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Moonstrive Media Review: SEO-Based Playlisting

Moonstrive Media is a digital music marketing agency that can help you promote your music using their network of SEO-grown playlists on Spotify and YouTube. SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization’, and SEO playlists are grown by choosing a playlist title / cover / description that people find organically by searching keywords online.

Spotify playlisting is one of the most risky forms of music promotion because you never know how the user grew their playlists. Even if you have the data it can be hard to interpret and know if its legit or not. So is Moonstrive Media safe and legit?

Yes, from all the data i’ve seen Moonstrive Media is safe to use and completely legit.

Technically its impossible to know for sure, and i’ll explain why later in this post, but i’ll be showing you the data and explaining why I believe they’re a legit operation that provides exactly what they promise.

Learn more about Moonstrive Media here. Use coupon code “ANDREWSOUTHWORTH” for 5% Off!

How This Moonstrive Media Review Happened

I’m a big fan of the Passive Promotion blog run by Brian Hazard. I’ve chatted with Brian via email several times and I trust his opinion, especially when it comes to music and music marketing. He did a review of Moonstrive Media which I encourage you to read for yourself after this for a second opinion, and thats the only reason i’m trying them.

I haven’t used any form of playlist promotion in over 3 years prior to this because I don’t trust playlist companies. In 2019 I tried a ton and so much of it was a waste of time or even obviously fake that it burned me on the whole thing.

Seeing the Passive Promotion review show the data made me feel comfortable trying it, especially after reading more about SEO based playlisting.

So I went to Moonstrive’s website, sent them an email explaining I have a relatively large music marketing YouTube channel and would like to review their services, and waited.

Very quickly someone named Janik sent me an email with coupon codes for a Spotify campaign and a YouTube campaign. Both of which I ran and both of which i’ll be covering in detail.

While Moonstrive Media did provide me coupon codes to test out their service and access to their affiliate program, they didn’t pay me for coverage, they have no influence over this review and they only see it once it goes live to the world.

The only thing Moonstrive Media requested is that I don’t provide links to the playlists.

How SEO Playlisting Works

SEO playlisting works very similar to how you may have found this article. If you found this from Google you searched for something, and due to the keywords in this post it came up somewhere in the search results. SEO playlisting does the exact same thing with Spotify’s search engine.

There are several ways to grow playlists on Spotify:

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  2. Running Paid Ads (learn more)
  3. Using an audience built elsewhere
  4. Bots

Options 1-3 are great, option 4 is what we’re trying to avoid. However even across 1-3 there are nuances. Playlists built using paid ads (like Facebook conversion campaigns) or from someone’s existing audience can typically be very defined and cover niche audiences. In contrast SEO playlists tend to be more broad, but the traffic generally stays steadier as its not tied to someone’s credit card and ad budget.

Moonstrive Media Campaign Creation

Making a campaign with Moonstrive Media is incredibly easy. They offer 7 packages right now ranging from $69 to $1,649. Packages are sold by how many ‘Playlist Followers’ you get, meaning what is the total number of playlist followers for the playlists your song is added to.

The campaign Moonstrive Media provided me with for review was a 250,000 playlist follower campaign that is regularly $339.

Moonstrive Media Spotify Playlist SEO campaign

You can choose a longer duration than 4 weeks, for a price increase of course. Then you simply add your Spotify link and go through checkout. Within 2 business days you’ll receive an email with links to all the playlists your song is on.

They state they can likely work with most artists but that they will reject and refund songs that don’t meet the quality standards of their playlists, or for songs they don’t have playlists for. Additionally on the checkout page they literally give you instructions for how you can verify the organic growth of their playlists, a good sign.

They have a very similar process for YouTube campaigns. For this they gave me a 2,000 view package regularly worth $57.

Moonstrive Media YouTube campaign

Moonstrive Media Spotify Campaign Results

I chose to use my song ‘Fire’ because its been out for a while, has dropped lower in my Spotify for Artists results and doesn’t have any other forms of promotion on it right now. It’s also a great song, but i’m a little biased.

The thought process was I wanted to make it as easy as possible to see exactly what was coming from Moonstrive Media. First let’s take a look at streams!

Spotify for Artists results from Moonstrive Media

I plotted over the past 6 months so you can see the before / after shots of what Moonstrive Media’s campaign did. You can see things sailing along organically until November 2022 when it jumps up to around 850 streams per day for almost exactly 4 weeks, then it goes back down. This is typical of pretty much every playlist promotion service.

However one important thing to note is that after the campaign was over my average daily stream rate on the song went from around 70 to around 100. This means that not only did the campaign increase my listeners during the campaign, but some of those people stuck around (this is a good sign).

Now let’s look at saves…

Spotify for Artists results from Moonstrive Media - saves

Saves definitely increased, but barely. Believe it or not, this is typical. Even when you get on Spotify editorial playlists or algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly, the save rate is quite bad compared to Facebook ads. The playlist add rate is pretty similar as well.

What about streams per listener?

Spotify for Artists results from Moonstrive Media streams per listener

It looks pretty consistent. The reason I chose to show this metric is because bad playlists with either have incredibly low streams per listener (very close to 1), or strangely high streams per listener (like 17). The streams per listener was pretty much identical to what I had listening to my song organically before and after – this is also a good sign.

Moonstrive Media Countries

The top countries from the playlists seem to be United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Germany. I plotted some of them so you can see they were indeed from the playlists.

Spotify for Artists results from Moonstrive Media country breakddown

Some people might see these countries and take it as a good sign that the playlist is safe, however companies can (and do) just run bots from the United States and other countries. So seeing these countries shouldn’t put you at ease.

What should, however, put you at ease is that the playlists seem to have caused an increase in listeners from a variety of countries and cities around the world. While it was very USA dominant, I saw an increase in at least 10 countries and dozens of cities. Typically botted playlists will not do this, and it’s one data point that shows me Moonstrive Media is doing things the right way and is safe to use.

Moonstrive Media Spotify Playlists

Moonstrive Media was open to let me do whatever I wanted when it came to reviewing their service, but they requested I don’t link to their playlists. Ideally they said, if I could not show any playlist covers / titles that would be great, but they said I could if it would help the integrity of the review.

Apparently playlisting is a competitive industry and exposing the playlists makes it possible for them to be copied.

To respect their wishes I won’t be linking to any playlists, but I will show you one specific playlist as an example.

Moonstrive Media playlist example

I cropped the author of the playlist and the total followers to keep it more hidden, but it has over 10k followers.

I found it quite weird that my music was being added to playlists like this honestly. There was another one called ‘songs that excite the white folks’ and another just called ‘Jim’ with some emojis in the title. That being said, the song itself is an electronic pop song so it probably fits a stereotype for what white people would listen to, considering i’m white and listen to this type of music, haha.

The music in the playlists does fit the song, but I think it’s because it’s generally just pop music. The music in this White Girl Playlist ranges from Justin Bieber to The Chainsmokers, to Usher and Bruno Mars. My song ‘Fire’ fits on the playlist but it’s a pretty loose fit honestly.

Part of me wonders if this is potentially not the greatest for the song algorithmically. If Spotify has a harder time figuring out which niche the song falls into because it’s getting streams from such a diverse type of listener, does that mean it’s harder for them to put it on Discover Weekly? I have no idea.

The thing is though, this type of problem could come up when using Facebook ads to promote a song as well if you’re targeting broad genres instead of niche artists. It’s never been a problem for me in the past for the ads, so perhaps it doesn’t matter for the playlisting either.

Moonstrive Media YouTube Campaign Results

Similar to the Spotify results for Moonstrive Media i’m going to show stats from a little bit before and after the campaign so you can see the impact it made more easily. Here is the view count…

Moonstrive Media YouTube playlist results

You can see that the campaign ran for it’s 2,000 views for about 8 days. In reality it was a little more than 2,000 views, perhaps around 2,500 additional views over that time period. Prior to the campaign the video was receiving 15-20 views per day and after the campaign ended it was receiving around 30-40 views per day – another good sign.

We can check the traffic source types as well.

Moonstrive Media YouTube playlist results traffic source types

The views came from Playlists, which make sense considering Moonstrive Media is adding the video to YouTube playlists.

Moonstrive Media YouTube playlist results average view duration

Average view duration is reasonable, around 2 minutes during the time frame of the campaign. The song is around 3 minutes long so this means on average people are listening to most of it. This is a much better view duration than you tend to get with YouTube ads.

Moonstrive Media YouTube playlist results demographic information

The countries look pretty diverse, with Brazil leading the pack but United States and Mexico having a decent amount of views as well. The gender split looks quite natural as well. However the age range is incredibly strange to me.

100% of the views came from people between the ages of 25-34. Considering that Moonstrive Media doesn’t specifically say on their YouTube promotion page that they grow these playlists organically, so it makes me wonder how they grow their YouTube playlists.

It’s totally possible that they’re running some type of ad campaign to the playlists I was added to and only targeting people 25-34. Even still, i’d expect some organic traffic to cross over into other age ranges. If Moonstrive Media provides me with an explanation for how they grow their YouTube playlists i’ll add it here.

Moonstrive Media Review Conclusions

Alright time for my final thoughts on Moonstrive Media’s Spotify playlist service and their YouTube playlist service!

I’ll break this into two sections to keep things organized…

Moonstrive Media Spotify Playlist Review

Overall if you’re looking for Spotify playlisting for your music Moonstrive Media is a service that I would recommend. The data appears to be genuinely organic and doesn’t show any signs of bot activity. While impossible to know for sure the diverse country / city spread, the reasonable streams per listener data and typical save rates for the playlists I was added to imply they are a genuine and safe-to-use Spotify playlisting company.

I’ve recommended their service to friends and clients of mine already and I wouldn’t do that unless I felt it was legit. It has all the typical pro’s and con’s of Spotify playlisting but you are getting what you pay for with them.

Moonstrive Media YouTube Playlist Review

Overall I was impressed with the YouTube playlist campaign. It had a very high average view duration and it was from a diverse group of countries. The fact that 100% of the views came from ages 25-34 is quite strange to me, but there are explanations for that so i’m not concerned.

When compared to running YouTube ads on the video the price is fair. Typically I pay $0.01 to $0.03 per view with YouTube ads so 2,000 views would cost between $10 and $30. They charge $59 for this package but the average view duration is significantly better than YouTube ads so to me it’s worth it.

Final Thoughts

While i’m still a big fan of using Facebook ads as the primary investment for promoting my music I think playlisting might work its way into my strategy. Facebook ads provide a high save rate, playlist add rate and follower rate which leads to long term growth for your music, but Spotify playlisting provides dramatically cheaper cost per stream rate in the short term.

Pairing these two approaches, I think, will make it easier to hit the numbers required for algorithmic Release Radar and Discover Weekly pushes. Moonstrive Media seems to be a solid service to use for this type of promotion.

As far as YouTube goes I think i’ll likely use their service again for another project of mine to help push it closer to the monetization requirements (something you can’t do with ads). The fact that the average view duration is so high makes me inclined to take it for another spin.

Try Moonstrive Media for yourself here.

Moonstrive Media Pro’s

  • Their SEO Spotify playlists are very healthy, organic and engaged
  • Moonstrive Media is fast, friendly and very transparent about how they operate
  • The price is competitive with other playlisting services
  • YouTube campaigns have a high average view duration

Moonstrive Media Con’s

  • SEO playlisting doesn’t always lead to very niche playlists, and you might find yourself on a pretty broad appealing playlist
  • At the end of the day Spotify playlisting as a whole has inherent downsides that apply to Moonstrive Media as well, but this isn’t their fault

Further Reading

I always encourage people to seek alternative opinions when it comes to their music marketing, and this is no exception. Music marketing always differs between different artists at different points in their career with different music genres.

As I mentioned in this post, Brian Hazard at Passive Promotion has a great review on Moonstrive Media you should check out:

Additionally while reviewing Moonstrive Media I saw that Jon Anderson from Two Story Melody also released a review of them. Check his review out here:

If you want to learn how to use Facebook ads to promote your music check out this post:

If you want to learn how many streams it takes to get on Discover Weekly and Release Radar algorithmic, check out this post:

Spotify Growth Machine

If you want to learn how to use Facebook ads to promote your music, a tool that i’ve used to generate over 3.5 million Spotify streams and 13,000 Spotify followers then my course Spotify Growth Machine might be for you.

Spotify Growth Machine Course by Andrew Southworth

The exact methods I use in the course can also be applied to Apple Music and other streaming platforms if you wish. You can even use it to learn how to promote your own Spotify playlists!

Click here to learn more.