Why do playlists matter?
In the year 2017, Spotify playlists as well as those on most other well-known streaming platforms are one of the most effective ways to introduce your music to a larger audience. The mechanics are simple: If you’re lucky, your music will be seeded into a popular Spotify playlist with many followers. Due to the playlists’ reach and popularity, listeners trust that the music on the list fulfills high standards – because the curators carefully select what will and will not end up on their list. Having your music added to a famous playlist is in a way a recommendation and helps listeners to discover your music and discography, become your fans, stream and/or buy your music and come to your gigs…
In this article we outline some possible next steps for you once recordJet has delivered your music to Spotify and all other stores of your choice.
“So, how can I get my music on those large Spotify playlists?”*
Generally there are two types of playlists: Each platform has in-house playlists which are curated by an internal editorial team. Then there are playlists compiled by external curators. The following steps can help you get on Spotify playlists.
1. Verify your Spotify profile
The verification process is described in detail in our article “3 Ways to Make the Most of Spotify”. A properly verified profile shows Spotify and other curators that you take your music seriously, and that you take streaming seriously as a medium because you demonstrate that you’ve dedicated time to understand it. A professional profile serves as a business card, that can open doors.
2. Get your social media and your website up to date
Besides your profile on streaming platforms, you should make sure that your social profiles are updated. This includes your Facebook page, which should feature regular and current content. Be sure that all info fields are completely filled out. If you have an Instagram or Twitter account, those need to be complete as well and should be updated regularly with fresh content. A coherent CI is beneficial – this means: Consistent color profiles, language (= wording, tonality and expressions you use a lot, over and over again), and aesthetics. As an example: US violinist Lindsey Stirling has branded her fans, calling them “Stirlingites”. She keeps this wording on all her channels and doesn’t break it. If she would alternate between “Stirlingites; “Lindsey-istas” and “my homies”, her trademark wouldn’t be a trademark anymore and her social media appearance would be diluted.
Next, your website should always be updated. It gives an unprofessional impression when the latest news is from 2013 and as if nothing has since happened in your career.
3. Research the right playlists for your music and their curators
Playlists can be curated by many parties: There’s the platforms’ in-house editorial teams, music magazines, labels, radio- or TV stations, music bloggers, (local) companies or enterprises, brands, private persons, and much more. The result can be all kinds of playlists including branded or collaborative ones. When you do your research for the right playlists, make sure they work with your genre of music and then follow them. This signals interest and shows you’re a fan of their music. You also demonstrate that you acknowledge and respect the curators’ work. Comments, likes and shares on various social media platforms help build a relationship with the curators.
Note: In the Anglo-American culture this approach might be expected much more than it is in Europe. Make sure you exchange niceness with the Americans but keep in mind that European curators may have different comfort zones.
4. Pitch your music
Once you have established a friendly relationship with the curators of a playlist, you can start pitching your music. This means: Get in touch with them, present your music and suggest it for their playlist. A pitch should be short and to the point. Yes, your tough teenage years on the streets of Neukölln might have shaped your music, but could also be too much drama for a pitch, and let’s be honest, stories like this aren’t exactly original. Many curators have to sift through dozens of requests on any given day, so they have to be able to decide quickly. Help them see at a glance why your music is awesome and how it can benefit their playlist.
And then: Be patient. Make sure you aren’t too pushy. Being demanding and trying to force them to add your music might actually lead to you being ignored. If you want to be consistent, make sure you do it sensibly and without expectations. Negotiating, begging, arguing or demanding explanations isn’t a good strategy. Somewhere out there is the right playlist for everyone. If someone doesn’t want your music, don’t fret and move on.
5. Special Opportunity: Spotify
The Spotify editorial team put a contact form on their artist area that allows you to introduce your music to the editors in order to suggest them for playlists. In the “Your Inquiry” section, please select, “I wish to submit a promo inquiry” from the dropdown menu and pitch your music in the comments field.
6. After the placement
As soon as you’ve made it onto one of the strong Spotify playlists, you should start spreading the news: Share the link in social media, on your website and in your newsletter with everyone you know. The purpose is twofold: First of all it helps to spread the word about your music. Furthermore you help curators spread their playlist and gain more listeners. It is how you say thank you for a placement. Keeping the curators as your friends helps you keep a door open for your future music – which leads us to the last point…
Playlist marketing isn’t a musical one night stand- it requires long-term relationship work. Curators help you gain reach, which you thank by sharing and spreading the playlist. You scratch my back and I scratch yours.
Now it’s your turn: Share your playlists in the comments below and let us know how you got your music on them.
*Note: Spotify continuously changes and improves its website. The links mentioned in this article might not work forever, contact forms may change as well as the structure of certain processes. In this case, please consult Google or Spotify Artist Support directly.