The Point of Spotify Playlists Is Not Streams

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Your ROI for Spotify playlists will probably be $0, at least for a while when you first start out. But that’s okay.

The point of playlists is not to make money or get more streams. Yes, the ultimate goal is to make a living from music, and playlists can bring in more streaming revenue. But it’s deeper than that. So we’re going to talk about the real reason you want to get on Spotify playlists.

The Three Types of Spotify Playlists

Before we talk about how Spotify playlists can help your music career, let’s first cover the types of playlists.

Spotify Editorial Playlists

An editorial playlist is curated by Spotify employees. And they have thousands of these playlists, all specific to a genre, vibe, or even situation.

These playlists usually have hundreds of thousands of followers, so it’s a chance to get some great exposure. Will it ensure you have a stable music career? Likely not, but it can definitely help.

You pitch to editorials through your Spotify for Artists account. The key is to submit it well before your release date. Learn everything you need to know about pitching to editorial playlists here.

Algorithmic Playlists (AKA Personalized Playlists)

Algorithmic playlists are personalized to each listener based on what they listen to, when they listen, what songs they add to their own playlists, and even the listening habits of others with similar taste.

Sometimes, Spotify editors will start the process by choosing the initial songs the algorithm should choose from.

There are many variations of personalized playlists, but some of the more popular ones include:

  • Discover Weekly
  • Release Radar
  • On Repeat
  • Repeat Rewind

Listener Playlists

These are playlists created by listeners. And what’s cool is, you can see what playlists people are putting your songs on, as long as multiple listeners stream your music from the playlist.

Just go to your Spotify for Artists, to the Music tab, and go to Playlists. Alternatively, you can click on an individual song and see what playlists it’s been put on.

These are very important playlist adds because that means someone was so into your song, they added it to their curated collection.

As a listener, I take my playlists seriously. They’re organized by vibe, so I have to really like an artist’s song and it has to perfectly fit a playlist before I add it.

What Spotify Playlists Actually Do For Your Career

The expectation of Spotify playlists should not be to rack up streams and make a bunch of money (although that is possible). They can help, but playlists play a deeper and more important role than that. Here’s what they actually do…

Trigger the Spotify Algorithm

Basically, the more playlists you’re on, the more appealing you are to the Spotify algorithmic playlists.

This is why I continue to submit my music to playlist curators. Yes, I spend money submitting to most of these curators (pay to submit, not pay for guaranteed adds), and I probably won’t get that money back any time soon. But it’s all part of the bigger effort to move the needle. I’m investing in myself, my music career, believing that it will pay off eventually.

I’m triggering the Spotify algorithm to show my music to even more people (the main picture at the top of this post shows the source of my streams on Spotify). And I want it to snowball until the algorithm pushes out every new release.

Turn Passive Listeners Into Lifelong Fans

I’ve heard the argument that playlists are pointless because people are listening passively. And yeah, that’s true. People are listening passively.

Which is why your music needs to be great – the songwriting, production, mix, every part of it. Because if your song is good enough, it will snap the listener out of passivity. They’ll like your song, add it to their playlist, and maybe visit your profile to check out your whole catalog.

So getting on playlists is one way to find lifelong fan. And that’s what this is all about. Finding the people who love your music so much they’ll stick with you for the long-haul.

And if you find just one person who becomes a diehard fan from a playlist, the money you spent submitting to that playlist won’t compare to how much that fan is willing to pay you for merch and show tickets or becoming your patron. Not to mention the value of them sharing your music with others.

How To Submit Your Music To Spotify Playlists

If you’re ready to invest time and a little money into getting your music on Spotify playlists, you should read this post. It shows you how the Spotify algorithm works, methods for finding the right playlists, and a few other considerations.