Spotify Playlist Building Strategy

Build playlists around your interests

One thing you can count on with social media is, if you’re enthusiastic about what your doing, you’ll make it awesome! If not, you’ll lose steam and neglect it. Which brings us to…  SUCCESSFUL PLAYLISTS.. 


Update your playlists on a regular schedule

To make a playlist that’s worth following, it should be dynamic and change over time. Otherwise a user can just listen once and be done with it. Choose a day to make updates each week and keep it consistent to build expectation amongst followers. Once again you have to stick with it and advertise your playlists consistently. Be innovative in your marketing and find ways to attract people to your playlists. Don't do it if your not going to use them consistently and with a clear plan for 6 -12 month long term goal.


Only ONE song per artist. 

Unless a playlist’s sole purpose is to highlight the music of one artist, (like an album, by style, story or collection of most popular) it’s best to make the song list diverse. Spotify’s algorithm can downgrade a playlist that is too heavily weighted towards one artist. They know everything so don't try to fool them, just create playlists that are what they say they are and don't only make playlists of your own music. Create some that associate your music with about 30 other artists. One hour playlists are a great length to shoot for as most people like to turn them on and have a longer lasting automated experience with cool new music to hear that fit well together according to the playlist title and description. 


Seed your own songs! 

Nestle your song perfectly amongst a bunch of great tunes by other artists. But remember: just one song per playlist, unless it’s a playlist organized around your music alone. You could get away with a playlist where each artist has two songs if necessary but keep it evenly distributed. 

I have playlists on my personal channel that you can sample:


And here's a great sampler curated by spotify:


Playlists should have between 20-60 songs. 

Spotify’s algorithm favors playlists with more than 20 songs and less than 60. Aim for 25-30 when you first create the list, and then add more songs on a regular basis. Once you’re approaching 60 songs, shuffle the oldest tracks off the list. 


Promote your playlists. 

Share the playlists you create with your fans on social, email, etc. Ask them to follow your playlists, and ask for their suggestions for songs or artists you can add to your playlists in the future.


Ask your fans to save a song from your playlist to their own playlists. 

Again, Spotify’s algorithm takes special notice whenever a user is motivated to move a song from a playlist they follow to one of their own playlists. This is the MOST IMPORTANT action a fan can take to support you on Spotify. So provide a link to your playlist and ask your fans to do just that! 


Notify other artists who’ve been added to your playlists

Reach out via Twitter, Facebook, or email. Let them know you love their music, have added a song to your playlist, and ask them to follow the playlist and promote it to their fans.


Experiment with some of these other playlist ideas: 

Catalog playlist — This is a playlist of your entire catalog, or a selection of your best tracks. Catalog playlists are also a great tool for releasing a single; instead of linking your fans to just one song, link them to the playlist where that new single plays first, and then your fans will have something else to listen to when that song is over (your entire catalog!). Remember to add new tracks as they’re released. 

Check out an example of this kind of playlist HERE. 


“What I’m listening to”  

I highlighted one of those playlists above (April favorites) Update this kind of playlist regularly with whatever you like from the infinite world of streaming music. It’s a great way to build a deeper relationship with your audience; they can get to know you as an artist and as a person who loves other artists’ music, too. It’s also a great way to promote friends or bands you love. 


One tip: when you add new tracks to your playlist, be sure to post a link to the playlist on social media and tag @Spotify as well as the artists you’re adding to the playlist. Sometimes you can get retweets from big names! 


** Feel like listening with me? I just updated my April Indie Favorites @Spotify #NowPlaying #spotify #newmusic #newsingle


Playlist contests — Challenge your fans to make their “dream setlist” or a “Greatest Hits” collection from your catalog. Offer a prize to the best one, and require they share the playlist on Twitter or Facebook. It’s a great way to reach friends of your fans that might not otherwise hear your music. 


Use the buddy system — You probably have quite a few friends in your music scene who are at a similar place in terms of growing their Spotify presence. Ask if they’d be interested in “trading” songs on playlists. You add one of their songs to your playlist. They return the favor. 


Add bonus material and commentary — Upload an album’s worth of commentary tracks to CD Baby with a slightly different artist name than your usual name (for instance: “Tom Petty Commentary” or “Chris Robley Spotify Radio”), distribute this material exclusively to Spotify, and then create a playlist that pairs your commentary tracks with the album tracks. It’s a really creative way to expand the listening experience with stories from the studio, an analysis of the lyrics, or anything else that’d get fans deeper into the songs. 


Make collaborative playlists — This is a great way to add a layer of interactivity and engagement on Spotify because anyone who follows the playlist can make changes. For instance, you can ask your fans to help you make a “Weekend Party” playlist or a “Tonight’s Set List” collection by adding songs. 


Add your songs to collaborative playlists

While we’re on the topic, there are countless collaborative playlists out there. Find them, follow them, and add your best song (JUST ONE though). 

Here’s a collaborative playlist submission page to get you started: here! Feel free to submit a song for our many Spotify Playlists rotation. Your song will also be played on our show, and be loaded to our Reverbnation and Soundcloud lists if you supply the links as well.