The playlist universe on streaming platforms may seem endless. Some playlists are created by users, some by artists, others by the platforms themselves or even by algorithms. So how are you as an artist supposed to know which playlists are relevant for you? In this article, we'll explain the different types of playlist and which ones you should have on your radar to promote your music.
1. Personalised or algorithm-based playlists
Personalised playlists are based on algorithms and are therefore unique for each listener. They are created automatically and take into account what listeners have listened to, liked, shared and added to other playlists (but also what tracks they have skipped). These sophisticated algorithms, designed by real people, also compare listening habits with those of other people with similar taste. They are therefore based on the unique taste of listeners and cannot be directly influenced by you as an artist. Nevertheless, the more followers you have, the more you will end up on these playlists. Therefore, promote your music and talk about it whenever and wherever you can - e.g. on your social media channels.
2. Editorial playlists
The leading streaming and download platforms have so-called playlist curators. These are experts who create playlists that match different genres, moods, activities or vibes and select songs with a specific audience in mind. They rely on their wealth of experience and their intuition for the preferences and habits of the listeners. Editorial playlists can sometimes also be personalised with different tracks for users. On Spotify, you can recognise curated playlists by the Spotify logo on the preview image of the playlist. If you are added to one of Spotify's editorial playlists, you will receive a personalised link that you can share with your fans. The link is used so that listeners who have clicked on it will see your track at the top of the playlist for the next 24 hours, but you shouldn't solely rely on being discovered by playlist curators. You can also actively pitch your music to be included in editorial playlists. However, the process for pitching is different for each platform. You can find out how playlist pitching works on Spotify in the article on "Spotify Editorial Playlists".
3. Playlists from listeners or user playlists
Listeners can also create their own playlists with tracks they particularly like. For example, they can group the different genres of music they like to listen to. In the streaming world, there are millions of playlists created by listeners. Some of them are very successful and have high numbers of followers. Therefore, user playlists can also be an attractive place for your music. As an artist, you cannot directly influence what music other people add to their personal playlists (but you can just ask them directly) - you can also learn a lot from them. Playlists created by listeners are a wonderful way to understand your fans, e.g. how your music resonates with them and how your reach is growing and the more often you land on these playlists, the more likely it is that your music will be selected by curators or the algorithm. Music by other artists which is similar to your music can also help you grow your reach. When listeners add your music to a playlist, recommendations are automatically generated that may include your music.
4. Artist playlists
You also have the option to create and share playlists of your choice with tracks from other artists, as well as your own. On some platforms, you can present your playlists on your artist profile - on Spotify, for example, this is called "Artist Pick". This way you can show your audience which music, genres and artists you like and give recommendations. Other artists can of course do the same for you. Therefore it's always a good idea to network with other artists (e.g. in our MusicHub community). You can also highlight playlists on your artist profile that have been created by others - for example, playlists to which your music has been added. Regardless of what you create or highlight, it's always a good idea to keep all of your artist profile content up to date and regularly adjust your selections and recommendations by other artists.
Whether created by listeners, curators, algorithms or yourself, playlists are a great way to promote your music and grow your fanbase.
Want more tips on how to promote your music? Then check out this article on DIY music promotion.
Photo Credit: © unsplash/visualbyfath