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How To Get On Spotify Playlists In 2021: Get Your Music Playlisted

  • Damian Keyes
    Damian Keyes
  • Sep 9th 2021

Navigating Spotify playlists can be a minefield.

Spotify is the largest streaming platform for music in the world. It has absolutely transformed the industry and the way we listen to and consume music.

Millions of music lovers use Spotify every single day to listen to their favourite artists and discover new ones. Getting your music playlisted on streaming services like Spotify can be a gamechanger for independent artists to grow their fan base.

Here, I'll take you through understanding the different types of playlists, how to set your Spotify up to succeed, how to find playlist curators, and a step-by-step guide on exactly HOW to pitch to curators for the best chances of getting your music on Spotify playlists. Let's go.

Spotify's Algorithm, And Why It Matters

Before we talk about playlists, answer this for me.

How seriously do you take your Spotify artist profile?

Imagine Spotify is one of your social media platforms. On a scale of 1-10, how seriously do you take the energy and effort that you put into Spotify as a platform?

Now, whilst Spotify isn’t strictly a social media platform, it is run by algorithms.

It’s about as close as you can get to social media, without the interaction.

Spotify is similar to YouTube. It works off an algorithm. Its job is to provide you with music and try to get you to stay on Spotify as long as possible.

If Spotify could keep you on their platform for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would be a very happy bunny.

Your job is to play the algorithm. Keep people on Spotify.

The more you do that, the more Spotify will reward you.

The less you do that, the more Spotify will ignore you.

This is why we need to show the platform some love.

Spotify playlists1

We want to tell Spotify who we are. Tell our audience who we are. Tell Spotify that we love you as a platform and we are taking you seriously, so you should take us seriously!

They will look at things like listener behaviour, skips, playlist adds, frequently listened to artists and so much more as part of their algorithmic system.

If you are able to please the listener, the platform and provide artist information for their dataset, you are on the way to getting in the good books.

It will also look at the raw data of your song, the language, the tempo, the key and more.

Now before we dig deeper into exactly how we're going to show Spotify some love and boost the algorithm in our favour, I wanted to explain the different types of Spotify playlists and what they mean for your music.

Different Types Of Spotify Playlists

Not all playlists are equal.

Some have unique features that require distinct strategies for playlist consideration and promotion. Most importantly, some are put together by an algorithm, and some by an actual human user.

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Editorial Playlists

Editorial Playlists are all curated by Spotify's editorial team.

They are handcrafted by tastemakers to suit different music styles, moods, topics, and trends around the world. Examples of editorial playlists include Folksy Covers, Rock Classics, and New Music Friday.

Each editorial playlist boasts an active following and is highly selective.

Algorithmic Playlists

These are unique to each listener and generated entirely by Spotify's own system.

The 'Made For' section features algorithmic playlists such as Discover Weekly and Release Radar, as well as various Daily Mixes.

Playlists like Release Radar look at a lot of data in order to generate their recommendations. Spotify's algorithm refers to listening habits such as likes, shares, playlist adds, skips, plays, and more to calculate what new music would suit the listener.

Listener Playlists

These are playlists made by listeners and users on Spotify. Some of them can be playlists for personal listening or family and friends, whilst others are influencer-curated playlists with a big following.

We'll dig deeper into playlist curators later but one strategy to get your music on Spotify playlists is to submit your music to various influencers and curators to feature your tracks.

Now that we understand how the Spotify algorithm works and the different types of playlist, let's look at how to actually get on Spotify playlists in 2021.

1. Sign Up To Spotify For Artists

This is an app that allows you to connect with your fans.

More importantly, it has all of the crucial backend stuff for managing your official Spotify presence. All of the stats and controls that matter are here.

Spotify For Artists also helps you target your fanbase geographically. Not sure where you should tour next? Easily see stats on where your fan base is listening from and more.

Seeing your numbers grow can be quite addictive here, so be careful not to get carried away with the plethora of data now available to you.

Spotify for artists

2. Verify Your Spotify For Artists Account

It's really quick to get verified on Spotify and grab that blue tick.

All you need to do is confirm and verify your profile in Spotify For Artists. The blue tick will make both listeners AND Spotify take you seriously.

The more data they have on you and the more seriously they take you, the higher your chances of getting your music on Spotify playlists.

Spotify verified artist blue tick

3. Optimize Your Profile

Honestly, it's amazing how many artist's profiles I see that just look awful.

Again, think of Spotify as you do with your Instagram feed.

When someone clicks on it, does it make you want to listen to the music? Or does it look unfinished?

Make sure your header and bio photos are vibrant, high quality, and really represent who you are.

Choose your artist pick, add merchandise and details of your upcoming live gigs. When and where are you playing?

And of course, add your social media profile links.

Now you’re showing your Spotify some love.

Make sure all the information you submit answers the key questions. Who you are, where you're from, what do you stand for, what do you look like, where can fans find out more about you, and more.

Remember, we need to feed the algorithm and give Spotify as much information as possible. Looking after and setting up your profile properly is one of the biggest steps in how to get on Spotify playlists.

Spotify for artists

4. Boost The Algorithm Organically

Before we start actually manually submitting our music to playlist curators and Spotify's editorial team, there’s still some more work to do.

Remember, Spotify works on an algorithm. Spotify is also pushing more and more for algorithm-based playlists.

It makes sense.

If millions of people are listening to a particular track, it’s obviously a track that Spotify would want more people to hear. If no one is listening, Spotify will be thinking, maybe I shouldn’t be sharing it with so many people. It’s that simple.

We need to get the ball rolling and getting real, organic data pumped into Spotify's database about your music.

When you release your single, you need to start pointing people in the direction of Spotify. Not just once but on a regular basis.

Organic streams from real listeners are a part of the process that you shouldn't skip, fake, or ignore.

Make sure your links point to those new releases, your email signature sends people to Spotify to hear your tracks, and that every day you’re putting out stories and content on social media reminding people to go to Spotify and listen to the latest track.

Spotify social media

If they are actual fans, call in a favour. Simply ask your fans if they can add your new release onto their playlist. Or even to make a playlist and add your song in.

All of these tiny details do get picked up by Spotify and yes, they do make a big difference.

Playlists start small and build up. It’s unlikely that you’ll just appear all of a sudden on Release Radar or Discover Weekly, but you might begin to appear on some smaller playlists, and the algorithm might grow and start spidering your song out to more and more places.

Do not buy fake streams to boost your song and the algorithm. Spotify is a digital automated version of the music industry of old. It's kind of like a gatekeeper. If you don’t put in the proof, you can’t come in.

Inside DKMBA, I explain all this and more in The Roadmap To 1 Million Streams which takes you from getting started to hitting a major milestone in music.

The Roadmap to 1 Million Streams 2

5. Submit New Releases To Spotify

Again, Spotify For Artists is key.

Here, you can submit a track for Spotify playlists. But remember, if you haven’t put in the groundwork in advance of submitting your single, why are they going to put it into one of their playlists?

If you’re releasing a single on Spotify, it does help to get in early.

In fact, you can submit a track to Spotify for playlist consideration 4 weeks before that track comes out on Spotify.

Here is how to submit your music to Spotify playlists in 3 easy steps:

  • Log on to your Spotify For Artists dashboard on desktop.

  • Either select GET STARTED next to the track you want to submit. Or, go to Profile, right-click any unreleased music, and select Submit a Song.

  • Fill out as much information as possible about your song. The more data Spotify has about your submission, the better.

6. Pitch Your Music To Playlist Curators

So, what about curated Spotify playlists? There are plenty of them but they tend to be owned by influencers, bloggers, celebs, YouTubers, Radio Stations, website owners and more.

Many of these curators have their own music blog and website for artists in that niche. So, how do you actually find these curators in order to begin pitching your songs?

Well, they aren’t hidden away. They want to be found and want to find new music. Their job is to find new songs and new material to promote to their audience.

Your job is to put the research in to find them.

Now, you could spend weeks and weeks looking through Spotify, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and more to find them… or you could just get access to a database of over 7000 curators that you can submit a song to in your genre.

My new playlisting tool SONAR has launched in DKMBA where you have access to over 7000 Spotify playlists. It's an easy way to find the curator's details to contact them to get your music on the playlists.

Sonar Laptop Image
  • Search a keyword or genre to get started like "rock" or "drive".

  • Contact the curator via email or Instagram.

  • Get your music playlisted!

  • Sonar also comes with a playlist submission template!

If you want to check it out, alongside loads of other stuff to help with your music career, click this link.

Spotify Curated Playlist Pitch Tips

Here are a few tips for actually approaching Spotify playlist curators and increasing your chances of actually getting one of these influencers to take you and your songs seriously.

  • Be realistic with you are approaching

For example, if your band name is called ‘Carnage Cannibals’ you’re not going to try and get your music on pop smash hits, chill country songs, or charts 2021. The fit isn’t right and you’re just wasting time and theirs.

  • Make sure your house is in order

Don’t try and skip the queue until you’ve shown Spotify some love and sorted out your profile. Getting your music on Spotify playlists begins with looking after your own ship first.

  • Make sure you are patient and build relationships

I get this all the time. Random messages saying 'Hey, can you promote my new song?'. Think about it. Why would anyone promote you if they don’t know who you are or anything about you? You can’t just go in for the kill and outright ask them to get you more listeners, fans, and streams.

  • What is in it for them?

It’s obvious what is in it for you, but what is in it for them? A curator’s number one job is to get more people to listen. If you can easily explain what you are doing and how you are promoting yourself, it starts to give them some reasons to put you on their Spotify playlists and potential new fans.

Spotify listener
  • Make sure all of your marketing is pointing in the direction of Spotify

When it comes to music marketing, you are holding people's hands through the journey. Increase your streams organically with your current followers and push them towards the platform.

  • Don’t buy onto playlists

Fake numbers don't help anyone. They definitely don’t help you and can damage your reputation. It's a waste of time and money, just like buying Facebook likes or YouTube subscribers and is simply an ego boost that will not further your career.

  • Look into platforms like SubmitHub

SubmitHub is a platform that allows you to submit tracks to playlists and bloggers for money. You can get feedback or a yes or no answer. It’s not everything and some of the feedback can be brutal. However, It is another way of getting in front of new followers.

Your strongest asset in all of this is a dedicated and loyal fan base that can create demand for your music and bring you more attention. However, being strategic about how you as an artist approach streaming platforms and navigate their systems can get you ahead of the game.

If you are serious about getting ahead of the game with your music career, learn more here.