In this DSP era, getting discovered in such an insanely crowded space is the main focus for artists looking to make it big. Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music offer MILLIONS of tracks, so how is it possible to get recognized as an independent musician trying to break through the noise?
One good way to do it is with playlisting.
Spotify users spend half their time listening to playlists they’ve created themselves, that’re algorithmically generated or are curated by tastemakers. That being said, getting yourself featured on a playlist with a huge following can facilitate a whole new level of growth for you and your featured track. Sometimes, getting on one of these curated playlists can be hit or miss, but there are many things you can do to increase your chances.
Here are 6 Marketing Strategies to Get You Featured on Playlists:
1. Sharpen up Socials
Your audience engagement across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are very important to DSP editorial teams and third-party curators. Your social media engagement is a reflection of your fandom both online and off. But remember, social traction is relative. Getting 200 likes on a post normally isn’t that big of a deal. However, for someone with only 400 followers, that’s awesome.
There are many things you should be doing to keep your socials in tip top shape:
You should be monitoring your stats relatively often. Find out where your traffic is coming from, what fans are responding to the most and where your plays are coming from to help better craft your future posts. You can utilize platforms like SoundCloud Stats and Spotify For Artists to help you figure out exactly which parts need some extra TLC.
Engage with fans and other artists. Respond to messages, comment on tracks and make sure to participate in the community so your name becomes more visible.
Promote your content.
2. Reach out to blogs and publications
Reviews, interviews and blog/publication write ups that back your sound can not only help raise awareness of your existence, but also vouch for how great you and your music are. (Especially when most articles include a link to whatever you’re promoting right now.) This type of press will help you direct traffic to both your streaming and social media profiles and if people like what they hear, you’ll be sure to gain some adds on their personal playlists too. It’s a win-win.
Keep in mind: Make sure your music relates to whoever you are reaching out to. Do your research. Writers all have different tastes, and not every song is suitable for every blog or publication. Be respectful with your outreach to avoid wasting both your time and theirs.
3. Get the most out of your streaming profiles
To catch the attention of playlist curators, the key is to be consistently active on your streaming profiles to show you’re committed to your craft and ready to collaborate. Make sure your streaming profiles are up to date with the most current info about new songs, upcoming shows, etc.
If you haven’t already, there are some things you should take care of first:
Get Verified // Being verified on your socials is an extremely important part of establishing your artist presence on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. (If you’re not verified yet, here’s how.)
Get more followers // Growing your followers on social media is important, but so is growing your followers on your streaming profiles. Ask the followers you have on your socials to follow your artist profile on Spotify/Apple Music. These streaming services put a lot of focus on follower counts since it’s a direct way to gain new listeners to their service.
Spread the love. Show your support for these platforms by making sure your website/socials all point back to your content on these DSP’s.
Make your own playlists // To help showcase your music taste, create a few playlists of your own! This shows the DSP’s that you’re committed to curating content on their platforms, provides your fans with shareable content and introduces your music to new listeners via genre-based playlists.
4. Help algorithmic playlists find you
Algorithmic playlists are auto-generated based on things like listening history, trends, and most-shared music. Spotify’s algorithm is also taking note every time people save your music to their queue, library or their own playlist and takes into consideration the number of followers you have. All these factors can help you land a spot on one of these playlists.
5. Help user-curated playlists find you
If you didn’t know, there are tastemakers who aren’t among a DSP’s in-house playlisting team who create curated playlists. These are the people out there making playlists independently, who have a lot of followers and who the DSP’s trust as a respectable source for new music.
The first thing you should do is reach out to them via following them on Spotify. Then, you can go ahead and share your track with them. Include a note asking them to consider adding your song to one of their playlists. Whether or not they decide to add your track is largely influenced by your social presence. If you’ve got a lot of followers, this could be the thing that convinces them to give you a shot and close the deal.
6. Have a great pitch
When you’re going about pitching your track to be included on a playlist, make sure you include any and all relevant information you’ve got, like specific details about the song/genre, your vision going forward and the story behind the song itself. You want to include anything that’ll catch the curator’s attention and help you stand out among the crowd.
This is also where you get to throw in all those important marketing drivers. DSP’s take everything into account. They look at past streaming numbers, off-platform promotional plans, social stats, etc. Be as thorough as you can when explaining your overall campaign around the release.
You really want to make it easy for these curators to decipher where your track will fit in among their playlists. To do this, you need to describe your sound as accurately and specifically as possible. Come up with some tags that describe the mood and genre your song fits within. All of this will help them place you on a playlist that’s perfect for you and perfect for the playlist.
The most universal way to catch the interest of an influential curator is to simply have great music.
If your listeners are loving your song and you’re getting a lot of organic traction before it’s even been playlisted yet, you’re already on the right track. If your listeners see how great it is, whoever you pitch the track to will see it too. All in all, DSP’s want to see the story behind your tracks. Each song on their playlists tells a larger narrative, and your marketing efforts on social media, blogs, publications, etc. are what’ll illustrate your story to curators.
Ultimately, there’s no perfect method or process to get you on these coveted playlists. But with a little luck and a great strategy, all your hard work will definitely pay off.