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The Challenge of Music Placement: Playlists
August 1, 2022

The Challenge of Music Placement: Playlists

Streaming has long been the subject of debate and scrutiny due to the seemingly minuscule amounts of royalties that the platform pays out. 

Failure, however, does not need to be a foregone conclusion -having music placed on the right playlists can massively affect streaming numbers and subsequent revenues generated. As a music pro, if you aren’t already aware, you are likely asking how much of a difference this makes. 

Quite a bit, it turns out.

Playlists for Music Pros

Let’s just lay down the numbers: 

According to stats, if the work your organization is representing is put on the right playlist, you can increase plays somewhere between 50 and 100% and not only that, generate a 20% increase in following that doesn’t simply dissipate.

Just on those numbers alone, investing some time into submitting playlists is a good idea for at least that dreaded ‘e’ word (exposure) if not the actual revenues - depending on the stage of the artist you’re representing. But how can music industry professionals maximize their odds of success? With some due diligence: 

Music Placement: Best Practices for Playlists

When you work for a publisher or a label, you can sort o get used to being pitched music. This is a situation where people who are often the judge of submissions are now forced to wear the other hat. Luckily, best practices can help maximize your odds. 

Have a Following

We know - easier said than done. But if you happen to have a following, it is one of the first things that the curator looks at. Think of how much music you go through a week in demos - these people are dealing with playlists - so a hard-earned following is a valuable asset. 

Are you still working on gaining a large following? Not to worry - a targeted strategy can still yield results: 

Quality is Greater than Quantity: Do Your Research

Not all playlists are created equal to your artists’ music. We probably don’t need to say it but you probably wouldn’t pitch a speed garage EP to a pop-country label, would you? The same goes for playlists, but of course, there’s more to it.  

You need to evaluate what stage this music and artist are at and make well-selected, well-thought-out submissions. That means researching what the playlist is about. This is a situation where the more you can know, the better. Some curators prefer to showcase up-and-coming artists, some stick with the established bloc, and some have the integrity to their taste alone. 

The key is to learn how to understand what drives curators to choose the music that they do - this is an art form. It may sound like a painstaking endeavor, but it is a far better time investment  than using blanket pitch services that actually will pitch a speed garage submission to a pop-country playlist. There’s more that you can do to optimize your chances of success: 

Maximize and Optimize Spotify Account

There are some things you should do to your Spotify account that will not only help with being accepted by curators but achieve the first requirement: having a following. Firstly, claim your profile. This helps your profile to retain some authority on the site and is likely to be helpful with ranking on their search algorithm; hence, followers. 

Next, you need to optimize your profile to support your efforts, and all that this means is completing it to 110%. All the photos, socials, links, etc. 

The more appropriate media that you can pump into your profile, the better. It lets the platform have a sense of the kind of resources this account is dealing with, another potential factor in their algorithms. With that - it’s good to reach out outside of the platform to achieve this if not already readily available.

Seek Media

Draft up press releases and pitch the artist’s story to local media. The same rules as pitching playlists apply, to an extent. This is a great way to drum up attention, following, and media to gain notoriety and the respect of the curators you’re submitting to. 

It also helps to have the right tools of the trade at hand:

Sharing Your Music with Reprtoir

Keeping track of music sharing and playlists can be a challenging endeavor to organize. Reprtoir is a software suite that provides a solution to this: Music Sharing. It allows music industry professionals to perform more advanced and industry-desired functions such as creating private playlists - to minimize risk, and also provides real-time data on the play. This kind of information is invaluable for those trying to break through the noise in the competitive world of streaming.

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