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How To Choose The Lead Single For Your Spotify Artist Playlist

By Matthew Vultaggio

May 10, 2023

In this article, I’m going to show you how to pick the right song to lead with for your Spotify playlist promotion – particularly if you are running Facebook & Instagram Ads to promote your own playlist.

The best way to choose the #1 song in your Spotify playlist is to select your most popular song by reviewing quantitative data from your Spotify For Artists and Ad Manager dashboard as well as qualitative data from conversations, comments, and messages.

Although the main focus of this article is for choosing the best song for the #1 position in your Spotify playlist and in video ads to promote your own playlist, these tips can be useful when picking a featured track whenever you need to do any kind of music promotion.

There are 5 methods for you to choose from when picking the best song for your Spotify playlist promo, and I’ve listed them in order from what I recommend most to what I recommend the least:

1. Choose Your Most Popular Song

The number one way that you should choose the song that you want to lead in your Spotify playlist motion is to simply choose your most popular song.

There are two ways that you can do this and the best results will be when you combine these two methods.

Use quantitative data to find your best song

  • Review the numbers in your Spotify For Artists dashboard (ie: streams, save rate, listeners, playlist adds, etc) to determine your best song
  • Review the numbers in your Ads Manager (ie: # of conversions, cost per result, etc) to determine your best song
  • Review the quantity of social media engagement for each song (ie: # of comments, likes, messages, etc) to determine your best song

Use qualitative data to find your best song

Reflect on the types of conversations and the comments and messages that you were having about your previous releases to get a “gut feeling” of which song is your most popular.

Some songs can have high numbers because of lucky playlist addition but songs that are truly special and really capture a fan’s attention are going to be those where you have a lot of quality conversations about them.

When choosing that kind of stand-out featured track song to be in the number one position of your Spotify playlist and in your ads to drive fans over to your Spotify playlist…

You want that song to be the one, that’s going to capture a fan’s attention, be something special, and that’s actually gonna want to bring them into your world.

2. Choose A Release With Standout Ad Metrics

The second best way to choose a lead song for your Spotify playlist promotion is to choose a song that had really stand-out advertising metrics.

This is personally what I’ve done in the past to start off my own Spotify playlist campaigns, however, this can really only be useful if you’ve been running a bunch of ad campaigns in the past for your previous new releases.

The idea here is that every time you’re releasing a brand new song, you would do something called a “New Release” campaign, where instead of directing fans over to a music link that links out to a Spotify playlist, you direct fans to a music link that links to your Spotify profile or directly to that song or album.

If you’ve been doing this for at least a couple of months, you’ll be able to go back into the Facebook Ad Manager and find out which campaigns had a really nice low cost per result.

You can then simply duplicate that and switch out everything to be a Spotify playlist campaign to get on the fast track and shortcut your way to getting set up with an ad campaign that already has proven to work well in the past.

3. Choose Your Latest Release On Spotify

The third method is to simply choose your latest release on Spotify, however…

I would only really recommend this method if your latest release is your ONLY release on Spotify.

The main reason for this is that it’s very possible that your latest release could be your newest, greatest, most popular track…

However, there is an even greater opportunity that artists can be wrong about their own music and fans may not agree that your latest track is your best track.

Assuming your latest track is your greatest track is a surefire way for your Spotify playlist campaign to not do as well as you would like it to.

This is why I would recommend leading your Spotify playlist promotion campaign with a song that has been proven to do well, as opposed to shooting in the dark with a brand-new release.

If you really want to promote a new release:

I would recommend running a “New Release” campaign as I mentioned in the previous method, or leading with your most popular song in your playlist and then including your latest release in the #2 position.

This way you can bring new fans in with your most popular song and then right after that in the playlist, they’ll be hearing your brand new song so that you can boost the stream counts and the engagement for your latest release.

4. Split-Test Several Different Songs

And the fourth method that I would recommend is to split-test several different songs using several different playlists and ad campaigns at the same time.

This method will be much, much more complicated and will cost more money on your part, however, this can definitely lead to the best results possible.

Here is how you can split-test your Spotify playlist promotion

  1. Create at least two or three Spotify playlists that are identical with the only difference being the song that’s in the number one position.
  2. Create unique music links for each one of those Spotify playlists with each one pointing to a unique Spotify playlist from Step 1
  3. Create a unique ad campaign for each playlist/link and use the #1 song for each playlist in the ad creative

You can then monitor each playlist performance in your Spotify For Artists dashboard to determine which playlist is the best.

This is a really data-driven approach that can really get you the best results…

Though it will be a lot more complicated and can take a lot more time and money – so I wouldn’t really recommend it for everyone.

5. Choose Your “Best” Song Or Lead Single

And the last method is to choose what you think is your best song or the lead single on your album or EP.

And quite simply, I would just NOT recommend this method unless:

  • This song also happens to be the only song you have released on Spotify right now
  • This song also happens to have standout ad metrics or is your most popular song (as determined by collecting quantitative and qualitative data in Method 1)

Again, the reason here is you want to pick the song to lead in your Spotify playlist promotion that’s most likely for fans to listen to it, love it, and join your world and start listening to all the other songs that you have available.

The truth is that artists can get caught up in the creative process and think that their newest song is their best song, or the song where they’re ripping a huge guitar solo is their best because they’re caught up on technical aspects of music creation.

Instead, the main thing you want to focus on is letting your fans make these decisions for you by putting music out, collecting feedback on your music, and then looking at quantitative and qualitative data to find your “feature” track.

I’d really encourage you to always take this “fan-first approach” as opposed to some kind of selfish gut feeling or a musical impulse that you have deciding what you think is the best song that you have available.

Let the fans tell you what they love and then lead with those songs when making your decisions with your music marketing and your music promotion. 🙂

Create Your Own Spotify Playlist Promotion Campaign

if you want to learn more about creating Spotify playlist campaigns, I do have a free Facebook ads course that you can check out built into the free 7-step release checklist I have for you.

These are the seven steps that I go through every single time when I’m releasing my music and it’s allowed me to get over 5 million streams on Spotify so far.

You see, the step in the checklist where it’s time to schedule and set up the Facebook ads links out to a completely free Facebook ads course…

Which you’ll definitely find useful and can guide you through this process of setting up the Spotify playlist campaigns yourself. 🙂

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Click here to see a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 5,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist (called Best Friends Club).

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission. 🤗

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

"Copy/Paste" Your Music Promotion with The FREE Checklist I Used To Get 3,000,000+ Spotify Streams

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