How Much Money Will That Playlist Placement Make Me?

2Accurately assessing just how much revenue you'll be able to pull down from a playlist placement can be difficult to determine, but with some careful analysis, Chris Robley at least shows us how to make an educated guess.


By Chris Robley of CD Baby form their DIY Musician blog


A quick way to estimate how many spins you’ll get when your song appears on a Spotify playlist.

It can be tough to determine beforehand what it will be “worth” to get your song placed on a particular playlist.

Some playlists have tens of thousands of followers but hardly any active listeners.

Other playlists have a small, loyal following that actually engages with the music (sometimes even leaving the playlist on repeat).

And even within an individual playlist, there will be a difference in resulting streams based on where the song is placed on the list. Obviously that first track is gonna get played more than the 10th track, or the 20th track, and so on.


Here is a way to take an educated guess at how many streams a playlist placement will bring you on Spotify:

  1. Go to the playlist in question
  2. Find the first artist included and visit their Spotify profile
  3. Go to the “ABOUT” tab
  4. View the “Discovered On” section on the right-hand side

If the playlist in question appears there, you’ll also see how many streams resulted from that placement in the past 28 days. Now you have an idea of what to expect if you’re placed in the first position of that list.

If the playlist doesn’t appear on that list, you know that a first position track will probably result in LESS streams than the lowest performing playlist shown in the “Discovered On” section of the artist’s ABOUT page.

Now repeat this process for artists on that playlist whose tracks appear, say, in the third, tenth, or twentieth position. This will give you a more detailed impression — though it’s still just an impression — of the power of any particular playlist.

And results will also vary depending on how quickly your track shuffles down or off the list.

This method works best when looking at mid-level or indie artists’ music on indie-curated playlists

As I said above, it’s an inexact science, and these things become harder to measure when you’re looking at famous artists who might have hundreds of thousands of plays from official Spotify playlists. In that case, just because an indie playlist doesn’t appear in their “Discovered On” section, it doesn’t mean a certain playlist isn’t gonna generate significant streams for you (just that the famous artist is lucky enough to appear on playlists that perform even better).

Now, how much money will those streams generate?

There are a lot of different factors that go into how much you’ll earn from a stream:

  1. What territory did the stream happen in?
  2. Was it ad-supported, or subscription-based?
  3. Do you own the publishing as well as the sound recording?
  4. How many different copyright holders are there?
  5. And more

But if you want to do some rough math on this, check out any of the trillion streaming-royalty calculators online (such as this one).

Chris Robley is the Editor of CD Baby's DIY Musician Blog. I write Beatlesque indie-pop songsthat've been praised by No Depression, KCRW, The LA Times, & others. My poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, The Poetry Review, & more. I live in Maine and like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a little too much.

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