[UPDATED] Landing songs on the playlists on Spotify, Apple Music and other digital service providers has become the holy grail of music marketing. Industry veteran Jay Gilbert interviewed some of his peers to create a compendium of how to make it happen, or at least improve your chances.
How do you get your music placed on playlists at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and all of the other Digital Service Providers (DSPs)?
I interviewed artists and managers that have had success as well as labels, distributors and friends at the DSPs for best practices. While there isn’t a silver bullet, there are some things you can do to increase your chances.
Let’s assume that your music is great. You’re no longer competing with the other bands in your town. Now you’re sitting alongside the best of the best. How do you rise above the clutter?
Let’s start with the basics.
- Placement in the right playlists across all DSP’s (preferably in the top 15 tracks)
- For the largest audience possible
- And the greatest number of spins possible
- Remain in the playlists for the longest period of time possible
- Grow the artist spins, brand, fan base, live shows and ultimately revenue
- GOOD: Spins, Adds to personal playlists, Pre-Saves and “Save to your library”
- BAD: Skips, declines in followers
FUN FACT: Many radio programmers play what’s trending on Spotify, Apple Music and other DSPs. Radio is increasingly following the trends, not setting them.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
- Verification (Get verified on DSPs and socials)
- REGISTER FOR Spotify For Artists, Apple Music For Artists (in beta), AMP/Next Big Sound etc. Socials Insights, Shazam, Bandsintown etc. (Use DSP platforms and Socials Insights to better understand your audience and engagement).
- Is one DSP greatly overperforming another? Show the numbers.
PREPARING THE PITCH
- You need a great Marketing Plan. If you don’t know how to create one, find someone who does.
- Early music via private Soundcloud, Songspace or other link. Don’t sent MP3s or other digital files unless asked. Designate focus tracks.
- Configuration (IG, EP, LP)
- Release date of track
- Release date of full-length
- Release narrative (If you had 30 seconds in an elevator with a playlist curator what two or three sentences would you tell them about the release?)
- Artist history
- How will you drive traffic to the DSPs? (i.e. eCRM, Socials, advertising etc.)
- Social footprint, Streaming to date, Shazam, Bandsintown trackers etc.
- Current and past playlists you’ve been in
- Synch placements you’ve received
- Tour Dates, who you’ve played with
- PR (any great stories written about you, Radio / TV appearances, good pull-quotes)
YOUR GOALS: What do you want?
- What are your target playlists?
- What are like / competitive artists?
- Placement (Flowcase, Slider, Brick, eMail etc)
- What are other artists that received that placement?
FUN FACT: Long intros and long tracks can sometimes have a higher skip rate. Consider a streaming edit like you would a radio edit.
There are many different types of playlists.
- DSP-Curated Playlists: These typically drive the most streams.
- Artist-curated playlists as press hits
- Brand-Owned Playlists
- PR pitching for publication-owned playlists
- USER-Curated Playlists: These range from small to massive. Many will accept polite pitches for inclusion. Send a personal note along with a link to your music.
- LABEL-Curated Playlists. Some labels have many followers and listeners. Some don’t. You want to be in every playlist you can.
- LABEL-OWNED Playlist Platforms: i.e. Digster [UMG], Filtr and Radial [SONY], Topsify [WEA/ADA] etc. worldwide.
- Tertiary, Secondary and Primary Playlists: It’s better to be on many smaller and medium-sized playlists
- Algorithmically-based Playlists vs DSP-Curated and User-Curated Playlists [Spotify owns/curates ~4,500 playlists]
FUN FACT: DSP-curated playlists are used by nearly 60% of U.S. music streamers, according to Nielsen Music.
PATHS TO PLAYLISTS
- Create your own playlist, drive traffic to it via eCRM, socials, advertising
- Direct Editor/Curator Pitches
- Music Blog submissions / communication
- PR, Publication and Media Partner playlists
- Playlist / Setlist Competitions
- Labels/Distributors have a grid that they fill out weekly to present to DSPs with priority tracks. This level of priority is key
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, Napster etc.
- The number one streaming service is Youtube, not Spotify. Youtube payouts are low but engagement is high. After a Google search, Youtube is a click away.
You land on a playlist, now what?
- Tell the world! Drive traffic to it via eCRM, socials, advertising