How to get your music on Playlists

With a music industry that has moved from buying CD’s to downloading to stream music from services like Spotify and Apple Music there are a lot of differences in how to market yourself and what you need to focus on. In this guide we will go through why you would like to have your music on playlists and how to get your music on playlists. It is somewhat self explaining that you want your music in as many places as possible but I will convince you even more that it is worth the hazzle. Playlists are actually a great way to both gain new fans and keep your fans listening to your music.

Why playlists are important in music marketing

Keep fans listening to your music

In the old days when you sold CD’s when someone had bought your music it didn’t mattered how many times they played the record. You had still earned your $15 or whatever. The similar is true when looking at downloads, only that the download price often where much cheaper (costs too). When someone streams your song on Spotify you will get around $0.0047 per stream, which means you need your track to be played around 200 times before that makes up for one track downloaded. However you will be able to make money on your track for a longer period of time and the potential is actually larger with streams even though it is harder to reach up to the CD level. Let me visualize this in a graph:

Revenue from a record downloads vs streams


So the trick is not only to get your fans to listen to your music, it is to keep your fans listening to your music again and again. How can you do that? By Playlists of course!

Get new fans from playlists

I would say that there are 2 different playlists you can get your music to appear on. First, your fans private playlist that will mainly get one user to listen to your song more. Second, influencers playlists that will let you gain new fans that has never listened to your music before. There are examples of songs that have doubled their total plays over a night just because they were added to a spotify playlist with 15.000 followers.

How to get added to Playlists then?

Promotion Agencies

First of all you could always use a promotion agency specialized in this. However, that is not so easy to find and if you have more time than money, I would advice you to do this yourself since most of the job you can du successfully on your own, and sometimes more efficently than a promo agency. The benefits with a promo agency is their existing contacts. They have already made the research with other clients before so it will probably go faster to reach the results with an agency. So figure out what’s the best option for you.

Ask tastemakers and influencers

If you decide to do it yourself, first of all, let’s know the game. All of Spotify’s playlists are quite exclusive and made by them. You need to prove that you are worthy their playlists and somehow establish a relationship with Spotify. The three major labels, Universal, Sony and Warner, have bought “playlist brands” so they have their own playlists via Digster, Filtr and Topsify respectively. So your aim could be these, but they are quite hard to get. I think your focus should be on the third party / user generated playlists that have more than 500 followers. Then you can have a quite good hit-rate but still get some results when you appear on the playlist.

Let’s start making a list of playlists you are interested to be added to. Use a spreadsheet program like Excel for PC users, or Google Spreadsheet or Apple’s equivalent Numbers. There can be playlists such as label playlists, genre playlists, theme playlists, mood playlists or user playlist etc. Sort them on popularity (followers), get a column for contact details if you can find them. To search for the user on Facebook can be a good start if you can find them. If you can make them follow you, then you can start sending songs to them actually. So one way to do this is to start follow the user behind a playlist you are interested in and hope for a follow back. Then you can right click one of your own songs and click share, and then to another user.

Create your own playlist

Sometimes, the best and most efficient way is just to create your own playlist and try to get as many followers as possible. Then you can start to collaborate with other artists and help them as well. A good start is to get 250 followers to your artist profile on Spotify and get verified. Then you can brand your own playlists with a cover art and make a description and make your playlist stand out and be more attractive.


Have you successfully added a song to a popular playlist? Then make a comment and describe how and we might improve this article!

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