Playlists are the new radio. People lead busier lives than ever, so simply finding the right playlists for the mood is the simplest way to get in the zone. This is how the masses consume music these days. So getting your music on a list is the best way of getting your music actually heard, and into their subconscious.
Build a list
Now we know the importance of playlists, it’s a matter of finding the right ones to reach out to. Many of our clients are quite new to this and don’t already have millions of streams when they come to us, so we advise to start small.
Open the Spotify app and search for various keyword combinations that match your style. Keywords can include the name of the genre, the location, or any other relevant word that might make it onto the title of a playlist. Such as “Women in Blues” or “Alt Rock Road Trip”. Spend some time doing this and experimenting with various keyword combinations. Keywords can include a certain mood or anything like “work out” or “road trip”, as long as it makes sense for your music.
So with a view of starting small, jot down the names and creators of the smaller playlists you find. Ones that have only 100s of followers as opposed to tens of thousands. The logic here is that many of them will be curated by individuals who won’t have 1000s of submissions coming their way daily. Also, it will likely be easier to find them online and strike a good relationship with them. Some of them you’ll find on social media via the same name, or the playlist description will refer to a submission process. Document all of this.
But hold your horses before you go spamming them. You only get one chance to make a good impression!
When it comes to reaching out to individuals on Social Media, you need to go in with the right mindset. Think of it like any other first interaction. You don’t want to go in like “me me me”, instead you want to establish a meaningful connection. Reach out and tell them how much you appreciate them and the playlist they made. Ask them what motivated them to make the playlist. Strike a good conversation.
After you get to know each other a bit, you can ask them if they would be happy to give you some feedback on your work-in-progress. Going back to the radio analogy, they are like the new DJs, so their feedback will actually be very valuable to you and you should take it on board. Then when it comes to the release date, there is a very good chance they will put you on. They may even be happy to put an existing release on their playlist. This method can work before and after the release date.
Give yourself plenty of time prior to release
It takes time to develop meaningful relationships. So it’s a good idea to do this many months ahead of time. Not every bit of outreach you do will be successful out of the gate, it takes time and much patience.
If you do this right and in a timely fashion, you will find yourself with legitimate listens on and shortly after release day. This will look good in the eyes of Spotify’s algorithms, which will help in getting them to add you to more of their playlists.
Christopher Carvalho runs Unlock Your Sound helping up-and-coming indie artists create and strategically release their music.