Retaining Spotify streams and playlist placements

A common concern that we receive from labels and artists is that they may lose their Spotify streams and/or playlisting that they've earned. This article aims to help educate on how we'd need to receive the back catalog to ensure that this issue doesn't happen.

Using Symphonic's TransferTrack, you don't have to worry about this. If you wish to load your catalog yourself and/or seek our assistance, please read this.



Spotify uses a method called Track-linking to match the tracks you're distributing with us to the tracks you previously distributed via another distributor. Spotify can link the tracks if there are matches to audio fingerprinting, artist names, track names, and ISRC codes. 

Track linking is specifically designed to provide a better user experience by removing duplicate tracks from the charts or popular tracks section and avoiding gaps in playlists due to territorial availability. Tracks that are linked will subsequently share a play count.

If track-linking is successful, playlisting will remain unaffected. Once the original version is brought down, the new version will remain on those playlists.

Track-linking is never 100% guaranteed, but you can give it the best chance of happening if you match these areas. When attempting to track-link two versions of a recording, the metadata should be as identical as possible (i.e., duration, title, version, artist, ISRC). The audio used should be the same. Chances of track linking are decreased with each differing piece of metadata between the two recordings. New audio fingerprints create new Spotify recording groups, which have a unique play count. This is calculated for each different recording of a composition.

You'd be able to tell on both the Spotify mobile and desktop apps if the track-linking was successful in the number showing next or under each track title (as long as it is over 1000 plays).  If the plays from the new version are the same as the plays from the original version, that means track-linking was successful.  Here's some more information regarding track-linking:

To retain play counts, please make sure your versions of these tracks have the same:

  • artist names and roles
  • track names
  • audio
  • duration
  • ISRC
  • Delivered at least 5 business days in advance of the earliest live date.

To minimize disruption to user experience

Please wait until both releases are live on the DSP and see if they have linked by comparing the play counts before removing the old content.

Alternatively, if you wish to remove the old content while the new content goes live, please make sure the old content has an end date that matches the live date of the new content or a takedown to take effect the same day as the new content goes live.

Historical stream and playlist data

Do note that when transferring data from one distributor to us, we're unable to retrieve historical analytics data that you may have. All of your streams and playlist placements remain, but distributors will not transfer data to us, nor will any provider. You can still access historical data by using the platforms available from DSPs directly. The other important factor is ensuring that the original UPC and ISRC is used when submitting to us to ensure that the historical info is still available on the DSP platforms. Information on how to use analytic platforms by DSPs is available here.

Last but not least...

There may be some fluctuation in your artist page's popular tracks section during this period of transition, and you should find that popular tracks normalize within 72 hours of the new content being live on the client.

Please note that this process focuses on your content transfer as far as Spotify and that some DSPs may not make the current track, albums, and or playlists statistics available once this process has been completed.

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