Spotify playlists have rapidly risen to become the Holy Grail of music coverage, and as the streaming platform becomes increasingly social, knowing how boost your particular Spotify playlist is becoming increasingly important.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Playlists are the new mixtapes, but before you can curate the future of music you need to develop a following. We can help with that.
Spotify playlists have quickly become one of the most sought-after types of coverage in music promotion. Some argue playlists are quickly overtaking blogs in terms of influence, and it’s hard to disagree. Several Spotify playlists have millions of followers, and dozens more have ten-thousand subscribers or more. Do you know any blogs with that kind of dedicated following? We don’t.
And make no mistake: Spotify is becoming more social every month. The company already shared plans to let artists engage with fans directly, and there have been rumblings throughout the industry that Spotify will add more editorial offerings to their service soon. If all goes as planned for the company, Spotify could not only control music but the conversation around music as well.
With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that many aspiring tastemakers and music professionals are trying their hand at launching the next great Spotify playlist. The company does not disclose many figures related to playlist creation, but it’s not hard to imagine hundreds, if not thousands of new playlists being made every day. Most never reach more than a handful of people, and many others burn out before they become a dominant force in their niche.
We cannot tell you the secret recipe to playlist stardom, but we do know a number of things anyone can do to improve their Spotify following and help raise support for the artists they admire.
Identify a target market and cater your playlist to meet their needs.
Very few people make successful playlists by sharing whatever songs interest them at any given time. The best playlists are curated to engage a very specific audience, like 90s hip-hop fans or people who identify as crust punks. Figure out who you want to share music with and fill your playlist with talent that you believe will fall in line with their interests. Don’t worry about other people beating you to the market you choose as much as you do trying to maintain regular updates.
Create great cover art
Branding is as important in playlist promotion as it is in any other facet of the music business. If you want to build a following you need to be easy to identify, and those efforts begin with creating cover art that entices people to give your playlist a click. There are many tutorials on how to accomplish this circulating online, but the two keys to success are originality and composition. Don’t just make something that looks good, make something that stands up and screams, “Look at me!”
Promote your playlist to your personal market (and take chances).
Becoming influential on Spotify is similar to finding success on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You have to put yourself out there in order to grow, and you have to think outside the box to make your playlist stand out.
A quick way to do this is to use simple promotional tools like sponsored posts to reach out to your social media network. Your playlist could also be advertised personally. Contact your local venues, bars, independent shops, and cafés and ask them to shuffle it. You will get a lot of nos, but there will be people who oblige as well. Take the risk.
Make a marketing plan in advance of starting to market your playlist.
There’s an old saying in business that every minute spent planning something saves ten minutes when it comes time to do that thing. Before you begin shouting into the void of the internet about your playlist, take time to figure out where you should promote and how you will go about getting people’s attention. That goes along with figuring out your audience, yes, but also applies to your cover art, playlist description, and promotional copy.
Enter Reddit’s Playlist competition
Reddit is as close to the Wild West as you can get online without entering any legally questionable territory. Among the many offerings of its massive community is a subreddit developed by and catering to playlist creators. Not only can you upload and share your playlist with people who are interested in discovering new playlists, but you can enter into a monthly competition that offers the opportunity to gain a lot of exposure for your curation skills.
Submit your creation(s) to playlist websites
Did you know there are sites that exist for the sole purpose of exposing people to new music through playlists? Websites such as Playlists.net and Sound Plate are designed to help you promote your playlists. For example, Playlists.net collaborates with the “Playlist a Day” app, which you can find in both Android and iOS app stores. Basically, this app gives users a random Spotify playlist based on a theme they’ve chosen. Add your playlists, and find new, random fans each day!
Contact the artists on your playlist, as well as their teams!
Do you know who loves finding new playlists? The people tasked with helping an artist gain exposure. When you add a song to your playlist you should be tweeting about and tagging the artist behind it online. You should also tag or email their team (PR, label) to inform them of the track’s inclusion. Some won’t respond, but others will help you promote your playlist because they’ll know you’re serious about your curation efforts.
Follow great playlists
You should never expect people to do something you wouldn’t do yourself, which is why you need to be following playlists. Seek out similar playlists that have found success from their promotional efforts and learn from their behavior. What does their cover art look like? Do they change the art? How often is the playlist update? Do they curate the track order? Learning what makes other people successful will, in turn, help you become successful in playlist making.
Collaborate with blogs and influencers
Teamwork makes the dream work. You should contact music bloggers who cover the artists featured in your playlist and work on a collaboration or a playlist takeover with them. Have the writer post about it to their social media profiles encouraging fans to share and ask them to add a playlist widget to their site.
Create more playlists
A smart business person does not put all their time and effort into one project. Leaders of industry don’t rely on a single revenue stream. If you want to become an influential curator you will need more than one great playlist. Develop as many playlists as you can find time to maintain, and use their success to promote other playlists you offer.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.