For this reason, we decided to release the following statement, substantiated with relevant metrics and facts about our platform:
Firstly, and like Spotify, we reiterate that we are unequivocally against pay-to-playlist. However, this conviction does not negate the music promotion activities that take place each and every day around the globe, including song submissions to playlist curators, a process we decided to build upon and pledged to improve. You see, SpotLister was conceived and developed simply to give rising artists the opportunity to submit their music for consideration to the curator community never to pay for placements on their playlists.
So, here are a few of the fake news that have been circulating and our response according to the facts:
SpotLister has been operating for about 2 years and it was a huge player in the music submission business.
SpotLister officially launched in November 2017 after a brief beta period of 2 weeks. In fact, we were a rather small and upcoming player in the online music submission services arena and we only got to serve a few hundred customers. So we are still at odds and rather confused as to why we were picked as the focus in the Daily Dot article and portrayed as a huge service with in-depth knowledge of the industry and with many years operating.
SpotLister was a pay-to-playlist service
Not once did we ever communicate directly or pay a playlister for placements on any of their playlists! While it is true submission prices ranged between $2 and $10 and that playlisters received $0.24 for their time invested in doing a review, our major expenses were development and marketing our new platform. To put this in perspective, during our short-lived 3 months of operations, playlisters collected an average of $22 from our platform. So, there is absolutely no influence we could have exerted on playlist placements.
During the entire lifespan of our platform (3 1/2 months), we received a total of 24714 Submissions, of which 11631 expired and credits were refunded back to artists and 13083 were reviewed and completed by playlisters. Only 8% of all posted submissions resulted in a voluntary placement by playlisters. In contrast, other music submission sites cite millions of submissions and an even better placement ratio.
Artists paid up to $2,000 per placement on playlists.
Spotlister allowed artists to buy credits to submit songs to the different playlists available in the platform. Our credit packages started at $10 and the most expensive package we offered was $100 which provided 75 credits (a $150 value). In average, artists spent $54 while using our service. Again, there is nothing an artist can do to influence placements with that kind of budget. We reiterate, there were no backdoors or communications that could have enabled additional payments to playlisters for placements through our platform. Artists submissions were not even read or actively monitored by SpotLister personnel.
About our rebranding effort to JamLister
The initial Spotify communication cited our name "SpotLister" as one of their main non-compliant issues with our service, they provided us 30-days to cure. Instead, within 24 hours of their initial communication, we halted operations, registered the JamLister.com domain and started migrating our platform to our new name. The service remained halted while this effort was ongoing for around 1 week after which we responded to their initial request to change the name addressing this non-compliance request. So, our name change was a direct result of Spotify's initial communication of non-compliance, not as a way to circumvent or to keep our platform operational in any shape or form.
About the refunds offered to our customers
Yes, we decided to return the unused portion of artists accounts not as an admission we were doing anything unethical but simply because it was the right thing to do! Furthermore, immediately after shutting down, we proactively reached out to every single customer and offered a refund for their unused portion of the credit package they bought from us, regardless of when they bought it. As of today and only a week after our service was shutdown, we have processed most refunds. The average refund was $30 which represents an average 55% of what each artist paid us when they initially signed up to our platform.
We used Echo Nest algorithms to match artists with Playlisters
We matched artists with playlists based on genres. Basically, when artists signed up to the platform we picked up the genres Spotify had selected for them (if none, we would ask artist their genres), we then match those to the genres contained in the playlists based on the artists, and their genres, in them. This is a very basic algorithm and in no way leverages Spotify proprietary algorithms. Despite its simplicity, this matching is what actually made SpotLister such a convenient service to use as artists need not spend a long time inspecting playlists to submit to which made for a speedy and more convenient submission process. Again, nothing out of the ordinary or something that cannot be easily done with basic programming skills. As a matter of fact, the Spotify API can and has been used for far better and more sophisticated music matching algorithms in other areas of music services and applications. So SpotLister was not innovating or breaking any rules regarding Spotify TOS with its music matching algorithms.
While we understand the Daily Dot article raised a legitimate concern and touched on the very real issue of pay-to-playlist, we believe we were caught in the middle of a sensational story that misrepresented and didn't do justice to our effort and the platform we were building for artists to submit their music. Despite this, we shutdown swiftly, quietly and honorably. However, we can't remain silent while we are being vilified and portrayed as facilitators of this practice when, in fact, we were providing artists a real and fair chance to have their music heard without having to pay thousands of dollars for placements.
- The SpotLister/JamLister Team
At this point we have reached out to all paying users with a balance on their accounts indicating there is a refund awaiting them. Most of you responded to our emails and those refunds have been processed and will soon appear in your credit card statements. However, some of you did not respond or did not receieve our repeated emails trying to contact you.
For this reason we have enabled an online tool that will allow you to claim your refund. Please note you will need your SpotLister credentials to login to this tool. In addition, if you think you have a refund and can't access your account please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your SpotLister email and we will get back with you within 2 business days.