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How to Get on Spotify Playlists

girl reading how to get on spotify playlists

In this article I’m going to explain all things ‘Spotify’. This includes how to get on Spotify playlists, playlist pitching, growth hacks to increase your listeners, Spotify advertising, Spotify revenue and how to get the most from your Spotify For Artists dashboard.

Introduction to Spotify

In late 2008 a friend told me about Spotify. I was already familiar with ‘Jukebox’ style music services, so after checking it out, I immediately signed up. 

In early 2009 I worked at an marketing agency in London. We specialised in music & events. Our team was playing Spotify in the office and realised all the adverts were produced in-house and only advertising Spotify, meaning, there was no paid advertising on it yet.

We thought this was a great opportunity to strike a discounted deal with them! So, after speaking with their Sales Rep, we launched a campaign for an artist called ‘Master Shortie’.  

Shortly after, we received an invoice from them, numbered “Invoice 0000002”. The sales rep told us invoice number 0000001 was actually a test invoice, so we were the first company to advertise on Spotify!

Roll on 11 years, Spotify’s reported revenue in 2020 Q3 was $1.975bn.

Statistic: Number of Spotify premium subscribers worldwide from 1st quarter 2015 to 3rd quarter 2020 (in millions) | Statista
(Find more statistics Statista)

The latest statistics from Spotify show they have over 144m paid subscribers and 320m total listeners. (Source: Spotify (PDF))

To save you doing the maths, that means over 185m people listen using the free, ad-funded version. That’s significant, as we’ll see later when we examine Spotify advertising.

The key to gaining more listeners, resulting in more revenue, is to get onto playlists. These are the modern currency of streaming. Check out a presentation, From Pays To Plays, I wrote in 2016, anticipating the switch away from downloads towards streams.

You can drive streams using a variety of growth hacks. These can boost your stream numbers, which help propel you into more playlists.

How to get on Spotify Playlists Infographic

How To Get On Spotify Playlists Infographic

How much do spotify Pay Rightsholders?

Spotify claims to pay over 70% of its revenues to rights holders. A rightsholder is typically an artist, a record label or a publisher. (For this article I’m ignoring podcasts, sorry). The revenue is split 57% to record labels, 13% to publishers.

Since Spotify’s annual revenue is approximately $6.8bn that equates to over $4.76bn.

  •  Record labels: $3.876bn
  •  Publishers: $0.884

What the record label and publisher pay to each individual artist will depend on the artist’s deal.

How much do Spotify artists make?

Spotify pays artists on a ‘per stream’ basis, or what Spotify call the ‘Stream Share’. 

The actual amount it pays will vary from month-to-month because of the formula it uses to calculate the rate. However, for the sake of simplicity, we can calculate the average amount is between $0.003 to $0.005. (2020, Sources:  Soundcharts, Digital Music News, Trichordist). 

An easier way to think of this is to consider the amount per thousand or per million plays:

  • 1,000 plays = approx $4
  • 1,000,000 = approx $4,000

Would you be prepared to share a Spotify statement with us in complete confidence? We’ll use the data to increase artist and manager’s knowledge of Spotify payouts.

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Why does Stream Share vary?

In this video, Spotify explains the concept of Stream Share. The amount varies because Spotify doesn’t know how many streams there will be in any one country each month. 

To use an extreme example, if hypothetically there was only one stream in a month, the lucky artist would get paid Spotify’s entire month’s revenue, $396m! In reality this amount is divided between the billions of streams in any one month.

The Stream Share concept has important implications for artists:

  1. The amount you receive is calculated on your ‘market share’. The more plays you get, or the harder you work to get those plays, the more your market share increases and your payout goes up! Staying still isn’t an option – you either go up or down.
  2. The payout rate is different for each country. So, if you’re a UK artist getting a lot of plays in, say, Thailand, you won’t receive much when converted to £GBP. On the other hand, a Thai artist getting a lot of plays in the US will be making a relatively higher amount in $USD.
  3. Remember, 57% goes to the record label and 13% goes to the publisher. If you supply your original track via, say, DistroKid, you will get the 57%. But if you haven’t registered your song with the PRS (or each country’s PRO society) then you’ll be missing out on the 13%

How to Get Your Song on Spotify

You have 2 choices;

  1. Get a record deal. Many indie labels use an ‘Aggregator’ such as The Orchard or Believe. Or, labels can deliver music themselves using a service like Audiosalad or FUGA.
  2. Use a “DIY” Distribution service

You can NOT upload directly to Spotify.

Aggregators

  • The Orchard
  • AWAL
  • Believe
  • Absolute
  • AWAL

DIY Services

This is an affiliate link. Get 7% off Distrokid.

Got an experience with one of these services you’d like to share? Please comment on this article by clicking the Comment Button

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Is it better to pay a percentage or fixed fee?

The difference between a percentage of revenue or fixed charge becomes more important as you start becoming successful (which, of course, if you follow our Growth Hacking methods, you will!).

A percentage deal works if you’re a label with hundreds of tracks by many artists. To pay on a per track, per album or per artist basis means a large upfront fee. Furthermore, you want your catalogue to be marketed ongoing.

A solo artist, however, shouldn’t pay a percentage unless the distributor commits to ongoing marketing.

Let’s say you decide to use Songtradr because it’s free and charge 10% ongoing. However, you secure a sync deal on a big TV advert. This sends your Spotify plays flying up to a million per month, equaling $4,000 p/month. Suddenly, that 10% charge adds up to $400 just to deliver the track. And that’s EVERY MONTH!!! So, be careful. Although it’s attractive to use a free service, especially when every penny counts, you could end up regretting it.

My advice is only sign up to a percentage if the company is actively marketing the track on your behalf. That means they’re pitching it to the music stores. In that case, they deserve a piece of the action if they secure you a boost in plays.

Personally, I use DistroKid because I can do my own marketing 🙂

How to get more plays on Spotify

We’re going to explore 3 ways on how Spotify add a song to a playlist:

  1. Spotify playlists.
  2. Direct linking
  3. Spotify advertising

How to get on Spotify playlists

There are millions of playlists on Spotify. However, playlists can be split into 2 broad groups

  • Spotify’s own playlists
  • Curated Playlists

Spotify Playlists

Spotify’s playlists can be broken down into 2 types, editorial and algorithmic.

i) Editorial playlists

E.g.

Spotify employs a team of editors who create Spotify playlists.

When they create a playlist, Spotify’s editors have access to a lot of analytic and discovery tools. These enable them to quickly analyse submitted tracks. They can also include tracks ‘discovered’ by Spotify’s own tools, such as Natural Language Processing.

This is a fancy way of saying they scour the internet, in a similar way to Google, looking for artist names and mentions. Bands getting a lot of buzz score highly, meaning they’re more likely to get selected for a playlist.

You submit your music for consideration on a playlist via  Spotify For Artists. You must submit your track PRE-RELEASE. This means you, or your aggregator, must ensure the song is delivered to Spotify at least 2 weeks before its release date.

Click on ‘Music’ in the main menu, then Upcoming. Select a track and fill in the form to submit to Spotify playlists.

Spotify receives around 20,000 submissions a week and around 25% of submissions will be placed on a Spotify playlist. 

One tactic prior to an album release is to release 3 or 4 tracks prior to the full album. This gives you more opportunities to pitch for a playlist. Dua Lipa released 37 singles during 2020. Each one will have been pitched as a ‘New Release’, meaning her music gets included on a wide range of diverse playlists covering lots of genres. 

ii) ‘Algorithmic’ playlists

These playlists generate nearly half of all listens on Spotify. However, since they’re generated automatically an artist (or label) can’t request to be included on one. The good news is they’re personalized for each person. So the key is to use growth hacks and marketing to increase the chance your track will be included on your fan’s playlists.


Here is the ‘algo’ playlist of my most played songs during 2020. A mixed bag of nuts, I can’t remember playing half of them! 🙂


Curated Playlists

Every Spotify user can create and share their playlists. Some user playlists have a lot of Followers. A popular blog is likely to be managed by someone ‘in’ the music industry.

  • Music Bloggers
  • Media, such as NME, Vice, The Guardian
  • Record Labels, e.g. Island Beats
  • Industry playlists – Topsify (Wqarner), Digster (Universal), Filtr (Sony) 
Example of the NME playlists available on Spotify

Remember, the ‘curated’ category includes your own playlists.

 Depending on the type of playlist, there are a variety of different ways to get in it.

Firstly, these playlists are ‘curated’, meaning someone is listening to your music and making a judgement whether to include it or not. 

Some services pay the Curator to listen to the track but don’t guarantee they will then include your track on the playlist.

I have found a few playlists that accept payment for inclusion. These tend to be focused on hip-hop, rap and grime. For a fixed fee, assuming your music fits the genre, you can get your track featured on the playlist for a set period of time. 

How to add songs to Spotify playlist

1. The “cheapest, longest, most difficult” way (but pays off long term)

This involves identifying playlists most likely to include your music, finding the person who manages the list and submitting your music to them.

PROS:

  • Highly targeted
  • You own your list of contacts

Build long lasting relationships that can be used for each new release

CONS

  • Takes a lot of time, taking focus aways from your music
  • Some playlist owners can be difficult to contact
  • No guarantee your time will pay off

How to get your songs on Spotify playlist

There are websites that helpfully list playlist owners and facilitate contacting them. No money is required.

https://workhardplaylisthard.com/submit

2. The “expensive but gets most positive results” way

Music PR companies have existed for years. They build relations with music journalists over a long period of time. See my article on Promotion For Musicians

PRs build relationships by having lots of ‘freebies’ to give away. Things like, securing interviews with the artists. Tickets to shows, etc. 

For a fee they will run a campaign targeting the biggest music sites who tend to have a Spotify playlist. Expect to pay anything from £500 to £2,000 per month for a campaign that will typically need 2-3 months to show results.

PROS

  • Leverage the relationships built up by the PR
  • You may get introduced to some of the major playlist owners
  • If a Curator like your music you can get on some huge playlists

CONS

  • Expensive
  • No guarantee your investment will pay off

Example online PR agencies

  • CyberPR
  • Huxley

3. The “cheaper but far more mixed results” way

Several services claim to help get your music on Spotify playlists made by curators. The majority of curators, bear in mind, welcome new music submitted to them – it’s easier and guarantees a non-stop supply of music. Some will listen to your track and if they like it, will include it on their Playlist. 

Some of these services, e.g. Playlist Push, offer Curators a cash incentive to listen to your track then review it. However, even if they accept your money they have no obligation to include your song on their playlist.

The companies offering these services don’t guarantee results. To be fair, they can’t. You must also trust them that your music was sent out. 

Spotify Playlist Promotion Services

For a promotion service to be effective, your music ideally needs to be in a genre that has several big playlists dedicated to it, e.g.. Electronic, Dance, Hip-hop, Pop, Acoustic, Chill, Solo Piano, etc

There is no guarantee you will be playlisted. However, you will get to read the curator’s review. Be prepared for negative comments! If the review is positive this may be an opportunity to reach out and build a one-to-one relationship.

MySphera

https://www.mysphera.co/

Like many services in this space, Mysphera has two sides to it – one for artists and one for playlist curators. 

Curators, or ‘tastemakers’, are invited to join the platform. Their incentive is a source of new music submissions.

Artists submit a single track for just $19.99, making it highly competitive. If your track gets added to even a few playlists it could be considered effective.

The following reviews of MySphera neatly sum up most of these services. You may get lucky, but nothing is guaranteed!

Review of MySphera #1

“It seems unlikely (MySphera) will generate the streams they predict. It doesn’t guarantee a spot on the most popular playlists. I suspect some of the curators have a “junk playlist” which is where they throw the submissions they accept but don’t care about – some of these are hundreds of songs long with 14 followers.

Mysphera could work if your track is undeniable on first listen (something hooky and catchy – either pop, hip hop or folk), but if you’re targeting a niche (electronic sub-genres, metal etc), best to do the leg work yourself. I had more interest from my niche audience by doing an interview with a local radio station!”

Review of MySphera #2

“Although a lot of of the playlists you’ll be added to can be quite small, there are always a lot, and you may even get a good one: a recent playlist add boosted my monthly listeners from around 8’000 (which it had been stuck on for a few years), to 18’000 (and my first offer of a release from a record label!). It’s very cheap, too. You could submit a new track a month and know it’ll end up on playlists for little cost. It’s also simple to use – upload a track and that’s it.”

Playlist Push

http://playlistpush.com

Playlistpush claims to have over 970+ curators signed up to their platform. A curator can earn up to $12 per listen. An average campaign costs $450, with the lowest around $300. 

Reviews appear to be mixed. 

One artist said, “I paid $270 for my song to be sent to 45 curators. I got 25 replies, 8 of which put me on their playlists. 7 of these playlists had less than 2,000 likes, so those didn’t get me much. One playlist had 22K likes, but it’s curator had 3 followers, so I’m guessing it’s a fake-streams playlist. 99% of the streams came from this one. Overall my song got 2.1K streams from 1.3K listeners and it got 317 saves. Definitely not worth the money.

On the other hand, this artist had a more positive result. “My first track was added to a few small/medium sized playlists. On the other hand, the second track got added to a playlist with over 300K followers and that playlist alone gave me a lot of streams. Also, after both tracks started to approach the 25k streams, they were added to Discover Weekly algorithmic playlists. This generated around 500/1000 streams per day”. 

SubmitHub

https://www.submithub.com/

SubmitHub is one of the larger sites in this space. It’s got a nice user interface and some useful info in its List of Curators.

Unlike the other services, SubmitHub has a free option, although it’s honest enough to admit the free submissions only get around 5% feedback.

The Curators get paid to listen and feedback on your track. They have no obligation to add it to their playlist.

On SubmitHub you buy premium credits. $6 gets you 5 credits, $80 gets you 100. A Curator can ask for between 1 and 3 credits to review your track. So, for $80 you can choose to send your music to around 30-40 blogs. StubmitHub says the approval rate for Premium is around 18%. So, from your 40 blogs, you may get 8 curators that feedback and if you’re lucky, 1 or 2 playlists. 

This may not seem like much but it depends on which playlists those are. If it’s a large, well targeted playlist that’s ideal for your music, then it’s $80 well spent. 

Playlister Club

https://www.playlister.club/

Playlister Club presents curators with music in a different way to the other sites. Their founder, Danny, says, “Curators head to our Discover page; a Netflix-style page with hundreds of songs and recommendations based on the curator’s own tastes. They can freely browse and explore this page with different filters like genre, trending tracks, best-matching tracks and more!”

He continues, “We believe this approach is more effective because you leave the curation up to the real tastes of these curators. It’s an organic discovery process that helps create better quality playlists, because curators can focus on making actually good playlists. This helps artists acquire fans more effectively.”


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Using Spotify Playlist submission services

PROS

  • Getting added to a big playlist could help you be included on a Spotify algorithm playlist
  • Relatively cheap compared to hiring a professional PR service
  • Can act as a pointer towards playlists interested in your music

CONS

  • No guarantee of plays
  • Some reviews suggest the playlists are not high quality
  • Not all genres of music catered for. The majority of curators appear to be focused on EDM, Hip-hop and indie.
  • There are lots of fake playlists who simply want to make cash.

Here is an article on Reddit, written by metal artist, Aristic. In his article he explains how to spot fake playlist companies. A good read!

Fake playlists from r/musicmarketing

How to get More Plays on Spotify

You can get more plays on Spotify by sharing links and driving  more listeners to your songs. The tools to promote your music on Spotify are song links, embed codes, Promo Cards and Spotify Codes.

Spotify has made it easy to promote music to Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Snapchat. 

Link to your track

You should link to your track from everywhere you can. Mailing list, website, social media and YouTube. This seems obvious but it’s amazing how many artists think fans will pro-actively search for them on Spotify, rather than making it super easy by adding a link.

As Spotify says themselves, “Sharing is everything”. 

Embed a playlist

Use a playlist as a marketing tool to promote music on Spotify and across the web. Don’t use it simply to add your own songs.

In the eyes of your fans, you are a curator.

Given that you’re making music your fans like, they trust your taste in music. They may like to hear the songs that inspired you. Create a playlist featuring tracks by the artists you admire. Chances are, your fans will like them too.

Consider making it a collaborative playlist. Invite fans to add tracks they like too. 

Or, create a playlist featuring the artists in your “Fans Also Like” section. This will appeal to your fans. It could also result in those artists noticing in their dashboard you have playlisted them and do the same in return. Maybe contact them and work out ways to help each other? 

If you create a Playlist, use the Playlist Description to add your social media handles or a website address. This is one of the only places on Spotify (the other is the Bio) where you can engage a little with your fans.

Spotify Codes

These can be used like a QR Code. You can place them anywhere online. However, their usefulness is more using them offline. On a flyer, a poster, a tee shirt or a card. Not many Spotify users are aware how to use them but it’s straightforward once you know how. 

Spotify For Artists

How to get Spotify For Artists

To control your artist profile page you must register with Spotify For Artists. Visit this page and hit the ‘Get Access’ button. You’ll be guided through a process that is simple to do, assuming you’re the actual artist 🙂

Your artist profile is automatically generated when Spotify receives your music. After an artist (or their management) has claimed the artist profile then a blue tick appears. Fans trust the information on a verified profile.

Importance of having a unique artist or band.

If you have the same name as an artist who is already on Spotify it causes no end of unwanted hassle. No matter how good you think your artist name is, if someone has already claimed it on Spotify, think of another! If someone has the same birth name as you, then do what Rory Graham (Rag n Bone Man), Adam Wiles (Calvin Harris) or Peter Hernandez (Bruno Mars) did – simply change it.

How to use the Spotify For Artists Dashboard

When you login to the Spotify For Artists dashboard you gain control over several important tools. These help when you’re promoting music on Spotify.

  • Pitching to Spotify’s playlists
  • Bio
  • Merch – Merchbar
  • Photos / Avatar
  • Concerts – Ticketmaster, Songkick, AXS or Eventbrite
  • Add a playlist
  • Spotify Analytics
  • Canvas

Bio

Your profile is where you must make a good first impression. Spotify gives you 1,500 words to connect with potential fans. 

Furthermore, the About section is one of only two places on Spotify where you can post a textual link to your website or newsletter signup – although not as direct links. This is vital if you’re running a subscription service and you want Spotify as part of your engagement funnel.

So Why, Why, Why do artists insist on uploading a “Press Release” style bio????

A press release is for the press, not your Spotify Bio

Press releases are meant to be read by the press, not the public.Press releases are dry and written in the third-person because they’re written by a PR to inform a journalist about you.

If you’re adding a bio about yourself, why are you writing in the third person? If someone wants cold, hard facts about, that’s what Wikipedia is for!

Use the About section to connect with fans. Tell people the story of how you became an artist. Link to artists who inspire you. This has an added benefit of influencing the artists that appear in the ‘Fans Also Like’ section (see below). 

Most importantly, mention your releases and LINK to them!

You can link to playlists within your Bio. If you create a curated playlist then link to it.

Photos / Avatar

The human brain can process images 60,000 times quicker than the written word.

You can upload 125 images onto Spotify. Why limit yourself to only 2 or 3 ‘press photos’, when Spotify gives you an opportunity to express yourself? If you upload photos to Instagram it should be relatively easy to source a lot of photos.

You can’t upload images that include ‘promo’ on them, so no tour dates or release names. Which is a shame 🙂

The Avatar circle featuring your photo can be quite small so make sure it’s clear and sharp. You can use a logo if you have one and want to push this as your brand image.

Let me say it again, Spotify is offering you a chance to connect with fans through your music, bio and photos!  Maximise this opportunity to your advantage. If other artists don’t do it, that’s to their detriment. 

Concerts

Spotify can list upcoming concerts on your profile page plus enables you to link to a ticket buy page. They will email your followers with tour dates. For free. This is a great promotion opportunity so make sure you take advantage. 

How to add a Concert to Spotify Concerts

The concert information displayed on your artist profile is supplied by Ticketmaster, Songkick, AXS or Eventbrite. Promoters should ensure gigs appear on these websites (but you should still always check). Remember to claim your Songkick profile.

Use Songkick to add concerts, including livestreams, to Spotify

How to add a livestream to Spotify

From Autumn 2020 Spotify will promote your livestreams. The livestream can happen on Twitch, Facebook, Instagram or any other platform. Use Songkick or Eventbrite to get your show listed.

Link to a playlist

I’ve previously mentioned the advantages of creating your own ‘Artist’ playlists. Bear in mind, you do this using your own profile, then link to the playlist.

If you don’t want to use your own personal profile to create a shared playlist, create a FREE Spotify account. 

When I managed Jamiroquai’s Spotify playlist I created “Jay’s Playlist”. It contained some classic funk & soul tracks, in addition to a couple of Jamiroquai tracks. However, I didn’t want to use my personal account, since fans would see it was me, and not Jay Kay, creating the playlist. So, I set up a free account and called it “JK Spotify”. I used it to create the playlist I shared on the Jamiroquai artist profile page.

Another advantage is you can share the login details with band mates or managers.

Merchandise

How to add merchandise to Spotify

Use Merchbar.com to make the three merchandise boxes appear on an artist profile.

Create a Supplier account. This enables you to add your merch, including clothing, vinyl and CD’s.

Some merch companies may want your fans to only buy direct from them. This is why you need to be careful who you do merch deals with.

Merchbar doesn’t do fulfillment. It passes the order over to either you or your mech company. Therefore, you must be sure these orders can be handled and dispatched. 

Canvas

Canvas enables you to add a short, animated loop as a track’s cover art. Since this is new it has a high impact. Use Canva to easily produce custom animations. Use them before they become so common no-one notices them.

Spotify Analytics

It’s cool to see how many streams you’re getting and where they’re being played. But how can you use the data to grow your listens and Follows?

Listens and Follows

Each time to do a share on Facebook, Instagram, your website or mailing list, note the day then look at any increase in your streams or follows. Start to identify patterns or what works. For instance, certain types of post may result in more streams. Then, after you identify what works, do it again. And again…..

Source of streams

This is useful to see which of your marketing efforts are paying off. See above.

Gender / Age

Combine these insights with demographic data sourced from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to build up a profile of your audience.

This info is vital when pitching for syncs, brand partnerships or collaborations.

Listeners Also Like

Use this information to create your own curated playlists. Consider approaching those artists to propose collaborations or joint promotions.

Top Countries / Cities

If you’re planning a tour, this info is useful. Share it with your booking agent (or add your agent to your Team in your dashboard).

The information can be used in advertising campaigns too. These can be used to boost followers in countries that show an interest in you.

Why do ‘random’ countries show in your spotify analytics?

When you look at where your music is played do you wonder why, say, Mexico has so many listeners, especially when you’ve never been there.

Explanations could be a radio show has picked up your track. Or a local music blogger or YouTuber has played or mentioned your track. There could be hundreds of reasons.

When you’re starting out every play and every fan matters. Don’t question it. Instead, work out ways to maximise it to your advantage.

If you’re getting a lot of plays in Mexico, why not find a music blogger in Mexico. Send a screenshot of the stats and ask if they want to do an interview?

Fans Also Like

Spotify automatically generates a list of artists based on it’s Collaborative Filtering and Natural Language matching. It tends to display artists with a similar number of plays. You can influence this list. 

  1. Spotify is constantly monitoring social media for mentions of your artist name. If it finds other, more familiar artists, mentioned too then it makes a match. Use this on social media to your advantage
  2. Create and share a playlist of you with other artists you think are similar to you. Encourage fans to play and share this list. The more it gets played, the more Spotify will match you to the artists in the playlist.
  3. In your Bio, add famous band names you think are similar. Spotify will use this information to make a match.

Don’t simply mention massive artist names for the sake of it. There needs to be a genuine similarity.

I know how much artists dislike being compared to other artists. No-one wants to feel like they’re simply copying another act. But really, this isn’t like that. There are very few genuinely unique artists. If you feel uncomfortable comparing yourself to another artist, ask your fans or your manager to do it.

Use ‘Fans Also Like’ to your advantage.

Chances are, the artists in your ‘Fans Also Like’ are in a similar position to you. They may be seeing you in their list and wondering who you are too. Why not contact them? You could work collectively to grow your fanbases.

  1. By creating a playlist with similar bands on it, then sharing it, you get the exposure to a larger fanbase. Since Spotify has matched you together, chances are your fans will like and share the playlist too.
  2. When you do a livestream, tell each other about it. Promote each other’s show. Perhaps you could make a guest appearance during the feed or act as a ‘Support’ band?
  3. Maybe you could collaborate on a song? Add vocals to a track or simply backing vocals? By collaborating you are reaching a wider audience. 

Is your label pitching to Spotify?

If a record label or aggregator manages your Spotify For Artist then ask to be added as part of the team. After all, it’s your dashboard.

You can now see if they’re  pitching you to Spotify playlists in the Dashboard.

If they’re not pitching your latest release then you’re entitled to ask them why not.

Spotify Growth Hacks

Although Spotify makes it difficult to reach fans directly there are ways to increase your listens on it. 

Growing the number of fans on Spotify has two significant results:

  • You’ll get paid more. Not much, but more.
  • The more Listens, Follows, Likes and Playlists you’re on, the more you’ll get included into Spotify’s algorithms. This includes their playlists and “Fans Also Like” section.
  1. Ask your fans to Heart your tracks. 
  2. Add your tracks to their playlists
  3. Ask them to Follow you
  4. Create Personalised Promo Cards and place them everywhere your fans will see them.
  5. Add links in your Bio

Heart Your Tracks

Encourage fans to Heart your tracks. A simple message on your Facebook or newsletter – “Like our music? Please don’t forget to HEART our tracks and help us reach more fans”

Add tracks to playlists

Getting added to playlists is KEY. Not only does it mean you get more plays in the long term, it’s a way Spotify measures your popularity.

Ask fans to follow you.

Following you is one of the most important things your fans can do for you. When you Follow an artist, Spotify sends them emails about new releases and tour dates.

Add the FOLLOW button to your website. If you don’t have a FOLLOW button on your website, stop reading this and do it now. 

NOW.

  1. Go to your artist profile.
  2. Click (…) to the right of the FOLLOW button.
  3. Click Share, then Copy Embed Code.
  4. Paste the code in your website. It works with any website that supports HTML editing. If you have a WordPress website use the ‘EMBED’ widget.

Those who click the follow button will be a follower of both your music and artist profile. 

Spotify Advertising

There are over 185m people using the free, ad-funded version of Spotify. Advertising can be a great tool when figuring out how to get your music on Spotify playlists because you can define a very targetted audience.

The Spotify Advertising dashboard
The Spotify Advertising dashboard

The minimum campaign spend is £250.  For this you will receive approx 25,000 impressions. 

Why?

Although they’re ‘free’ users, meaning one of their Listens is worth less money to you, Spotify doesn’t make any distinction between them for Analytics or Follows.

This means it’s still highly beneficial to have them listen, playlist or Follow you.

And, because Spotify doesn’t make that distinction it makes a couple of very useful growth hacks available to you.

As we’ve seen, Listens, Playlist Adds and Follows are the currency of Spotify. It’s highly advantageous to you if those increase. Plus, the more you grow, the more likely you are to get music on Spotify Playlists, meaning the more you grow and so on….

The Spotify circle of growth

The key to advertising on Spotify (and online advertising in general, for that matter) is not to think of it like traditional advertising. In the old model the name of the game is NUMBER OF EYEBALLS. 

In online advertising what you want is to reach the most TARGETED audience possible. Say you have a budget of £250 ($300). If you only reach a thousand people, but all of them click your advert, listen to your track and Follow you, then you’ve scored a great result. 

When to advertise on Spotify

  • A new release
  • A tour
  • A track is performing well

We all know, tracks don’t make themselves. When you finally get your music onto Spotify it’s the result of a long, difficult, emotional journey. 

Avoid uploading a new track without planning how to market it. Now you’ve spent time reading how to get on a Spotify playlist it’s a wasted opportunity! Which is a double-shame after all the effort it took to get it on Spotify in the first place.

The first mistake most unsigned artists make is assuming their existing fans will know they’ve released new music. Don’t be one of them!

Target fans based on their interests, genre or real-time context, i.e. if they’re playing a Dinner playlist, chances are they’re having dinner!

Targeting fans of similar artists is likely to get the best results. 

Target cities too. This is useful if you’re touring and need to boost sales in a particular location.

Or, perhaps you have a geo-centric fanbase? When you’re starting out it’s not uncommon for most of your fans to live in the same place as you. 

Spotify Advertising Scripts

Spotify will supply a voiceover for free if you supply the script. However, it will be far better coming from you personally. Record it when you’re in the studio. Make sure you add the track as a soundbed while you’re talking and play the chorus for the last few seconds at the end.

Suggested script

“Hey guys, check out my latest track {track_name}. I wrote it about {insert here}. I’ll be on tour soon so after listening please hit the Follow button so you can stay up to date with my new releases and tours. Thanks for listening!”

If a track gets an add to a Spotify playlist or a music blogger spotlights your track it will usually boost plays. This may be a good time to consider an advertising campaign. You can capitalise on the natural boost with some targeted advertising. The spike in traffic will hopefully propel you onto the all-important Spotify Algorithm playlists.

Possible Growth Hack

If you need to boost play numbers quickly then rates in Mexico are nearly half the price than the UK, Europe or US. Launch a campaign aimed at ‘Country = Mexico’ and target the entire country. You will get double the number of impressions for your budget. Hopefully this could lead to more listens and potentially playlists. 

How to get on Spotify Playlists: Conclusion

  • Spotify currently dominates music streaming in many countries and for most genres. I’ve spent a lot of time writing this article because it’s such a critical part of the current music landscape.
  • The currency of Spotify is a Listen, a Playlist and a Follow. The key aim for an artist is to increase all three.
  • You can increase your listens by either getting onto Spotify playlists or promoting links to your tracks.
  • To get your music on to Spotify you must use the Spotify For Artists dashboard. Submit tracks to Spotify’s curated playlists. If someone manages your dashboard on your behalf, you should have a login to it.
  • Promote plays of your tracks by using the Spotify song link or Embed a playlist.
  • Add a Follow button to your website using the Embed code when you right-click next to the Follow button on your profile.
  • Spotify Advertising is an effective way of increasing plays. Time them to coincide with a new release, a tour or a sudden increase in plays.
  • To get your music onto Curated playlists poses the same challenges as getting a play on radio or written about by music bloggers. It is time consuming, expensive and can be demotivating. However, an unknown artist may need to bite the bullet and dive in!
  • Some growth hacks are available but there is no such thing as  Guaranteed Plays. Do not ever pay a company who offers to guarantee plays for cash. Spotify can kick you off, in which case, you’ll probably have to re-name your band and start again!
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NAJA DETREKOY
9 months ago

Hey Neil!! nice read! you ought to include recordJet on the list of DIY services! Its got a solid service and one of the only truly independent ones out there..

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