If you’re wondering what Spotify’s streaming rules around streaming songs on mute are, I’ve done the research and written about just that in this here article. 🙂
Spotify does count streams that are on mute. The Spotify app does not have the ability to track the volume level of a laptop, phone, or tablet.
With that said, Spotify can tell when a song is muted in their app and it is, unfortunately, in their best business interests to not pay out as many streams as possible for any good reason.
So with that said, while streaming music, make sure that you do not mute the music to make sure that it counts towards streaming stats for that artist.
In addition to this, Spotify has a specific section in their Terms and Conditions (that each user agrees to in order to use Spotify) that straight up mentions that you can’t do anything to artificially influence play counts.
Depending on how you stream music on mute, Spotify may see this as an attempt to artificially increase streams.
To learn more about streaming music on mute, what Spotify can do if they think you are up to no good, and what the legit alternative is to increase and grow Spotify streams, keep on reading, my friend. 🙂
Does Spotify Count Plays On Mute?
Spotify will not count any streams that are on mute in the Spotify app, however, they will still count streams that are muted outside of the app (ie: your computer or phone’s mute button and note the Spotify app mute button).
With that said, you should know that Spotify may actually take action against the song or artist if any song is streamed on mute in a way that looks suspicious, inorganic, or artificial in the eyes of Spotify.
According to the Spotify Terms and Conditions, users are not allowed to artificially increase play counts (Section 9, point 8).
Repeatedly streaming a song on mute could be seen as “artificially increasing play counts” and could result in that song’s streams being taken away or that song being removed completely.
It is, of course, okay to stream music on mute from time to time. For example: muting Spotify and leaving it running for hours is something a real human might do every once in a while. However, doing this every day or extremely frequently might trigger a red flag for Spotify.
Spotify looks at thousands of data points and can compare them to other user’s listening behavior and can use this data to figure out if any behavior is organic or artificial.
In addition to having Spotify potentially take away the artificial streams or even remove the song completely, this probably won’t even get you that many streams, so I would not recommend doing something like this to increase your Spotify royalties.
In summary: Listening to a song on mute as a casual listener is okay from time to time, but repeatedly streaming songs inorganically (like when they are on mute) is clearly in an attempt to game the system and is not cool (there is a more legit Spotify algorithm hack for that).
Does Spotify Count Streams On Repeat?
Spotify counts streams on repeat as long as that song has been listened to for 30 seconds or more before the song is played again. Spotify will count 1 stream when the song has been listened to for 30 seconds or more, regardless of what song was played before.
However, any suspicious activity (such as repeating songs after too many times without listening all the way through the song) could result in Spotify not counting the streams (or worse).
To learn more about this, check out my article: Does Spotify Count Streams On Repeat?
How does Spotify detect fake streams?
Spotify can detect fake streams by looking for unusual behavior when compared to Spotify’s standard user listening behavior. For example:
- Spotify may consider a user to be fake if they constantly stream the same song (on or off mute)
- Spotify may find a playlist to be fake if there are not more streams than listeners (ie: users are only listening to each song once)
For more on the downsides of suspicious playlists and fake streams, check out my article on Spotify Jedi.
What Is The Legit Way To Grow Spotify Streams?
Truly, the best way to grow your Spotify streams is to get on playlists.
You may already know that Spotify editorial playlists are the holy grail of playlist placement but did you know Spotify offers other types of playlists and that there is a way you can start to get the editor’s attention?
Spotify also has a growing number of Spotify algorithmic playlists and getting on any of these algorithmic or editorial playlists will significantly increase the number of streams you see.
So how do you get on these bad boys?
The honest secret is this…
Release music often.
This is exactly what I did by choosing a music distributor that provides unlimited song uploads for a small fee, like DistroKid so that I could release a new song every month (otherwise, releasing lots of music can get real expensive, real quick).
At first, I started getting on some Algorithmic playlists, and slowly that caught the attention of the Spotify editors who ended up putting my music on over 10 official Spotify editorial playlists and have racked up over 2 million streams.
If you want to know how I did this in detail, I put together a free course called the 6 Secrets To Spotify Success, that you can check out. 🙂
And.. doing things the legit way is important because…
Can Spotify Take Away Streams?
Spotify can take away streams if Spotify believes any streams are coming from fraudulent accounts.
The Spotify Terms and Conditions (that you must agree to in order to use Spotify) mentions that you are not allowed to artificially increase play counts (Section 9, point 8).
Violating those terms allows Spotify to take action in the form of:
- Taking away the artificial streams
- Removing the song with artificial streams
- Removing your artist profile from Spotify
To learn more about how this works and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen to you, check out my article: Can Spotify Take Away Streams?
However, if you notice that your streams have gone down or seem to be stuck. Don’t panic quite yet. This may just be a case of you stats just not updating quite yet.
What To Do If Your Spotify Stream Count Is Not Updating
If you notice that your Spotify stream count is not updating or seems to be stuck, there are a few things that you can do. The very first thing you should do is know how Spotify actually updates its stats.
Spotify only updates audience, song, and playlist stats once per day and the “real-time stats” that Spotify provides are not always reliable. They mention that they update these stats every day at 3 PM EST, however, in my experience, I noticed that the time that they actually update these stats can vary wildly.
For a deeper look into when you can expect your stats to update and what you can do if they really are stuck, check out my article titled Spotify Stream Count Not Updating (& What To Do About It) for more. 🙂
What To Do If Your Spotify Streams Went Down
When you are checking your Spotify stream counts, you actually may notice that they have went down from where they were before. In some cases, you may even see them hit 0.
Generally, there are 2 reasons that this can happen. The first is just temporary issue and the other is, unfortunately more permanent.
Spotify stream counts will go down:
- Momentarily while they are in the middle of updating stream counts
- Permanently if Spotify believes any streams are coming from fraudulent accounts
The first reason is really just a technical glitch in their system and means that your streams will most likely be updated in 30 – 60 minutes. However, the second reason is much more dark and sinister.
To learn more about this, check out my article called Help! My Spotify Streams Went Down (& How To Fix It).
…The Worst-Case Scenario
If Spotify thinks that you have been getting fraudulent streams there are essentially 3 things that might happen:
- Only the fraudulent streams get removed
- Your entire song gets removed
- You get kicked off your music distribution service
Spotify is taking the issue of fraudulent streams more seriously every day. With more and more artists complaining that they are getting kicked off, it looks like the punishment is getting worse and worse.
If you do get kicked off, you can use the suggestions in the above section to contact Spotify and your distributor or you may need to start looking for a new music distribution service entirely.
My top suggestion for a music distributor is definitely DistroKid, however, I’ve compared DK to other popular services if you are in the market for a new digital distributor.
Popular alternatives to a music distribution service like DistroKid include TuneCore, CdBaby, Ditto, and Amuse.
If you would like to see how DistroKid compares to these services, more closely check out this articles:
- DistroKid vs TuneCore
- DistroKid vs CdBaby
- DistroKid vs UnitedMasters
- DistroKid vs Ditto
- DistroKid vs Amuse
- DistroKid vs SoundCloud
Or, if you would like a more detailed look into what DistroKid has to offer, you can check out my big fat DistroKid review. 🙂
P.S. If you also want to learn about music publishing and make sure that you are not leaving any money on the table with your music distribution setup, I’d recommend checking out these 2 articles: