As the CD goes the way of the dinosaur, streaming is now the music platform which makes playlists on online music streaming services ever more popular. Yeah, vinyl has come back with brute force, but this doesn’t change the fact that most people buy music for its prime use, not just as a collectable.
As music is becoming even more conveniently placed on our phones, Spotify and Apple Music (just by way of easy example) are starting to dominate the music business in the way that we saw the likes of Geffen and EMI do years before. And they’ve found a way to revert popularity back upon themselves: playlists.
Both artists and managers will probably be wondering how you go about appearing on a fabled streaming playlist and turning a little known diamond of a song into a giant goldmine.
OK, deep breath…
The streaming playlists are created by a few types of people: the public and company staff. Streaming services take their playlists real seriously, they employ people to curate them and keep them appropriate and up to date. These playlists are hard for artists to control, especially if you’re doing things DIY.
The public can have their own playlists that play through to their followers, but not to the general populace at large (which is how Spotify/Apple Music/Deezer operate their in-house playlists). Which means you will need to target your playlist creator based on music genre; think relevant club and radio DJs, music bloggers, reviewers and promoters.
To target a playlist by streaming service, the best way is to identify who these people are that have become the new tastemakers. LinkedIn is a great way to identify staff at Spotify and contact them. By name there are only a few curators available, but they do exist.
Keep in mind that like most cold communications, this is likely to be a tough sell. These people are music industry professionals and while they cast their nets wide they will have major labels in their ears too. Engaging a digital aggregator is one way of making the playing field a bit more level in this environment as they also have strong contacts with streaming service playlist curators.
Lastly, do not forget that as always you have the power to do it yourself. You can create a playlist and generate your own followers. A DIY playlist should be a mix of carefully curated tracks sticking to a theme or genre that allow you to nicely mix in a few of your own. Where they exist, be sure to make use of artist pages to generate interest in your mixes and music too.
There are no guarantees or hard and fast rules here. You need to be making great sounding music and you also need to know who your fans are. That’s the start of any great relationship. The more people who put your songs on their modern day home-made mixtapes will enthuse the bigger fish to take note. So it’s not necessarily about having a separate strategy from your regular music promotion.
Keep going, oh talented ones. You could be closer than you think.