In the age of Spotify and other streaming platforms dominating the music industry, many up-and-coming musicians are asking themselves the same question: How do I get on Spotify playlists? Say what you will about Spotify’s low streaming payouts, but nobody can deny Spotify’s biggest benefit: getting your music heard. With a growing audience of over 248 million Spotify users, there are people all over the world who can and will listen to your music, if they can find it.
Getting your music on Spotify playlists is one of the most important things you can do if you want to get more streams and ultimately spread the word about your music. Most people who use Spotify also use playlists, whether they make their own or they follow other people’s playlists. Spotify themselves also hand-curate many official playlists, and the app’s algorithm automatically generates several more.
This article is going to get into everything related to Spotify playlists for musicians who want to land placement. I’m going to cover both unofficial Spotify playlists and official Spotify playlists, and also a bit of my understanding on how the Spotify algorithm actually works, in relation to getting your music on playlists like Discover Weekly and Release Radar, and even in rotation on Spotify’s radio stations.
It’s going to be a lot of information, so be ready for that. But I’m going to keep it simple, and try to help you get the big picture on Spotify playlists and how to get on them, starting from the ground up.
Independent Spotify Playlists
Personal Spotify Playlists
These are your bread-and-butter Spotify playlists. Everyone reading this has proably made and followed several of them. As a musician, these personal Spotify playlists are the most ground level, and the least impactful on a small scale, but possibly the most important in the long-term.
The reason for this boils down to Spotify’s algorithm, which is used to generate playlists like Discover Weekly and more that we’ll get into later. Each time a user adds your song to a playlist, Spotify’s algorithm gets a little signal that basically says: somebody likes this song. It doesn’t matter if nobody follows that particular playlist, Spotify’s algorithm will favor the simple fact that people are adding your songs to playlists. Though it would be a bigger signal if the playlist did have followers, and obviously the more followers the better.
It’s easy to see how this can become a snowball effect for a song. As more users add your song to their playlists, Spotify’s algorithm will continue to show the song to more users, who then add your song to their playlists, and so on.
You can boost these little algorithm signals in real life by using good, old fashioned, word of mouth. Start with your local music scene, and encourage your fans to follow you on Spotify and add your songs to their playlists. You don’t have to be pushy about it, you can just simply share the link on social media, casually mention it at your shows, or just hang out with people in the scene and talk about music.
Independent Spotify Playlist Curators
The next step up from personal playlists are your independent curated Spotify playlists. While not quite the big leagues of getting featured on official Spotify playlists, many curated playlists have dedicated followers who trust the music taste of the person or brand behind the playlist, and use it as a resource for finding new music. Record labels, music blogs, and influencers make these playlists. These are the ears that you want.
There are many levels of curated Spotify playlists. Some of them are run by users who take submissions through an Instagram account, or list an email address in the playlist description. Others are fully rigged up with fancy websites that allow you to submit to their playlists. Naturally, the playlists with more followers will be harder to land on, but also offer a juicy algorithm signal and the direct ears of possibly thousands of followers.
The independent curated Spotify playlists are not all submission-based. Many playlist curators also do their own research, which would likely include music suggested to them by Spotify’s algorithm. I think you see where I’m going with this algorithm stuff.
One extremely important thing to keep in mind when you’re contacting a Spotify playlist curator is that you’re interacting with another human being. How you communicate and come across is potentially more important than whether or not your music is any good. Because if you don’t strike the interest of the curator, they probably won’t get as far as listening to your track, much less opening your message. If you’re not simply filling out a form, but rather contacting a person, take the time to personalize the message and tell them a little bit about the music. It will give you the best shot at landing placement.
How to Find Spotify Playlist Curators
If you want to get on curated Spotify playlists, the first thing you have to do is scour the web and find playlists that you think would be a good match for your song. That can be tricky, especially if you’re looking for more niche playlists, but if your song is halfway decent then there is probably a Spotify playlist curator out there that would love to have it.
So before you even get started, pull up a spreadsheet, or a notepad, or whatever you prefer, and prepare to write down the playlist name and contact info for every playlist curator that you find during this process.
You can go back and contact them later, after you have a big list, because you’ll find that unless you know the curator personally, the key is to casting a wide net. More than half of the playlist curators are never going to reply to your submission, and some of them will never even listen to your song. The more submissions you make, the greater your chances of getting added to a playlist, as long as you’re submitting in the right places (and your song doesn’t suck).
Let’s find some independent Spotify playlist curators.
The Head Honchos
Here are just a few of the most popular Spotify playlist curators. These are the ones with a ton of playlists and a ton of followers. They also get a ton of submissions every single day. Still, submitting is worth a shot, and if you play your cards right you might could weasel your way in.
Indiemono – Some of Indiemono’s playlists have over 300,000 followers. It’s free to submit your music, and they have a wide variety of playlists and genres to offer. Check them out and find the right fit.
Work Hard Playlist Hard – This is an aggregator of sorts of independent Spotify playlist curators. There are several different curators listed, and they do frequently add and update the list of curators. They’re all free, but Work Hard Playlist Hard also offers a paid playlist push service.
These playlist submission websites are not the only way to get featured on Spotify playlists, and they aren’t the best way, either. Since they get so many submissions, your chances of landing placement is pretty low. You have a much better shot if you do some legwork and find a few more niche Spotify playlists that really fit your song. This is going to take a good bit of digging on your part, but I can give you a couple places to start your search.
Searching Spotify – One of the best places to find Spotify playlists is on Spotify itself. Duh. It does takes some creative thinking to find independent Spotify playlist curators on there, but there are plenty of them. Hit the search bar with however many variations of your genre, or the mood of your music, that you can think of until you find a playlist with some contact info in the description. Then send a pitch.
r/Spotify on Reddit – As always, Reddit comes in handy as a great resource for just about everything. There is a dedicated community at r/Spotify for sharing Spotify playlists. If you connect with the right user, you can earn some really valuable playlist placement here.
Official Spotify Playlists
There are two kinds of official Spotify playlists. First, you have the playlists that are curated by the Spotify editorial team, and then you have the ever-important Spotify algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and more. Yes, Spotify does have an entire team of people whose job is to find new music to add to playlists. These people are your friends.
Submit to Spotify Playlists
Before you even think about getting on Spotify’s official curated playlists, you need to make sure your Spotify for Artists account is set up and verified. It’s pretty easy to do that, and you can’t submit to official Spotify playlists until it’s done. If you haven’t already verified your Spotify for Artists account, do it here.
As you probably know, Spotify does not allow direct uploads at this time. Which means that you have to go through a distributor to get your music on Spotify. How to get your music on Spotify is outside the scope of this article, but if you give yourself enough time before the release date for submission then the track should show up as pending on your Spotify for Artists desktop app.
From that pending page on the desktop app, you’ll be able to submit a song for Spotify playlist consideration. Click on “Submit a Song”, and you’ll be taken to a page where you can fill out details. Spotify recommends giving as much information as possible, as it will help the editorial team find a good place for the song, if it does happen to be a fit.
You can only submit one song from a particular release for consideration at any given time, so be sure to choose wisely if you’re releasing an album. There’s still a chance that other songs on the album will be picked up as well, but it’s always a good idea to put your best foot forward. It might be hard to pick the best song, but I know you know which one it truly is, deep down.
Once you’ve submitted, all you can do its wait. There is no guarantee that you’ll land a playlist placement just for submitting, but it does imply that somebody at Spotify will listen to it. While you wait, continue to kick ass, and work on getting more of those sweet Spotify algorithm signals.
Spotify Algorithmic Playlists
There is no real way for me to tell you how to get on Spotify algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly other than to generally grow your Spotify presence. Spotify’s algorithm pays attention to all aspects of user engagement with a particular song, and constantly tweaks that song’s perceived value based on some metrics and data that the developers have decided upon.
The Spotify algorithm takes note when a user adds your song to a playlist, or seeks out that song with a search. On the other hand, it also takes note when a user skips a song, and how long the average user listens for.
What this all boils down to, really, is releasing music that people want to listen to. Spotify’s algorithm tries to figure out, in a mathematical way, which songs its users enjoy an which ones they don’t, with regards for personal taste, in order to make the experience better for their users. Think about it: if Spotify’s algorithm suggested music that its users didn’t like, then people would eventually get annoyed and switch to a better platform.
So, if your music is making Spotify a great experience for the users who listen to it, the algorithm will reward it, and you’ll soon see your music show up on these beautiful algorithmic playlists that can lead to exponential growth.
Hopefully this article helped you wrap your head around getting on Spotify playlists and how the Spotify algorithm plays a role in that. If you enjoyed it, or you learned something, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below with your thoughts on Spotify playlists, and share this article somewhere on the internet!
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