How to Get Featured on a Spotify Playlist

As much as artists complain about music streaming, getting featured on a Spotify playlist can be quite profitable.

I recently had a chat with Juno-award winning songwriter and artist Helen Austin, and she mentioned that she somehow wound up on an influencer’s playlist. Though she didn’t know how it happened, she was wondering out loud whether or not such a feat could be duplicated (podcast coming soon).

And that’s just one example of an artist that’s been seeing traction from playlists — there are many others out there.

That should tell you that getting on a popular playlist is worthwhile. The question is whether or not you can engineer your own success.

Let’s take a look.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Playlists

Getting featured on a niche playlist is valuable across the board — not just on Spotify. YouTube and Deezer also present important opportunities.

These playlists appeal to very specific audiences. A lot of artists try to appeal to everyone. Without getting too deep into that, it’s ridiculous to think that everyone will like your music. You need to find your people.

Playlists offer just such an opportunity. More plays means more money in your pockets and more exposure for your music. And getting featured could direct more attention to your catalog too.

But don’t forget that you are up against some stiff competition. Major labels are paying good money to have certain tracks inserted into curated playlists.

Uncover Your Targets

For better or for worse, Helen Austin isn’t the only artist that has “randomly” found their music on playlists. You can also look at the example of Perrin Lamb.

Does this mean that there isn’t any way to influence your appearance on such a playlist? No.

But first, we need to give some consideration to who is actually creating these playlists. After all, it will be necessary to reach out to them and get on their good side.

If you’d like to view a comprehensive list of potential influencers, you can click on the previous link.

For the intents and purposes of this guide, we’ll just mention a few:

  • Magazines and publications. Particularly those that talk about entertainment and music.
  • Music bloggers and news sites. There are plenty of them out there — just do a Google search.
  • In-house curators. The staff at Spotify, Apple Music, and so on.
  • Radio stations. Just one more way for radio stations to get more exposure for their most played and popular tracks.
  • Music fans. There’s no shortage of them!

These are the people that you need to reach out to. Find out if there’s anyone you might know, or anyone you could be introduced to through your extended network.

Consider what value you could add to them before approaching them with the idea of using your song in your playlist. People are always tuned into WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”), so it would be wise to think about what you can do to get them to care.

Don’t lean too heavily on any one connection. It would be advisable to create a small database of influencers and tastemakers you can reach out to, and also determine whether or not your music fits the kind of playlists they are creating.

Don’t forget — there are plenty of musicians reaching out to various influencers already — you have to be efficient, respectful, and thoughtful in the way you connect with them.

Create Your Own Playlists

Let’s not forget that you can also become a curator.

In fact, this is something David Nevue mentioned in his essential book, How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet: The Musician’s Guide to Effective Music Promotion on the Internet. I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten a few digital sales thanks to a playlist I created when my first album came out.

Keep in mind that your playlists will probably need to be promoted in one way or another. You’ll want to get support from your fans, friends and family, and you’ll also want to avoid featuring your own tracks too heavily or it will look overly self-promotional.

It’s also good to know that you can create playlists collaboratively, and that’s a good way to leverage others and drive more interest.

Over time, if you stay with it, you could come to wield just as much influence as other tastemakers and curators out there.

JTV Digital’s client SEAWAVES were recently featured in a very popular playlist

Additional Tips

Here are a few more tips for getting featured on a Spotify playlist:

  • Make sure your online presence is immaculate. Get everything in order — your website, your social media presence, your photos, your tour dates, and so on. When reaching out to influencers, this will help you make a better impression.
  • Set aside some time to reach out. Don’t forget — you’ll be adding one more thing to your promotional plate if you’re serious about pursuing playlist notoriety. Make sure to carve out some time in your schedule to make it happen.
  • Don’t forget to follow up. Keep checking back with curators to see if they’ve added your track to their playlist. If you’ve made a strong case for why they should use your song, then they should be willing. But people are busy and can easily forget. Become the king or queen of following up.
  • Share the playlist you’re featured on. The more plays you get, the better. Once you’ve made it onto a playlist, make sure to share it out on social media, in your email campaigns, at your shows, and so on.
Listen to SEAWAVES on “Throwback Covers”

Final Thoughts

When it comes right down to it, getting on a playlist isn’t that complicated. Make great music. Figure out who the influencers are. Reach out to them. Be courteous and respectful in how you communicate with them. Have a professional online presence. Follow up. Promote the playlists you get featured on.

Don’t forget — you aren’t going to win the jackpot every single time, but if you keep putting yourself out there, there’s no telling what could happen.

Moreover, don’t shrug off the idea of becoming a curator yourself. There could be huge potential in creating your own playlists and building an audience around them.


Originally published at www.jtvdigital.com on March 24, 2016.