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  • Performers on the Go

Get your new song’s playlisting campaign on track for streaming success

Updated: Jun 3


Part 1 of our new blog series will provide the tools and strategies for a successful Spotify campaign. Part 2 will focus on the playlisting companies you can hire to support your efforts and playlisting search companies. Part 3 will explore additional song promotion campaign strategies, including social media and Spotify and social media advertising.


Every artist aspires to achieve viral success and accumulate thousands of streams weeks after their song releases. Seeing fellow musicians and peers achieve these milestones confirms that such success is indeed attainable. Clairo, a Massachusetts pop artist, is a good example of an artist enjoying a viral wave as she did for her song "Pretty Girl", and has continued to grow her presence on the platform. Other national and global viral examples are Taylor Swift, Zack Bryan, Morgan Wallen, SZA, Flo Milli, and lesser known artists ThxSoMuch, Boslen, MQK, S-K, Sleep Token, Juan Karlos, i9Bonsai, and Goth Babe. A great Spotify playlist to follow for tracking viral song activity is Viral-50 USA.


We may not have a guaranteed formula for success, but we believe that maintaining consistency, staying focused, and actively engaging in marketing will yield results and garner attention to your music. Artists need to have a daily plan for engagement and promotion for all new releases. The start and stop system doesn't work and is an indication you are not motivated to do the work required.


Getting Spotify streams on your new song releases can be an overwhelming and time intensive process. Whether you follow what other artists are doing or create your own customized campaign, you will learn a lot about effective song promotion with each release. The biggest risks are that your campaign requires a lot of time and or a financial investment that yields little return. It is important to establish your streaming and blog placement goals early on, and align your campaign and budget accordingly.


The "wait and see" approach will not yield great results unless you already have a strong follower base or have a third-party plan for the song’s promotion. If it is all on you, you need to get moving early on so there is sufficient time, 3-6 months, to increase your pre-saves before release day. Targeting to obtain 100+ pre-saves is an aggressive plan, and to cause attention and elevate your presence to curators, 1000+ pre-saves will most likely have more impactful results.

 

Educate yourself on how to circumvent computer bots: Use SubmitHub’s free tool, Playlist Checker, to obtain the follower trends on playlists. If there are continuous major swings in the follower base of 500+ in either direction, it is likely to be a botted (computer-generated) playlist. The associated risk of getting on one of these playlists is that Spotify may flag suspicious activity and could motion to remove your track or even your full account. You can't fully control the streaming activity on your songs, but using tools like the Playlist Checker will help to identify any concerning trends. Another site for playlist research is 'Is This a Good Playlist. You can also use these tools to search other artist's activities and make note of playlists that are unsafe. If an artist you know or follow has high streams early on in their release, you can examine their playlists to determine if they are running a campaign dominated by bots. Just because another artist is getting some viral surges from playlists doesn't always mean their campaigns are clean. Sign up for SubmitHub even if it is just to use their tools. There are no fees until you submit to curators and bloggers. The standard submission is $2.00 and the premium submission fees are higher. They also have a free genre checker, What's my Genre, to help you target the right playlists. Our experiences with SubmitHub have been favorable, and the platform continues to update their data provided on the playlists including the curator's song acceptance rates. Just like with all platforms you need to spend time to do your due diligence and submit to playlists that like your genre and have favorable placement statistics.

 

Educate yourself on the quality and different types of playlists available, and focus on all types in your campaign:


Getting on Spotify editorial playlists is super tough as the Spotify editors have to manage through 100K+ submissions each day. One route the editors may take is to focus on the songs which have the highest pre-save numbers. If you succeed in your pre-save campaign, you will likely separate yourself from the pack and volume of submissions. This requires social media advertising and promotions at the time the pre-save campaign is launched. If you are going to engage in a pre-save campaign, consider advertising and utilizing a third-party for added promotion. The song pitch which is provided on Spotify for Artists is a 2-3 sentence summary about your song, and it can be attention getting to the Spotify editorial curators. Have industry contacts review your pitch and make it the best lead in possible to your song. Always ask yourself how you can best stand out. Another plus is when your track receives a high number of Spotify saves as this can have long staying power since listeners typically maintain their existing playlists and build them along the way. This compares to placements on large playlists which can remove a song at any point in time.


The major playlist categories are:

 

User or listener playlists (you and I): Made by individuals who are on the platform and desire to create playlists aligned with their listening history.

 

Curator playlists (owned and managed by individuals and companies): These playlists are typically promoted to attract followers.

 

Spotify Editorial playlists: The big playlists you see which are managed by Spotify curators. Typically songs get placed within the first six weeks of the release date. Artists who get placed on these lists can see an immediate surge in streams.

 

Spotify algorithmic playlists: There are thousands of algorithmic playlists and once you get on one you usually get on many. To get the attention of the algorithm you'll need to release a great song, that will be able to generate approximately 5-10K streams within 2 weeks following the release date. Your track has to have a lot of action generated to get attention.

 

Learn the playlist pitching process and track all results:


Keep a Google Doc on the best playlist pitching practices and follow the steps for each release.


There are four main types of song promotion campaigns:

 

Wait and see: Upload your song and wait for it to stream. This wait and see approach is the easiest route, but it produces mixed results and makes it hard to obtain traction early on in the song’s release. This is one of the more popular options given the challenges present in investing in a song promotion campaign.

 

Organic push: Organically promote and push your song to your social channels with fresh content, fans/followers, email lists, collaborative playlists, radio and more. This approach requires time and an aggressive marketing focus to manage the direct pitching approach. Results with this approach seem to be based on a little bit of luck and on the quality of your music.

 

Direct submission of your song to playlisting platforms (paid plans)/bloggers/radio/news channels. These platforms all have premium/paid options, and many have free submission options. On the free submissions the playlists tend to have many songs on them making it hard to realize streaming activity. On all submissions it is a numbers game as the platforms are receiving hundreds if not thousands of submissions each day, so getting added to the quality playlists is a challenge. Artists should expect a less than 5% success on this type of activity, and more often than not artists see no placements. Artists need to be careful on these types of submissions as they can push for quantity which in the end can yield limited results. It is extremely important to spread your risk around and test out different platforms. Also, you need to pay close attention to the genre selection as playlist curators can be very precise on the type of music they will add to their playlist. We had a case where the followers on a playlist requested that a track be removed as it didn’t fit well on the playlist. Today it is more common to be placed on a playlist for 1-2 weeks verses 1-2 months which was more frequent a few years ago. The curators want to have the playlists they manage be updated with new tracks frequently. Another factor is making sure you remain in a good place on the playlists, and are not always towards the end, as streaming activity can be less active at the end of the playlists. Some playlist resources and artist directed playlist platforms are outlined below.

 

All-in campaign which includes all song promotion avenues: Organic promotion, platform submissions (paid and unpaid), advertising on social media, and on-going engagement with playlisting companies that provide song promotion plans. You can submit your song to these platforms, and they will provide you a campaign pricing plan. A listing of playlisting companies you can engage with for paid/invested plans follows.

 

Lising of playlisting companies (paid third-party playlisting/music promotion services):

 

 

This is by no means an all-inclusive listing as each day there are new song promotion companies becoming active in the playlisting environment. Selecting a well-established company with a history and active review activity is advisable.


Our next blog in this series will focus on research and reviews of the major playlisting companies.


Playlist listing and contact data (playlist research services)-provides you search systems for finding playlists to submit to along with the contact information for submissons. These companies all have monthly or paid as you go payment plans.

 

 

It is important that you utilize review platforms like Trust Pilot to evaluate the ratings of the companies you engage with.


A sample song promotion campaign includes:

 

-Setting up a stream team of 20+ people days 1-3 of your release

-Establish an overall budget for your placement investment (bloggers, curators, reviewers, online platform submissions, and radio).

-Create a master Google Doc to track all your placements and campaign stats.


  • Total streams

  • Total playlist placements

  • Total follower base on playlist placements

  • Total blog placements

  • Total Spotify saves-key insight data!

  • Total Spotify followers

  • Total Spotify monthly listeners

  • Total social mentions

  • Total radio placements


-Place your song on all your personal playlists.

-Ask family members/fans/friends to place your song on their playlists.

-Place your song on collaborative playlists (all free). You can search on Google for the collaborative playlists you can build a playlist database with.

-Post your song every day across your social sites (with a strong focus on Instagram Stories). Most artists are gung-ho day 1 on marketing their song, but a few weeks into the campaign their commitment drops off quickly and streams correspondingly drop.

-Submit your song to free online platforms like Daily Playlists. You will have greater success with premium submissions over standard submissions. On the standard free submissions, the playlists can have a high number of tracks making it harder to see any streaming activity. The Artist Pro tier is $14.99/month. Other free submission platforms are SoundPlate and Indiemono. The submission volumes on all paid platforms are high, making the success rate for placements low.

-Purchase the College Radio Directory ($30.00), and send out emails requesting to be added to their daily rotation. Establish a plan to send 50 emails out each week. Keep in mind that every listen is a new stream, so even if you don't get placements you can get streams in this radio pitching exercise.

-Share your song on Facebook genre specific group pages. As an example, Make Pop Music is a great Facebook group page for feedback, content, Q&A activity, and networking.

-Submit to the top music blogs. You will need a press release, bio, and preferably an EPK (Electronic Press Kit). The more quality information you provide them the more likely they will be to engage with you, and review and do a blog post on your song.

-Outline a detailed financial marketing budget including all the important stats for your campaign. Be conservative and start with a manageable number like $250 over the first two months of the campaign. No budget can yield no results, as bloggers and curators don't work for free and generate income through the reviews they complete, and blogs and playlists they manage. Steer clear of the curators that request payment for placements as Spotify looks to remove this activity as many of those operators are promoting botted playlists. Utilizing services that qualify playlists contained on their platforms is a safer option.


Performers on the Go provides an array of playlisting services, from self-directed artist campaign coaching, to full organic promotional engagement over a 2-6 month period. Our results have generated over 2.5 million in overall streams and songs have been placed on 600+ blogs and been placed on over 1,000 playlists. We also have a self developed database of 600+ collaborative playlists, a college radio database, and a database of 1000+ playlists structured by genre.

 

Effective playlisting is an art that combines strategic planning, a deep understanding of digital platforms, and active community engagement. Remember, every stream counts, and the goal is continuous improvement and adaptation to the digital music landscape. As you embark on your playlisting journey, keep track of what works and what doesn’t, and continuously refine your approach. Your success on platforms like Spotify depends not only on your music’s quality, but also on how effectively you navigate these digital spaces. Stay dedicated, stay informed, and most importantly, keep sharing your music with the world. No attention to music promotion on your songs, and you will get lost in the millions of songs being released.

 

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