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Spotify

Being added to a Spotify editorial playlist may be the goal, but there are many factors that impact placement. A few things to remember:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of social media and its effects on securing you a spot on a Spotify curated playlist. What you do outside of Spotify matters.
  • Being added to smaller playlists is incredibly important in terms of increasing streams, saves, and finding a place on a larger playlist. You can create a Crosshair campaign to get your music in front of influencers of all sizes.
  • Creative partnerships with influencers on all social media platforms can help create honest buzz. Influencers have loyal followers who trust them. A collaboration, recommendation, or shout out from an influencer is invaluable. Create these online relationships.
  • Make sure to get your name and music out there- tour, make videos, get your music reviewed by blogs, or anything else you can to grow your fan base outside of the streaming platform. Social media and streaming are very interconnected. The momentum and buzz on social media and the Internet will drive playlist activity and streaming engagement within Spotify.

Below are some real-life examples, ranging in size, where social media and Spotify wins of all kinds helped songs find success they otherwise may not have found:

Black Beatles & the Mannequin Challenge

You probably remember the Mannequin Challenge. Whether you loved it or hated it, at the end of the day, you knew about it, and you could recognize the tune playing in the background after watching a few videos. It started out as a fun video created by a group of teenagers pretending to be frozen in time to rap duo Rae Sremmurd’s song “Black Beatles.” Ultimately, it became what made the difference between a decently popular song and an insanely successful track and cultural craze. The first Youtube video posted with the #MannequinChallenge hashtag was from October 26, 2016, and by November 3, 2016 the song was in Spotify’s Top 5 daily charts with over 32 million streams. Rae Sremmurd also made Spotify’s 20 under 20 list. Once the hashtag and video craze started spreading through Youtube, Instagram, and other social media channels with other people trying to replicate the #MannequinChallenge, the song skyrocketed on streaming platforms and social media. “Black Beatles” now has almost 500 million streams on Spotify. This wasn’t an intentional marketing technique created by Rae Sremmurd or their management – instead, the natural power of social media was what helped this song gain initial momentum on the charts. 
Following in the footsteps of “Black Beatles” was the song “Bad and Boujee” by hip-hop trio Migos. Released on August 27, 2016, this song found huge success after listeners picked up on its “meme-ability” or its ability to be made into humorous memes, jokes, tweets, plays on lyrics, etc. “Bad and Boujee” has a quotable chorus, which lent itself well to this new wave of social media hit-making. Ultimately, on January 9, 2017, “Bad and Boujee” actually knocked “Black Beatles” out of the #1 spot on the Hot 100 chart. These two songs weren’t the first songs to find success through social media, and they certainly will not be the last. 


Prohaize

Prohaize, an independent artist from Atlanta, launched a Crosshair campaign for his song “Next Time.” Starting with few streams and monthly listeners, his song was sent to our influencers where he received some positive feedback from playlisters. He was added to a few Crosshair playlists, most of which could eventually be found under his “Discovered On” section on Spotify. As his song continued to be saved and added to these playlists, the Spotify Discover Weekly algorithm picked up on the fact that this was a song being discovered, and enjoyed, by other users. Within a few weeks, “Next Time” had made it onto multiple Discover Weekly playlists, and as more listeners began to save “Next Time” to their libraries, Spotify continued adding it to many more Discover Weeklys. Ultimately, it gained so much steam that it landed on the Spotify curated playlist “Fresh and Chill.” “Next Time” currently has almost 200,000 streams and Prohaize has almost 9,000 monthly listeners – a huge jump from where he started. Through small increments of success, starting with a few playlist adds and saves, leading up to being added to a Spotify curated playlist, Prohaize was able to build streams, find success on Spotify, and open up more opportunities for for his next single, “Why Me.”


Mitchell Rose

Independent pop artist Mitchell Rose has seen first hand the impact social media and playlist placements have had on his Spotify presence. Mitchell has not overlooked the importance of a strong social influencer presence. He teamed up with music producer and influencer Kurt Hugo Schneider to do a cover of Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away.” That video now has almost 2 million views, and his cover was placed on the Spotify playlist “This Is Kurt Hugo Schneider,” generating even more streams. Charlie Puth himself even saw the video and left a comment! Mitchell’s song “Famous” also hit Youtube by way of makeup Youtuber Laura Leth’s video, which has reached over 15,000 views. As each of these songs created buzz, Mitchell’s Spotify streams and monthly listeners increased. For example, his song “Candy,” released this year, now has over half a million streams and was added to 756,000 Discover Weekly playlists in five weeks – an impressive feat for an independent artist. Recently, he launched a Crosshair campaign for his latest song “Judy Blue” and was added to a couple of user curated playlists. He was also featured on the music blog Digital Tour Bus. As a result, Mitchell’s monthly listeners increased to over 300,000.  You can see in the graphic below how whenever a new song of his was released, there was a spike in listeners and a bigger audience each time. Through small steps such as minor playlist adds, listeners saving his songs, and blog and Youtube features, Mitchell has been able to cultivate a strong fan base that continues to grow. This success didn’t happen overnight, but rather as a result of strategic long term planning, and not underestimating the power of social media and small Spotify wins.



Click here to read Part 1 – Spotify Playlists: How are the made, and how do you get on one?
Click here to read Part 2 – Where Man Meets Machine
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Spotify
As mentioned previously, the ecosystem of music curation is a complex environment where man meets machine. In this expansive ecosystem, social media platforms- in their ever-changing nature- play quite a larger role than one might initially realize.  

Getting buzz on one platform can translate to success on other platforms and on a larger scale. For example, Billboard has the “Social 50” chart that ranks artists’ social popularity based on weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with artist page views and weekly song plays, as measured by Next Big Sound. Next Big Sound “crunches consumption data from social media and music-streaming sites, tracks buzz on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and YouTube, and collects private sales figures from clients and partners to inform its predictions.” Using metrics like these is becoming more common as music giants race to find the next undiscovered talent.

Learning how to perfectly blend manpower and technology to provide the best playlists for its users is currently one of Spotify’s main focuses. One of the tools that helps Spotify do that is the Echo Nest. Founded in 2005 and later acquired by Spotify in 2014, the Echo Nest is known for web crawling and data mining to determine what people want to listen to and make music suggestions. The software scans about 10 million posts a day on blogs, news sites, and social networks to see what music people are talking about. Using the data collected by Echo Nest, Spotify can then figure out what’s currently popular and what has the strong likelihood of finding success on a playlist – something Spotify closely monitors.

You may not have heard of Echo Nest before, but chances are you’ve definitely heard of Discover Weekly. Discover Weekly is a playlist custom made for each Spotify listener based on machine-made recommendations that take into account many factors including not just songs you’ve been listening to, but also songs your friends have been listening to. Discover Weekly helps to create new fans through machine-made recommendations. The more success (i.e. streams, saves, or additions to other playlists) that a song on a Discovery Weekly playlist has, the more Discover Weekly playlists it will end up on.

So how are these recommendations made? Spotify uses not one but three recommendation methods blended together to create the perfect, customized playlist for you. These methods are:


  1.     Collaborative Filteringthis analyzes your, your friends’, and others’ behaviors using implicit feedback by monitoring things like how many times you’ve played a song, if you’ve saved it, if you added it to a playlist, or if you visited the Artist page after, for example. This is why being added to playlists, even small playlists with few followers, is so important. (We’ve recently lowered our playlist follower requirement for influencers on Spotify to 200 followers with this fact in mind.)
  1.     Natural Language Processing – this analyzes text from news articles, blogs, and other text on the Internet.
  1.     Audio – this analyzes the raw audio tracks themselves. Although the first two methods provide plenty of data, this third method helps improve the accuracy, and more importantly, it takes into account new songs.

It’s important to highlight that, in regards particularly to collaborative filtering, being added to non-Spotify playlists, no matter the number of followers, is a key driving factor in capturing the attention of Spotify. If a Spotify playlist editor or algorithm notices a song naturally growing and being added to many playlists, odds are that song would resonate with other users. With our new follower requirement being 200 followers on Spotify playlists, we’ve increased our influencer pool along with the chances of landing your song on a playlist.

Once a song has successfully captured the attention of a Spotify algorithm, recommendation method, or a human curator and has finally landed a spot on a Spotify playlist, the editorial team pays close attention to different metrics such as skip rate, engagement rate, save rate, and playlist adds to determine if that song connected with the audience- if not, edits may be made. Spotify wants as close to a sure thing as it can get, while still providing undiscovered music for its users. That’s why it’s so important to those who oversee editorial playlists to notice if songs yet to be hits are generating buzz both on and off of streaming platforms.

If Spotify can secure a solid song on a playlist, they add value to their company by being a place where users can come to find new music curated for them, rather than being solely a streaming platform. By using social media and other playlists of various sizes, you can strengthen the case for your song and capture the attention of both Spotify’s curators and algorithms.


Read Part 3 to see the next steps you should take as well as some success stories!

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