The best way to get lots of streams from Spotify’s algorithmic and editorial playlists is to ‘hack’ the algorithm. In this article, I’ll show you how the algorithm works and what you can do to manipulate it.
To hack the Spotify algorithm you need to consistently send real, targeted listeners to your music from multiple sources such as directly from your profile, average user playlists and more influential Spotify user playlists.
However, the honest truth is that there is no real ‘hack’ and the best strategy to make the algorithm work for you is by learning how Spotify (and it’s algorithm) works and giving the algorithm what it wants. Only then will you be rewarded with an increase in new streams and listeners.
Spotify Algorithm Hack 2021
As Spotify gets more and more concerned with becoming a profitable a business, they are taking fake/fraudulent streams more and more seriously.
This means that Spotify is not only taking away streams from songs they think have fraudulent streams (like those that you get from bots or click farms on phony playlists), but they are even starting to completely remove these songs from their service.
To keep their partnership in good standing with Spotify, some distributors may even drop you from their distribution service if you get caught doing this.
If you’ve been trying to ‘hack’ the Spotify algorithm by paying to get on playlists that are too good to be true or definitely use bots or click farms to artificial boost streams, it’s a good time to cut that crap out.
What is the right way to ‘hack’ the algorithm then, you ask?
You need to get real listeners over to your music.
The way I’ve done this (and got on over 7 Spotify editorial playlists and racked up over 300,000 streams) is by leveraging Facebook/Instagram ads to target potential fans who listen to similar artists and drive them to Spotify.
…which has a few benefits that not everyone is aware of.
Here’s how it works:
By bringing over listeners who are likely to enjoy your music, you can expect your song to have a higher than normal Save Rate and Repeat-Listen Rate, which are a few of the signals that the Spotify algorithm is looking for when trying to find songs to recommend to its users.
These targeted listeners are more likely to follow your artist’s profile and add that song to their own playlists.
This lets you enjoy your artist’s music being streamed by these listeners for a longer period of time, these new followers being notified of future releases, and for these positive signals to be sent back to the algorithm.
Plus, the algorithm will notice you are getting an increase in songs from your profile and other user playlists. If you’re lucky, maybe your ads will hit a more influential Spotify user or 2 who might then add your song to their playlist.
When the almighty algorithm notices a song is worth recommending, it can start placing your song on algorithmic playlists like Release Radar, Discover Weekly, other artist’s Radio playlists, etc.
Over time, you can actually manipulate the algorithm to create connections between your artist and popular artists of your choosing.
Stupid example, but if you keep sending Justin Bieber fans over to your song, and they are constantly saving and listening to your music, the algorithm will notice that connection over time and start recommending your music to listeners of the Biebs.
It’s not easy or quick…
This strategy is not easy or quick. If it were, everybody would be doing it.
Your first release probably won’t pop off, which is why you need to adjust your music release strategy so that you are dropping a new song every 4 to 5 weeks.
By releasing music more frequently, you have more chances to trip the algorithm, but you also have more chances to build a relationship with the Spotify editors.
They have access to all this data too, so if they see your music continuously growing and you are consistently helping them do their job of maintaining playlists by giving them frequent music, you have a higher chance of them wanting to place your artist’s songs on their editorial playlists.
The 6 Secrets To Spotify Success
I’ve packaged up all this information and put into a free course called the 6 Secrets To Spotify Success.
Check that if you think you’re ready, or else you can start by learning more about the very 1st step in that free course, which is learning how the Spotify algorithm actually works:
How The Spotify Algorithm Actually Works
The first step to success on Spotify is to really dig into learning how Spotify works.
After all, if you are trying to get something out of any platform, whether it be Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever… you need to know how they work and what they are trying to achieve.
These platforms have their own goals, and by helping THEM achieve THEIR goals, only then will YOU be rewarded.
A good comparison to Spotify’s algorithm is the Google and YouTube algorithms.
The purpose of the Google and YouTube algorithms is to give you the most valuable content so that you stay on the platform and spend as much time on that platform as possible.
One way that they provide super valuable content is by customizing what you see by remembering your habits and comparing them to other, similar users.
Spotify’s algorithm has the same purpose and understanding that will put you in the best possible position to “game” it.
What the Spotify algorithm, in particular, is always trying to do is recommend songs that people want to listen to so that people spend more time inside the Spotify app.
So why is this?
The more time a user spends inside the Spotify app, the more opportunities Spotify has to:
- Sell advertisements
- Keep users happy with paying for the Premium subscription
- Tell investors their numbers are great so that Spotify continues to get external investment money
If the Spotify algorithm notices that ANY song is:
- Being saved by the people who listen to it at a good percentage (40% or higher)
- Is being listened to often (1.8 times on average or higher)
- Is being added to lots of normal listener and higher profile playlists
Then it is in Spotify’s best interests to push that song out to similar people.
If the algorithm sees that people are also following your profile after listening, it is another indicator that they should push this song out and watch out for your next releases as well.
I’m sure you came here trying to take advantage of the algorithm in some way. But, the honest truth is that you need to give the algorithm what it wants before it will give you what you want.
Spotify will then start to reward you with placements in algorithmic playlists and the increase in positive numbers overall will also inevitably catch the attention of Spotify editors, which may lead to lucrative Editorial playlists in the future, which then leads to a big increase in your Spotify royalties.
How To Get On Spotify’s Algorithmic Playlists
So, what exactly do you have to do to get on these algorithmic playlists?
To get on algorithmic Spotify playlists, there are really only 2 things you need to do:
- Pitch the song to the Spotify editors at least 1 week prior to your release day in the Spotify For Artists dashboard.
- Drive meaningful traffic (aka streams) to your new song within the first 2 to 3 weeks of your song’s release.
When pitching your song, you mostly just want to make sure you select the most appropriate genres, moods, and instruments so that the song makes it way to the right Spotify editor.
When driving meaningful traffic, you want to pick a traffic source that you can afford and that can hit the specific numbers that the Spotify algorithm is looking for.
I’ve chosen to do this with Facebook/Instagram ads since I can target the type of listener who I send to Spotify and easily control the daily budget.
What numbers is the Spotify algorithm looking for?
Of course, the algorithm is looking at the overall number of streams your song is getting, but there are some other less obvious things it looks at as well, such as:
Save Rate – How many of your listeners are actually saving your song.
Listen Rate – How many times (on average) your listeners are listening to your song.
Playlist Adds – How many people are adding your songs to their own playlists.
New Followers – How many people follow your Spotify artist profile during your songs release.
Hitting solid numbers here will increase your chances of your song getting pushed out.
When you are first starting out, a Save Rate of 40% or higher is likely to trigger the algorithm when combined with a Listen Rate of 1.8 or higher and a decent amount of total streams for your song (400+).
If you are seeing these numbers, watch carefully on the upcoming Friday as you have a high potential of triggering the Spotify algorithm and getting pushed into the Release Radar playlists of users that DON’T follow your profile! 🙂
Why Consistency Is The Key
If you think you’ll be able to release 1 song and run a few Facebook ads to have that song pop, you are dead wrong.
Sure, it could definitely happen, but it most likely will not.
You need to focus on releasing music consistently (like every 4 to 5 weeks) for these reasons:
- Each release is another chance to trigger the algorithm and pitch to the Spotify editors.
- You will learn how to run better release campaigns the more releases you do.
- In a funny way, you don’t get to decide if your song is a hit or not. The song you think is a hit might flop, while the song you thought was a B-side could go viral. The listeners decide, not you.
- Both the Spotify algorithm and editors are looking at traction and momentum. If they see an artist continuing to put out new music and hit better numbers, they are more likely to pay attention.
Spotify executives have even said in previous interviews that artists can no longer expect to release a song every 3 or 4 years and expect to make it. It’s a different streaming world we live in and you have to adapt to make it.
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. 🙂
Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.
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.
To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.
If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.
Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.
Music Publishing Royalties Collection
For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.
Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.
To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.
And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂
Website & Smart Links
I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.
Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.
I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).
Want more tools and resources for your music career?
If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).
P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂