Last year we shared some playlist pitching tips specific to indie artists. Here are some updates that will hopefully find you the right placements in 2023.
Spotify and Apple Music playlists continue to be a driving force as artists seek more streams. Not only does landing the right placement result in immediate upticks in streaming, it coaxes DSP algorithms to recognize your music as relevant. Even the smallest, user-created playlists have an impact. As 1.) Streaming services recognize your music as being “playlistable”. 2.) Placements tend to build on each other, exponentially.
As always, we recommend that artists avoid pay-for-placement, and pay-for-pitch models, which put artists in the position to land their tracks. Unfortunately, many of these playlists and promotion packages rely on bot listeners which drive inauthentic traffic to songs and ultimately can lead to restrictions or banishment from Spotify. It’s also fairly transparent for music industry professionals to identify if paid promo is taking place.
Ultimately, the best technique for indie artists looking to land on some great playlists is to grind. It takes heavy research, a salesman’s mentality, and most importantly, a great product. Expect to be rejected, expect to not hear back, and expect to get pitched a pay-for-streams model. It can be frustrating, but diligence does pay off. Don’t only seek placement on the biggest playlists – any playlist selection can improve your track’s standing with Spotify’s algorithm, resulting in the discovery of your music across the globe. Using the following guidelines when submitting your music will greatly enhance your chances of getting your best music placed on playlists that are a great fit.
This step begins with an honest understanding of your sound and your (potential) audience. Brainstorm a list of adjectives you feel describe your sound. Think about artists who are influences, or appeal to your target audience. List the mood that you think your individual track would appeal to. This step is vital, as it provides you with “keywords” to search on Spotify as you find suitable playlists. Additionally, there are resources and websites dedicated to finding appropriate playlists. The key here is to be candid with yourself and analyze your music as a listener, not as a fan.
It is also advisable to use playlist submission hubs to quickly find and source potential good fits! A few of our favorites include:
With these playlist submission databases, it can be tempting to submit quickly and with little-to-no research. We strongly advise that you take the time to get familiar with the playlist, and the curator’s preferences, and determine whether your song is a good fit or not.
After you have ideas, it is time to begin collecting data and contact information. It is best to be organized (I personally made google sheets). Search for playlists by the keywords you have accumulated on Spotify; many playlists will list contact details or social media directly in their playlist description. Create columns that allow you to gather as much information as possible, as it may be useful once you are ready to pitch. Feel free to use this template:
|Today’s Hip Hop – Smooth Criminal
|J. Cole, Joey Bada$$, Kota The Friend, Smino
|Submission form in IG Bio
Organizing potential playlists in this manner allows you to remember where the playlist is, what it’s about, and which of your songs might be the best fit.
Build a connection. Do not get right into pitching – instead take time to study the curator and his or her likes, what they are feeling at the moment, and any additions you see to the playlist. It doesn’t hurt to comment on their posts and say some kind words about the playlist and their music selection. Come across as authentic, leave a positive imprint, and you will see how easy it becomes to get someone’s attention, especially if your music is dope.
Also, follow the playlist! And prove to them that you do. You’d be surprised how many doors this simple step can unlock.
Most blogs and curators list their preferences for receiving submissions. Some prefer web submissions. Others use email. Some require a press release and photo. Others just want a link to your track. Some are only seeking songs that are already on streaming services. Others are looking for unreleased music only. Take the time to understand what a curator is looking for, and it will save you from wasting your time, and theirs. It never hurts to indicate that you followed their directions within the body of your pitch email.
Over time, Spotify for Artists will show you when your track is reaping plays from a particular playlist. There are also a handful of great apps that will tell you immediately when your song has been added to a playlist. We recommend you check out Fortunes.io. – Their platform lets you know when a song has been featured on a playlist, or if you’ve picked up any blog placements.
If you haven’t already, this is a great opportunity to celebrate with the curator – follow the on social media, shoutout their playlist, and use it as an opportunity to establish a partnership with that curator. Chances are if they liked one of your songs, another might be appealing as well. Notice which of your songs are frequently accepted, and which are not getting much love. This is a strong indicator of where you should go next. An accepted playlist submission is also a great opportunity for cross-promotion! Shoutout the placement on social media. The curator may share your post, leading to further exposure for your music.
Follow our playlist https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7CtMHUjNFQbelTtnsybULg?si=ec43fb1e3cef49d0 and click here for the submission form. This seems like as good a time as any to share that we’ll be creating a more indie-focused playlist in the next few weeks.