Spotify has a problem that only the independent music community can solve.

..and it’s nothing to do with ‘fake artists’ or royalty payments.

Let me start this article by saying I’m a huge fan of Spotify both as a music fan and a record label owner.

Spotify makes up a big chunk of our labels monthly revenue and seems to be contributing a bigger slice of the pie every month. Spotify is also where I consume around ~90% of all the music I listen to outside of work!

But.. there’s been something worrying me for a while. I’m not talking about ‘fake artists’ or royalty sharing. I’m talking about power.

The Problem

Spotify playlists are powerful. In fact a study by Sung Cho, the CEO of streaming analytics firm Chartmetric, explained that in some cases 60+% of an artists streams can come from their top 5 playlist placements.

Spotify has given artists the opportunity to reach more people and be discovered by more potential fans than ever before, so whats the problem?

Put simply, it’s about the balance of power.

Major labels dominate the big Spotify-curated playlists. 
- No surprise there as they are part-owners of the platform and without them Spotify would not be able to exist..

Almost all of the biggest playlist brands are also owned and controlled by, you guessed it, the majors.

The list below shows some of the major label owned curation brands and who owns them:

  • Filtr (Sony)
  • Digster (Universal)
  • Topsify (Warner)
  • Playlists.net (Warner)

None of this is to say that getting music on to these playlists is impossible for indies. However it is fair to say it’s more difficult to submit music and rise through the ranks as an independent artist or label.

Spotify’s editorial team do a fine job of balancing data and human tastes to put together some exceptionally good playlists but with thousands of tracks being released every day, they can’t support or even listen to them all.

So.. Whats the solution?

The independent music community needs to take some of that editorial power back.

There are thousands of fantastic independently curated playlists with large followings that can help good music get the exposure it deserves. These playlists are still responsible for a large proportion of peoples listening activity on Spotify.

Unfortunately these playlists are often buried on the platform in favour of Spotify’s own curated playlists and the major label brands.

Independent curation is vital for the long-term success of the indie music industry, it’s important that we don’t allow all the power to be taken away from us.

  • Independent curators need to be able to promote their playlists and increase their followers.
  • Independent artists & labels need to be able to suggest music to these curators.
  • Artists, curators, labels and brands working in the indie sector need to support each other.

We have been thinking about this for some time now and have started to take action. We have created a new system which we hope will help curators grow their playlists and artists get the exposure they need on independent playlists.

Our new playlist submission system. Find it at http://play.soundplate.com

How Our Spotify Playlist Submission System Works

  1. Spotify curators add their playlists to the website by clicking here.
  2. Music Fans & Artists discover playlists on the Soundplate Website.
  3. Artists hit the ‘Submit to this playlist button’ and get taken to a page like this, where they can submit music to the Spotify playlist of their choice.
  4. Curators receive the music (and a new follower) then decide which tracks to add to their playlists.

Artists get access to playlists. Curators get new followers and exposure for their playlists.

The power of the independent curator’s increases!

Everyone wins. (apart from the majors.. Sorry!)

We know this is only a very small step, but we hope it’s a step in the right direction and we can help indies to slowly but surely re-address the balance of power in the streaming landscape.


Check out our new website: http://soundplate.com

Or go straight to the Spotify playlist submission system and submit music for Spotify playlists now.

Want to chat more about this? Contact me at Matt(@)Soundplate.com


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