As an artist, you know that streaming is dominating the music industry in 2021, with Spotify leading the pack.
There are about 300 million monthly active users on the Spotify platform, many of which are on a constant search for new music.
How do these music junkies go about finding new tracks?
Through the backbone of the platform — Spotify playlists.
Amazingly, over 4 billion playlists exist on Spotify. And more impressive, about one-third of Spotify listening time is spent consuming Spotify-curated playlists.
That means huge opportunity for you as an artist to get exposure to new fans.
In this article, we’re giving you the steps you need to take to tap in to the massive amounts of listening time that come from Spotify music playlists, so that you can grow your fanbase.
Let’s get started.
Important Considerations Before Submitting a Track
As an artist trying to get your music out there on Spotify, it’s important to understand the streaming service’s goals.
Spotify wants the best and most relevant songs on playlists according to their algorithm. In other words, Spotify knows that the more accurately they can target their listeners preferences, the more likely a song is to be downloaded into a users library off a playlist — which makes Spotify more money.
Spotify is also looking for new music to give their listeners the opportunity to discover a larger pool of artists. The more new songs Spotify can deliver to their listeners, the more conversions they will see.
With this in mind, understand the following regulations for submitting to Spotify’s editorial team:
- One song at a time. You can only submit one unreleased song at a time for playlist consideration. After the song drops on the platform, you can submit again.
- Spotify is built on data. The better description you can give your song, the higher chance that the team can match you to the most relevant playlists.
- Submit on desktop 7 days in advance. You cannot submit a song to Spotify on the mobile version of Spotify for artists. You also must submit at least 7 days before your song drops, but the more lead-time you can give, the better.
- You cannot submit music already released on your artist profile.
The process for submitting songs for consideration for curated Spotify playlists is totally free. In fact, there is no mechanism of payment to increase your chances of placement — you’re in a totally level playing field.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Submitting Your Track
Now that you know the advanced planning you’ll need to do to get your song in front of playlist curators, let’s give you the step-by-step instructions for submitting it for curated Spotify playlist consideration.
- Login to Spotify Artists on a desktop or laptop.
- If you haven’t done so in a while, update your avatar, bio and pics. Spotify likes to use this stuff when they share your music, and they like a clean profile.
- In the top navigation bar, click “Music” and then “Upcoming.”
- Choose an unreleased song from your list and click “Pitch a Song.”
- Give as much info about the song as possible. You’ll be asked to select things like genres, moods, culture, language, region, styles, instrumentation, and more. Don’t leave anything out, and be as accurate as possible (even if it takes some time to figure out exactly where your track lands!)
- Make a short pitch. This should only be a few sentences (shoot for 75-125 words). To make it as engaging as possible, make sure to talk about:
- What makes the music interesting, unique, or noteworthy
- Any featured artists or producers who have also worked on the track
- Details about your own music marketing plan. The platform wants to see that you’re working to make the track succeed in more ways than one!
Spotify makes this process really simple. If your song gets placed on a curated playlist, you’ll be notified, so you don’t have to take any action after submission.
Other Ways to Get on Spotify Playlists
Submitting to Spotify curated playlists is a bread-and-butter tactic for musicians to get their music out there, but it shouldn’t be your only plan of attack.
In addition to Spotify-sponsored playlists, there are tons of independent playlist curators out there that are taking up a good chunk of the user's listening time on the platform.
Check out these other avenues for getting your songs on playlists to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to rank well in the algorithm.
Make Your Own Playlists
You should create Spotify playlists on your own that will show up in a search on the platform. After all, anyone can make a playlist on Spotify, so you have to make sure to set yourself apart from the pack. To make for a more search-friendly playlist, make sure to:
- Build playlists around your interests and other artists working in your genre (great time to cross-promote content with your music friends!)
- Update playlists regularly for a dynamic experience for followers. They’re looking for new music — always be working to deliver it!
- One song per artist! Spotify will actually downgrade playlists that are too one-artist-centric — including your own. So put your song at the top of the list, and rotate your popular tracks in and out as time goes on.
- The Spotify algorithm likes playlists that are 20-60 songs. Start with 25-30, then add more over time. Once you push towards 60, start phasing older songs out.
- Make custom cover artwork — don’t let the automated four-image outline represent the mood of your playlist.
- Optimize with smart keywords in the playlist description. Spotify gives you a high character count, so use words, phrases, genre descriptions, and artist names that people are searching for!
- Promote your playlist on social media and tag the artists in your playlist! A share, reply, or even “like” from another artist could mean huge traffic.
Pitch to Popular Independent Playlist Curators
In the Spotify algorithm, playlists build off other playlists. Make sure you are submitting your music to independently curated playlists that might be willing to show off your music.
It’s easy enough to find these playlists and their curators with a quick google search. Just search “Spotify playlist [your genre]” to find hundreds of top-notch playlists curated by music enthusiasts from around the world.
Most of these playlist curators are looking for up-and-coming musicians like you, so don’t be afraid to reach out. But before you do, make sure to:
- Follow their playlists
- Like / follow them on social media
- Engage with a compliment or common shared interest
- THEN make your pitch
- If they do choose to accept you, share it like crazy! Cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship that could mean more tracks landed on their playlists in the future.
Third-Party Pitching Services
You can also explore third-party pitching services like PlaylistPush and SubmitHub. (click here for expert insights into how you can use SubmitHub to promote your music)
These platforms help you to connect with bloggers, Spotify playlisters, YouTubers, radio stations, influencers, and more.
Keep in mind that these services are great for driving traffic, but sometimes lack meaningful engagement and long-term results.
Millions of minutes of listening are ingested via Spotify playlists every day.
Your music needs to capture its share of the frenzy.
Always remember that success likely isn’t going to come overnight. You need to be actively working to get your music on a wide range of playlists over time so experience organic and consistent growth that builds a fan base.
It’s time to get out there and start using the algorithm to your advantage — good luck!