The music industry has changed a lot in the last few years. We went from buying vinyl and tapes to listen to CDs, minidiscs and along came the MP3 player. Nowadays we are at the point of what I was dreaming of as a sixteen-year-old kid. Unlimited streaming, whenever you want, wherever you want. Can life get better?
These changes bring along problems about how we need to market our music. There are almost no record shops anymore so no need to pay them a visit with your bag full of self burned copies. Nowadays it’s all about playlists but it’s hard to physically visit a playlist right? Playlists are a great way of reaching a bigger audience with your music so getting featured is one of the best ways to market your music in today’s music industry.
So how does this works? How do you get your music in the playlist where you want to be featured? How does this works?
Let’s start off with some basic knowledge. There are three different kinds of playlists on Spotify:
- Curated playlists (made by people who work for Spotify)
- User curated playlists (made by Spotify users)
- Playlists generated by algorithms (made by robots)
Now that you know what kind of playlists there are and what the story behind them is, let’s talk about how you can get featured in one.
HIRE A PR AGENT OR BE YOUR OWN PR AGENT
Most of the Spotify playlist curators are following the online blogs that we all follow. Here’s a few names to get you started: Proximity, Nik Cooper, Indie Shuffle, Trap City etc. When your track gets featured on one of these big platforms it’s more than likely that your track will get higher up in the charts on sites such as Hype Machine, which will lead to your track getting some attention from people like the curators and loads of other people who might be influential.
One of the ways to get yourself featured on one of these blogs is by hiring a PR agent. This will cost you some money but if you get a good one, who has a big network, a big track-record and knows a lot of important people, it will probably pay itself back with a lot of features on blogs. (There’s no guarantee though)
A second way of getting your music in playlists is by using SubmitHub. This website is really handy because you can send your music directly to the blogs that you have selected. Most of the big blogs are connected with SubmitHub so this is how you have a better chance to get heard. This will cost you a small amount of money because you pay per blog that you decide to send it to. The blogs need to give you their feedback in return and if they like it, they will post is (which will lead to a higher ranking on Hype Machine and getting more important people their attention).
HIRE A PLAYLIST PLUGGER
There are companies out there whose sole job is to pitch your music for inclusion in playlists. Of course, this looks a lot like a PR agent but the big difference here is that a playlist plugger is in direct contact with playlist owners (curated or user-curated) and not with blogs.
Unfortunately, they have the same problem as PR agents have: you never get any guarantees. You will never know what happens with your money and if it gets spent right by the agent or plugger. That’s why it’s so important to do research have a look at their past. Which artists have they worked for? Which tracks did they work on in the past? If they’ve only worked for artists that you have never heard from, it’s up to you to fill in the blanks here…
CONTACT (USER) CURATED PLAYLISTS
This one all comes down to putting in the work and is the best option if you have a low budget.
We live in a world where everything we need and everyone we need to know is at our fingertips. Wanna know why? We have the internet and a smartphone. There’s a special website where you can find almost everything you want to know and I’m gonna give it to you, ready? Here it is: http://www.google.com
This is how it works:
- Search for potential playlists on Spotify that are specialized in your music genre. Don’t only look for the biggest ones out there but also search for the medium-sized playlists that have 1000 – 10.000 followers
- Click on the profiles that are connected to the playlist and see if you can find a name. If you find a name, google it and find his or her Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page so you can send him a direct message. If you don’t find a name, check out on google if you can find out more about the company or account that is connected to the playlist. Wake up your inner Inspector Gadget!
- If you found the person who owns the playlist: send a direct message without trying to sell your music to him. Just show him your respect by telling him that you admire his playlist and how much followers he has gained in the last few months. After having a small talk it’s time to let him know you’re a producer yourself and send him some music. “It would be great if you could feature this in your playlist and let me know if there’s something I can do for you!”.
- And now it all comes down to what we dutchies like to call: “Now we wait”. Hopefully, he will think you’re a nice guy and he feels like you deserve to be in his playlist. There always is a possibility that this doesn’t happen, in that case: on to the next one! Never forget that this is a people business.
Now, this is all being said, it’s really easy to think that it’s not that hard to get your music in Spotify playlists. Never forget that it all starts with good music! If your music sucks the chances of being in a Spotify playlist will be way lower than if you have an awesome track. This is where the statistics kick in. Spotify has designed an algorithm that detects how often and long songs are being listened to, get saved and get shared by people. With these statistics they’ve created playlists such as Discover Weekly and Release Radar.
If your track is being featured in some people’s Discover Weekly playlist and the algorithm notices that a lot of people are saving it into their private playlist or that a lot of people are replaying it that day/week, it will mean that you’ve created a good song. The algorithm will decide to share your track with more people because it tested well in the previous round. So that’s another way of getting heard on Spotify. Make good music!
The market will decide if your track is worth being shared or listened to and that’s the most honest feedback you can get in my opinion.