Stop Chasing Playlists and Start Building a Music Career — Our Latest Podcast

Lucidious: "He ignored playlists because playlists ignored him"
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Lucidious: "He ignored playlists because playlists ignored him"
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Warning: Spotify playlists may be damaging to your career. Ari Herstand explains why.

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Lucidious was a talented musician with a growing fanbase and a well-paying day job.  But he also couldn’t get onto a Spotify playlist to save his life.

Now, he’s making $250,000 a year with a rabid and growing fanbase.  And he’s still not getting any Spotify playlist love.  So how is that even possible?

Ari Herstand, author of How to Make It In the New Music Business, explained that getting included on massive playlists can actually be damaging to an artist’s long-term career. He’s seen it firsthand — and in this podcast, he breaks down why.

Strangely, getting shut out of Spotify playlists actually forced Lucidious to earn fans in a more meaningful way.

“While everyone was going towards playlists, and he went the other way,” Ari explained.  “And, he ignored playlists because playlists ignored him. So instead of beating down the door of every playlist editor and begging to get included on a playlist like every other person in the music industry was doing — and is still doing — he asked himself, ‘what is my ultimate goal here? — my ultimate goal is not to get on playlists. My ultimate goal is to get fans, and to make money from my music.'”

Shockingly, artists that are included on playlists with tens of millions of followers can have difficultly filling venues.  Or even getting a respectable amount of people to show up. “I see this all the time,” Ari relayed.  “Someone has 100 million Spotify streams, and nobody knows the artist’s name, and they can’t sell 50 tickets to their hometown shows.  So they book a show, then nobody shows up — because people are fans of the playlist, and not fans of the artist.”

“Getting onto hot playlists is getting you a lot of streams,” Ari explained.  “But it’s not getting you a lot of fans.”

Here’s our interview with Ari Herstand.

6 Responses

  1. D.

    There are other streaming platforms, but most independent marketing advice is about spotity. Get into editorial playlists, avoid long song intros, blah blah blah. Do ads, be a slave of the algorithms.
    Getting real fans is hard, even for buskers.

  2. Aussie Jack

    Stay away from all of this crapo build your catalog the industry is dead
    Wait till it’s over
    It’s not long now
    Unless you want your music taken from you because some ass doesn’t like your attitude or what you say like Taylor
    Who in there right mind would sign a contract after that

    • Rel

      If only that was written more coherently. Seems like you have good points, but not quite sure.

  3. Rel

    I was brushing up on Spotify for the last 2 weeks, watched about 30 vids on Spotify Playlists and hacking the algorithm, THEN I come across this.

    Thanks God for leading me in the right direction, and of course, Paul & Ari.

  4. Sad Clown

    Oh sure, its easy, just play shows to your friends and eventually that’s better than Spotify playlists. In da real world artists can’t afford to just play out for peanuts waiting for their big break. They can do that, but 10 years will go by with nothing to show for it. Spotify is worth more than live shows these days. So is licensing, and influencer marketing (sad but tru). But to say “ignore Spotify, build your own base instead” without any insight in the real world on how that’s done. Written by someone who’s never been a musician who made it. Name one recent artist who slugged it out on the road and made it without the support of a label. And you know how to get support of a label these days? Have good streaming numbers. Also, if you’re going to spend money, don’t spend it driving around the country playing to 4 people. Spend it on studio recordings. producers, mixers.

    • The Paperback Hero

      good points… i was wondering the same things as I read