How to get your tunes placed in Spotify playlists


Are you thinking about stepping up your Spotify game, growing your numbers and actually earning some cash on the platform? It's not that impossible how can it seem in the very beginnings - with enough dedication and time given, you can get there, too, and this blog post is here to give you some basic 101 on the topic. 

Maybe you have already noticed that plain sharing the links on your Facebook wall or posting them into the related Facebook groups won't do much good (and there is a reason for it). Yes, you will get a few plays from that, but it's usually second to none. And no, this is not the way to go.

The alpha and omega of the Spotify game is having your tunes featured in the playlists. The playlists are of four kinds:

  1. Unofficial playlists managed by the vast range of subjects like "regular" Spotify users, radio stations, bloggers, private companies and small labels
  2. Major label playlists like Filter (owned by Sony), Digster (owned by Universal) and Topsify (owned by Warner)
  3. Official Spotify playlists managed by the Spotify's own curators themselves
  4. Algorithmic playlists like Release Radar, that have their contents curated by artificial intelligence working with the big data

The official Spotify playlists have usually much bigger follower counts than the unofficial ones (but it's definitively not a rule) and they are also harder to get in. I'll now break all kinds down and elaborate a bit more on how to submit your music to them.

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The Unofficial Playlists

There are literally tons of them. To find them, just use the search feature in Spotify client and in the results navigate to the playlists section. Now, every playlist has its detail page with description text and link to a Spotify user profile of its owner - and those two things are exactly what you need. Often the description contains an email address or a link to a website with the submission form, and once it's there, there is nothing stopping you from submitting your music. It definitely doesn't work for every playlist out there, but there is a good portion of them for which it does.

Anyway, if the description says nothing about submissions, the battle's not over yet. You can still try to look for the owner's contact the "old fashioned way" - googling it (or maybe even better, searching on Facebook). It may sound crazy and it definitely won't work every time, but I have found quite a few playlist owners this way. Unfortunately, Spotify removed an option to message other users some time ago, so there is no way of contacting playlist owner via Spotify itself.

Another great way of finding playlists is checking out some subreddits dedicated to lofi music - playlist owners themselves are asking other redditors for submissions and usually all you have to do is to post links to your music as a comment in the given thread. 

Major Label Playlists

Although it's only logical for these playlists to feature mainly the music from the artists who are already signed to the label owning the playlist, there PROBABLY is still some possibility to submit your tunes as well. I have seen it at Filter website, however, I was unsuccessful when trying to get some more info on the other ones and on the submission process itself.

The Official Spotify Playlists

You can easily recognize official Spotify playlists as "Spotify" is listed as a playlist owner for all of them. However, the process of submitting is very different in this case. You can only submit unreleased tunes (or better put, tunes with scheduled release), which requires you to have distributor that allows you to do that (for example you cannot do that with Distrokid's basic plan, you have to upgrade to Musician Plus plan instead if you want to schedule your tunes). There is no way of submitting a tune that has once been released.

Once you schedule a release via your distro, it should appear on your Spotify for Artists page (the feature currently works only in desktop browsers). From there it's already quite easy to turn it into the playlist submission - the "wizard" is quite straightforward. Anyway, a bit of good advice is to include as much information about tune as possible to help the curators categorize your track as they get thousands, maybe dozens of thousands of submissions every day.

Of course, there are some limitations. The process requires the track to be submitted more than seven days before it's an official release, so there is enough time for the curators to dig through the pile of submissions they receive every day. And that brings us to the second limitation - you can only submit one unreleased tune at a time. 

Algorithmic playlists

As you can probably guess from the name, there is no way of submitting your music to such playlists as they are entirely curated by Spotify's smart algorithms and their contents are unique to each user. However, you can at least try to create the best possible conditions for your music to get included, too. In order to get to the Discover Weekly, for example, your music has to already have some buzz around it so the system sees it as an interesting, valuable pick. And we're not speaking just about the play counts, everything is judged - how many times your track was added into other playlists, if people are listening to the whole thing or skipping to next tune after 10 seconds and many more factors that add up to the final result. Release Radar is much more straightforward in it's working logic - it's featuring new releases by artists followed or frequently streamed by the particular Spotify user,

Some handy tips

It's notable that these tips are not related just to the Spotify game, but they work generally, wherever you are pitching your tracks to.

When contacting the playlist owners, don't just throw a bunch of links at them without even saying hello. That's an equivalent of finding your dream girl on a dating site and immediately sending her a dick pic. Sure, your junk may be tremendous and she might even get a lil' bit wet, but most probably she will think that you are an egoistic idiot who doesn't know shit about the importance of communication anyway.

Instead, try to introduce yourself properly, explain why are you sending your tunes to the playlist owner and suggest a few tunes you consider your best, or even better the tunes you consider best fitting the playlist, together with a link where they can hear more. Trust me - coming to people like that will give you MUCH better chances of getting a reply and you can build some nice industry relationships this way. Isn't it nice knowing that the person on the other end of the line is happy to listen to your hot stuff? I bet it is.

Also, don't push it. If you don't get the reply in two days, don't spam the shit out of them! They are not sitting on their asses all day just waiting for people to send them music, they are living human beings with a lot of their own shit to do, so be patient and humble and eventually, it will bring you some fruits. And if you don't get a reply even after a month of waiting, it's still better to wait a bit more, maybe come with a new tune in the meantime and then try again.

Hope this helped you a bit and if you're interested more in the topic, don't forget to check up on this blog from time to time as I have more Spotify related posts on their way. The next one is actually already finished and scheduled and it will be concluding some great playlists to begin with, so stay tuned!

Further reading:

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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 ^^