A Side Gig for Music Lovers: Get Paid to Review New Songs

A woman smiles as she listens to music.
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Do you spend hours painstakingly curating the perfect Spotify playlist? We have the perfect side gig for you!

Playlist Push pays music lovers to give new songs a shot. They send over a track, and you listen. If you’re a Spotify user, your next step is to send the artist an honest review of the song. If you’re a TikToker, you make a video featuring the track.

Then, you get paid! How much? A lot. Spotify curators get up to $12 per track, while TikTok users can get up to $250 per video.

So why isn’t everyone getting paid to listen to music? Here’s the catch: the eligibility requirements for this lucrative side hustle are pretty strict. Spotify curators need a playlist with at least 1,000 followers and 30 active listeners; TikTokers need at least 31,000 followers with 3.1k views per video.

Could that be you? Read on.

What Is Playlist Push?

When evaluating a potential side hustle (especially one that sounds too good to be true!) it’s smart to figure out the company’s business model. So why would Playlist Push pay you to listen to music, exactly? Here’s the quick and dirty explanation.

Independent music artists struggle to get their music out there. But sometimes they get lucky: a popular curator adds their music to a playlist, or an influencer makes a video dancing to their song. This can get them a lot of exposure and sweet, sweet streaming money.

Playlist Push makes that lucky break a little more likely. Artists pay Playlist Push to share their work with influential music lovers in the hope that they’ll share it with their followers.

How Do You Apply?

Interested? Not so fast. There are strict requirements to become a Playlist Push curator.

Basically, you need to have a healthy following on Spotify or TikTok.

For Spotify curators, you need a playlist with

  • At least 30 active monthly listeners
  • At least 1% active monthly listeners out of total
  • No bot followers or listening activity

What’s more, that playlist cannot be:

  • A movie or television soundtrack
  • Based on a particular artist, song, or album
  • From a specific decade
  • Aimed at gaining followers (i.e. “Sub for Sub” or “Follow me!” in the title)

Here’s an example of a qualifying playlist from a real Playlist Push curator: “Ballet/Contemporary Dance/Modern Dance.” It has more than 9,000 likes, well over the 1,000 threshold. It’s organized around dance music that inspired the curator, not a particular decade, movie, or band. If you have a similar playlist, you’re in good shape to apply!

The requirements for TikTokers to be considered are simpler: at least 31,000 followers with 3,100 views per video to qualify.

Note: At the time of writing, there is a waitlist to be considered for the Playlist Push TikTok network.

How Do You Review Music on Playlist Push?

Once you’ve made it past Playlist Push’s strict eligibility requirements, what do you actually have to do? It depends on whether you’re a Spotify curator or TikTok influencer.

For Spotify curators, a typical day side hustling for Playlist Push might look a little something like this:

  • Log in to the curator dashboard. If you get approved as a curator, you’ll get access to a private dashboard where you receive tracks for review.
  • Listen to a track. The number of tracks curators receive per week varies. For instance, if you’re known for hip-hop playlists, and 10 hip-hop artists pay Playlist Push to promote their music one week, you might get 10 tracks for review. If you’re known for classical music, you might have to wait awhile.
  • Write a high-quality review. Here’s an excerpt from a real Playlist Push review of a hip hop track: “Your voice matched with your flow goes really hard… Really well-made song where your voice is clearly your highlight but also well complimented by your lyrics and your beat.”
  • Add the track to your playlist (optional). Playlist Push does not pay curators to add songs to their playlists. That would be against Spotify’s terms of service. But there’s always a chance the curator will love the track and add it to their playlist!

For TikTok curators, the process is a little different.

  • Log in to the curator dashboard. 
  • Pick a sound. TikTokers don’t get access to tracks to review – they get sounds to use in videos. The sounds come from real tracks by up-and-coming artists. According to Playlist Push, TikTokers can expect to see at least 30 new sounds per month.
  • Make and post a TikTok. If you get inspired, you can use the sound in a TikTok and post it.
  • Send the link to Playlist Push. Once they see you’ve shared the sound with your followers, you can get paid!

How Much Can You Earn?

Spotify Curators can expect between $1 and $15 per review. Why do some curators get a buck while others get $15? It comes down to a few factors. Curators with more followers and more active listeners are more valuable to artists, so they get higher payment.

TikTokers can expect up to $250 per video. Similarly, a bigger following means bigger payments.

Members of the Playlist Push network get paid via Venmo or direct deposit.

Other Ways to Make Money to Listen to Music

Playlist Push isn’t the only company paying music curators to check out indie artists. Partnered Projects, Indie Music Academy, and SubmitHub have a similar business model. If you get rejected as a curator with Playlist Push, you could give these companies a try.

Love music but hate influencing? There’s more than one way to make money with music. You can teach music classes, perform, or even put your own music on Spotify for extra cash. Read more here.

Contributor Ciara McLaren is a freelance writer with work in HuffPost, MoneyGeek, and The Penny Hoarder. You can find her on Substack (@camclaren).