The holy grail of growing on Spotify is getting on editorial playlists. I’ll explain what they are, the secret to how I got my own music on 7 different Spotify editorial playlists, and how you can get your music on these playlists too.
Spotify editorial playlists are playlists on Spotify that are curated by Spotify’s playlist editors (music experts & genre specialists). Each playlist usually revolves around a theme such as a genre, sub-genre, mood, lifestyle type, or even particular activities like working or running.
Artists with their music on Spotify and access to the Spotify For Artists dashboard can pitch unreleased music to the Spotify editors for editorial playlist consideration as long as you make your pitch at least 1 week before your song releases.
But do the Spotify editors even review those pitches and can any artist actually get on Spotify editorial playlists?
And more importantly…
What even happens if you get on one of these mythical and lucrative beasts?
Read on to unravel the mysteries of the Spotify editorial playlist, my friend. 🙂
How I Got On 7 Different Spotify Editorial Playlists
In November 2020, I released a song called “Lofi Nights” that has been placed on 7 different Spotify editorial playlists (with one of the playlists having 1.5M followers):
So how the !@#$ did I do this?
Yes, I did pitch the song to the editors in the Spotify For Artist dashboard, but that was not the only thing that made this magic happen.
The trick to getting on Spotify editorial playlists is releasing music consistently and building up momentum by growing your streams release after release.
You need to give the Spotify editors a reason to notice you.
And that way you do that is by starting with getting your music on algorithmic playlists like Release Radar and by being consistent by uploading a new song every 4 to 6 weeks.
This is why I would highly recommend using DistroKid (or really any music distributor that lets you release unlimited songs for a small fee).
If you don’t yet have a digital distributor in place, learn about the DistroKid discount so that you can get set up for as little as possible.
Then, check out the article I wrote on DistroKid pricing if you need help picking one of their plans.
Now that you have a way to release lots of music, let’s dive into an explanation of how the Spotify algorithm actually works so that you can start making it work for you.
How The Spotify Algorithm Actually Works
The Spotify algorithm’s purpose is very similar to the purpose of the Google and YouTube algorithms.
Looking at those algorithms will show you that the main thing they are trying to do is give you the most valuable content so that you stay on the platform and spend as much time on that platform as possible.
Truly understanding the purpose of the algorithm will put you in the best possible position to “game” the Spotify algorithm.
The Spotify algorithm in particular is always trying to 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.
On top of this, 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.
If you can get the Spotify algorithm to work for you in this way, 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
To get on algorithmic Spotify playlists, there are 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.
The first part is dead simple, so I am going to focus on telling you about how you can drive meaningful traffic (aka streams) to your new release and what meaningful traffic means.
For every new release, the Spotify algorithm is looking for a few key metrics in addition to the number of streams your song is getting, including:
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.
Each of these things tells the Spotify algorithm that your song is good and should be pushed out to more people.
What are good metrics?
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! 🙂
How do you get people to stream your song and hit these key metrics?
You need to drive people to your Spotify profile so that they can see and stream your latest release and easily follow your profile.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Get on other Spotify playlists
- Create your own Spotify playlists
- Run ads using Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google ads, etc
- Use social media
In my experience, the only tactic that I am able to control and see positive key metrics is by running Facebook and Instagram ads.
However, you can use any tactic you’d like as long as you can make sure that your song is hitting the key metrics.
…so how do you make sure you are hitting these key metrics?
The best way to measure how your song is performing and if it is hitting the key metrics is by using a Spotify Tracker for artists.
Why Consistency Is The Key To Successful Spotify Editorial Playlist Submissions
To truly understand how I got on 7 different Spotify editorial playlists, it is important to note my track record and what lead up to this momentous occasion:
- From January 2020 to April 2020, I released at least one song per month and got very little success with almost every song still not surpassing 1,000 streams to this day.
- In May 2020, I released a song called ‘Orbiting’ and ran Facebook/Instagram ads for the first time to help get a song past the 1,000 stream mark for the first time.
- In June 2020, I released a song called ‘Lilo’ which triggered the algorithm for the first time, landing me on the Release Radar playlist and helping me hit over 5,000+ streams.
- In July 2020, I released a song called ‘Sax Appeal’ which only hit the Release Radar playlist at the tail end of its first month (which ultimately flopped and only got about 2,000+ streams).
- In August 2020, I released a song called ‘Kuebiko’ which hit the Release Radar playlist a little earlier in its first month but was still kind of a flop hitting 3,000+ streams.
- In September 2020, I did a remix of my friend Malory’s song ‘Killer Cut Offs’ that got on Spotify’s ‘Fresh Finds: Basement’ playlist which helped us hit 10,000+ streams.
- In October 2020, I released a weird take on Canada’s national anthem that super flopped and still hasn’t hit 1,000 streams as of the writing of this article.
Then I released ‘Lofi Nights’ and everything blew up.
As you can see, not only did I release music every single month, but I also continued to try to trip the Spotify algorithm. On top of this, I failed several times with a bunch of flops.
Heck.. The song I released right before my big break was relatively the biggest flop of my Spotify career.
It’s my educated opinion that this consistency, combined with strategies like trying to give the Spotify algorithm what it wants and doing a collaboration with an artist at a higher place than me ultimately gave the Spotify editors no other choice than to take a look at what I am doing more seriously.
What To Do Once You Get Added To A Spotify Editorial Playlist
After I got on my first real Spotify editorial playlist, I knew I had to double down to make sure that I made the best of this great success.
If you get one of your songs on a Spotify editorial playlist, it is important to start pushing your song harder by spreading the word, pitching to non-Spotify playlists, and scaling up any marketing efforts (like Facebook ads) that you are running.
In Forbe’s interview with Spotify Head of Music, Jeremy Erlich, he mentions a few key gems on what they look for in songs that get the editorial treatment.
Some of these things you can control and some are left up to how great your song is and how people interact with it.
What you can control
In the interview, Jeremy mentions this:
When I read this, my interpretation was that they basically want to see if you are just gonna chill and let the editorial playlist do all the work, or if you are going to also put in the work and continue to drive people to your song.
They want to see that you are also continuing to get streams to that song from the listener’s saved libraries, listener’s playlists, influencer’s playlists, straight from your profile, etc.
So this is what I did:
- Celebrated the success with my audience on Instagram by posting on both my story and my feed.
- Scaled up the Facebook/Instagram ads that I was running.
- Manually reached out to playlist owners for the very first time in my music career and used the editorial playlist placement as leverage in my pitch to them.
The Spotify editors originally only added my song to 2 or 3 editorial playlists at first. They went on to add it to a total of 7 editorial playlists after I “leaned-forward” as Jeremy mentioned.
I also released a brand new song about 2 weeks after and followed my same strategy of pitching to the editors in advance and running Facebook/Instagram ads.
Spotify added this new song to 7 editorial playlists as well. Some were the same and some were different:
What is out of your control
It is also worth mentioning that there are a few things are pretty much out of your control at this point.
Spotify also looks at “…the time people spend on the song” and the “skip ratio”, bearing in mind things like the first song on the playlist gets the highest amount of skips and no one usually looks at the screen by the last one.
So at this point, your song can’t be made any better and you don’t get to decide who follows these playlists and which playlists you get added to.
In some respects, your song is out into the world now and it will do what it is gonna do. All you can do is continue to push the song and move right along to your next release.
How To Get Started
For more on this topic, I’ve put together a free course called the 6 Secrets To Spotify Success.
In that free course, you will learn:
- How to get the most out of your latest release, overnight
- The exact step-by-step process of how to build a music marketing strategy required to make you sweet streams
- How to grow your Spotify streams, monthly listeners, and fans even if you’re totally new
However, if you do not yet have a way to get your music on Spotify yet, I’d recommend checking out a music distributor like DistroKid (it is what I use and I’m a pretty big fan hehe).
If you would like to learn more about what DistroKid has to offer, you can check out my big fat DistroKid review.
With that said, if you’d like to shop around first (good idea btw), here are some alternatives to DK that you can check out: