What really sets Spotify apart from other streaming services is the wide variety of playlists on the service as well as the powerful recommendation algorithm that powers a good chunk of these playlists.
The types of playlists available to you to help get your music heard on Spotify can be broken down into these 5 categories:
- Spotify’s algorithmic playlists
- Spotify’s editorial playlists
- Spotify user playlists
- Third-party “curated” playlists
- Artist-created playlists
Learning exactly how these different playlists work and how you can get your music on them is really key to finding success on Spotify as an artist.
Let’s take a look at each one by one to make sure you know everything you need to know about these powerful playlists.
Spotify Algorithm Playlists
Let’s kick things off with my absolute favorite type of Spotify playlist: algorithmic playlists.
Spotify’s algorithmic playlists are custom playlists that are automatically generated by Spotify’s algorithm and are personalized for each user based on their listening habits.
Because the music on these playlists is personalized for each Spotify user, algorithm playlists are a great way to expose your own music to thousands of listeners that are highly likely to like and stream your music.
This is because there is the opportunity for people who are similar to the people that already listen to your music (or artists that sound close to you) to start having your music recommended in their personalized playlists.
There are several types of different algorithmic playlists that have different purposes and include playlist names like Release Radar, Discover Weekly, Daily Mix, and Radio.
In most cases, you can get on these playlists by getting your music heard with high engagement rates (repeat listens, saves, etc).
However, to get on ‘Release Radar’ all you need to do is release a new song and submit your music to Spotify to get that song on the ‘Release Radar’ of all your Spotify followers – a high engagement rate during your release will trigger the algorithm to put it into the playlists of similar Spotify users that aren’t even following you!
In particular for me, “Release Radar” has been a massive part of how I’ve been able to pass 5 million streams, and as my career has grown “Radio” has been kicking in to continue my growth.
To learn more about each of these types of algorithmic playlists and how you can get on them, check out my dedicated article on Spotify’s Algorithm Playlists. 🙂
|Get thousands of streams for free||They can seem ‘mysterious’ or ‘random’ without the right knowledge|
|Expose your music to listeners who are similar to your current fans and listeners||Some playlist types can take months or even years to start kicking in (ie: Discover Weekly or Radio)|
|Dozens of different playlist types available to artists|
|Artists have control over getting on these playlists (particularly with ‘Release Radar’)|
Because of the massive potential for free streams and the fact that artists like you and me have the ability to (somewhat) control if our music gets on these playlists or not, this type of Spotify promotion is highly recommended.
In fact, I would recommend every artist adjust their release strategy to do their best to maximize these types of playlist placements if they want to see the most amount of growth in their career possible.
Spotify Promotion Rating: 5/5
Next, let’s take a closer look at how the actually works so that you have a very solid understanding of how these algorithmic playlists work and how you can get your music on them.
The Spotify algorithm has been built to recommend songs that people want to listen to so that people spend more time inside the Spotify app.
If the Spotify algorithm notices that any song is being listened to more than normal, is actually being saved by its listeners and these listeners are then following the artist then it is in Spotify’s best interests to push that song out to similar people.
Spotify does this by monitoring millions of data points that revolve around user listening habits and compares them with similar users’ listening habits to build personalized playlists and look out for songs that are growing in popularity.
This is a massive opportunity for artists since it means that by dialing in your Spotify promotion, you can aim to trigger that Spotify algorithm to get you thousands of streams from similar listeners all for free.
If you want to learn more about this strategy and how you can “hack” the Spotify algorithm, check out my article on the Spotify Algorithm Hack.
I’d also recommend checking out this YouTube playlist that I’ve put together if you want to learn about this in even more detail: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHmXQrkZqFioLzooRggrhpKXW65morqxc
Next, let’s take a look at the coveted official Spotify editorial playlists.
Spotify Editorial Playlists
To most artists, the holy grail of Spotify playlists is the official Spotify Editorial Playlists.
Spotify editorial playlists are playlists on Spotify that are curated by Spotify’s music experts and genre specialists. Each playlist usually revolves around a theme such as a genre, sub-genre, mood, or even particular activities like working or running.
Although all you need to do is make a Spotify editorial playlist submission to the Spotify editors just like you would to get your music on ‘Release Radar’, getting on these playlists is nowhere near as simple.
To date, I’ve gotten my music on over 20 Spotify editorial playlists although sometimes I’ve had different songs on the same type of editorial playlist.
The “secret” here is to commit to a consistent release schedule so that you can maximize your number of pitches and build momentum with the increase in streams from Spotify algorithm playlists:
You need to give the Spotify editors a reason to notice you and the best way to do that is to release music consistently and building up momentum by growing your streams release after release.
|Potential to get a massive number of streams||Can be challenging to get on|
|Getting on these playlists gives you a big credibility boost||There is never a guarantee you will get placed on these playlists|
|Not all editorial playlists are built equal (some have thousands of followers, some have millions)|
Considering how challenging and unreliable these types of playlist placements can be, I’d recommend doing what you can to get on a Spotify editorial playlist just make sure your success does not depend on it.
Spotify Promotion Rating: 3/5
Next, let’s take a look at Spotify playlists that are curated by third parties.
Third-Party “Curated” Spotify Playlists
Curated playlists are Spotify playlists that are created by people that have created their playlist to try to grow it as large as possible and most likely to make money off of it.
It is possible to submit your music to Spotify playlists for free by directly reaching out to the playlist curator, using a tool like SubmitHub or PlaylistPush, or paying for a company to get your music on these types of playlists for you.
Although it is possible to grow your streams with these playlists, the quality of each playlist will vary and you will likely see very low engagement rates as well as a significant drop-off in streams as soon as your song is removed.
Getting on a playlist with music that isn’t similar to yours or that has low engagement rates can also have a really negative effect on the Spotify algorithm.
In addition to this, you need to watch out for scams or playlist curators there use bots and click farms to artificially increase stream counts when looking to use this type of Spotify promotion.
I personally don’t spend my time or money on this type of promotion, although I have still gotten my music on these playlists as a by-product of other promo efforts I do for my music.
|Potential to grow streams nicely||The quality of the playlist varies greatly|
|Landing on the right playlist can have a big impact on you and your song||Low engagement rates are very common|
|Some of these playlists can give you a big credibility boost||You can expect a significant drop-off in streams as soon as your song is removed|
|Can be completely free||Potential to really harm the Spotify algorithm|
|You need to watch out for scams or curators that use bots/click farms|
|Can cost a lot of money|
|Can cost a lot of time to research and reach out to curators|
Because of the high potential costs in both time and money as well as the gamble you play when it comes to the quality of these playlists, I wouldn’t recommend this type of Spotify promotion for your music.
At the very least, if this type of promotion really interests you then I would highly highly recommend that this is not the only type of promotion you rely on.
Spotify Promotion Rating: 2/5
Although working to get on curated Spotify playlists can be an effective part of your overall Spotify promotion, it is important to know that are some very specific types of companies that offer this service you need to avoid…
Shady Spotify “Promo” Or Playlisting Companies / Services
When looking to promote your music on Spotify, always make sure you avoid things like:
- Services that guarantee a specific amount of streams
- Services that put you on playlists that you can’t review first
- Playlists only filled with unknown and unrelated artists (ie: completely random genres and styles)
Essentially, you want to always be wary of anything that is too quick, easy, or too good to be true as well as always take a bit of time to do some research into the service, company, or playlist.
If you want to see an example of what to avoid and the research you might consider doing, check out this article I did on a “Spotify promo company” called Spotify Jedi.
|No effort on your part||Potential to have your streams removed|
|Potential to get your song removed from Spotify|
|Potential for your music distributor to stop working with you altogether|
|Potential to give the Spotify algorithm bad listener data about your music|
Because of the harmful effect that this type of Spotify promotion can have on your music career, I would highly recommend avoiding this promotion type altogether.
If you insist on using a company that is offering a service like this, at least make sure to take your time doing your due diligence on the company and its offer.
Spotify Promotion Rating: 0/5
Next, let’s take a look at how you can promote your music with your own Spotify playlists.
Growing Streams With Your Own Spotify Playlists
Another one of my favorite types of Spotify playlist promotion is actually creating your own playlist and growing it to have a healthy number of engaged followers.
Having your own Spotify playlist is an incredible asset since you can stuff it with your own songs, add your latest release to it, increase your own credibility as a curator and even make money from Spotify playlists!
However, there is a big catch…
In order to make the most out of this type of Spotify promotion, you will absolutely need to know how to promote your Spotify playlist.
In my experience, the best way to promote Spotify playlists has been with Facebook and Instagram ads – so you will likely need to pony up some cash to grow your playlist into a useful asset.
|You can add your own songs to your Spotify playlists||Takes time and money to build up correctly|
|You can add your new releases to help boost their stream counts||Can take time to manage and maintain your Spotify playlist|
|Potential to build credibility as a “curator”|
|Potential to make money directly from the playlist by considering submissions|
Because of how useful of an asset owning your own Spotify playlist can be, I would definitely recommend pursuing this type of Spotify promotion.
Spotify Promotion Rating: 4/5
Next, let’s take a look at the often overlooked Spotify user playlists.
Spotify User Playlists
An often overlooked playlist is any playlist created by your everyday run-of-the-mill Spotify user.
These are real, living, genuine fans of your music and they simply added your song to their playlist because they liked it and want to make sure they hear it again.
Not only will user playlist adds make sure your song keeps getting streamed for years and years to come, but these are real people that like the music you’ve made, regardless of how many followers they have.
In addition to this, the Spotify algorithm looks at how many playlists your music gets added to and how many user libraries your music gets saved to when deciding when to push a song out or not.
However, getting on these types of playlists is often a by-product of your other Spotify promotion efforts and is not something you can directly influence.
|Playlist adds from normal Spotify users are an important signal to the Spotify algorithm||You can’t directly influence getting on these playlists|
|You can see streams from these playlists for years to come||The number of streams varies wildly from playlist to playlist|
|Getting on several of these can add up to be a large number of total streams|
Based on the fact that the main reason you should be creating and releasing music is for real music fans to hear your music, I would absolutely recommend that you never lose sight of the everyday people that stream and love your music.
Spotify Promotion Rating: 10/5
Next, let’s take a look at one of the most powerful methods of Spotify promotion that can definitely lead to more Spotify user playlist adds.
The Best Release Strategy To Maximize Your Spotify Playlist Adds
If you want to take your Spotify promotion seriously, the very first thing you should do is take the time to map out a 6 – 12 month release strategy and commit to carrying it out.
Unlike other streaming services, Spotify presents some real opportunities to get your music heard built into the platform thanks to their algorithm, playlists, and internal Spotify editor pitching process.
A basic look at how Spotify works will quickly reveal that although you can hope and pray that 1 release triggers the Spotify algorithm, gets you on 1000s of playlists, and a Spotify editor sees your track and playlists it too…
The truth is that to make the most out of the opportunities that Spotify presents you, you really need to focus on building momentum over time and increasing your chances with consistent releases.
Before we continue: you do need to have a basic understanding and the tools needed to release music online.
If you need help with this, I also have a guide that can walk you through the overall process you will need to go through called How To Release Music On Spotify. 🙂
Your Recommended Release Strategy
My recommendation is to plan out 6 – 12 months’ worth of releases and make sure that your music is in a release-ready state so that you can truly focus on promotion once you get started.
In particular, I would recommend that you plan on releasing a new song every 28 days so that you can maximize your exposure on Spotify’s algorithm playlists like Release Radar (more on these playlists later in this article).
|More chances to trigger the Spotify algorithm|| Can be a lot of work to stay consistent|
|More chances to pitch to the Spotify editors||You may need to hold off on starting so that you can prepare enough music|
|Stay relevant to fans for a much longer period of time|
|Get the most out of each song in terms of promotion|
|Build momentum in the eyes of the algorithm, editors, your fans, and your scene|
|Always know when your next release is coming up|
Use A Single Release Plan Template To Stay On Track & Grow Your Streams
Once you have mapped out 6 – 12 months’ worth of releases and a solid idea of what types of Spotify playlist promotion you want to focus on, it is now time to get ready to actually carry out the strategy.
Because you will be repeating this process constantly, my recommendation is to focus on just a few very specific tasks.
By focusing only on a select few steps that are going to actually move the needle, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and be able to easily repeat these steps for every single release you do.
This is why the very first thing I’d recommend any artist do is to check out is my free “7 Step Release Checklist” that you can get here: https://bestfriendsclub.ca/release-checklist
This checklist will be your “single release plan template” and is my little “secret” to simply “copy and paste” a few simple steps each time I am releasing a new song.
By following this checklist, you spend as little time promoting your music as possible and focus on creating more music instead (and these are the same 7 steps I follow to this day as I continue to release music each month).
When done properly, these 7 steps are massively effective, and most importantly, easy for any artist to “rinse and repeat” when it comes time to release new music.
You see: the simpler your music promotion, the easier it is for you to release music often and promote it properly without burning out or sacrificing every other aspect of your life.
So to get started, I’d strongly recommend grabbing this free 7-step release checklist and going over it a few times.
The downloadable version not only has the same 7 steps that I mentioned earlier, but is actually an interactive checklist with many secrets, tips, and tricks for you to uncover.
For example, each step can be expanded to show you why it’s important and how you can go about doing that step in the best way possible.
…and for some of the steps, I even link out to completely free courses that I’ve created for you to help you ditch the “struggling artist” lifestyle too. 🙂