With more than 365 million active users, Spotify is one of the biggest music streaming platforms in the world. And with more than 4 billion playlists to choose from, it's no surprise that playlists are one of the primary ways that listeners discover new music. That's why it's so important for artists to land playlist placements when releasing new tracks.
In this blog, we'll explain how to get your music featured on Spotify playlists from start to finish, including setting up your Spotify account, pitching your songs and what to do once you land a feature.
Types of Playlists
Before we get into the details of how to pitch your music, let's talk about the different types of playlists available on Spotify.
Spotify-curated playlists are responsible for roughly one-third of all listening time on the platform. The most popular playlists, such as Rap Caviar and Are & Be, are curated by their in-house team and can have upwards of 5 or even 10 million followers.
Some of the smaller, more niche playlists such as Coffee Break and lofi beats are generated algorithmically based on listener data, then fine-tuned by the Spotify staff. Additionally, some playlists, such as Discover Weekly, Release Radar and Fresh Finds, are completely algorithmic (more on that later).
However, don't let the numbers deter you—even though these playlists have fewer followers, they account for more than half of all listening time for Spotify-curated playlists. Oftentimes, in order to make it on one of the top Spotify playlists, you'll need to prove yourself by getting placed on a smaller playlist first. Spotify analyzes listener data such as plays, skips and finishes to determine how well a song is performing. If your song performs well, you have a much greater chance of nailing a placement on a playlist like Songs to Sing in the Car.
Spotify isn't the only one who's realized the power of playlists. Plenty of record labels and publishers have their own curated playlists to promote their artists and help them land placements on other playlists. Many major labels have sub-brands dedicated to curating playlists, such as Filtr (Sony), Topsify (Warner) and Digster (Universal).
Major-label playlists are typically reserved for major-label artists. However, there are opportunities to land placements on smaller, indie label-curated playlists. Start by spending some time searching through Spotify for a playlist that you think your music would perform well on. Next, make a note of who owns the playlist and head to Google. Most playlists curators are actively looking for new music and provide ways for you to submit your music, such as a dedicated contact email or submission form.
Finally, another third of listening time happens on user-generated playlists. Some of these listens come from private playlists that individuals make for themselves, while others come from public playlists created by indie labels, radio stations, music bloggers and even fans like you and me.
These playlists may not boast the same massive follower count as the Spotify-curated playlists, but they play a crucial role in getting your music noticed. Oftentimes, small user-generated playlists are the stepping stone that get your music noticed by the right people. Once you start creating a buzz, it will be much easier to land a placement on a larger playlist.
Now that you have a solid understanding of the different types of playlists on Spotify, let's talk about how to set up your account so you can start pitching your music!
Setting Up Your Account
In order to get your music featured on a Spotify playlist, you need a verified Spotify For Artists account. To do this, you'll need to work with a music distributor like DistroKid or CDBaby to release your first song—they'll handle setting up your artist profile on Spotify.
Once your song is released, you'll need to claim your Spotify For Artists page at artists.spotify.com/claim. Once approved, you'll receive a "verified" checkmark, and be able to edit the content on your Spotify page including your bio, photos and concert information.
You'll also be able to select a song or concert to promote at the top of your page in the Artist Pick section, along with a fundraiser of your choice in the Artist Fundraising Pick section. Finally, you can showcase one of your personal playlists in the Artist Playlist section, which can be a great way to introduce people to your music and the songs that inspire you.
After claiming your Spotify For Artists page, you'll be given access to tons of data and analytics about your music and fans. Best of all you'll be able to pitch your songs directly to Spotify’s editorial team for playlist consideration.
How To Submit Your Music For Spotify Playlists
In 2018, Spotify began allowing artists to directly submit their music for playlist consideration. Since then, Spotify has playlisted more than 72,000 artists.
However, it's important to do some research before submitting your music. Spend some time searching for playlists that you think your song will perform well on. The other songs on the playlist should have a similar vibe to yours. Additionally, try to find a playlist that features other artists on your level. It's hard to get your song listed alongside A-List artists—start small and work your way up!
To get your music featured on a Spotify-curated playlist, all you have to do is ask. Just follow these simple steps:
Claim your Spotify For Artists account.
In order to claim your Spotify For Artists account, you must already have music on Spotify.
You cannot submit your first song for playlist consideration.
Upload an unreleased song to Spotify via your distributor at least seven days in advance of the song’s release.
Be aware that it may take an extra day or two for your distributor to upload your track. Try to provide as much lead time as possible.
It's also important to note that you can only submit one song at a time.
When your music becomes eligible for submission, you will receive an email titled "Your music is scheduled for release.”
Log into your Spotify For Artists account on a desktop computer
Make sure your press info is up to date including profile pic, bio and concert schedule
Click “Music” in the top nav.
Select the song you want to submit for playlist consideration and click “Pitch a Song.” You must submit your song at least 7
Provide as much info about your song as possible. Be sure to fill out the sections for genres, culture, moods, styles, etc. These fields help Spotify place your song on the right playlist.
Write a short pitch on why Spotify should select your song for this playlist. Describe what makes your music interesting. It could be your inspiration for writing the song, a prominent feature, or even details on how you plan to promote the track outside of Spotify (they love it when you do that).
Obviously, there's no guarantee that Spotify will place your song on a curated playlist after submission—after all, according to recent data, Spotify only playlists roughly 20% of submissions.
However, submitting new music for playlist consideration does guarantee that your song will be added to your follower's Release Radar playlist, and improves your chances of showing up on other algorithmic playlists, including the following:
Your Top Songs
It's also important to note that submitting your music for playlist consideration is completely free. If anyone is trying to charge you in exchange for guarantee playlist placement, it's likely a scam.
How To Get Your Music Featured On Indie Playlists
Obviously, getting your song featured on a top-tier playlist like Rap Caviar or Rock This is the goal for most artists, but in order to get there, you'll need to prove yourself on some smaller playlists first. Getting featured on smaller playlists can be a great way to build up steam and get your song noticed by some of the more influential indie curators.
Start by finding a playlist that you think your song will perform well on. Check the user name linked at the top of the playlist to find the curator. Some curators include a link in the description where you can submit songs. For others, you may have to do some Googling.
Once you find the curator's contact info, reach out with a personalized pitch explaining why your song would be perfect for their playlist. Be sure to mention why your music fits in so well with the playlist you're pitching for and demonstrate that you've actually taken the time to listen to their playlist.
Keep your email short, sweet and to the point. Curators don't have time to read your full bio. Hit them with the basic info like artist name, song name, album name (if applicable), and a link where they can listen. Never send your song as an attachment.
In addition to the "who, what, why, when, where, and how" of your song, be sure to provide some context on your release. Be sure to include any interesting stories about your music along with press, music video plans, release schedules, and promotions, as well as the social media accounts linked in your artist profile
It's likely that you'll be pitching the same song to multiple curators. Keep things organized by creating a spreadsheet of potential playlist contacts with links, contact info, and notes on when you last contacted each curator.
Can You Pay To Get On A Spotify Playlist?
Technically, no. As mentioned above, any service that guarantees you will be placed on a playlist in exchange for money is likely a scam. Even if they do put your song on the playlist, it's generally not worth it. Those playlists don't generate much interest outside of the people who pay to get on them.
However, there are many agencies and publicists that work directly with independent curators to help secure music placements. Of course, there are no guarantees that your music will be placed, and these services tend to be rather pricey, but it does provide you with some valuable connections and street cred that can help you reach a wider audience.
Having said that, there are some credible sites that allow you to pay to submit your music to different playlists, such as SubmitHub, Soundplate, ForTheLoveOfBands and Dailyplaylists. Of course, there is no guarantee your song will get placed, but it does enable you to put your music in front of some key curators.
Tips for Getting Featured on Spotify Playlists
Now that you know how to submit your music for Spotify-curated and indie playlists, let's talk about some tips for getting your music selected.
Release new music: The Spotify algorithm responds well to activity. As you release new music and land new playlist placements, you'll start to attract more attention. That's why it's important to release new music regularly.
High production value: Spotify is less likely to promote home recordings and demos on their playlists. Check your mixes with EXPOSE 2 before submitting your music to make sure it meets professional standards. Mastering The Mix created EXPOSE 2 to be an audio quality control application that helps you identify issues with your music. So many tracks get distributed with a poor EQ balance, true peak clipping, over-compression, phase issues, and more. With EXPOSE 2, you can deliver the best listening experience and release your music with confidence.
Promote your music: Simply releasing your music isn't enough. You need to promote your track out in the real world. In addition to platform metrics, Spotify also analyzes music blogs, social media and more to determine what's hot right now.
Drive off-platform traffic to Spotify: Spotify tends to reward users who draw listeners to their platform. Create a social media strategy that drives people to your Spotify page to help garner some attention. This is especially important if you land a playlist placement—be sure to share it on social!
Make your own playlist: Remember how earlier we said that user-generated playlists account for roughly one-third of all listening time on the platform? That includes you, too! Create a public playlist featuring a few of your songs alongside other indie artists and showcase it on your profile. Spotify recommends somewhere between 25 and 100 songs.
We covered a lot in this blog, so let's close with a quick recap on how to get your music featured on Spotify playlists:
Claim your Spotify For Artists page and fill out your press info.
Upload new songs at least seven days before release and submit to Spotify for playlist consideration, including Release Radar.
Research indie-curated playlists that work well for your song and pitch your music with a short, sweet, personalized message.
Promote your music on social media and drive traffic to Spotify.
Make your own public playlist featuring a few of your songs alongside other similar artists.
Optional: use a credible agent, publicist or playlisting service to promote your music to curators—do NOT pay for guaranteed playlist placement.
Follow this approach and you'll be well on your way to landing a Spotify playlist placement for your music!