Whether you like it or not, you can’t ignore the importance of Spotify playlists in today’s music industry. Getting the right song in the right playlist can skyrocket an artist’s career in a matter of days, regardless of whether they’re signed or not, their experience in the business or their music background.
In a way, you might feel that Spotify democratized music, removing the bottleneck conveniently put in place by the big names in the industry to mitigate the competition of indie artists. Yet the music landscape today offers different challenges to musicians, who often have to take matter into their own hands to succeed.
Not everyone is cut out for that: I definitely wasn’t, and I had to learn the hard way that if I wanted my music to reach the ears of those who could appreciate it, I had to craft a marketing strategy focused on Spotify and its valuable playlists.
Does it sound familiar? If so, you’re in the right place, because today I’ll explain how to get on those Spotify playlists.
The three types of playlists
Spotify offers three types of playlists:
- Editorial playlists.
- Algorithmic playlists.
- Third-party curated playlists.
Your music can be included in all of them, but each playlist type has different features and provides different results. So let’s look at each of them and see which ones you should target first.
A team of Spotify experts focused on various genres and styles curates these playlists. The so-called curators look for new music worldwide to highlight the best music for every genre, constantly updating their playlists and searching for new upcoming acts.
You can recognize an official Spotify playlist by the Spotify logo on the cover of the playlist.
There are two ways your songs can get on an Editorial playlist: the editor finds your songs, which is rare but not impossible, or by pitching your upcoming releases directly to them through your Spotify for Artists profile.
How to get in editorial playlists
Pitching to editorial playlists is not just submitting your new song and waiting for curators to place it in their playlists. Unless you’re a well-known artist with millions of followers and streams, chances are editors won’t pick your music right away.
Editorial playlists are the hardest playlists to get in. There is no guarantee that pitching them will get you on a playlist or that they’ll even listen to your song. Editors receive thousands of submissions every day, so be patient when pitching to Spotify curators.
To pitch your upcoming releases:
- Go to your Spotify for Artists.
- Select Upcoming from the Music tab, where your unreleased music will be listed.
- Pick the album and click on Pitch a Song.
- Select the song you want to be featured.
- You’ll be asked to fill in other information about you and your song. Fill in and continue.
- Take your time to fill in every detail about your songs, like genre and style, to help Spotify to recommend your songs to the right audience based on this information.
- Write your pitch. You’ll only have 500 characters to write the perfect pitch. Include the story behind the song, your songwriting process, and how you plan on promoting it.
- Submit your pitch. You’ll get an email from Spotify if your song gets selected.
Remember, you can only pitch unreleased music at least seven days before the release date. This will help you get on your listeners’ Release Radar playlist even if the editors don’t pick your new release for their playlists.
Here are a few things you need to work when you want to pitch your music:
- Claim your Spotify for Artists page. Ask your team or distributor to grant you access or claim it yourself, following the steps available from the claim page. Claiming your profile is the most crucial step for any artist releasing music on Spotify. You’ll get access to many other valuable tools besides pitching to Spotify’s curators, such as Canvas, Marquee, Discover Mode, and more.
- Get verified. Spotify now only requires you to have 250 followers to apply for the blue checkmark. Most Spotify editors will prioritize verified artists to maintain the quality of their playlists.
- Get your songs in algorithmic and third-party curated playlists. It’s easier said than done, but your objective is to get in as many specialized playlists as possible and maximize your audience.
These playlists drive many listeners and streams, but you can’t pitch your music to them as they’re generated automatically and influenced by what the users listen to. Even though you can’t pitch these playlists directly, there are techniques to increase your chances of appearing in these personalized playlists.
Because they’re auto-generated by users’ listening habits, you can reach potential fans who have listened to music similar to yours, even if they’ve never heard of you. Spotify will recommend your music to them, and if they listen and like your tracks or follow you, the algorithm will start adding more of your song to the algorithmic playlists of that person.
In summary, if your music is streamed frequently, you’ll eventually end up on a personalized playlist.
These are the algorithmic playlists users can listen to:
- Daily Mixes: playlists generated by the music you listen to and Spotify’s recommendations. They are based on genre, artists, decade, and other data based on your listening habits. Daily Mixes are updated regularly as you keep listening to new music.
- Release Radar: includes new releases from artists you follow or new artists that Spotify recommends.
- Discovery Weekly: a playlist updated every Monday with songs that Spotify’s algorithm recommends based on your listening habits.
- On Repeat and Repeat Rewind: This is a personalized playlist with the songs you stream more often.
How to get in algorithmic playlists
To get on any of the algorithmic playlists, you need to get your music streamed by your followers and fans. So, what you need to do to reach these playlists is to focus on promoting your music inside and outside of Spotify.
Recommended actions to promote your music:
- Keep your Spotify profile updated.
- Be active on Spotify and release music frequently.
- Use Spotify for Artists’ tools.
- Use social media. Share your music online, engage with your followers, and be active on social media by sharing sneak peeks of your new releases, behind-the-scenes, and lyrics.
- Run ad campaigns outside of Spotify to attract new listeners.
- Pre-save campaigns help you get more streams on the release date.
- Create your own playlists. Feature other local musicians or similar artists and share them on social media. Tag other like-minded artists who might share the playlist with their fans, increasing the network of your playlist. Do the same if an artist tags you or asks you to share a playlist in which you’re included.
Having a clear marketing plan will eventually pay off with streams that will show Spotify you’re engaging with your fans and attracting new listeners.
Spotify also looks beyond the streaming platform, checking online for your artist’s name and songs to find if people are talking about your music. If the algorithm finds your name on several blogs, reviews, and online content, your chances of being included in a playlist increase exponentially.
Third-party curated playlists
Many big music blogs or labels have their own playlist. Labels usually add new releases from their signed artists, while music blogs and magazines add songs they review or from artists they’ve covered. But there are also many people not directly connected to the music industry who have succeeded in creating successful playlists.
In Spotify, every user can create playlists, make them public and share them: there are many independent playlists out there with thousands of followers, all waiting to listen to your next hit.
Even if an independent playlist is less popular than one made by a popular music blog, if it has hundreds of followers, it’s a good idea to reach out to the curator and pitch your music. Getting a positive response from independent curators is much easier than with Spotify editors.
If you’re releasing new music, finding third-party curated playlists is the best way to start moving your music and telling Spotify’s algorithm that your songs are worth recommending to others. After being featured in smaller playlists, Spotify might begin to track your song and add it to personalized playlists.
How to get in third-party curated playlists
You’ll need to do some research to find the right playlists featuring your music genre or like-minded artists. Pitching to playlists based on followers rather than their content is a waste of time for you and others, so refrain from doing that.
Being added to these curated playlists is the best way to tell Spotify your music is ready to be shared and recommended. It’s a time-consuming process that might eventually pay off, so don’t wait until the last moment to pitch your music to third-party playlists.
By contacting playlist owners directly, you’ll build a relationship with curators who may familiarize with your music and help you promote it in the long run.
And if you don’t have time to do all this, playlist finders and submission platforms can lift that heavy load from your shoulders and help you simplify your research.
Be extra careful with people asking you for money in exchange for adding your song to a playlist, promising to increase your streams. If someone asks for money to get your music in their playlist, contact Spotify.
How to find curators
There are tools called playlist finders that will simplify your research for playlists. These tools provide a database where you can search by genre, artists, or keywords. With each search, many playlist finders will give you a list of playlists and data, including how many followers they have, the owner’s contact information, and the quality of the playlist.
Like any service online, some of these tools have paid options with extra features like providing the curator contact information or alerts on fraudulent playlists.
If you want to invest in a playlist finder tool, I’d recommend PlaylistSupply and Artist Tools.
PlaylistSupply offers a real-time search engine for niche genres and keyword-specific searches, delivering legitimate playlists by detecting suspicious playlists and removing them from future results. PlaylistSupply uses a subscription model for $19.99 monthly. With their subscription, you’ll get access to all its features:
- Playlists name, link, number of followers.
- Curator’s contact information such as email address and social media.
- Updates on playlists.
- Popularity score of each track.
- Exportable playlist and curator data.
Artists Tools works in a similar way. The main difference is that its subscription plan has a free tier in which you get basic data on playlists and curators, search filters, and seven days of historical data.
By upgrading your account for $15, you will unlock the following:
- Complete historical database.
- Access to curator’s contact details.
- Playlists fraud detector.
- Listener and quality insights.
- Updates in real-time.
- 24-hour curator growth change monitoring
Pitching to curators
When you use playlist finders, start by researching a specific field, say genre or a similar artist. Then create your directory with the results to start building your own database.
Prepare your pitch. You’ll be contacting these curators directly. Playlist finders usually provide you with their Instagram, Facebook accounts, or email addresses.
Don’t send the same message template whenever you’re pitching a new playlist’s owners. Personalize the pitch, include their name, and research the playlists before contacting them. Check out the other artists in the playlist and listen to their music.
Mention a song or artist that caught your attention in your pitch and explain why your music would fit their playlists; that’ll tell the curator you listened to their playlist and didn’t just get the contacts info and send a generic pitch.
Other tools available for musicians are submission platforms. On these platforms, you pitch your songs to a team of curators who will review your music and decide if your piece fits a playlist in their database. It’s like pitching on Spotify, but these are a group of curators that will get your music on third-party curated playlists.
Platforms that I recommend are SubmitHub and PlaylistsPush.
SubmitHub gets you in contact with playlist curators, music bloggers, and labels. You can submit your songs with standard credits for free but with no guarantee of a response from the curator or feedback. You can buy Premium credits to place your submission on top, ensure the curator listens to at least 20 seconds of your song, ten words of feedback and guarantee a 48-hour response.
When you submit with SubmitHub, you’ll see a list of curators based on genre match, quality, and influence to choose to pitch.
Another platform is Playlist Push. It allows you to set up a campaign to submit your music and get connected with curators who run 100% legitimate playlists. After selecting a genre, mood, and other filters, your song will be sent to the targeted curators. A campaign can run for 14 days, starting at $300.
The pros and cons of playlist finder and submissions platforms
Using playlist finders or submission platforms has its pros and cons. Either path you choose will ultimately take time and require hard work from you and your team, and won’t guarantee playlist placements or stream growth. If you’re a DIY artist, this part of music promotion may seem like a hassle, but the potential benefits are enormous.
- It could be cheaper than hiring a PR to handle all the work or running campaigns on other platforms on your own.
- They’re perfect for DIY artists who want to have complete control over their careers.
- Getting on playlists will draw the attention of Spotify’s algorithm.
- Some paid services have tools that analyze fraudulent playlists, ensuring their results will only find honest curators.
- You might struggle to find good playlists for niche genres.
- Scammers are everywhere, targeting especially new artists.
- A placement on playlists is not guaranteed, and neither are streams and new followers.
Final thoughts on getting onto Spotify playlists
I think that’s just about everything you need to know when pitching Spotify playlists; I hope this guide will help you reach a wider audience and give your music the attention it deserves.
Oh, and one last piece of advice: I’d recommend not focusing too much on numbers when you pitch your music to playlists. It’s better to choose relevant playlists for your type of music, even if they have hundreds and not thousands of followers. This way, you’ll develop a niche that might grow over time instead of being just a drop in a pond.