DOs and DON'Ts when submitting your beats to Spotify playlists
Despite submitting beats to playlists is not exactly a rocket science, a few good advices on the "best practices" might come in handy. And if you were ever curious about what is it like to be on the other side of that submission form, you have come to the right place, too.
Not too long ago, I was exactly where a lot of you are right now - having my music finally on Spotify and looking for every possible playlist that could be interested in featuring it. However, after some time I started curating a bunch of my own playlists, and despite I'm still looking where to submit my tunes now, I do now possess the experience of what is it like to be the curator himself. And from that point of view, I'd like to share a few tips to help you get the most out of your submissions, keeping the best possible relationship with the curators.
Submit good music
Ok, this sounds like a no-brainer, but I'm getting actually a lot of submissions from guys, that should be spending WAY MORE of their time in their studio working on their skills instead of shooting emails all around. Nowadays, everyone who can get 20 bucks together and pay for a Distrokid account can upload his music to Spotify and sometimes, that music is far from being ready. At first, I felt always a bit bad when I had to turn down such a submission, but during the time, I've become quite numb about it - now I just automatically copypaste a pre-made reply, sometimes adding some specific feedback trying to be helpful at least.
Anyway - there is a lot of ways how to evaluate the quality of your music. You can have your tune roasted on Reddit, you can ask for feedback in related Facebook groups or Discord channels and you can always send your music to your friends (however this one can be a bit tricky, as some friends will just tell you "it's good" even if they don't like it, just because they don't want you to feel bad, and that's not particularly helpful when all that one needs is an honest feedback and constructive criticism). Anyway - if your tunes are good, you should be able to tell from people's reactions.
Check out the playlist first and try to pick up your best match
A lot of playlists are curated in a way to express a certain mood or theme. In such cases, it's your best bet to check out the playlist first, analyze it a bit and soak in its vibe. Then you should try to pick such a beat(s) of yours that you think is the best match. Although I can't say what other curators do when they receive a whole album or just an artist profile link, I usually try to go through the whole thing and pick a few beats if I like some, but it basically makes my curating work a bit harder and even more time consuming, so I really appreciate when people take time to think about their submission first and score a perfect match. Also - and this is important - some people are trying to send over individual tracks from the same album they already sent earlier, but this is usually just a waste of time.
Use the curator's preferred way of submission
Many curators have designed their own ways of submitting beats - be it a webpage form, Soundplate or Instagram direct messages. Each of us did it for a certain reason, and from my experience, one the biggest reasons usually is that the curators want to have all the submissions at one place, instead of having them spread all over their social media's inboxes. That way it's extremely hard to keep everything in check (and messages get forgotten, unread and unanswered often), whereas when you have everything at one place, it's quite easily manageable.
Also, having people asking all the time if they can submit via Reddit or Facebook messages can get quite annoying after some time (especially when the link for submissions is stated right in the playlist description), and you can be sure that for every curator in the world, there is already at least 50 people who didn't even bother to actually check the playlist out and started asking questions in messages straight away, so my advice for you as a music producer here is to doublecheck the playlist description first and THEN eventually start with the questions (answering the same question again and again gets also boring over time)
Curating playlists can be quite a time-consuming hobby and often, other life events take higher priorities. Thus, it can take a few days or even weeks before your tune gets heard and considered for placement, depending on how busy is the curator's submission inbox (or the curator himself). So when submitting your beats, be prepared to wait. But if your beat is good (and you did the submission right), it will get picked up sooner or later.
Don't submit too often
Even if you're extremely productive, churning out new beats every day (and even if they are actually good), it's good to give yourself at least a week before you submit again. We're normal people who go to work or school, eat, sleep (oh who am I kidding), produce music as well eventually, and sometimes it's hard to find time to go through the endless stream of submissions flowing into our inboxes. Give us also some time to relax ;)
Besides that, submitting every week can feel abusive and it's also harder to manage with high traffic playlists (submission wise) with a limited amount of tracks, even when the submitted music is good - there is only that many tracks a curator can add during given time period, so the other producers music doesn't get replaced after just a week being featured in the playlist. Even though frequent submissions by individuals are just a smaller part of the issue (that gets visible the most for curators who go through their inboxes more frequently), yet it's still an issue that grows bigger with the rising popularity of the playlist.
Regarding my own playlists, I have recently started to experience above-mentioned problems too - a lot of people submitting their beats into Summer Lofi Chill, which is limited to 100 tracks. And as I'm checking submissions more-or-less on a weekly basis, I decided simply to prefer submissions from people who submit less often, marking the messages of those who submit every week as "check later" (with an intention to go through them at the end of the corresponding month). Sadly, with the increasing amount of "regular" submissions for Summer Lofi Chill, I'll probably still have to raise the bar a bit sooner or later, resulting with an improvement of the overall quality of the playlist, but also with less happy producers who got picked up.
Don's submit unreleased material
There is literally NO point in sending music that can be in the best case only previewed (but usually only pre-saved). When a curator listens to your beat, he needs to have the ability to add it to his playlist straight away, and when the beat can't be even listened to - again, what's the point? So please, submit only music that has been actually released, can be listened to and can be also added to a playlist if it fits.
Don't spam, keep your submissions in check
This happens to me a lot on Reddit where I tend to promote my playlists quite often. Each now and then someone comes and comments on all the threads I created in the past month with EXACTLY THE SAME copypasted text - which gets even funnier when I realize that we even had a conversation regarding submissions with that person before.
It feels incredibly spammy and disrespectful, sending the impression that the person doesn't really give the slightest shit about the playlist nor the curator. Also, nothing feels weirder than when you get the very same submission you turned down two weeks before, especially in the case when you're personally replying on every submission (my case).
And one last funny example - the other day I somehow posted a bad link and instead of sharing my biggest playlist, I shared the playlist where I keep only my own beats (and nothing else). Still, even though the playlist thumbnail was clearly visible (showing up only my name on all the tunes), a few guys copypasted their submissions (AGAIN including that one guy I mentioned first). Just... WHY?
Never re-send submissions that have already been explicitly turned down
There is a guy who submitted to my playlist once and I politely turned him down, saying that the whole album (his only album) just doesn't meet the required standards. He replied that he understands... and then in the span of a few next weeks, I got a couple more submissions from him containing various beats from that very same album I turned down. I am not happy about this but... this was the first case I didn't bother to reply anymore.
Don't get discouraged by rejection
Nobody likes to be rejected, but in life, it happens all the time. Important is how do you deal with it. My mum always said that when I have big expectations, the bigger is the eventual letdown. I took that one to my heart and as it turned out, it's also quite a good advice against getting discouraged by not getting your beats placed and emails answered. When you're sending your beats to a curator, do yourself a favor and just expect nothing. Maybe even kinda forget about it (in a way, of course) after you hit that submit button and instead of checking your email inbox every minute, turn your focus somewhere else (making new music is a good bet for example). The good things will eventually come if you work hard for it, no matter how many times you get rejected first.
Don't ask for moving your track higher
Every now and then, I get people asking if I could move their tune to the top positions of the playlist. Depending on the curator, it can yield you some results in some cases, but most of the time, it's really unneeded (especially when I get such an email 10 minutes after accepting the submission, while still going through the other ones).
Curators are well aware of the fact that new tunes get placed at the bottom of the playlist, some of them shuffle the order of tracks regularly, some are doing it right after they add a new tune and yeah, some just don't give a fu*k. Anyway, I believe that we all like to be in charge of our playlists, so such requests might come even a bit rude to some people - and I would thus advise trying to avoid it.
Follow and share the playlists - at least if you get featured
No playlist won't grow just by itself and when the playlists don't grow, producers that are featured in them won't grow either. Even though a lot of curators promote their playlists very actively, it's still quite often just a one-man-show limited by the curator's free time. Sharing the playlists on your social media helps A LOT - in the best-case scenario, it can trigger almost exponential growth when a more people start sharing it, resulting in much more streams for the featured producers. Also, it's nice if you actually listen to those playlists sometimes, too, instead of just submitting to them. Why get yourself short of all those carefully curated yummy beats that curators spend so much time on selecting for you?
I hope these tips will help you in getting the most out of your future submissions, and I'm looking forward to seeing your beats in my designed inbox as well ;)
First time on my blog?
Welcome! My name is Pao and I'm the person behind this whole website. Besides making music myself whenever I can, I also write this blog and curate Spotify playlists. Feel free to explore it here a bit - I believe you will find some interesting stuff around ^^