Playlist promotion for indie musicians

7 simple ways of turning a current playlist placement into longer-term streaming activity.

Yes, you want to get your songs onto playlists. But once you’ve landed a placement, it’s important not to fumble the opportunity.

Being discovered by followers of a playlist is not the entire end-game.

You also want to use a playlist placement:

  1. to establish or deepen your relationship with that particular playlister, so they’ll be more likely to add your music again
  2. as social proof of your music’s appeal (helping you parlay this placement into future placements elsewhere)
  3. as exciting news that you can share with fans

Basically, you want to show appreciation for the placement while also broadcasting the details.

Proper practices for playlist follow-through

Here are seven basic ways to take a playlist placement and run with it:

Pin the playlist to the top of your Spotify profile

There’s no kinder way to show you care than to say “Hey, THIS is the most important thing that’s happening with my music on Spotify right now!”

Grab the URI for the playlist, log into your Spotify for Artists account, and pin that playlist right up top with a nice caption and a nice photo. Oh, and tell the playlister you’ve done so (via Twitter, or FB, or however you can get in contact).

The playlister will dig the extra attention and your listeners might see that they’re not alone in loving your music.


Take a screenshot (but FOLLOW the playlist first)

As I said above, you want to share the news — and one of the quickest ways to show what’s happening is to post a screenshot of the playlist with your song nestled in among a bunch of other cool songs.

BUT… be sure to follow the playlist first (people can usually tell from the screenshot, particularly on Spotify).

Michael Warner of Work Hard Playlist Hard told me that it’s surprisingly common to see an artist share a screenshot of a playlist they’ve appeared on, and the artist clearly hasn’t followed the playlist!

“Hey fans, look how awesome it is that we’ve been added to this playlist that I don’t even care enough about to follow. But YOU should care!”


Post it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Share the news and tag appropriately.

Link to the playlist where possible (and change the link in your Instagram bio for a few days to direct fans to the playlist).

Why? Well, the playlister did you a favor by adding your song; do them a favor in return by directing your fans to their playlist for a few days.


Contact the playlister directly to say thanks

If you have a direct contact, say thanks the old fashioned way — by email.

(By old-fashioned, I mean, like… 15 years ago).


Find hi-res images of the playlist cover artwork

A quality photo will probably be more appealing to your audience than a screenshot of a Spotify playlist or a thumbnail of the cover artwork that you blew up.

If the playlister has hi-res images on their website, or if they have passable images on Facebook, great. Download those and use ’em.

If not, contact the playlister and ask them for a large image of the playlist cover art. It might create 15 extra seconds of work for them, but they’ll probably appreciate that you’re interested in showing their playlist in the best light.


Use your newsletter and website

If your music is getting added to lots of playlists, you’re probably not going to dedicate a whole section of your newsletter or website to a single playlist announcement, but you could do a digest-style recap.

Like, “thanks to all of these awesome playlists for adding my newest song…”

And then, of course, add links.

The longer the list of playlists, the more copying and pasting you’ll be doing.


Ask the playlist curator what kind of music they need more of

If you’re super motivated to end up on the same playlist again, you could do what Lance Allen does: ASK them what they need, and then go record that exact thing!

More polka covers of Metallica songs? Consider it done.

More fiddle tunes performed on Moog synthesizer? Sure, why not.

Really sick of ironic depressing piano versions of 80’s pop songs? I’ll do ironic depressing piano versions of 90’s pop songs!


Bonus: Add it to your resumé

Seriously. It sounds lame, but building prestige in the music biz is partially about the notches on your belt.

So keep a record of your more high-profile playlist placements, consider adding them to your artist bio or to a list of notable achievements on your website, in press releases, etc.


All of this to say, a placement should be much more than simply having your song streamed by more listeners. That’s an important part of it, for sure. But a placement should be one step along the way towards your music having long-term reach.

It’s up to you what you do with any particular playlist placement, but the more you do for the playlister, the more receptive they’ll probably be to your music down the line.

Learn more about your music succeeding on Spotify: