There are thousands of playlists on Spotify. Since 2015, people worldwide have already spent over 2B hours – that’s more than 266,000years – streaming music from Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists alone. Getting on the right Spotify playlist and reaching millions of streams is therefore a highly sought-after goal. To help you reach it, we've created a short roadmap.
But first, a word of advice.
Don’t count on Spotify as a revenue source from the start. Treat it as a promotional channel. Sure, there are artists out there who quickly get on a popular playlist on Spotify, but such cases are extremely rare. Instead of betting on a lucky break, you’ll be better off if you approach your potential features strategically.
Generally, playlists on Spotify can be sorted into three groups:
Editorial playlists are extremely competitive because of their influence and reach, so getting on individual playlists could be a more realistic initial goal. Take some time to listen and research, and create a list of playlists you think would be a good fit for your tracks.
See who owns the playlists you’re interested in and create a list with their names and contact info. More often than not, the authors will publish their email address for submissions themselves. In other cases, you can easily find their social media profiles by googling them a bit.
As for algorithmic playlists: you can increase your chances of getting onto them by polishing up your profile and submitting tracks like a pro (see below). Pitching to human-curated playlists, however, takes a more personalized approach.
The first step of the pitching process is making sure your profile looks professional. Upload appealing, high-resolution photos for your profile and covers, write a short bio, and keep the descriptions and social media links as up to date as possible. See this article for more.
Another “hack” that will increase your playlist chances is having a managed and attractive online presence outside of Spotify. When curators or potential new followers go check you out – and they WILL go check you out –, they’ll expect to see social media profiles with recent content, so do spend some time on that.
Once you have a verified profile, you can submit your upcoming releases for playlist consideration. Simply log in to Spotify for Artists (submissions only work on desktop) and go to “Submit from next release” under your “Home” tab. Then, select a song and fill out the recommendation metadata.
Focus on your “catchiest” song, the one with the most potential, and, as already said, make sure the production value is high.
Make sure to include metadata in your files (details such as artist name, song title, writer, producer, genre, track duration etc.) and the submission form. Why? Because this not only makes music distributors and industry pros take you more seriously, it also helps the algorithms guide listeners to your profile correctly.
Working the algorithms and pitching to independent curators at the same time can increase your chances of getting noticed by “bigger” curators or even the Spotify team.
Once you have your contact list of Spotify playlist curators, start working them. Take the time to personally approach each one and introduce yourself briefly and confidently. Explain that you’ve been listening to their playlist, tell them why you think your music would be a good fit, communicate why your work has potential (how are you different from others?) and how they can benefit from featuring you – for example, how you can bring new listeners to their playlist.
If the playlist is owned by a blog or media, a good online review or mentions might increase your chances as well. Check out their channels and explore your reviewing options. Maybe you can start by giving them a shoutout on Twitter or leaving a review on their Spotify podcast. You don’t have to write anything you don’t want to – keeping it short, simple and honest is more than enough.
As far as timing is concerned, pitch your work at least two weeks ahead of its scheduled release. Make sure you give the curators and/or Spotify editors enough time to listen to your submission and consider you. Some artists even suggest pitching as early as a month before release.
If you land a playlist on Spotify, tell the world about it. Work as your own PR manager – go to your channels to thank the curator for including you, and strategically work your posts for maximum exposure. Remember, really breaking through takes time, so make playlisting a part of your broader promotional strategy.
Researching playlists on Spotify takes considerable time and effort. You might consider trying a tool that helps you save on both. With Viberate’s Spotify analytics, you can track and examine your own Spotify stats along with those of other artists releasing on Spotify, and gain valuable insights into playlists.
You can filter thousands of Spotify playlists by genre. You can also look into an artist you respect and check out which playlists they appear on. You’ll see if there are any patterns you could learn from to your own advantage – for example, which types of playlists they appear on, what their prevailing genre is, and which of their tracks appear on playlists the most.
Give it a go and see what music data can do for you. Start your free trial here.