For the last couple of years, I have seen so many majors and labels trying to promote their artists at all costs. Being the ads in the subway or on the radio, YouTube or social media, the fight is more and more complex every time they try to reach the audience.
Let alone smaller artists who are doing everything on their own, with generally, a tiny budget that cannot allow a lot of solutions when it comes to spreading awareness towards their music.
If some social media like Instagram are making big moves, especially with their recent IGTV feature, which definitely could be the game changer this year in terms of music videos, it is still too early to identify any successful marketing strategy at the moment.
However, one tool has been proving how powerful it was: Spotify Playlists.
How are they made?
Spotify is a platform where artists upload their songs and albums via a distributor (like CDBaby or Tunecore), and people can, later on, play them within their desktop app or mobile app.
The thing is that Spotify allows a certain form of social media in the sense that users can generate content by creating secret or public playlists.
If some people find it useful to make playlists for the birthday of their friend coming up next Saturday and improvise themselves DJ of the night, motivated to have a Rock playlist for their workout, others will use this platform to gather hundreds of thousands, even millions of listeners.
By simply curating the playlist with what they love or into a niche like “70s Funk”, users are able to make awesome playlists for free.
For example, I have been running a Playlist for a few days now called “New York Babes — HEIST,” a curated playlist featuring only New York Female Rap / RnB Artists whether they are Top signed artists or Independent ones. It actually would mean the world to me if you could follow it: https://open.spotify.com/user/ygseb7t2mawuxfri6sld1hgb5/playlist/4ukluKtw8bMatlr3nIrqjz?si=41BWHauVT82UuVdVF-E6_g
What does it bring?
To the playlist curator, it is different in each case. While it could be simply the satisfaction to see their playlist being followed by a huge amount of people, others may find it interesting to run it as a business, offering exposure to artists who would like to grow and be heard quickly.
For the artist, however, the game is way bigger.
I am not talking about money here because as you may know it, Spotify gives the artist $0.003 each time their song is played for at least 30 seconds. Therefore, unless you are Drake, you will not make a huge income out of it.
This being said, you could still make a little income if you are placed in a multi-million followers playlist!
Let’s take the example of your song being placed in a playlist with 500,000 active monthly listeners. We will consider that 10% chances are that your song is played in the playlist, which would make 50,000 streams on your song. At $0.003 a stream, you would have made $150.
I agree it is not crazy, that’s why I do not advise my clients to look for this strategy, instead, I want them to see the fact that 50,000 people actually heard their song and that it will not get unnoticed on Spotify.
The more streams you get, the higher the chances you have to be featured in other playlists and on trending pages or automatic plays! Therefore, the more chances you have to spread awareness towards your music and to gain actual followers on social media if your Artist page is clearly and professionally edited.
I worked with an EDM band a few years ago, and they made over 1 million streams. They came to me devastated because they were signed by a label and at the end after all the cuts, they were left with less than $170 each. While I understood the frustration, I also pointed out that over 1 million people heard their song and that it was not a small thing. But their artist page was empty, and their social presence almost non-existent… THIS was a disaster.
It meant that people had nothing to fall back on after hearing the song and no one to follow for more music. If some were brave enough to type their name in Google, searches would not find anything relevant, and it would stop here.
How to be featured in Playlists?
That’s normally the question you are asking yourself at this point if you understood how powerful these Spotify Playlists are.
Well, first of all, if you are a female Rap/RnB artist from New York, I’d be glad to have you on the Playlist I was writing about earlier.
Otherwise, you can search for playlist curators on social media like Facebook Groups or Instagram or simply look for them on Google. Some will be free and just give you a form to complete (on a blog’s page for example) while others will ask for money in exchange for a weekly placement.
I cannot stress you enough to look for these Playlists and to see the results for yourself!