Streaming And The Art Of Playlist Stuffing
The rise of the streaming age has not only altered our listening habits, but is also impacting the way in which artists release songs. In an effort to hit the monetizable thirty second mark, artists are releasing shorter and shorter songs, and then “stuffing” playlists with as many of them as possible.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
Streaming is having a tremendous influence on the very essence of a song (its form) these days for better or worse. Many pop songs are near or under the 2 minute mark, devoid of intros, bridges and solos, in order to get right to the meat of the tune and keep the listener for at least 30 seconds in order to get paid. With that in mind, artists and labels are also aiming this strategy toward playlists as well, unleashing what’s now known as playlist stuffing.
Playlist stuffing is the art of designing a playlist with a whole lot of very short songs. They’re so short that hopefully the listener won’t even have a chance to reach for the Next button before another song comes on.
Although major artists like Chris Brown (45 short songs on his 2017 Heartbreak On A Full Moon album) have indulged in the strategy, Kieron Donoghue discovered a rather extreme version of playlist stuffing on one titled Sleep & Mindfulness Thunderstorms created by Sony Music UK.
The title is stuffed with keywords to begin with, which in fact is considered to be good SEO, but the fact is that the playlist comprises 330 songs, most of which are around a minute long!
The songs are composed of ambient rain noise with a few thundershowers thrown in, so the production cost was virtually nothing. Yes, it might be useful if you want to relax or sleep, but each track is a short 60 seconds long when it could have been a long continuous track, which arguably would have been a much better listening experience for what it was ostensibly trying to accomplish.
The problem with that is that no matter how long a song is, you only get paid once, and that occurs after the listener has been on the hook for 30 seconds. This was just a way of Sony to stuff some extra free money away without worrying about those nasty artist and songwriter royalties that it normally has to pay.
A 330 song playlist does not break Spotify’s rules as it can be as long as you’d like, but it does seem a little obvious in its intent. Playlist stuffing might be a good strategy, but at least be reasonable about it.