With Spotify now one of the most popular platforms for music consumption, figuring out how to get your music placed on one of the streaming services coveted playlists has become the Holy Grail for up-and-coming musicians. Here we look at some advice on cracking the playlist code.
Guest post by Josh R. from The Fresh Ten
How do I become popular on Spotify and get on Spotify playlists?
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you already know Spotify is the most important platform for artists to make a living with music. I’ll also assume you understand that the best way of gaining popularity on Spotify is by learning how to get on spotify playlists. We’ve all heard the stories of an Unknown artist making $40k on Spotify but how is it done?
You need a streaming promo strategy. How do you think some artists get support from dozens of playlists with only mediocre music? They’ve likely spent hundreds of hours building contacts and pitching their music through trial and error. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
In this article, I’m going to explain to you the skills and techniques used by the best Spotify geeks to get on spotify playlists. These lessons took a long time to develop, but you can start applying them today.
Step into the mind of a playlist curator
There are three types of playlists you should be concerned about. They can be used alone but are more powerful when used together.
The small independent playlists
The large independent playlists
The algorithm generated playlists
The Spotify staff curated playlists
Psychology of the small playlist curator
The small independent playlist curator (< 5,000 followers) is typically more than willing to accept submissions. He/she rarely gets submissions and is happy for the attention. A lot of artists neglect the smaller playlists and focus on the ones with large followings. This is a mistake, because ten playlists with a thousand followers is the same as one with ten thousand. And getting support from various users works in your favor for the Spotify algorithms.
Psychology of the large independent playlist curator
Popular independent playlist curators are a different breed. These curators get messages in their inbox all day long from strangers who want to “connect” with them. They’ve even likely been offered valuable perks from major labels, such as free music festival tickets. These playlisters know the value of their playlist and connecting with them takes a different approach. We’ll cover some examples on how this is done in the Playlist Pitching section of this article.
Psychology of the Discover Weekly algorithm
According to an article by Secretshore Music, the Discover Weekly algorithm is engaged by the following activity:
A track already has a stream count between 5k -10k coming from a diverse demographic (listeners from many regions).
A track has a high rate of playlist adds *
*(Author’s Note: playlists with large followings count for more)
A high save per listener ratio (10 percent or more)
A track has more streams than listeners (indicating multiple listens per user)
Psychology of the Spotify staff curators
According to a Buzzfeed article “Spotify curators regularly make adjustments to playlists based on data that shows how people are actually interacting with them.” So although Spotify has hired some of the best tastemakers in the music business, they still rely on data. When submitting to the staff curators, it’s a bit of a catch 22. They like to get new music before it comes out, but they also like to support music that is already getting momentum and has a proven track record of likeability. It’s a bit of a debate whether it’s best to submit a track pre-release or after it’s gained momentum from many playlists and fan engagement.
Now that you understand a little more about playlisters, it’s time to reach out to them. Since everything starts with support from independent playlists, we’ll focus on pitching to them in this article.
In preparing your music pitch, keep in mind that independent curators are typically busy and don’t care too much about your bio, etc.. They look at your track artwork, then listen to your link, focusing on the intro,… then skipping to the middle, … and then they make their decision to take it seriously or not
So much music pitched to popular playlist curators never even gets listened to. They never get past the track art. It still surprises me how much effort an artist will put into a track, and then use the most ridiculous and amatuer artwork to present their music.
I know not everyone has the budget to work with professional artists but there are many tools now to make even an amatuer look professional. Without even owning photoshop or having any artistic skills, a musician can make their own track art using Canva. I recommend this site to everyone. An artists ego also drives him/her to put their own image on the art. Unless you’re a model, this should also be avoided. Nobody knows who you are yet, so give them something nice to look at instead. Something that lures them in to pressing play and listening. Make your art pro, or you’re killing your chances of getting on playlists before you even submit.
Now that you have professional looking track art, it’s time to pitch! Everyone has a Facebook these days so the majority of your communication with Playlist curators will be on Facebook messenger. I love this tool because you can find almost anyone and send them a message.
Before reaching out to a playlist curator, it’s important to come up with a plan of what you’re going to say. Never say the first thing that comes to your mind. You don’t want your submission to get buried with all the other ones that start out “.. I love your playlist, blah, blah, blah, .. will you listen to my track!”
When sending someone not in your friends list a message, it gets put in their “other inbox.” FB periodically notifies users when they receive messages from strangers. When they read your message, make sure the preview of your message is enticing. You have about 44 characters to convince the curator to read your full message. As an example, if you start your pitch with something like “I don’t have ur paypal but would love to…” then you got their attention. When they open the complete message, you can continue your message thanking them for all the great tracks you’ve discovered on their playlist and asking them if you can submit.
I hope these tools help you on your journey to building a music career. Our next article will cover the best ways for tracking down contacts for playlist curators. Practice working on your track art and your pitch and our next article will cover the best ways for building your music industry contact database.
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