How to Get on Spotify Playlists

Getting your music on to Spotify playlists such as Discover Weekly is huge for any up and coming musician. If your music regularly appears on algorithmic (don’t worry, we’ll get to what that means later) playlists such as Release Radar along with editorial playlists such as Rap Caviar then you’ve got a whole lot of streams coming your way. And looking beyond the obvious rise in streams, in an ideal world your profile will then be pimped up enough to then convert those streamers into long-term fans of your music (here are some ideas on how to improve your profile).

The rise in number of Google searches for ‘spotify playlist’ over time

With that in mind, let’s get our head around the three main types of playlist and how you can get your music featured on them.

User

User playlists are those that any Spotify member can create and share. Whilst there are hundreds upon thousands of these such playlists sitting on Spotify with 0 followers, some users have built up quite a following on the platform. Check out this screenshot of one such playlist, ´VERANO 2019´, which has managed to accrue over 500,000 followers.

You´ll see that this playlist has been created by a fella called Bruno Navarro. Interestingly, clicking through to his profile reveals him to be what we call a ´Tastemaker´. According to a Quartz article from 2016, Bruno here is part of an army of 50,000 ´hipsters´ whose playlists feed into both editorial and algorithmic playlists on the platform (more on those later). These users have been identified as tastemakers because they have been early listeners of scores of new music written about on music blogs and websites. This huge raft of music is eventually sorted into Spotify’s ´Fresh Finds´playlist that has close to 700,000 followers. Forbes also state that these user playlists which are performing well in terms of streams, skip rate and adds to other playlists are then incorporated into their discovery algorithms - increasing the chances of being placed on Discover Weekly and the like.

How do I get my music on to these playlists?

So it’s all very interesting to get a grip on how the Spotify ecosystem comes together, but how do you get your damn music on these playlists? You can’t contact these playlist creators directly through Spotify, and although it’s possible to Google their name and find some contact details online, I see that as a little time-consuming for a musician and invasive for the curator.

Pitching your music to blogs, influencers and music websites is another option, as many of these writers will have Spotify playlists and most likely form part of Spotify’s list of tastemaking blogs. For a budget option to easily pitch to these bloggers, you could check out the Music Blog Database. For just $60 you will have access to an enormous database of blogs and websites, sorted into genre. To contact them yourself and track clicks, opens and that kind of thing, get your head around Mail Merge software and start drafting a promotional post to the bloggers which may be interested in your music. Remember to include high-quality images and a link where they can easily download or stream your music.

Otherwise, if you have a little bit more cash in hand then the majority of these tastemakers are very likely to be signed-up with playlist pushing services. These websites essentially have the contact details of all these curators to hand, and for a fee can pitch your music to them directly. Whilst they never guarantee your music will start to feature on the big-hitting playlists, it could be a wise investment if you’re confident your music is the right fit for some of these lists. I have a relationship with some of these companies, so if you’re interested in a Spotify package for your music including playlist pitching then get in touch for more info.

Algorithmic

Algorithmic playlists are the next step of this Spotify ecosystem I talked about earlier. They include playlists such as Discover Weekly, Release Radar & Fresh Finds and fall into this category because there’s no human at the other side of them - they’re put together entirely by algorithms. So the key to getting on to these playlists is by performing well in Spotify’s algorithm.

How to Get On Discover Weekly

How do I get my music on to these playlists?

As I mentioned above, the way of getting on to Spotify playlists is to understand there is a logical process behind it all, and also to understand how its ecosystem of playlists come together. It works a little something like this:

  1. Your song is featured on blogs and music websites where it is then picked up by Spotify’s ´tastemakers´ and added to their own playlists. Your own fans also start streaming your music heavily through Spotify, adding it to their own music and sharing it with their friends.

  2. Your song starts to perform well on these playlists. It gets plenty of streams, it is rarely skipped, it is generally played all the way through and it is being added to other user’s playlists.

  3. This is picked up by Spotify’s algorithms and subsequently your tune starts to be fed into their algorithmic playlists such as Release Radar and Discover Weekly.

To accelerate this process you can do plenty of things yourself. Pitch the music to your existing fanbase and encourage them to play it on Spotify. Ideally your fans will naturally give the track a bit of an algorithm boost by playing it often and adding it to their own playlists. This is the first step of the process. To further give it a push, try creating your own playlists and sharing them with your followers. Remember, the more plays and playlist adds your music gets, the better chance it has of appearing on Discover Weekly. So if your own playlists end up picking up a lot of streams, that could give a huge boost to your own music which should be featured on them.

Editorial

Editorial playlists on Spotify are the real holy grail and the final step of the playlisting puzzle. Whilst we’ve shown that some user playlists can achieve plenty of new followers, it’s the playlists put together by Spotify staff that have the most followers. Just take ´Today’s Top Hits´, for instance, which has a staggering 23,991,939 followers at the time of writing. Although you now have the option to submit your music for playlist consideration before you release it on Spotify, this is a bit of a long shot if truth be told, and so the more organic process outlined in steps 1-3 above is the real way of giving yourself the best chance of getting on these playlists.

How do I get my music on to these playlists?

Let’s revisit those steps.

  1. Your song is featured on blogs and music websites where it is then picked up by Spotify’s ´tastemakers´ and added to their own playlists. Your own fans also start streaming your music heavily through Spotify, adding it to their own music and sharing it with their friends.

  2. Your song starts to perform well on these playlists. It gets plenty of streams, it is rarely skipped, it is generally played all the way through and it is being added to other user’s playlists.

  3. This is picked up by Spotify’s algorithms and subsequently your tune starts to be fed into their algorithmic playlists such as Release Radar and Discover Weekly.

  4. If your music then performs well in these algorithmic playlists, it could catch the attention of Spotify’s editors and be added to an editorial playlist.

  5. If you’re lucky enough to get on to one of these then the fight isn’t over. It will likely feature in and around the bottom of the playlist to begin with, but once again, if your track is picking up plenty of streams and being played all the way through then it will slowly work it’s way up towards the top of all the tracks.


Once you understand the entire system of Spotify playlisting as I’ve tried to explain above, you will start to understand how to give yourself the best chance of featuring on them. You have to pitch your music to the right people, encourage your fans to play your songs as often as possible, create plenty of playlists yourself and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a lucky break. Although the process is logical, it isn’t scientific, and following the steps outlined above doesn’t guarantee anything. You’ve got to dedicate plenty of time to it and hope your music eventually ends up in the right ears. Good luck and don’t forget to get in touch if you’ve got any questions.