How to Submit Your Music to Spotify Playlists
The changing way that music is consumed means that playlists have become more important than ever. With over 50 million songs at a user’s fingertips people look to playlists to tell them which of those songs they should be listening to – in essence, playlists are becoming the modern day radio stations, and Spotify playlist submission is the modern day equivalent of radio plugging.
And the stats back this up, Spotify have recently revealed that in the time since the Discover Weekly playlist was created it has generated 2.3 billion hours of streams, for context that’s 266 thousand years of streams!
With this many streams coming from playlists it’s become an essential aspect of Spotify promotion.
In this article we’ll cover the different types of Spotify playlists, how they work, and how to go about getting your music on them.
What Are the Different Types of Spotify Playlists
The three categories are:
- Algorithmic playlists (or personalized)
- Editorial playlists
- User Curated playlists (sometimes called listener playlists)
Broadly speaking, playlists will fall into three main buckets that are important to artists, and it’s important to really understand the difference between these when trying to get noticed for playlist consideration.
These are automatically generated by Spotify and will look different to each user depending on their tastes. These are playlists like Release Radar and Discover Weekly.
You can increase your chances of appearing on these playlists for a particular user by having more followers, more plays, and more people saving your tracks in their library and playlists.
These are playlists created by Spotify’s editorial team who listen to your track and, if they like it, will add it to a relevant playlist created by Spotify, such as Today’s Top Hits or RapCaviar. You can tell if a playlist is curated by Spotify, as it will have the Spotify symbol in the top left corner.
You can pitch your track to Spotify for consideration on one of these playlists by the process we mention below in the How to Get Featured in Editorial Playlists section.
User Curated Playlists
These are very similar to the editorial playlists in the previous section, except rather than the Spotify playlist curators being actual Spotify employees, in this case they are Spotify users.
This could be an individual Spotify user, or it could be a playlist created by a big brand.
How you pitch to these will vary from playlist to playlist, but you can find out more in the How to Get Featured in User Curated Playlists section.
Which is Better, Algorithmic or User Curated?
There’s quite clearly a big difference in the approach to getting featured on algorithmic playlists vs getting listed on ones made by Spotify playlist curators – so which ones are more effective for your Spotify promotion efforts?
The unhelpful answer is both.
In this interesting article from CDBaby there’s a great quote mentioned which may put playlist submission as a whole into perspective:
“Bryan Johnson, director of artists and management at Spotify UK, says “What we are seeing is that this playlist (Release Radar) is becoming a huge driver of streams – more than any of our programmed editorial playlists, which are the ones that everyone pitches for. It’s Release Radar which is driving listens.”
The key to getting on release radar is getting followers. The more followers you can build, the more often you’ll appear.
Getting on Editorial and User Created playlists can be great, but they can often result in plays and not follows. This isn’t a bad thing, and still opens up the door to a new audience, but keep it in perspective.
That might not be what you want to hear in a Spotify playlist submission guide 🙂 – but it’s an important point.
General Submission Advice
Before we get into the weeds on how to submit to each type of playlist it’s important to first run through some more general advice that’s applicable to any type of submission.
- Be polite when pitching to playlist curators, they don’t owe you anything, and if they don’t want to add your song to the playlist that’s their prerogative.
- Include a Spotify link to the song you want added. Don’t just provide the artist name and song name, and expect the playlist owner to search for it.
- Include some information about how you plan on promoting this track yourself. People want to know they’ll be including a song that will get a bit of traction.
- You will have more chance of getting a playlist feature if you have a following, so make sure you do as much as you can to promote yourself as an artist on Spotify. This is a bit chicken and egg I know, you wouldn’t be looking to get on a playlist if you didn’t need to promote yourself.
- If you have a following off Spotify, mention that (and also try to get them to follow you on Spotify).
- Big up the song in the pitch, you want whoever is going to listen to it to be enthusiastic about giving it a go.
- Be realistic about whether your track is a good fit for the playlist you’re pitching to. If it’s not a good fit, then don’t waste your time or the curators time.
How to Get Featured in Discover Weekly & Release Radar Playlists (Algorithmic Playlists)
These are algorithmically generated playlists that Spotify creates based on the artists a user follows and listens to, and artists that Spotify thinks they’ll like.
So what can you do to increase your chances of appearing in these playlists?
Build your follower numbers
One of the most important things you can do is to build your follower numbers. The more followers you have, the more chance you have of appearing in these playlists.
To get more followers check out our guide on increasing your Spotify followers.
Consider more frequent releases
More frequent releases can keep your followers engaged, keep your monthly listeners high and increase the chances of your tracks appearing in these playlists without plateauing.
When you pitch an unreleased song to Spotify (covered more in the next section) they will add the pitched song to your followers’ Release Radar playlists.
Be aware of engagement and activity ratios
What your listeners do with your music is just as important as getting plays. If people are sharing it, liking them, and adding them to their playlists then these tracks are much more likely to be favoured by the algorithms than tracks which have plenty of listens but no engagement.
How to Get Featured in Editorial Playlists
One way to get featured in editorial playlists is the same as with the algorithmic playlists. Increase your plays, and your followers to the point where you’re picked up by Spotify’s curators without having to pitch them.
The main way you’re likely to get featured on these playlists is by pitching your song to the editors at Spotify. To do this you’ll need two things:
- A Spotify for Artists account. If you don’t have one of these you’ll need to set it up before your song is released and ensure your artist profile is up to date.
- An unreleased track. Editorial playlists look for unreleased music – you can’t pitch a song you’ve already released.
Interestingly, even though you have to pitch an unreleased track, this won’t necessarily be the track that gets chosen. Spotify might choose another of your tracks to go in a playlist.
To pitch your track you follow these steps:
- Log in to your Spotify for Artists account. Currently pitching can only be done on desktop, so don’t log in to the mobile app.
- At the top of the Home tab select “pitch a song”
- Choose your song and fill out as much info as possible.
Important things to note
- You’re only pitching the song, there’s no guarantee that Spotify will place it in a playlist.
- You can only pitch one song at a time.
- You can’t pitch a compilation
- You can’t pitch if you’re a featured artist on the track.
If you’ve got your eye on being included in a particular playlist, try hinting at it in your pitch.
E.g. If you think your track is perfect for the Feelin’ Myself playlist then talk about how the track makes you feel empowered.
To improve your chances of getting your song accepted, you should follow some of the general submission advice listed earlier.
How to Get Featured in User Curated Playlists
When it comes to user curated playlists, there are generally two further groups that these playlists will fall into:
- Label curated playlists
- Individual playlists
Label Curated Playlists
It’s no surprise that the major record labels have become invested in utilising playlists on Spotify. So much so that they have their own playlist brands built around curating playlists to provide exposure for their artists.
The three main brands are:
Digster – owned by Universal
Filtr – owned by Sony
Topsify – owned by Warner
Each of these brands has multiple playlists with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Spotify itself has very strong ties with them, and this is reflected in the exposure these label’s playlists get on the platform.
Unfortunately, as an independent artist, getting your songs on these Spotify playlists isn’t simple. There’s no way to submit to them for playlist inclusion. They also serve as a means to promote artists signed to the corresponding record labels so if you’re a new artist you’ll have to forget about these for now.
In addition to these major services there are a handful of other smaller record labels with their own brand which are definitely worth reaching out to.
They can be fairly easy to find. If you understand your audience and your genre, spend some time working through relevant Spotify playlists and take note of who they are curated by, which is linked to in the playlist bio:
Here we can see this playlist is curated by Soave Records – they have a small selection of playlists with a decent following, with clearly defined genres.
Submitting to these sort of playlist curators as an independent artist is a much more straightforward process, as they will usually have clear instructions on how to submit new tracks. In this instance you can see the info in the footer of their website.
Individual Curated Playlists
Now we’ve covered the Label curated playlists, it’s time to take a look at some of the individual curated playlists and how to reach out to them.
To find these guys it’s a similar process to reaching out to the smaller labels, but what makes the process a little bit more difficult is often the lack of presence these curators will have online – which can make knowing how to get in touch with them that bit more difficult.
Google and Facebook are your friends.
Once you have a list of some of the playlists you would like to be listed on, it’s a case of heading to Google and Facebook, and other social media platforms to try and find any contact details.
It can sometimes be hard to pin these people down and know if you’ve got the right details, so don’t get caught up spending hours on this. Be realistic about the ROI of finding this person, and how much it would benefit you to be listed.
Again it pays to keep in mind the general advice on contacting curators, as mentioned previously.
This can be quite a chore – so it’s no wonder that a host of different tools and services have popped up over the past few years to help streamline the process of Spotify playlist pitching.
Playlist Submission Tools and Services
Playlist submission tools are a way of submitting your track once and having it pitched for consideration to multiple different playlists all at once. This takes away the hassle of finding the right playlist, and finding contact details for each of these playlists.
These tools often provide you with the stats of the playlists, such as monthly listeners and followers. They often aren’t limited to just Spotify either, they can also help you reach music blogs, Youtube channels, Instagram influencers, or other streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Deezer.
These can be either free or paid. The downside of free Spotify playlist submission is usually that your pitch will be placed in a big backlog with hundreds or thousands of other pitches. You might be waiting a long time for the playlist owner to see your pitch, if they ever do at all.
For a more detailed overview of these tools and services check out our guide on playlist submission tools.
The Best Spotify Playlists to Submit to
As well as using submission services, some artists simply search around for the biggest playlists in their genre – there are often lots of lists out there where people have already done the hard work of finding the playlists you can submit to and putting these into a list (see our list of the best Spotify playlists).
The best Spotify playlists will vary depending on your genre of music. So there’s no definitive list that will apply to everyone.
However, there are some more popular playlists with large audiences that cover a wider range of genres, which means there’s a chance your music will be suitable for submission.
Some examples of these are…
CloudKid – Indie
Summer Music 2020 ? Tropical House – Tropical House
Fresh Coconuts of the Week – Dance / Pop
Car Music – Bass
For a more extensive list of playlists to submit to, as well as having them broken down into genres, take a look at our article on the best Spotify playlists.
Hopefully that’s given you a bit more of an idea of how to get on Spotify playlists.
Remember, playlist submission is only one part of the whole music promotion process – so it’s important not to see this as the only thing you should be doing.
But combined with an effective promotion strategy, this should help you increase your exposure, get more plays, and further build your fanbase.