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Playlist Placement Does Not A Marketing Strategy Make

1While playlist placement has become the holy grail for many artists and their promoters, this new case study of sorts from Kieron Donaghue, looks at how playlist placement alone is not in and of itself sufficient as a marketing strategy.

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Guest post by Kieron Donaghue of here.org.uk

Last Friday (19th July 2019) an independent artist’s debut single was placed at the top of Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and Apple Music’s Best of the Week playlist in the UK. Not only that but at the time of writing this, 5 days later the song is in a total of 54 Spotify editorial playlists around the world and around 12 large Apple editorial playlists globally. The song is “Unspoken” by Aaron Smith and it’s currently sitting on 379k Spotify streams after just 5 days.

2This is unprecedented. Ever since we saw the launch of Spotify’s New Music Friday playlists in 2015 I have never seen support from the DSP’s for a debut artist. Not once. Of course this hasn’t gone unnoticed in the industry and Music Business Worldwide wrote a piece on it here. The best quote from that article btw is from an unnamed source at Sam Smith’s record label who is having a gentle dig at Spotify for putting Sam Smith on the cover but his song third in the playlist…below Aaron’s – “It’s like putting Sam Smith in the shop window to attract people into the store.” Bitter much?

So who’s behind it? As suggested by the MBW article it’s Platoon who in all fairness do an excellent job at growing talent. I’ve seen a few tweets this week from staff at the DSP’s who suggest that there is much more to come from Aaron and this is just the beginning. Which leads me to think that Aaron’s team have put together a package of new material along with a plan to bring Aaron to market and presented this to the DSP’s to get their buy in and support. Which of course is the right way to do things, as we all know that DSP’s want to support artists and not just songs.

Playlist placement is not a marketing strategy

With all this editorial support and hundreds of thousands of streams you would think that Aaron’s fanbase would be growing exponentially wouldn’t you? Not so much, his Twitter followers are just 167 and he has just 746 followers on Spotify. Which proves the point that playlist placement is not the route to success alone. I hear from so many artists who think that getting on one or two editorial playlists will give them success and instant fans. It won’t. Most listeners are passive and don’t even know or care who they are listening to. You still need to put in the graft to build up your fan base from the bottom up. Play live to those crappy pub nights with 10 people in the crowd, talk to each and every one of your fans on social media. Hustle to get that press coverage or those interviews, create content, then more content and keep writing and releasing great music. Of course I have no doubt that Platoon will be doing all of this and more but I just wanted to highlight the fact that even massive unprecedented editorial support like this won’t make you a star overnight. So artists, please don’t hang your career on whether you get playlist support or not.

Side note – dear Platoon please get a proper domain ending in .com as your .ai domain name appears precisely nowhere in Google’s search results.

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