20 Spotify Playlist Promotion Tips for 2018

Spotify Playlist Promotion

My motto for 2018 has been: Get 10,000 followers on Spotify, and it will change your career. Getting followers and Spotify playlist promotion is on everybody’s mind. Just a few years ago most influencers, music promoters, venues, radio stations, and brands wanted to know how many social media followers a band has. Now, they want to know how many streams they have on Spotify, or how many followers on Spotify.

I don’t want to repeat too much of what I wrote in a previous article How To Get Followers On Spotify. This article will serve as an update to my last article and give you a bunch of new tips on Spotify playlist promotion and how to get more Spotify plays. And now….

20 Spotify Playlist Promotion Tips for 2018

1. BEFORE YOU SUBMIT, DO THIS 

Verify and optimize your Spotify profile. Make sure you verify your Spotify profile by getting access to the Spotify For Artists portal.

2. THE RIGHT SONG

We’ll get into specifics on where to find curators and tips and tricks on how to land them. But let’s start with some basics. Listen to a couple songs on the playlist first to get a feel for the theme. Pitch the right song for each playlist. Just because you are a rock band, doesn’t mean that your song fits every rock playlist. Pay attention to the theme and sub-genres featured in the playlist. Don’t submit a hip hop track to an indie rock playlist. Also, don’t submit old music to a playlist that features “new” or “fresh” tracks.   

3. SONG LENGTH AND FLOW

Every artist is fighting a battle for attention. When submitting a track, consider the intro and outro of the song. If it’s too long, it could upset the flow of that playlist and be rejected. Curators like their playlists to flow, and they don’t want to lose listeners on long tracks. If a song takes too long to start, it might not be a good fit for their playlist.

4. HAVE A TRACK DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Don’t be random about your focus tracks. Just because it’s your newest track doesn’t mean it has to be your focus track. Don’t move on from promoting tracks so quickly. Have a track development plan for each release and try to make each new release bigger and better than the last.  

5. TRAFFIC

Why do we love playlists so much? Because it’s an opportunity to expose your music to large amounts of new listeners. Playlists are traffic sources just like radio airplay, media features, film and tv synchs, mentions by influencers, and organic social media traffic. So make a goal to have a steady flow of traffic every day. Keep piling up the playlists adds as best you can, and don’t ever stop.

I like to visualize playlist listeners as concert goers. Put pressure on yourself to play in front of a virtual packed house every night – 365 days of the year.

6. CURATOR PSYCHOLOGY – MOTIVATION

Understand the motivation for the curator you are pitching to. Some considerations:

  • Pure music experience and listening pleasure. The right music for the right occasion. DJs fit into this category.
  • They want to be a music influencer. They’re motivated by getting the largest amount of  “Followers” as possible. To increase your position on their playlist or stay in longer, you should encourage your social media followers to “Follow” and “Listen” to the playlist. Then send another thank you email to the curator with examples of how you helped get them followers.
  • They are an established influencer on YouTube, Instagram, or Twitch (the gaming platform, not Twitter), and the playlist is another channel for them to influence their audience.
  • Playlisting companies like Indiemono, Headsick Sounds, and TopPlaylists are trying to get as many followers and listeners so they can either have a platform to launch their own artist content, or charge for a service.
  • Profit. They run some sort of payola scheme where they will put anything on their playlist for a fee.
  • A&R or music supervisors
  • In store play playlists. Like fashion retailers, salons, or other brick and mortar outlets.
  • Fitness influencers
  • Brands (Nike, PlayStation, H&M)
  • Media outlets, press, blogs
  • Independent Labels. Their main goal is to have dedicated places to promote their new releases.
Submit for Heat On The Street’s Spotify Playlists HERE

7. DO IT YOURSELF

You can do this yourself. You don’t have to pay somebody. Have a new song scheduled to be released on Spotify? On July 19, 2018 Spotify launched a beta of their Song Pitching Tool where artists, artist managers, and labels can now submit one “unreleased” track to Spotify directly through the Spotify For Artists portal. Here is the official release from Spotify.

You should also spend time finding independent curators and contact them. Get them to add your songs. If your song reacts positively to the listeners of that playlist and you start to get more and more spins, follows, and shares, Spotify’s algorithm will notice. When the algorithm finds a track that listeners are responding positively to, it will usually be put in the Discover Weekly playlist, or into a test playlist like Fresh Finds for a week or two. If it tests well from there, it may get reviewed by several curators for further official Spotify playlist considerations.

8. INFLUENCER PLAYLISTS

Don’t just wait for major playlists to come. Increase your chances by seeking out independent curators and influencers, and ask them to add your music. Brands like Nike or Starbucks are influencers as well. Some playlists that have “lots of followers” might be falsifying. When observing Spotify playlists, the engagement – the actual number of listeners – is much more important than the number of followers.

9. STEP BY STEP – how to find playlist curators

  • Find Playlists. I don’t like to find just any playlist. I like to find targeted playlists that have an “active” audience. By “active” I mean the subscribers are actually listening, rather than subscribing and forgetting about it. You can tell this by looking on an artist’s “About” page on the right side of the Spotify desktop player. There is a “Discovered On” section that gives you the artist’s top  5 playlists, and how many listeners discovered the music through that playlist. Find those and make a list.  spotify playlist promotion discovered on music marketing
  • Contact the Curator. Sometimes the curator will leave an email address or website in the playlist description. If not, click on the username for that playlist. This is the curator. If it shows a photo and a person’s name, there is a good chance you can contact them outside of Spotify. Many Spotify users sign up through Facebook, so their Facebook name and photo is the same as it appears on Spotify. So head over to Facebook and search for that person. You can message them. If you can’t find their name on Facebook, try Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. In some cases you can find their email address or a link to a website with contact information.
  • If the curator’s Spotify username is not their name, it will be a made up name, company, or number like 04012873. You can try searching for these on Facebook, Google, or elsewhere, but typically these are hard to find. In some cases impossible.
Additional steps
  • Choose one or two songs to submit. Curators get a lot of requests, so they don’t have an endless supply of time to listen to your submission. At most send them 3 songs to consider. Be grateful if they add one of them.
  • Before submitting to follow their playlist, listen to several of the songs to truly know which of your tracks may be a fit. Then send a simple conversational pitch asking for their consideration and support. In my experience, most curators care about the song more than anything. So short and sweet is just fine.  It’s best not to bombard them with too many accomplishments. You can let the music speak for itself, or add one or two achievements that make you stand out.
  • If you get added to their playlist, share it on social media and encourage your audience to subscribe. Do this as soon as possible. Then follow up and show them you supported.

10. OUT OF DATE PLAYLISTS

When searching for playlists you may find one that has 50,000 followers that looks perfect. Make sure to sort the playlist by Date. Hit the calendar icon near the top right side of the track list. If the curator hasn’t added many tracks in the past few months, it’s probably not worth your effort to track them down and submit.

11. LIST OF CURATION SERVICES

Here is a list of the biggest curation services (example: SoundPlate, IndieMono, Listed, etc.)  I’ve included some playlist companies that don’t come up on a Google Search.

12. Spotify Playlist Exchange

Click the genre bubbles to seek out playlists to submit for. Or press the “Start A Topic” button to post your own playlist. Go to the Spotify Playlist Exchange.

13. Reddit

Reddit has a minute-by-minute feed of Playlist action. Or use the Reddit search bar to find specific playlists, or search for curators, submission forms. I find the Google search engine better than the Reddit one.

14. Don’t buy fake Spotify plays

There are shady companies called click centers that sell you packages of fake streams. Don’t do it. It is against Spotify policy and not worth risking your reputation with one of the world’s biggest music streaming services.

15. SPOTIFY PROMOTION SERVICES

There are legitimate services that offer pitching your tracks to independent playlist curators. Many guarantee a certain amount of playlist adds or streams. How can they do this? Some actually pitch in the same way I described above and are legitimate. But many aren’t actually pitching your music to curators. They have contacted the original owners of those playlists and purchased the account for cash money. So they now control it and can put tracks from their paying customers.

Very few of these services have direct relationships with official Spotify curators. They also don’t pitch the major label owned playlists Filtr (Sony), Digster (Warner), and Topsify (Universal). These label owned playlists are curated almost exclusively with Sony, Warner, and Universal owned or distributed content.

    • Some of these paid services have value, and can help you generate organic plays and real followers. They’re not fake. But in my experience, these types of playlists are of low quality because they are curated based on money, not on which tracks flow well or sound good on the same playlist. Consequently, these service owned playlists don’t usually have a good return on investment. You certainly won’t make your money back from streaming royalties. But they may get the algorithm going or bring in new fans.
    • Proceed with caution. Ask the services what to expect? How long will you continue to pitch to playlists? For what duration will you stay in a typical playlist? How many actual plays can you expect?

16. YOU GOT ADDED TO A PLAYLIST. WHAT’S NEXT?

Once you get in a playlist, make the most of it!  Find a way to contact or reach out to the curator who added your playlist and thank them to show your gratitude. It tells them you appreciate their support, and it might lead to an ongoing relationship for your future releases, or even your old catalogue.

To continue with the venue analogy – Don’t be the band that forgets their email sign-up list at the venue. It’s critical that you make and retain fans. Keep them up to date with an email newsletter. You can’t rely on social media algorithms to communicate and stay in touch with all of your fans. Though there is no direct way to extract an email address from your Spotify listeners, there are many ways to direct them to sign up for your email list. Direct them on your bio section. Think about where they will go next. Most likely Google or YouTube, or maybe Facebook. Make sure you think of all the possibilities of where you can place that sign up link.

It’s important to make it easy for your listeners to become your fans. You can also research how to use “gates”. Gates are forms or widgets that help you capture information or unlock content. There are several options you can research. Metablocks, Show.co, Feature.FM and more. 

17. ARTIST PLAYLISTS

Curate a playlist by yourself so you can understand the process and motivation for yourself. Artist Playlists can be a powerful asset to use later on when you have a new track to release. Read more about why here.

18. SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Use the Social Media links in your Artist Profile. It’s the easiest way for curators and fans to learn more about you and follow you. These social media links will help steer traffic into your email list.  spotify playlist promotion social media links music marketing

19. Spotify Ad Studio – Beta

Sign up for the waiting list here. By advertising on Spotify, not only will you increase your plays and discovery, but this activity could help get the algorithm to notice you, or get the attention of official Spotify curators.

20. PLAYLIST TRACKING

Track your playlists. You can use Spotify For Artists to track your plays and playlist stats. Or, there are subscription services you can pay for that allow you to track what playlists others are on, find playlists, curators (not contacts), and provide you with data analytics that makes it easy for you to find playlists to submit for. One example is ChartMetric.  

RELATED ARTICLE:  HOW TO GET FOLLOWERS ON SPOTIFY  

Other Spotify Best Practices for 2018

  • Create a bio and add it through your Spotify For Artists portal. 
  • PRO TIP: When working on your artist profile or finding influencer playlists, always use the Spotify desktop app. The web version and mobile app don’t have all the necessary features used in this article.
  • PRO TIP: If you know how to use HTML you can dress up the text in your bio to be more appealing and include URLs. Note: The URL’s will not work on mobile – only on the desktop app.
  • Add photos to your Spotify profile by using your Spotify For Artists portal.
  • Use the Artist Pick feature on your Spotify For Artists portal. This is thought to trigger the algorithm to take notice of this track and make it known to Spotify that this is your “focus” track.
  • Add your social media profiles to your Spotify For Artists portal.
  • It’s crucial to add tour dates on Songkick because it will show up on your Spotify profile.
  • Encourage listeners to “heart” your artist profile or “follow. The heart has replaced the follow button on the desktop app, and the follow button still remains on mobile.
  • SPOTIFY FOLLOW BUTTON – To increase your followers place a Follow Button at the top of your website.  spotify follow button music marketing spotify playlist promotion
  • Pre-Save with gates & widgets  Learn how in this article.
  • Use listener location data (from Spotify For Artists) to plan your tour routings. Also you can target those markets with FB ads to help sell tickets and get more Spotify followers.

CONCLUSION

So there you have it. The latest Spotify playlist promotion tips for 2018. If you’re a recording artist and want to promote your music on Spotify or submit to playlist curators, this should be a good resource. The media and industry want to know how many streams you have on Spotify. It will open doors to other opportunities. Share it with a friend and bookmark this in your browser. I would love to hear additional tips or questions in the comments below.

Todd McCarty

Over the past two decades, music industry leader Todd McCarty served as GM of rock/punk indie label Fearless Records, and SVP Sales at Sony Music / Century Media. He still consults for record labels, but is actively blogging and working to educate new artists through www.heatonthestreet.com

5 Comments on “20 Spotify Playlist Promotion Tips for 2018”

  1. I liked the way you approach a certain topic, efficient and to the point. Simple. This is very informative. Thank you!

  2. Todd, thank you so much for deciphering this platform for me. I feel empowered with focus and direction, thanks to you!

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