How to ensure your streams count towards your favorite artist’s new release

Here’s our guide to properly streaming an artist’s song/album on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify.


It’s always an exciting time when your favorite artist releases new music, and though streams don’t matter as much as your love for music, fans still try their best to get their faves on the charts.

But streaming isn’t as simple as you think. There can be certain restrictions and implications needed to properly get a song/album to chart, and we’re here to break it down for you to help make the most of your streaming parties.

Billboard Charts

Top charts that include streams:

  • Hot 100 (songs)
  • Billboard 200 (albums)
  • Artist 100 (artists)
  • Streaming Songs (songs)
  • Social 50 (artists)

Generally, charts reflect sales and airplay between Friday and Thursday of any given week.

Streaming platforms include:

  • On-Demand: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
  • Programmed: Pandora, LiveXLive Powered by Slacker, iHeartRadio, etc.

Paid subscriptions have more weight (1,250 streams = 1 album unit) than ad-supported subscriptions (3,750 streams = 1 album unit). Trials equate to paid.

RIAA Certifications

  • GOLD certification: 500,000 units
  • PLATINUM certification: 1,000,000 units
  • MULTI-PLATINUM certification: 2,000,000 units (in increments of one million thereafter)
  • DIAMOND certification: 10,000,000 units

150 on-demand audio and/or video streams will count as 1 Unit for certification purposes.

Multiple versions of digital tracks can be combined:

  • Tracks defined as ‘radio mix’ or ‘album version’
  • Edited and explicit versions
  • Remixes not more than 90 seconds longer than the original version

Spotify & Apple Music

Stream the Song(s) From a Playlist

Try streaming the songs/albums using a playlist. Make a playlist and add the songs multiple times, and make sure you add a few other songs from the same/different artist. Use playlists that the streaming services have made such as the ‘A-List Pop’ on Apple Music or ‘Today’s Top Hits’ on Spotify to stream the songs as well. If the artist has made a playlist, use that, too.

Don’t Put the Volume on Mute

While streaming, do not put the song(s) on mute. Otherwise, they won’t count towards streaming. If it does bother you, try using headphones — you don’t have to put them in your ears — or putting the volume on low.

Use Multiple Devices to Stream

To increase streams, try streaming from as many accounts and devices as possible, like your phone and your computer.

Don’t Use a VPN to Stream

Big charts such as the Billboard 200 are based on streams from specific regions. But platforms have gotten savvy to fans from other locations using VPNs to boost streams, and now they won’t count those streams.

Listen to a Track for a Minimum of 30 Seconds

Make sure you listen to a song for at LEAST 30 seconds. Spotify and Apple Music count streams towards a song when the song has been played for a minimum of 30 seconds–so try and listen for that amount of time before skipping to a different track.

What About Songs That are on Repeat/Loop?

After much research, it is yet to be officially confirmed whether or not looped songs count towards streams. It is possible that they would be counted normally if the song has been streamed for at least 30 seconds, but many platforms consider it to be ‘bot behavior’ and therefore don’t count them towards the number of streams.

We aren’t 100% sure which is true, especially with different platforms having different algorithms —but we suggest avoiding keeping songs on repeat just in case. Try playing one or two songs from different artists in between just to be on the safe side! You could even create your own playlist complied with the track(s) you’re streaming and some other fun songs to get the streams up instead of keeping it on repeat. Besides–the more bops, the better!


Don’t Gift a Song

iTunes has an option where you can gift songs or albums to friends or family members, and though this may seem like a great way to promote the song/album, gifted songs do not count towards the charts.

Buy The Song/Album

If you can, try and buy the album or song on iTunes! Sales count higher towards some charts and help with RIAA certification.


Find the Official Channel

Make sure you’re watching the video from the artist’s official channel. They will be verified by YouTube and often end in VEVO.

Log In, Log Out, Log In, Log Out

Repeatedly log out of YouTube, clear your cookies/cache, log back in, search for the video, and play it manually. This not only increases views but also increases search volume which could help boost SEO. Afterall, YouTube is just Google for videos.

Use Multiple Devices to Stream 

Stream from one account on your computer and another from your phone. Or your mom’s phone. Or your teacher’s laptop. Or your best friend’s tablet.

Keep YouTube’s Volume Up

Always keep the YouTube volume on; it’s okay to mute the actual device.

Interact with the Video

Interact with the video by liking and commenting, but do not spam. Pause, play, and rewind every so often so you do not appear to be a bot

Final Takeaways

  • Act like a human, not a bot; interact with the streaming platform as you normally would
  • Do not spam comments
  • Do not overly repeat tracks
  • Do not listen on mute
  • Plug headphones in but don’t put them in your ears if you need a listening break
  • Streams from paid accounts count more
  • Purchases (physical albums, iTunes) are still important and count toward RIAA certifications

And of course, don’t forget to enjoy the music. Sometimes we can get caught up in numbers instead of the real purpose of the music. Happy streaming!

Featured image source

  1. Ryan says

    Hi. Just letting you know, if you have an Apple Music account, it will take any music file you already have in your library, whether downloaded from the internet, ripped from CD, or purchased on iTunes, and “match” it to the one on Apple Music’s database. So you don’t have to delete the file on your computer. When you click play on the “matched” file, that play will count as a stream. To check to see if a file has been “matched,” right click on a song and select “Song Info,” then navigate to the “File” tab, and under “iCloud status” it should so if it’s been “matched” or “uploaded”

  2. Camila says

    In Spotify community they say you can put the song on repeat, that will count. It will count or not? Doesn’t make sense they not counting just because is on repeat. Does you guys have this information of not counting here. How you guys know doesn’t count? Thanks

  3. Purple says

    So I should put another song in between?? Can I stream 10 or 15 music from the same artist??

  4. Noalani says

    Google unfiltered streams vs filtered streams. Looping a song will not count for charting since being on repeat is considered “bot behavior”. You need to play other songs in between.

  5. Ann says

    I have a question. So spotify is not available in my country so I just downloaded it and signed in with VPN. Will my streams count if I turn off the VPN? Or do I have to turn it on every time I stream?

  6. Micheal says

    What about if we mute the laptop but the app is on full volume?

  7. Michael1 says

    “If it does bother you–try using headphones or putting the volume on low.”
    Sure I will do that.

    thank you so much

  8. Addey says

    Nice article haha! And sympathetic comments! Great to see passionate fans like me. My favorite is Roxen from Romania.

  9. Maricris Lopez says

    Is the stream counted even if I’m not in Spotify Premium?

    1. Aj says

      Hi! Can I play the song 50x with different versions in one album?

    2. Rui says

      yes they’re counted

  10. Music library says

    Hi Nuha, First of all i want to thanks for your informative article . you said While streaming, do not put the song(s) on mute, otherwise, they won’t count towards streaming. But i want to know, if I keep my laptop volume mute, then the app on full volume? And how can I buy this song? Thanks, I hope to hear from you.

  11. Devy says

    Does putting it on 2x playback speed still count?

  12. Clare says

    No it doesn’t sorry

  13. Caylee says

    Does it count if you don’t have it in a playlist on apple music?

  14. Alina says

    What if repeat a album does it count? ☁️

  15. Marigo Plastourgos says

    I understand that making a playlist containing the song or playlist or podcast is recommended as well as listening to various of the artists content and making playlists of such.

    What about when you download the content as opposed to
    streaming, does it matter more in any way?

  16. J.Forever says

    I made a Playlist (in Spotify) like they said, now how do I stream it I didn’t understand 🙁

    1. Promise says

      Lol as confuse as you

  17. buttersweet says

    if you’ve made the playlist already, just start listening. Do not put a particular song on repeat, meaning you cannot repeatedly listen to the same song multiple times in a row. You have to listen to 2-3 Other songs From the same artist or a different one for the stream to count. Do not mute the device. Use headphones if you need a break, meaning you can plug them in With volume to the device but you need not put them in your ears. Put the songs in playlists, or pick one of the public playlists to stream. That’s the main gist of the spotify portion.

  18. Corey Burgess says

    Sach is an amazing blog and the info. Keep Posting,

  19. Jenny says

    Of course it does count. So, you don’t need to worry <3

  20. Jenny says

    Might be late to answer but you need to use at least 2-3 songs between the song that you’re streaming as fillers. Otherwise, it will be considered as bot behavior. You can use the songs from the same artist, it doesn’t matter.

  21. Jenny says

    SRTICKTLY NO!!! Please avoid doing so. IT doesn’t count as proper streaming. Play it in normal speed for the proper steam.

  22. Jenny says

    It will certainly but highly possible to get filtered out. If you know spotify has both filtered and unfiltered stream counts.

  23. Asee says

    Una just dey make noise

  24. Dani says

    I have a question about creating playlist on Spotify (or any streaming service) for albums. It may be easier to ask with an example:

    Example: If I create a playlist for Harry’s House on Spotify and I structure it by adding all the songs from the album and then I add a random song, then I add all the songs from Harry’s House again and then add another random song…..I repeat this until I have a 24 hour playlist. Will these streams count as album sales or would Spotify detect this as bot behavior?

    This is what the playlist would look like:

    Tracks 1-13: Every song from Harry’s House
    Track 14: Watermelon Sugar
    Tracks 15-28: Every song from Harry’s House
    Track 29: Adore You

  25. G.H. Williams says

    Does an apps “desktop player” register the streams?

  26. Slope Unblocked says

    I think I found what I needed, thanks for the post

  27. Jack says

    This article is wrong on at least 2 informations! First the VPN streams do count! and second Trial versions pay much lower, somewhere around 20%-30% then the regular revenue, and I’ve tested myself both of these points

  28. Gagan Brar says

    What does it mean by combined in multiple versions? I want to listen to Midnights but theres three versions, do i listen to the original? But 3am edition has more songs and more so in Till Dawn edition. Will streams on other editions boost the album “Midnights” on the charts? PLEASE REPLY

  29. Kiko says

    If I have a song downloaded on Amazon music, will it still count toward steaming when I play it or do I need to un-download it?

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