How to get on Spotify playlists: your secret guide to getting featured

Spotify playlists are the burning topic in 2019. Streaming is taking over, and every artist wants a slice of the action. But how do you get your music featured? How can you use Spotify for Artists to your advantage? Continue reading to find out how.

What are Spotify playlists?

A playlist is a bunch of tracks which can be saved and listened to at a later date. People create personal playlists for long journeys, the gym, Friday night beer pong parties and everything in between.

Spotify has been playlisting for some time now. They have their official Spotify playlists and also offer personalised playlists, such as ‘Release Radar’ which are curated by their sophisticated algorithms. Brands, artists and record labels can also create their own playlists, using them as an ultimate marketing tool.

Streaming is taking over, and Spotify playlists are one of the newer ways to gain track exposure for artists and record labels. Used intelligently and the play count and following will soon start racking up.

The 2 types of Spotify Playlists

Keep in mind, there are two types of Spotify playlists we will cover, and you will take different approaches to each one. These are Personal Spotify Playlists and Official Spotify Playlists.

Personal Spotify Playlists

Personal Spotify Playlists are playlists that are created by the users of Spotify. Either record labels, or music bloggers, or just plain music fans and heavy users of Spotify will make these playlists and share them with other Spotify users. Some of these playlists become very popular and shared among lots of people. In some cases, Spotify will even feature these playlists in their app which helps encourage Spotify users to continue producing quality content and playlists within the Spotify app.

Official Spotify Playlists

Official Spotify Playlists are curated by the Spotify curation team and are composed of music that fits a specific element, mood, or style that is featured in a given playlist. These playlists are the ones you see in the prominent areas of the Spotify app. You may also see some personal Spotify playlists in this area as well. Ultimately it is up to the Spotify curation team to decide what playlists get featured in the app.

Getting Your Music Listed on Personal Spotify Playlists

To start, we look at the ins and outs of Personal Spotify Playlists. Later in the article, we will discuss Official Spotify Playlists. Personal Spotify Playlists are curated by other Spotify users who are not a part of the Spotify staff. The secret here is build up your online presence and then find the contact info of the people who run these playlists. Be very specific about who you send your music to, ensuring their taste matches up with your own.

Start investigating the details about Spotify Playlisting

To understand how to get featured on official Spotify playlists and personal lists, you must do some investigating. 

Before writing this article, I also did my research. I spoke with a few artists and record labels. I wanted to share their insight with you. This article will give you first-hand information from those who are seeking features on a regular basis.

Where do I begin with finding personal lists?

Start searching Spotify for playlists. There are hundreds of thousands to choose from. Some of them have a superabundance of followers, and some have an insignificant few.

Get to know how they work and a feel for the music they showcase. Follow the lists, listen to the selected music and start thinking about whether your music would suit their tastes. For example, a techno playlist will not feature your new drum and bass track. But a playlist showcasing electronic music as a whole genre may feature your new release. That’s if they like the record, of course.

Find and establish the playlist account details. How many followers do they have? Does it seem privately owned or professionally branded? See if the playlist owner has left any music submission details in the description. Do they have Twitter? These account details are a vital part of the preparation. Once established, start logging the information on a spreadsheet.

I urge you to create a spreadsheet with the headings:

  1. Followers
  2. Contact name
  3. Contact email
  4. Twitter
  5. Facebook
  6. Website

The ambition here is track exposure; I suggest you target the playlistings with the massive followings. More followers = more potential plays.

This list should be your manual. Keep it, refresh it often and refer to it when you’re planning your next release. Reach out to your new connections from time to time, don’t contact them only when you need something. Build a relationship and develop it.

Finding curators contact details

This is going to be the tricky and time-consuming part. But you only need to do it once, hopefully! Once your spreadsheet is filled with potential curators, you are going to need their submission details or email address.

If you’ve already found this information when searching Spotify that’s great; you don’t need to relook these details up.

So how do you find someone’s email address?

When I used to run press campaigns, I had a couple of methods for getting someone’s email address. I’ll explain, there are a few simple ways and a grey-hat method.

Twitter:

A lot of curators have Twitter as it’s a powerful way of promoting their playlisting. Follow them. I suggest you Tweet them and ask for their email address if it’s not publically listed. Or if they follow you back, you can direct message them. Start a conversation and get to know them a little before spamming them with music.

Facebook:

Load up Facebook and see if the playlist has a Facebook page. For instance, the Spotify playlist ‘I Love Drum & Bass’ has one. Located at the top is a ‘Send Email’ button. If there isn’t an email address listed, you can always send them a message. “Hi, I would like to send you some music for playlist consideration, could I have your email address please” would be a good opening message.

What happens if they don’t have a Twitter or Facebook?

Does the playlist have a website? It might be worth spending some time on Google snooping around. Once you find the site take a look for their contact details, typically positioned in the footer. If the contact details are not listed there is tools like Hunter. Hunter (in their own words) lets you find email addresses in seconds. This method can speed the process up and help find the exact email address needed.

Once you have their email address, send them a simple email, like the Facebook message but this time ask for permission to send them music.

Just because you have their email address it doesn’t mean they want to hear from you, so don’t spam them with releases without seeking that permission first. You don’t want to be flagged for spam. Remember, it’s all about building relationships. Once you get their approval; send them the music as promised.

Are all your social media accounts set up?

Having a good online presence will help you achieve you being playlisted by a curator. Sadly, the days where the music would do the talking have long gone, unless you are very well known. Having a great looking social network will increase your possibilities with music getting picked up by influencers, bloggers and playlists. I understand this paragraph has just irritated you a little. I know it shouldn’t matter, but regrettably, it does.

How to get on Spotify playlists

Below you’ll find what’s required and how to get on Spotify playlists.

Will a verified Spotify account help me get on official playlists?

Yes. Is the short answer.

This is a must if you want your music featured by Spotify’s playlisting editorial team.

To get your Spotify profile verified, head to Spotify for Artists and fill in the details. Once this achieved, you can also submit to their editorial teams. Spotify says “With Spotify for Artists, you can submit one song from any scheduled release for our team to discover and consider for editorial playlists. We’ll also include it on your followers’ Release Radar playlists.”

Let’s take a peek at Spotify for Artists track submission page:

Spotify for Artists

The image above shows where you will find your repertoire. From there you can hit ‘submit a song’ on your pending track. The next image shows you how to get your music to the right editors. Select the genre, mood, styles, lyrics and complete the remaining steps. 

Submitting a song

When you select the genre, you’ll be presented with sub-genres. Choose the relevant options and press next. 

Getting music to the correct editors

Phew. One more step to go. This next section is to tell Spotify more about the music. 

Spotify for Artists: Track submission

As you can see, submitting on Spotify for Artists is comprehensive and must be done carefully. This is something you do not want to get wrong. Mainly as you can only choose one track per release. Submitting music should be strategic and I highly recommend you read the Spotify for Artists FAQ before starting. 

Joining as a Record Label or Distributor

This is very similar to signing up as an artist, but instead, you must create an analytics account by following this link. The setup process is simple and shouldn’t take more than a few moments.

As you can see below Spotify asks you to search for your Record Label or Team. Input your details and select or create your team. 

You must choose if you are representing a label or distributor. Then follow the remaining steps. When pressing next, you presented with a screen asking for three tracks owned by the label or distributor. The remaining steps are self-explanatory and easy enough to follow.

label upload promo.ly

Timing is important

To be considered for an official Spotify playlist they recommend you submit your music seven days before the release date.

When dealing with curators, I advise you give them as much time as possible. Curators will get hundreds of releases sent to them, so they require as much time as possible.

How do I send my new email recipients’ music?

There are various ways this can be accomplished:

Email:

Email is great. It’s the easiest way to get hold of someone. It’s excellent for making introductions. But it’s not really designed for sending music. Yes, you can post a link in the body of the text, but do you really want your pre-released music attached to a shareable link which is being sent into orbit?

This is where Promo.ly can help. And here’s what I propose you do.

Make your introduction over email.

Something like “Hi Bob, I’d like to send you my new track for consideration of your ‘Ultimate Cheese Party’ playlist. Do you mind if I send you a promo?”

Wait for Bob’s reply.

Bob replies, saying “Sure, send it over!”

Use Promo.ly and securely send your new beat to Bob. Promo.ly will keep track of Bob’s activity and show his written feedback and when he’s downloaded it.

Give it a few days and reply back to Bob’s email. “Hey Bob, thanks for downloading! Can we discuss a placement on the playlist?”

An alternative way:

A few curators have their own website with a dropbox submission method. It’s a simple method, but individually, I would like to have a connection with someone over email instead of blind posting. However, this is up to you, and if it gets results, I fully support it.

Summing-up

Getting features on playlists is difficult, but not impossible. It will take some work and relationship building to start with. Once you have these connections confirmed getting features in the future will be smoother. Make sure your social media is in check and get them verified where possible. As mentioned earlier, having your Spotify profile verified is a must if you want the prominent list features.

The most important rule of all? Write and release good music.

Do you want to know if uploading music to Spotify is good idea? Check out the pros and cons here