The biggest indicator of success on Spotify is the number of times your songs have been added to playlists.
Last month we talked about becoming a verified artist on Spotify, which requires that your artist discography page on the streaming platform have at least 250 followers.
You don’t NEED to be verified in order to get your songs added to Spotify playlists, of course, but it definitely helps demonstrate to playlist curators that they should take your music more seriously.
If you aren’t verified yet, go HERE to read my tips on how to build your Spotify following.
Once you’ve reached 250 followers and verified your artist page, it’s time to start pursuing playlist opportunities.
[To learn a proven strategy for getting your songs onto more Spotify playlists, download our FREE guide “Getting Your Songs on Spotify Playlists: a streaming success guide for DIY Musicians.” It will take you through a series of achievable steps that will increase your chances of a high-profile playlist placement.]
Here are the main kinds of Spotify playlist
1. Curated Spotify playlists
These are playlists — like Your Favorite Coffeehouse (with over 2 million followers)— where the music is selected by Spotify’s in-house editorial team.
Because they are Spotify’s most powerful editorial tools, these playlists get promoted like crazy within the platform. No big surprise: they’re also the most coveted placements, so you and every other artist on the planet wants in.
So how do you get the attention of the Spotify editorial team? Well, the old “who-you-know” methods still apply: connected publicists, managers, labels, distributors, digital promotion experts, etc. — people in the industry that have the ear of a Spotify playlist curator or two.
But there’s another way, one that doesn’t require you to have connections or a big promotion budget: start DIY, get your songs onto lots of smaller playlists, and begin teaching Spotify’s algorithm to be on the lookout for more song activity from you.
The more activity your songs get, and in particular, the more your songs are added to playlists, the more likely it becomes that Spotify’s editorial team will take notice.
This playlist activity also increases your chances of being added to…
2. Discover Weekly and Release Radar
Spotify automatically generates two personalized playlists for users: Discover Weekly and Release Radar. The more playlist activity you have, the better your chances of being added to either of these personalized playlists.
- Release Radar is updated every Friday with up to two hours of new songs and relevant tracks from artists the user has shown interest in.
- Discover Weekly is updated with fresh music every Monday, with songs chosen according to your own listening history and that of other users that like similar music.
This is another reason why it’s crucial to get your fans to follow you on Spotify since your releases can be automatically added to your followers’ Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists. The more followers you have, the more fans who’ll never miss out on your new tunes.
3. Branded playlists
These are Spotify playlists managed by third parties, such as Pitchfork, or major-label playlists such as Topsify.
Most branded playlists will try to strike a balance between established artists and emerging artists as a way of achieving tastemaker stature — so don’t count yourself out of the running for a branded playlist, even if you’re not signed to or otherwise directly affiliated with the entity that created the playlist.
4. Your own playlists
Just what they sound like: you create them, you promote them, and (assuming you’re verified) you feature them on your artist discography page!
You’ll have plenty of chances to create playlists using your own music (Greatest Hits, set lists, etc.). But it’s also good to curate a list of other artists’ songs and then include one of your own songs in the bunch. That way your playlist can have a broader appeal beyond your existing audience, and you’ll still have a chance to make some new fans if they like your song.
For example, here’s one of my playlists, “Lyrics in the Limelight”:
Please follow if you dig! Dig?
The audience for your playlists is dependent on the reach of your promotion, the size of your social and email followings, how well you use keywords in the name and description of your playlists (for searchability), and selecting smart hashtags when you share the playlist on Instagram or Twitter.
Curating your own playlists can be great not only for connecting with existing fans, but for deepening your relationship with your music scene and other artists because you can trade playlist placements; “I put your song on my list — you put my song on yours.”
Which brings us to…
5. Other peoples’ playlists
These could be playlists run by any of Spotify’s millions of users, including other artists, bloggers, or fans.
Google “Spotify playlist” along with your genre and you’re bound to find dozens if not hundreds of really top-notch playlists that are curated by music enthusiasts who are happy to include lesser known artists in the mix.
As always, be polite, follow their playlists, like them on social, engage first, and THEN make your song pitch. If they do add you to their playlist, thank them and share it like crazy. That will increase your chances of them adding another of your songs to their playlists in the future.
6. Collaborative playlists
Anyone on Spotify can opt to create a playlist that’s “collaborative,” meaning any follower of the playlist can alter the list, add or delete songs, change the song order, etc.
Here’s one you can add your song to right now:
Please be kind: follow first and only add one track!
Getting your songs on Spotify playlists
Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting more articles about how to make the most of your music on Spotify, specifically through playlists. But if you want to take the deep dive now, download our FREE guide “Getting Your Songs on Spotify Playlists.”
Got any Spotify insights to share? What’s worked for you on the platform? Let me know in the comments!