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Does Spotify Count Streams On Repeat? Answered & Explained.

By Matthew Vultaggio

March 23, 2021

If you’re wondering what Spotify’s rules around streaming song on repeat are, I’ve done the research and wrote about just that in this here article. 🙂

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.

So, if you (or your fans) listen to a song for 30 seconds and then listen to it again for 30 seconds, that will be counted as 2 streams.

However, it is safe to assume that Spotify will find any reason to limit how much they have to pay out as possible. So, 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 how Spotify counts streams, just keep on reading, my friend. 🙂

Does Spotify Count Streams On Repeat In 2021?

In 2021, Spotify counts 1 stream when the song has been listened to for 30 seconds or more, regardless of what song was played before. For example, if you listen to a song for 30 seconds and then listen to it again for 30 seconds, that will be counted as 2 streams.

However, artificially increasing a song’s play counts is against Spotify’s streaming rules and could result in that song’s streams being taken away or that song being removed completely.

Essentially, it is okay to listen to a song on repeat several times but having a song on repeat for hours and hours (or even days) may be crossing the line of what is acceptable for Spotify.

In fact, ‘On Repeat’ is one of Spotify’s algorithm playlists, so they clearly encourage repeated listens and actively track this kind of user behavior.

Spotify looks at thousands of data points and can compare them to other user’s listening behavior and can easily take action if they think they need to. Fighting and not paying for artificial streams is in their business’s best interests after all.

So, in summary: listening to a song on repeat as a casual listener is okay, but repeatedly streaming songs inorganically in an attempt to game the system is not (there is a more legit Spotify algorithm hack for that).

Could I earn royalties on Spotify by streaming my own music on repeat?

It is possible to earn Spotify royalties by streaming your own music on repeat. However, considering that Spotify pays anywhere between $0.00331 and $0.00437 per stream, you would need to stream your own music thousands and thousands of times to make just a few dollars.

In addition to this, 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).

Considering that playing the same song over and over for days could be looked at as “artificially” increasing that song’s streams, I would not recommend doing something like this to increase your Spotify royalties.

Does Spotify count your own streams?

There is no reason to believe that Spotify does not count streams when you stream your own music.

You can actually test this yourself by putting on one of your songs in the Spotify app, and checking the “People listening now” number goes up in the Spotify For Artists dashboard.

…Yes, Spotify For Artists is useful for more than just Spotify editorial playlist submissions. 😉

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 playlist to be fake if there are not more streams than listeners (ie: users are only listening to each song once).

Remember that Spotify has a lot of data on its music and how its users interact with that music. They can use this data to notice when things look artificial.

For more on the downsides of suspicious playlists, check out my article on Spotify Jedi.

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:

  1. Taking away the artificial streams
  2. Removing the song with artificial streams
  3. 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?

How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream?

Spotify pays $0.004 per stream on average. However, this number is an average as Spotify can pay anywhere between $0.00331 and $0.00437 per stream.

You should know that the amount that Spotify pays per stream is not static and it can fluctuate depending on:

  • Whether the user is free or premium
  • Where in the world the user is streaming music from

For a more detailed look into how much Spotify pays, check out my article titled How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream for more. 🙂

How To Check Spotify Streams

There are 2 main ways to check a song’s streams on Spotify, depending on if you are the actual artist or not:

  1. Listeners can visit the artist’s Spotify profile and see the songs listed under the “Popular” section
  2. Artists can check their Spotify streams for any of their songs by signing up and logging into Spotify For Artists

It is much harder to find a song’s specific play counts unless you are the actual artist and have access to the Spotify For Artists dashboard.

To learn more about this (including a detailed walkthrough of how to do each of the above options), check out my article, How To Check Spotify Streams, for more. 🙂

The Best Way To Track Spotify Stats & Grow Spotify Streams

Checking on your song’s stats using the Spotify app or even the Spotify For Artists dashboard is really just the first basic step in tracking your stats and making sure that they grow.

Enter: the Spotify Tracker For Artists.

A Spotify tracker for artists is a way for Spotify artists to leverage the data available in the Spotify For Artists dashboard to calculate the same stats the Spotify algorithm is looking at and help you grow your Spotify streams.

To learn more about this, check out my article on The Best Way To Track Spotify Stats & Grow Spotify Streams. 🙂

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.

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 3PM 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:

  1. Only the fraudulent streams get removed
  2. Your entire song gets removed
  3. 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 contact Spotify or contact DistroKid (or your distributor) but, unfortunately, 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:

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:

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Facebook Ads For Spotify Success

Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.

This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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