Living as an independent artist – How to get on Spotify playlists

If you’re looking for a 10-steps to get your music on Spotify playlists and expect a quick answer on how to get rich from Spotify streams, I recommend you to go elsewhere. This is the more boring, but also more realistic and actually functional way, but it do take some work.

I started being serious about my music about one year ago when I released the single “Your Dreams” and like everyone else I wanted more listeners on Spotify. Both for the mere joy of having people listen to your music, but also to actually make a little money from my music (even though the payment from streaming to the artist is embarrassingly low).

At that time I had on avarage 130 streams per day on all my songs on Spotify, not bad but I had a hard time getting my music out to more people. One year later I have had a growth of daily plays with almost 1000 %, to 1 200 plays daily in average. And I didn’t spend a dime on promotion to get to this point.

This growth has been possible thanks to three different approaches.

1.Connecting directly with listeners on social media
2. Getting on good Spotify playlists
3. Co-operation with other independent artist promoting each other

Today I will talk about number 2, getting on Spotify playlists.

There are other ways than mine, there are the submission sites where you can submit to playlists with a ton of listeners (but most of them inactive, since they only follow the playlist because they submitted to it). There are playlist pluggers who you can pay a huge amount of money that you probably wont get back, with the low payments you’ll get from each stream, even if they manage to get you on some playlists.

So this way of doing it is something I came up with both thanks to reading articles from others but mostly I have figured it out my self.

There are two major steps in this process.

1. Finding the right playlists
2. Contact the curator

Finding the right playlist

There are millions and millions of user created playlists on Spotify. Most of them with zero or maybe five followers. And then there’s playlists with 50 000 followers but no interaction what so ever. So, how to find playlists that actually will make real people getting to listen to your music.

I have two different ways of finding these playlists. First you can do a search for genre or keyword, which is especially effective if you can put a feeling on a song or it is a song with a clear niche. So for example the song I had most success with is “Visa från Utanmyra” a jazzy instrumental folk song. So what I did was to search for for example “Scandinavian Jazz” or “Instrumental Jazz” or “Chill instrumental” etc etc, you get the idea.

Then check the playlist out and see if the song you wanna pitch is a good fit for the playlist, if so you can go to step 2, but first I’m gonna show the other way of finding good playlists and this is actually my favorite.

First take some time contemplating on what artist that make’s similar music as you do. And do not choose artists with millions of listeners, but artists and bands that are a bit ahead of you in there career and size of fan base. Or go to your own artist page and see who’s your related artists.

Then go ahead to their artist page and click on about or MONTHLY LISTENERS

And there you got the five top playlists where that artist got discovered and chances are quite good that those playlist could be a good fit for your own music. With bigger artist you only gonna see official Spotify playlists, and getting in to them is a totally different story. So now it’s time to figure out who the curator is and how to contact him/her.

Contact the curator

So now you have found a playlist with artists similar to you and that seems to add independent artists and also have a good following and activity. So, how do you contact the curator? Most curator are regular music fans who happened to have a playlist that for some reason has become really popular and they have linked their Facebook-profile to Spotify.

So you can click on the name of the creator and come to their profile. In my case my profile is linked to my artist so it wont be linked to my private Facebook, but the principle is the same.

Then you can go to Facebook and search for the curator and hope that their name isn’t to common. Most often the picture on Spotify and Facebook are the same. So choose to only show people (or in this case when it’s an artist profile pages)

Hopefully you will find the person behind the playlist and then next step is contacting him/her. And here comes an important lesson, again, AN IMPORTANT LESSON.

“NO ONE WANT TO GET SPAMMED IN PRIVATE MESSAGES”

So be friendly. Tell them that you found their playlists and followed it and you like the music on it. And since the artist on it plays similar music to what you do you think that you have one or a few songs that would fit onto it. Don’t just send a link, ask if the person is interested in checking your music out, if yes, then you’ll send the music.

Also ask if they want you to share the playlist to your own followers and fans to give something back and if they add you make sure you show appreciation. I actually made some new music friends thanks to me being a nice guy and not only focusing on my self. (I will talk a lot more about this in upcoming posts).

Not all of the people you contact will answer and it can be really frustrating and it takes a lot of work. But if you are consistent it will be worth it. Today my Spotify-streams equals around 100 dollars a month which means I can work one day less and instead keep doing the things I love, making music and building relationships. And when I release something new I already have a bunch of people who I got to know and that might add a new song of mine to their playlist or share the song with a friend that might like it and so on. Don’t expect this to be a quick payoff, but with some hard work it can be one stream of incoming taking you closer to your goal of being a self sufficient independent artist.

So if you liked this guide why not show some support by sharing this article with your friends or follow me and play my music. I have a new EP coming the 9th of March.

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  1. Visa från Utanmyra Jon Magnusson 1:48
  2. Ode to a friend Jon Magnusson 4:26
  3. Psalm for Sinners Jon Magnusson 2:13
  4. Your dreams Jon Magnusson 3:38
  5. Ode to a Friend (TC Newman Remix) Jon Magnusson 3:52
  6. Your dreams Jon Magnusson/Jayber.C 4:22