...To Make New Fans and Make More Money
This is, without a doubt, one of the most talked about topics in the music industry today. "Playlisting" is the new radio in terms of discovery, and the implications can be enormous.
According to the RIAA, streaming has finally surpassed digital downloads in terms of total revenue brought to the US record industry, solidifying the notion that streaming is here to stay.
So, why Spotify?
Spotify is the most democratic service, allowing any user to generate playlists and manage their artist profile.
As of June 2017, Spotify boasts 140 million active users, with 2 billion playlists created by independent users, brands, and editors. TIDAL and Apple Music have playlists too, but they are all curated from an editorial team and the major labels, and are largely inaccessible for pitching. Here is how you can get the most out of playlisting your music on Spotify.
Ok Stop. The first rule to ANY marketing campaign is to start with great music. Yes, there are niches for all genres and kinds of music, but at some point, great quality music is somewhat objective. If you're not ready to spend the time and resources into marketing something that's not great, then keep creating until you do!
Do Your Research
Read these blogs and podcasts about getting on Spotify playlists. I know, I'm breaking the #1 rule of customer attention by sending you to different websites, but there's no point in me re-hashing what others have already eloquently outlined. Everything I know about playlists is from these sources:
- Up Next: How Playlists Are Curating the Future of Music (Pitchfork)
- The magic that makes Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists so damn good (QUARTZ)
- Inside The Playlist Factory (Buzzfeed)
- The Secret Hit-Making Power of the Spotify Playlist (Wired)
- How to get your music on Spotify playlists Part 1 & Part 2 (CD Baby)
- How To Get Music In Spotify Playlists (Digital Music News)
- The Secret Lives of Playlists (Watt)
- Why The Release Radar Playlist is Spotify's Top Secret Weapon (Musically)
Plan Your Pitch
You should now have a pretty good idea of the different editorial, user-generated, branded, and algorithmic playlists work. Pitching for each of them varies, so don't use a one-size-fits-all model.
I personally use a combination of emailing directly, SubmitHub to contact blogs and curators, Reddit posts (seriously), and adding to specific "collaborative" playlists.
Spotify's most listened to playlists are their official editorial picks for Genres and Moods, so don't discount those.
I Got Playlisted, Now What?
So you got on Fresh Finds and Rap Caviar and are racking up hundreds of thousands of plays. Now what?
Music publisher Kobalt has reported that song streams will boost around 50-100% after artists are added to official Spotify playlists. Even after the spikes wear off, the artists usually see a 20% increase in streams for following months.
Still, a playlist alone can't break an act. Matt Riley (Kobalt) cites a band named Friendship who has 300 million streams on one track, but only around 10,000 Facebook fans. This echoes Ari Herstand's sentiments that streams don't necessarily equate to fans.
Similarly, if a track isn't performing well (too many "skips" or not enough "saves"), Spotify editors can easily move it down the playlist or remove the song completely.
Michelle McDevitt (Audible Treats) describes below how playlist promotion, coupled with press and a good social media presence, can be an important part of your marketing mix, and how to keep the ball rolling after being included.
Some of these strategies include social media shoutouts to the curators, and creating your own artist playlists. If you're not already, get signed up with Spotify for Artists to get verified, and get pitching!