Here at Plus Music PR, we understand how vital streaming is to the success of an artist. DSPs (digital streaming platforms) are not only the main way that listeners consume their favorite music, but it’s also a great way to find new and exciting up-and-coming artists.

Unfortunately for the artist themselves Spotify can seem pretty difficult to navigate. The purpose of this guide is not just to deal with some of those frequently asked questions, but also to advise on things from Spotify For Artists pitching as well as diving into the dangerous world of 3rd party playlisting. 

What is an editorial Spotify playlist and how do I get on them?

In short, an editorial Spotify playlist is put together by teams of curators at Spotify. As well as the likes of New Music Friday and Fresh Finds, Spotify put together multiple playlists for every genre, mood, and activity you can think of. As well as playlists curated by their team, Discover Weekly and Release Radar are put together using Spotify’s algorithms  - you can read more on that here.

Your Spotify For Artist pitch is the only ticket to a chance of editorial support as an independent artist. Many ‘off the shelf’ distributors, i.e. distributors who you can apply for easily online, use their contacts within the world of editorial to entice artists to use their service. What they don’t tell you is that they only pitch a small percentage of their artists, and these artists are the ones already generating income. With over 60,000 songs being added to Spotify daily, off-the-shelf distributors have no way of adequately servicing their entire catalog for Spotify playlist consideration.

Since the introduction of the Spotify For Artist pitching system, Spotify also no longer uses reps to work with PR companies. Instead, Spotify works with reputable labels and distributors, and it’s no secret that they often cut deals in exchange for (even lower) royalty payments to the artists. This all seems rather unfair, but there is so much music out there it is tricky to blame Spotify for using trusted sources given the volume of new music launched daily. 

What is a 3rd party playlist and why are they dangerous?

3rd party playlists are curated by individuals and brands and are in no way associated with Spotify. These used to be a great way to tick up your Spotify numbers and reach new audiences, so much so that Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal bought out three of the most popular 3rd party playlist networks

With Spotify being so opaque in how they curate their own playlists combined with the huge and rapidly growing number of releases hitting the platform every day, it’s no wonder that artists are turning to these lists to inject some life into their Spotify profiles. This has created a huge black market that is loaded with fake playlists, bot streams and this ultimately can lead to your music being pulled from Spotify altogether - with thousands of releases being pulled at the start of 2021.

Of course, there are 3rd party playlists out there that are legitimate, but it’s important to be as vigilant as you can when approaching any curator. See below a breakdown of some important red flags to stay clear of:

  • “Here’s our rate card”. It’s against Spotify’s Terms and Conditions to pay for playlisting, so paying for 3rd party placements is not a good starting point in your pursuit of editorial. If you’re using an agency to pitch your music to playlists, make sure you ask if they’re paying for placements. If an outside agency has secured you a playlist, check the bio of the playlist and lookout for an email address. If one is listed, pitch your music yourself and see if they try to charge you. 

  • If you’re added to a 3rd party playlist make sure you listen to it. Over 50% of Spotify’s users are millennials, so if a song is not to a commercial standard it’s unlikely listeners will get to a chorus given how people now consume media. We turn down a lot of artists as they’re just not good enough to serve to our contacts, and you’d be surprised how many of them have tens of thousands of streams from 3rd party lists. 

  • Check the digital footprint. If you’re in a playlist that has tens of thousands of followers online, search it up on Google or Instagram. There are tonnes of third-party lists that generate thousands of streams daily for tracks on their playlists but have no presence anywhere else on the wider internet. Can you think of any other brand that has no presence on social media or a web address but have tens of thousands of followers that consume their product daily? 

  • Many playlists are based around genres, film soundtracks, and viral charts, and many 3rd party playlists are no different. If you’ve been added to a playlist that is advertised as a genre you don’t fit into, a soundtrack you didn’t appear in, or a country that you are not viral in, there is clearly a problem. 
What is the solution?

We advise artists to approach 3rd party editorial with careful consideration, and we’re happy to advise on the best strategy. It’s encouraged not to pursue 3rd party Spotify promotion, especially for your first few singles. This way you are able to access what you can do organically and provide an understanding of your starting point.

With that being said, artists should always do what they can to enhance the strength of their Spotify For Artists pitch including using keywords, name-dropping specific playlists, and why they should be considered for them. We’ll be releasing more top tips on your Spotify For Artists pitch in the coming weeks via our blog.

In our experience, the best way to garner Spotify support is to build a strong press presence and constantly keep Spotify up-to-date with information around your social media rollout, live plans, and notable press quotes. Make sure you contact the following email address to do this:

What we’ve seen from our work at Plus Music PR is the correlation between securing high-profile press coverage and editorial traction, with many of our clientele receiving editorial pickup after using our press services. As has always been the case, media is ultimately a key driver in trends and its relationship with streaming is no different.