Playlists are the fuel driving both music discovery and consumption and can help songs become hit singles. Playlist and streaming are the way music consumers listen to music nowadays. Streams are not equivalent to sales or downloads though, and getting many streams does not necessarily mean you will get many fans.
Having said that, every stream pays, and there are musicians that have been able to quit their day jobs by getting included on popular playlists.
You can generate plays (and revenue) and acquire new fans from getting your song into playlists. Depending on the popularity of a playlist, your song can get hundreds of thousands of streams.
How do songs get into playlists? Let’s find out! We will take Spotify for example.
The first thing you need to know about Spotify playlists is that there are three kinds of Spotify playlists:
- Spotify Curated Playlists. They are playlists created by playlist editors at Spotify. It is very difficult to break into the official Spotify curated playlists without a label or a distributor, but not impossible.
- User Curated Playlists. They are playlists created by users (if you want to know how to create a playlist on Spotify, read this).
- Algorithmically Generated Playlists. They are machine generated.
How can YOU get included?
Get Written About by a Popular Blog
Playlist editors read music blogs, so if Pitchfork or Resident Advisor write about you, you have more chance of getting included in a big playlist. How do you get blog features? You can hit up bloggers directly, or try SubmitHub to send you music to blogs.
Get in Touch with Playlist Editors
Although contacting the biggest editors directly is becoming less effective and does not always guarantee you placement, you can always give it a try. Get creative with the ways you contact editors, it can help your chances of getting included in playlists.
The Bridge to Streaming
Inform your label manager about your new release at least one month before release day. Your distributor has direct contacts with playlist editors and can suggest your tracks for a playlist. For big playlists though, only popular songs are considered; so if your track or artist has many views on YouTube or plays on SoundCloud, your chances are higher. Besides, it is important to communicate your promo activities and results.
Get In Touch With User Generated Playlist Editors
It is probably easier to find the contact info of user generated playlist editors – most of them link their Facebook to Spotify, so you can see their name. Contact them and develop a respectful relationship, then suggest your song for their playlist. Do not just go after the biggest playlists – you have better chance of making contact with playlists with fewer followers.
Be an Active User
Spotify likes when artists create playlists themselves and promote them to their followers. So, if you show Spotify that you are an active user, Spotify may point people to you.
The streaming platform is currently testing the Sponsored Songs feature. Music labels can add songs to user playlists as sponsored content and Spotify will match the songs to listeners’ music tastes. The feature will only be added to the freemium tier. The practice is not available for indie artists (yet).