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Spotify’s Algorithm Playlists: Explained & How To Get On Them

By Matthew Vultaggio

March 18, 2021

Spotify’s algorithm playlists are a great way to expose your music to thousands of listeners that are highly likely to like and stream your music. In this article, I’ll show you what they are and how to get on them to boost your Spotify stream and monthly listener counts.

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. Types of algorithmic playlists include Release Radar, Discover Weekly, Daily Mix, and Radio.

A basic way for artists with their music on Spotify and access to the Spotify For Artists dashboard to get on an algorithmic playlist is by pitching their new releases to make sure that they are on their own followers Release Radar playlists.

However, there are ways to get on the Release Radar playlists of Spotify users who do not follow your Spotify artist profile.

On top of this, understanding how the Spotify algorithm works, in general, can greatly help your chances of getting on the other algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly, Daily Mix, and Radio.

Keep reading to learn more about the Spotify algorithm and Spotify’s algorithmic playlists, my friend. 🙂

Spotify Algorithmic Playlists Explained

Spotify has a growing number of algorithmic playlists that are customized and personalized for each specific Spotify user.

Because these algorithmic playlists are customized for each user, they are likely to have some great music in them.

This is how it works:

For example, no 2 Release Radar playlists are the same because no 2 Spotify user’s are the same.

Everyone has unique listening habits and the Spotify algorithm takes that into account to provide the best song recommendations possible for each unique Spotify user.

However, the Spotify algorithm does look at the listening habits of other similar users to provide song recommendations.

For example, let’s assume Spotify User A has similar listening habits (artists, songs, times of listening, etc) to Spotify User B.

If Spotify User A starts listening to a new song, and Spotify User B has not yet listened to that new song. The Algorithm will notice that Spotify User B may enjoy this new song and might add this new song to one of Spotify User B’s algorithmic playlists.

What Are The Spotify Algorithmic Playlists?

The type of algorithmic playlist that Spotify may use to recommend new music to users include:

  • Release Radar
  • Discovery Weekly
  • Daily Mix
  • Spotify Radio
  • On Repeat
  • Repeat Rewind
  • Your Top Songs

Keep reading for a breakdown of each of these algorithmic playlists.

Release Radar

Release Radar is a Spotify algorithmic playlist of new releases from artists that a Spotify user follows or listens to. However, Spotify may also include new releases from other artists that they think the user will enjoy.

To get your music on this playlist, all you need to do is release new music. However, if your next release has multiple songs, you can pitch the specific song in the Spotify For Artists dashboard 7 days before release day if you would like to have a particular song show up in your follower’s Release Radar playlist.

It’s also important to note that if your song does well, Spotify may start suggesting your song in the Release Radar playlists of Spotify users who don’t follow or listen to you.

The number of extra streams you get will depend on how many followers you have and how engaged your followers are. However, I have seen anywhere between 100 and 3,600 additional streams from this type of playlist when I can get Spotify to suggest it to my non-followers:

Here are some extra tips on how to get on Release Radar:

  • Make sure your song is delivered to Spotify at least 7 days before release day
  • Once a user listens to your song inside of their Release Radar, that song will no longer show up there (but another song from your release may show up in its place).
  • Your music will only show up in Release Radar if you are the main or featured artist for the song (being listed as a remixer will not work).
  • Songs with Various Artists aren’t eligible for Release Radar.
  • Only brand new songs will show up on Release Radar (aka no re-releases of songs already on Spotify).
  • Each listener can only receive one song per artist per week in their Release Radar.
  • Your song can appear in Release Radar for up to 4 weeks after its release if a listener hasn’t already heard it. After that, the song will not appear because it is not “new”. This is why I recommend releasing new songs every 4 or 5 weeks to capitalize on this.

Each time I release new music, I am trying to maximize my amount of Release Radar streams because this is one of the easiest placements you have control over getting on.

Discovery Weekly

Discover Weekly is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that features both new music and older music that updates for each Spotify user on Mondays.

Unlike Release Radar, you can’t actually pitch to get your music on this playlist and the music does not have to be new. In fact, it is quite common for artists to see older songs in their back catalog get new life if they start getting placed in Discover Weekly.

The number of extra streams will depend on how well your song performs which will dictate how many Discover Weekly playlists your song ends up on and for how long.

Factors that influence your song’s performance may include:

  • Total number of streams from Discover Weekly
  • Listening time (how much of the song listener’s get through)
  • How many users are saving the song after listening on Discover Weekly
  • How many users are liking or disliking the song after listening on Discover Weekly
  • How many users add the song to their own playlists after listening on Discover Weekly
  • How many times user continue to listen to the song after listening on Discover Weekly
  • If the user follows the artist after listening on Discover Weekly

There is no cut and dry way to get your music on Discover Weekly, however, a lot of users have noticed that they started to see placement on this algorithmic playlist once their song has surpassed the 20,000 total stream mark. So aim for that goal to start.

So far, I have seen anywhere between 320 and 6,200 additional streams (and counting) from getting my music placed on Discover Weekly:

Daily Mix

Daily Mix is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that looks at a Spotify user’s past listening habits over time and creates up to 6 personalized playlists based on songs that the user has been playing often as well as some related music that the user might enjoy. As the name suggests, this playlist is updated each day.

Similar to Discover Weekly, these playlists can’t be pitched to, can include older songs, and will gain you a varying number of streams depending on how well your song performs.

Spotify uses “clustering technology” to find different subgroupings within a user’s listening patterns (listening history and active feedback) to create a playlist made up of a user’s most commonly listened to artists as well as additional recommendations using the algorithm’s understanding of their favorite music.

The algorithm then balances the song order between the user’s well-known favorites and appropriate new suggestions.

The amount of playlists (up to 6), depends on each user, where a user that listens to lots of different styles of music will have more mixes than a user that mainly listens to one genre.

What makes these playlists different from Discover Weekly is that Daily Mix has more of a focus on familiar and favorite music with less of an emphasis on discovery. Spotify actually mentions that Daily Mix is ‘less adventurous’ when compared to Discover Weekly.

Additionally, Discover Weekly only has 30 tracks, where Daily Mix will continue to load up more songs for Premium listeners to make sure the music does not stop.

So far, I have seen anywhere between 95 and 9,100 additional streams from getting my music placed on Daily Mix playlists:

There is no cut and dry way to get your music on Daily Mix playlists. You simply need to keep releasing new music and driving targeted new listeners/streams to your music, while hoping that you’ve created a song that performs well.

Spotify Radio

Spotify Radio is a series of Spotify algorithmic playlists that can be based on any artist, album, playlist, or song on Spotify. These playlists update over time and usually contain about 50 tracks.

Your music can appear in your own artist, album, playlist, or song Radio playlists but can also appear on other artist’s artist, album, playlist, or song Radio playlist if the algorithm notices a relation between you and those other artists.

Here are some notes on these Radio playlists:

  • Users can search to find Artist Radio playlists
  • If users have ‘Autoplay’ selected, Radio playlists will get launched as needed so that the user gets an endless mix
  • Spotify users can like/follow these Radio playlists
  • Once you build up enough streaming data on Spotify, your own Artist Radio playlist will be visible in your profile underneath your Discography titled “Featuring [YOUR ARTIST NAME]”

So far, I have seen anywhere between 131 and 1,800 additional streams from getting my music placed on various Radio playlists:

My understanding is that you can get on other artist’s radio station by manipulating a connection between the 2 of you in the eyes of the algorithm by doing things like:

  • Running targeted ads to people that listen to that artist on Facebook/Instagram
  • Getting placed near them on other user’s playlists
  • Putting yourself near them on your own playlists and making sure those playlists gain followers and active listeners

Basically anything you can do to prove to the algorithm that you are related can help you get on other Radio playlists.

On Repeat

On Repeat is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that is made up of a user’s current favorite songs based on their recent listening history over the last 30 days. As the name suggests, these playlists automatically update to make sure it is filled with music that the user has been playing nonstop, regardless of genre.

This playlist was introduced by Spotify in September 2019 and is available for both Free and Premium Spotify users.

So far, I have seen anywhere between 5 and 312 additional streams from getting my music placed on On Repeat playlists:

The only real way to get your music placed on these playlists is whenever Spotify users are listening to your music over and over again.

Then the Spotify user needs to actually frequent their On Repeat playlist.

So… I wouldn’t expect too many plays from this bad boy.

Repeat Rewind

Repeat Rewind is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that is made up of a user’s favorite songs from beyond 30 days ago. This playlist can include music across all genres, artists, and moods and is updated every 5 days.

Essentially, this is the same thing as the On Repeat playlist but is made up using listening history from further back in time. However, songs from Repeat Rewind will never also appear on On Repeat at the same time.

This playlist was introduced by Spotify in September 2019 and is available for both Free and Premium Spotify users.

So far, I have seen anywhere between 2 and 103 additional streams from getting my music placed on Repeat Rewind playlists:

The only real way to get your music placed on these playlists is whenever Spotify users are listening to your music over and over again in the last few months but not in the last 30 days.

Then the Spotify user needs to actually frequent their Repeat Rewind playlist.

So… I would expect even less plays from this playlist than I would from On Repeat.

Your Top Songs / Wrapped

Your Top Songs / Wrapped are Spotify algorithmic playlists of a users top 100 tracks for each year in Spotify. In addition to being able to view user stats via the “Wrapped” website, Spotify creates a curated playlist for each user.

Since starting this playlist in 2019, Spotify creates a new “Your Top Songs” playlist for each year.

So far, I have seen anywhere between 3 and 74 additional streams from getting my music placed on Repeat Rewind playlists:

The main way to get a lot of plays on from these playlists is essentially to have a really good year. If you found a lot of new fans in the last year and had a few songs pop off, you may see more streams come from this playlist when it gets released at the end of the year.

The Spotify Algorithm Explained

The main purpose of the Spotify algorithm is to provide great song recommendations to its users so that those users spend as much time on Spotify as possible.

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

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.

These platforms have their own goals, and by helping THEM achieve THEIR goals, only then will YOU be rewarded.

Whether that reward is YouTube views, Google search results, or Spotify Streams.

In the example of Spotify, Spotify may 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:

  1. Pitch the song to the Spotify editors at least 1 week prior to your release day in the Spotify For Artists dashboard.
  2. Drive meaningful traffic (aka streams) to your new song within the first 2 to 3 weeks of your song’s release.

In the case of your back catalog of material, really on step 2 is needed.

From there, the algorithm is looking for signals based on user listening habits to find out if a song is worth recommending or not.

If the Spotify algorithm notices that ANY song is:

  1. Being saved by the people who listen to it at a good percentage
  2. Is being listened to often
  3. Is being added to lots of normal listener and higher profile playlists
  4. Users are following the artist after listening to the song.

Then Spotify’s algorithm may notice that it is in Spotify’s best interests to push that song out to similar people.

Because the data and stats that Spotify provides in their Spotify For Artists dashboard do not give you all this information, I recommend using a Spotify Tracker For Artists to get a more complete look at how your song is performing.

Spotify Algorithm Hack

I previously mentioned that the way to get on Spotify’s algorithmic playlists is by driving meaningful traffic to your new release. However, that is easier said than done.

There are a few ways you can do this (social media, playlisting, etc) but this is the most effective way I’ve been able to do this myself:

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.

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.

By bringing over listeners who are likely to enjoy your music, you have a higher chance of sending the right signals over to the Spotify algorithm.

You can read about this more in my article on the Spotify algorithm hack.

How To Get More Streams From Spotify Algorithmic Playlists

Unfortunately, for the most part, once your song starts getting placed on algorithmic playlists the performance of your song is really out of your hands.

Here are some of the factors that may influence your song’s performance on an algorithmic playlist:

  • Total number of streams from that playlist
  • Listening time (how much of the song listener’s get through) of your song on that playlist
  • How many users are saving the song after listening on that playlist
  • How many users are liking or disliking the song after listening on that playlist
  • How many users add the song to their own playlists after listening on that playlist
  • How many times user continue to listen to the song after listening on that playlist
  • If the user follows the artist after listening on that playlist

As you can see, it is really all about how well listener’s enjoy your song at this point.

However, you can slightly influencing things by trying to get on the right algorithmic playlists.

You can do this by bringing targeted listeners over to your music or influence the Spotify algorithm by having your song placed to similar artists as you.

For example, getting on playlists where you are next to completely unrelated artists will hurt you because you will be creating relations and connection to those artists in the eyes of the algorithm which will then use that data when suggesting your music to other users.

Why Consistency Is The Key

Spotify looks at your performance over time and it can take a while for the right connections and data points to be built up in the backend of your Spotify artist profile.

This is why I highly recommend adjusting your music release strategy so that you are dropping new music every 4 to 5 weeks.

You need to focus on releasing music consistently for these reasons:

  • Each release is another chance to trigger the algorithm and pitch to the Spotify editors.
  • Each release builds new data points and connections in the eyes of the algorithm.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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:

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.

Music Distribution

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.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

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! 🙂

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