How does the Reverbnation ranking system Really work?

2 May

I received the following email from a friend:

Hi! As many of you know I support independent bands and scout for major label executives like the ones in my photo section here on The Spotlight Zone. So I am writing to tell you that Reverbnation finally admitted to me that people who buy their ⌠tools and use them are the ones that get higher rank on their site.

This came after I complained about being knocked off the #1 national position in all genres in the Virgin Islands by someone with much lower stats. Now the only reason that I even care about rank on that site is that I occasionally invite people to this site to be heard and possibly referred to a major label for free. So I want them to get a good impression on RN. But I know that most of you use RN to promote your music and think that your chart position is based on the quality of your music. It’s NOT! Many of you are proud of your chart position. But why? No one is really judging your music on the RN staff nor can your friends rank your tunes there. So the people above you on the charts are there because they buy these so called ⌠tools from the site and it gives them a higher rank. Here is just part of what Reverbnation sent me back when I told them that someone with much lower stats took over my position on their charts.

“There is no “excuse” for you being knocked out with lower stats because the total number of stats you have has nothing to do with your chart position. If the other artist in question has promoted more efficiently using ReverbNation tools in the last 2 weeks, then they would be ranked above you, no matter the total number. The charts are designed to show the success, again of ONLY using ReverbNation tools, in the last two weeks.” – RN employee

So now you know! I am going to pass this along to the over 7000 subscribers to my RN profile and all the members of my site ⌠The Spotlight Zone■. So I hope you pass it along to all your friends. It’s time to put your foot down and stopped being fooled into thinking your RN rank has ANYTHING to do with your music. I personally don’t need the rank or ask for song ratings (as you can see on my profile page) so it’s just the principal and me looking out for all my friends that are trying so hard to promote their music. If you have anything to say about this scam on RN to make you think that your music quality equals your RN rank, please post it on the Reverbnation community forum.


18 Responses to “How does the Reverbnation ranking system Really work?”

  1. Joe Liedtke May 3, 2013 at 3:58 AM #

    That’s weird. I have been locally number 1 for well over a year now and with the recent change I was not charting at all for about a month. All of a sudden I was number one again one day out of nowhere, and with no real reasoning being that I don’t pay anything for any reverbnation services. Interesting….Great article!!!

  2. chris May 17, 2013 at 5:52 AM #

    i like

  3. Phizzle July 31, 2013 at 4:07 PM #

    I think you mistook using reverbnation tools for paid services. When RN says that, and often they do, they are very proud of their “tools”; they mean subscribe, video, press, music player widgets etc. Also, your mass emailer, push notifications, facebook app, your personal music app etc are free and considered “your RN tools”. I was confused by the phrase myself before, but yeah, they don’t mean the paid services when they say tools. And yes people with lower stats can pass us when their plays, fans etc for the week are higher than ours if your equity isn’t that great. But once your equity is like 90,000, no one will be passing you on your worst day. But you’d have to have had a very consistent thing going on on your page for a while for that number. 😉

    • Steven Mramor July 31, 2013 at 4:52 PM #

      Thanks for you input!

      ReverbNation has told me that your ranking is pretty much based on your Band Equity. I think what many complain about is that is has nothing to do with the quality of your music. It’s just your activity.

      • Josh Nekrep September 15, 2013 at 2:18 AM #

        But then again, how many music charts do you know of that are based solely on “the quality of music”? Chart position is based not on your Band Equity score, per se, but on the *change* in Band Equity over the last 14 days. So when a band suddenly starts getting some substantial activity (pla Iys, fans, mail subscribers, and the like) Reverb’s algorithm recognizes that band. Think of it like “trending”. If the music were terrible, they likely wouldn’t be getting that kind of activity (unless they’re cheating the system), but the charting is never going to be able to accurately reflect “quality of music” anyway. That’s far too subjective.

        Overall, although it’s not a perfect system, I don’t think it’s as bad as you make it out to be.

    • Angel TSZ Staff member March 28, 2014 at 12:51 PM #

      But your rank still has nothing to do with the quality of your music. Nor does the band equity. Just ask them at RN.

  4. FAITH LIKE OXYGEN September 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM #


    • Steven Mramor September 16, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

      Thanks for responding!

      I won’t spend any money on promotion either! There are many free sites that you can use to get your music out there. I don’t have a problem with Reverbnation at all. I think it’s a great place to share your music and meet some awesome people! It is only when your numbers are on a steady increase, and then suddenly plummet, one has to wonder what they base their ranking system on.

      Wishing you much success with your music!

  5. Patrice Webb October 23, 2013 at 1:07 PM #

    Thanks for an interesting read on how this site “works”. I am not sure why, but all of a sudden in the past two weeks or so I have had a very large increase in fans on my reverbnation page. I don’t pay for anything on the site – just use the free service. I am not sure why the sudden surge in fans – but it does not feel “normal” to me as many of the fans are from other countries or are of a very different style of music than I am. Any idea of what might be causing this?

  6. randy December 19, 2013 at 5:08 PM #

    They are f@#&ed. I was #1 in my area, then out of nowhere a guy with no fans or plays blows past me. I happened to see him at an open mike nite, he could not even tune his axe- let alone play it. I have known for a long time that thier “charts” mean nothing. Early in the day that I dropped I saw that I had 348 minus fans. I thought how could I have so many? Later that day I looked again and it said I had 1 minus fan. It did leave me in the same chart position though. After all my networking and slowly moving up they just bent me over and hammered me. Looking for a fair place to showcase my songs.

  7. Philipp Mann December 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM #

    obviously it changes, when you post some good stuff … I just posted a NEW VIDEO on Reverb: http://www.reverbnation.com/philippmann – it’s not all about charts …

  8. Jeff March 8, 2014 at 3:27 PM #

    Really, I don’t get it at all. It can’t mean anything. We set up a RN page 10 days ago, posted a record and promoted it through FB and Twitter. We’re at #3 on the local chart, for our genre.. Seriously, how much does this really mean? yes we have a lot of plays and likes for 10 days, maybe that’s it…. Also, other musicians and band likes must be important.. We have a lot of those too, but I think it’s done just to get us to like them.. IDK..
    Seems to me a lot of bs.

  9. Lou March 19, 2014 at 3:09 PM #

    Steve, I understand your frustration but I’m really surprised that you would have expected the quality of the music to have any bearing on ranking. First of all, quality is a purely subjective term. Second, music rankings have always been based on some kind of “engagement.” It used to be album sales. Nowadays it might be sales, but more likely fans, likes, re-tweets, whatever. As I look at most of the highest ranked artists within my geographic area on RN, I find the “quality” of their music poor. It either isn’t professional or doesn’t suit my tastes. But they do a good job of self-promotion and have increased their place in the rankings. And at the end of the day, how important is it? It’s another one, of many tools, you should be incorporating into your promotional arsenal.

    @Randy – stop whining and do some self-promotion. Sites like RN provide free resources to promote your stuff. If you don’t like it, go elsewhere. And tell me when you find a “fair,” site, whatever the hell that means.

    • Steven Mramor March 19, 2014 at 3:17 PM #

      I am not complaining. This comment was posted by someone I know. I thought I’d put it out there is all.

  10. not a sheep March 22, 2014 at 12:57 PM #

    any social media is a joke 100%. iv had many major labels not even listen to a track, but instead wanted to see how many real/fake/paid “likes” and “friends” we have. ITS ABOUT MUSIC not bullshit.!!

    a major label will give a £1 for every CD. and that’s nothing.
    many bands have there own release so they have funds to tour etc.
    hence why some bands let the fans be a “part” of the band by funding the release and tours and merch etc.

    make your own record, sell it yourself, play gig after gig after gig. at least all cash and effort is 100% yours.

    forget social media. all your doing is making the “man” richer everyday u post something.
    fuck that shit. keep music real. keep music alive.

    • Steven Mramor March 22, 2014 at 7:01 PM #

      Thanks for your valuable contribution!

      • not a sheep March 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM #

        no problem, just wish there was a site were its all actually trying to help artists not just a platform for money.

  11. Angel TSZ Staff member March 28, 2014 at 1:02 PM #

    The site you are looking for is http://www.thespotlightzone.com. Here is a comment that I just posted about the subject that you are on:
    A fair site is one that ask for no money, has no advertising, and gives honest opinions and ratings based on the views of volunteer producers, musicians, and engineers without wanting anything in return. And also have connections to the worlds most decorated major label executives and uses those connections to refer artist for free with no kickbacks from anyone. I know that can be hard to believe in this age of greed but it’s true. Anyone who would not understand a kindness like that is beyond my recognition. – Angel, The Spotlight Zone staff

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