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How to find the right independent Spotify playlist curator for your music

Smartphone with Spotify curators

Many independent playlists have thousands of followers, attracting new fans and driving streams. And the more well-followed playlists you’re on the more likely you are to feature on official Spotify playlists. But as a music artist, how do you find them?

If you have previous releases, check Spotify for Artists to see if any playlists are driving your streams – if you’re already on a playlist, it’s easy to get the playlist curator to feature you again.

There are two approaches to finding new lists: manually tracking down suitable curators/lists or using an aggregated free playlist submission site. We suggest doing both, so we’ll look at them separately. First, there are two things to keep in mind when approaching Spotify curators. Just a couple of notes before we dive in:

  • Payment to feature on playlists violates Spotify rules. Ignore any playlist curator who accepts payment to use Spotify playlist submissions. Paid music submission could even prevent you featuring on official lists.
  • Unlike when you submit music to Spotify, you should wait until tracks are released and use direct Spotify links for independent playlist submissions, so you’ll need to factor this into your music distribution schedule. You could share a pre-release preview link, but you’re relying on the Spotify curator to make a note of your release date and search for the Spotify link when it’s available. If this happens, buy a lottery ticket!

Free Spotify playlist submissions 2021 Style!

Playlist submission sites are built specifically to let you search for appropriate playlists and submit songs from one hub. One of the best tools for Spotify playlist submission is Soundplate.

Go to their free Spotify playlist submission page and select your track genre to see the appropriate playlists. Clicking each lets you preview tracks on the list. Make sure your track is a good fit! If not, don’t waste their time (and yours) – there’re more to choose from!

Now this is really important: Spotify genres can be a little different to those you might find on your other preferred music portals – so, for example, what might be House on Beatport or Funky House/Nu-Disco on Traxsource might well be LoFi House on Spotify. It’s really worth spending a bit of time checking the playlists of playlisters in all the different genres around your track before deciding which ones to pitch to – you might be surprised how your track is categorized in the Spotify universe! And this is even more true if you use other submission sites that offer paid-premium pitching credits

You should also research the playlisters, checking their Instagram presence and Following them (and their Spotify Profiles and Playlists) as this can give you important information about their reach and fit for your music. Not only that, it’s a good way to build your own following, as it often also leads to them following you, and then their followers will follow you too. And as we have seen, more followers means more people to share your music with and more people people receiving your releases in their Release Radar.

Okay, so when you’re ready, click Submit Music. If this is your first time, you’ll need to agree to follow Soundplate’s playlists and share some Artist information – and supply your contact details and track-link. Unlike with an official Spotify playlist, you won’t be asked for any biographical information.

Soundplate submit track for playlist

You can submit to as many playlists as you like, and select from multiple genres to find more that fit, but... only ones that fit!

Another popular service is SubmitHub which operates in a similar way, but you can also buy credits, allowing an unlimited number submissions, and guaranteeing a minimum listening time and written feedback from the playlisters (but not guaranteeing acceptance to the playlists). You can also use this site for submitting to Blogs and Instagram influencers (many Spotify playlisters will offer both of these too).

You might also want to check out these other submission services:

The direct approach: building your own Spotify playlist curator contact list

The advantage here is a wider music playlist pool. And it puts you in direct contact with labels and influential spotify curators. There’s no shortcut, but it won’t take more than a couple of hours to build your own Spotify playlist curators contact list.

Start your playlist push by creating a spreadsheet with columns for Playlist Name, Contact Name, Contact Email, and Notes (artists, tracks, and labels on the list).

Ask other artists and fans of your genre which playlists they follow. Pick some popular artists in your genre (pop music, indie music, electronic music, etc.) and view their Spotify profile page to see which lists they appear on. Labels often have their own playlists too, so check the ones you follow.

Playlists show the list curator, and many list their email address, social media accounts, name, or blog in the playlist description. Some also connect to their Facebook account. If not, search for the blog, playlist name, or the curator’s name on LinkedIn or Twitter, etc.

When you’ve found the playlist curators, send a friendly introduction. Follow their playlists, play some of the tracks, and start by telling them what you like about their selections. Once the conversation is flowing, tell them about your project and why you think it fits.

It may take a few pitches before anything happens so don’t be pushy or take it personally if you aren’t included right away. It doesn’t mean your music’s bad, it just means it doesn’t fit their playlist – don’t give up.

And in the meantime, here are some to get you started.

And at iMusician we have our own playlists for each genre (submit music here). For example, you can discover some of our favorite emerging electronic artists with the i’M Electronic playlist.

Building a playlist strategy

Getting your music on curated playlists is an essential step to Spotify success, but as we discuss in our Spotify for Artists guide, whether you’re acting as an independent artist, a label, or both, creating and sharing your own playlists is an invaluable way to connect with fans. Whether it’s your influences, current artists you admire, or career highlights, the music you share shows your fans who you are.

A Spotify shared playlist is also great for music promotion campaigns. Going on tour? Do a playlist of tracks by other artists on the line-ups. Played a fantastic DJ set? Share the set list. This builds your fanbase and can make creative connections with artists you’ve featured.

So what else do you need to know? As we discussed in our Spotify for Artists guide, playlists are created from your listener/user account, so you should create a new, free dedicated account for managing your Spotify for Artists page, and use this for building your sharable playlists.

Next, keep your playlist updates regular. Posting on a specific day helps your listeners know when to check for their dose of new music

As for how to update, you have three choices: keep adding new tracks to an existing list, replace the tracks on an existing list with new ones, or create a new list. The first two let you start with all the same followers, but can get very large and cumbersome or upset people when you remove their favourites! The third means you are starting from scratch, follower-wise, so you will need Artist followers and/or a very effective social media game!

Note too that Soundplate let you propose your own playlists, which could be a good way to receive new music and promote your playlist.

Lengthwise, playlists should be at least about 45-60 minutes long (around 15-20 songs), but there’s no harm in making them two or three times that, if the quality is consistent.

It’s also important to present a new playlist to the world as a complete list, so ensure lists are in ‘private’ mode while you are compiling them (you can uncheck "Automatically make new playlists public" in your Account Settings).

Presentation matters too. Your playlist description gives people a reason to subscribe to it and your profile and it’s also a chance for a ‘call to action’ (such as Follow for Weekly Playlists or ‘Pre-Order my latest vinyl release here’) or links to your website, social media, vinyl pre-order, and things like that.

As for artwork, Spotify automatically generates a default mosaic from the covers of the first four tracks on your playlist. If you want to personalize it and add your own flair, you should think about changing this to something that represents you or your label.

Once you have a playlist set up, add it to your artist profile. Go to your Spotify for Artist profile and click on edit “Artist Playlists”. You’ll be able to select any of your public playlists from your private account. Don’t forget to add one as your Artist Pick!

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