. A lot of the accounts used to boost numbers exist solely to follow folks who are paying for these services. Of course fake accounts don’t actually help you in the long run for a variety of reasons, and we’re going to get into that. Outside of fake accounts these services frequently are just using click farms which essentially boils down to the same thing unfortunately. That’s just how these operations work and it’s total bogus and everyone knows it. Which is why almost every service that helps promote bands is taking measures against it.
Let’s look at some of the consequences that paying for followers can have for you. Perhaps the most desire consequence is if you do this on Spotify. By triggering Spotify’s anti-spam filter they will automatically de-list you. Assuming they figure out what you were doing, which they will, they will kick you off the service permanently. On top of that this is likely to get you blacklisted in other services, which means that your distributor is going to kick you off of the company and you’re going to be stuck up shit creek without a paddle. With more traditional social media the issue you are going to run into is a lack of engagement. It looks really awkward when you’re sitting there with 90,000 Facebook likes and getting one or two likes per post. It’s not really something you can walk back from either, since a page that has low engagement is unlikely to get a lot of love from any social media algorithm.
That’s sort of the thing you need to understand about how the industry works these days. I know that in the early days these services were kind of a bonanza and it was easy to just buy up likes and then make promoters think you were cool. On top of that, with the more primitive algorithms that dominated the landscape even five or six years ago having a ton of likes was all you needed, it would get shown to people, damn the engagement. That was a really good thing to be a part of, but the party is over. They got us all addicted and relying on the services provided and now that they have cut down most of the posts we see to only sponsored content we have to realize the only things that cut through are things that have high engagement. If you’re not working on getting any form of social engagement out there then you’re going to find your band not getting anywhere. And if you have low engagement relative to follows people will think you’re some asshole who thought that he could buy his way to popularity, which you might very well be.
When it comes down to it you really need to take a minute to sit down and think about how YOU interact with social media and bands on social media and think about what’s been working for them. I know that it’s hard to grow your like count on Facebook and that a lot of promoters use that as a general litmus test for how much a band is worth. Hell – I do it all the time. But when it comes down to it you need to be aware of two things. First, if you have a good name in the scene then you’re going to get people coming out to your shows and promoters trusting you, to do this you need to play shows, make good music and not be a dick. Second, if you get a bunch of fake likes and then command a big guarantee and play to no one do you think that the people who lost money on you are going to want to work with you again? They won’t. Instead they will tell all of their friends that they shouldn’t work with you either.
So go out there and work your ass off for likes People don’t just naturally find music, but we’ve told you that time and time again. People need to be force fed and shown what’s good, but once they do they will be dedicated as long as you treat them right. Of course most people don’t, this is why most bands have no longevity. When it comes down to it, you just need to think for a minute and try and make your social media work for you with sponsored posts and content that doesn’t suck. You need to spend time on these things and if you do then you are going to wind up on top of your game with a stronger social presence and a leg up on the pretenders who thought that they could just buy their way to becoming kings of the hill.