How To Get On Good Free Spotify Playlists

Let’s remember the original goal for getting on free Spotify playlists, because lots of musicians have either forgotten or misunderstood. You need to get your music on free Spotify “listener” playlists to trigger Spotify’s algorithmic playlists which can get more streams and lead to official Spotify editorial playlists.

Now that’s the goal most people know, but what they overlook, is the goal of getting as many positive algorithm actions as possible, and minimize skips. This will constantly send a message to the Spotify algorithm that your track is popular, and the algorithm will work hard for you, finding you new listeners constantly.

Don’t fall into the trap of Google search results where they give you a list of 10 Sites to submit your music to Spotify playlists for free. That will only get you skips!

If you want to catch the attention of the Spotify editorial team or get on official spotify playlists, don’t try to get your music on just any playlists. Let’s explore how the Spotify algorithm works.

How Does The Spotify Algorithm Work?

When anybody asks how does the Spotify algorithm work, we have to realize that it’s a very closely guarded company secret. Very few people at Spotify truly know how it works. There was a powerpoint presentation back in 2015 that revealed many details, but much has evolved since then, and they have not been public about it.

But after observing and closely studying the Spotify algorithm for ten years (as a former Sony Music VP and label manager), I’ve drawn a few conclusions and I can back them up with marketing a few thousand track campaigns.

I mentioned earlier that we’re trying to get lots of positive user actions to trigger the algorithm. But which user actions are positive? The better question is which ones are negative? And there’s really only one big negative action. Skips.   

Skips are the most powerful action on Spotify, and if you’re not happy with the way your Spotify is going, skips are the reason.

– Todd McCarty – Band Builder Academy

List of Positive User Actions in the Spotify Algorithm

  • Search – typing the artist name or song title into the Spotify search bar. This shows popularity, because fans are seeking you out, without Spotify having to recommend you.
  • App recommendations – Spotify recommends your music on one of their recommendation features on the app and a user clicks it.
  • Through-plays – a user plays the entire song and it doesn’t get skipped
  • Listening more than once per user
  • Like it, heart it, or save it to their library
  • Follow the artist on Spotify
  • Add to a listener playlist
  • performing well on the different types of playlists
  • Add to queue
  • Share it (on Instagram stories, messenger, or the song URL)
  • Go to Radio
  • View album
  • View artist profile

OK, now balance that out with negative algorithm actions on Spotify, and skips are pretty much the only one. There’s others like un-following, or “don’t show me songs like this”, but by far “skips” are the most heavily weighted negative action.

Spotify Playlist Strategies That Don’t Work

Next, I want to eliminate a few free Spotify playlist strategies that don’t work. If you’re trying to get good free Spotify playlists, stop doing these things.

Spotify bots and fake streams

Bots and fake Spotify streams guarantee failure. Don’t even try to convince yourself that this strategy works.

Don’t mass email playlist curator contacts

Don’t mass email Spotify curators for playlists that you really want to get your music on. Send them a personal email. Especially don’t blast curators you found from services that charge you for a list of playlist curator contacts.

Now, if you’re only using this service to get a handful of curator contacts that fit your genre, that’s probably OK, but I think you’ll be disappointed with the quantity and freshness of the lists. Your own personal list of curator contacts is always better. 

Services that charge you for a list of playlist curator contacts

The obvious benefit of these services – is they will save you time. They’ll tell you they constantly keep these lists up to date and adding new ones. Sounds great!

This strategy will backfire, because once the curator is listed on one of these services, it’s game over for that playlist. That curator will get fifty, a hundred, or more email submissions a day and become overwhelmed and frustrated with tons of irrelevant submissions. 

Having that many playlist contacts at your disposal is going to tempt you to take a quantity over quality approach. And you’re probably going to send them a mass email that will most likely go into spam. It’s also not a personal approach and you don’t give them much reason to want to take an interest in you.  

But the big reason this doesn’t work is because you’ll land playlists that will get you skips and kill your algorithm. It’s also going to land you on some bots too.

Many of the curators you’ll find on these lists want to put you on their playlist even if your song isn’t a good fit. Because they want to sell you a spot, or some other service. They know artists want playlists and your submission is how they attract you to the service they’re selling.

Spotify Playlist Trading in Facebook or Discord Groups

Don’t do these if the members come from all sorts of genres. It will only work if the community understands the danger of skips.

My Favorite Ways to Get on Free Spotify Playlists (Listener Playlists)

And now, here are some of my favorite ways to get on Spotify playlists for Free!

Curate your own Spotify playlists

On Spotify you can create your own artist playlists and have them appear on your artist profile. Put energy into growing followers on your Spotify playlists and make it a powerhouse in your genre or mood.

You can’t expect Spotify editorial playlists on every single release, so your own playlist can be a lifesaver when you need it. It’s also a great networking tool for meeting other artists, managers, and record labels within your genre. Which leads to my next one.

Trade Spotify playlists with friends and other artists

This is a nice free and organic way to network and grow your Spotify playlisting.

Finally, what I think is the single best strategy with the most long term benefits for sustained algorithm growth. 

Create your own database of Perfect-Match Spotify Listener Playlists

You need to have your very own list of Spotify curator contacts for perfect-match “listener” playlists in your specific genres or moods. 

This will work for everybody. It does require the most time and effort, but I also think it has the biggest long term payoff for your algorithm.

Now, if you’re thinking, oh here he goes with the Spotify “Discovered On” strategy and hunting people down. I hear this all the time…”Oh, that doesn’t work anymore. All the curators either charge or ignore you.  There’s no good playlists left.”

You’re wrong. You’ve given up. You’ve not put enough dedication and work into it. Sure, some of what you said is true, but it doesn’t mean you give up. There’s new Spotify playlists coming up every day.

You pivot, you get creative, and you work hard to find a different way to connect with that playlist curator.

Build your List of Spotify Curators

Put in two hours a day to build your list of Spotify curators. This is a great investment of your time and energy that will have long term benefits for organic Spotify streams. Set a reminder on your phone to block off this time. Do it every day for a week, then take a week off. Then back to it. This way you won’t burn out. But discipline yourself to put in the work.

I’m not saying it will be easy. But it will get easier after a month and after several months. After you build up enough friendships with Spotify curators that get you quality play, and no skips, the Spotify algorithm will kick in.

Spotify Playlist Curators are Important Contacts Like Radio and Blog Gatekeepers

Noticed I mentioned friendships. Your database of spotify curator contacts is not a short term thing. These playlists are important. I liken these Spotify playlist curators to gatekeepers at radio stations or blogs. You need to have a strong relationship if you’re going to continue to contact them each time you release a new song. 

If you’re selective about the playlists you pitch for and put in the work, you won’t have Spotify promotion problems anymore.

Now, when you make your list of “listener” playlists and contacts, they don’t have to be big – in terms of followers – but in terms of activity. And most importantly there needs to be a lot of “perfect-match” listeners tuning into the playlist.

What to Write in Your Email to Playlist Curators

Here is what I recommend when asking Spotify playlist curators to put you on their playlist. 

Once you get your list of Spotify curators and email addresses, reach out with a personalized email pitch that gives them a reason to want to help you.

  • Establish a connection musically to start the email off strong. Find common ground with an artist you both like. That’s an easy one. This cold email interruption isn’t ideal, so think about how you might approach them if you were meeting in person?
  • Apologize for the cold email but just tell them you’re putting in the work to get on playlists that your music will sound great on.
  • I would mention some of the interesting points about your music and some marketing highlights too. This is the same stuff you put on your 150 character Spotify pitch.
  • Keep it simple, short, and sweet.  Nobody likes long emails. You don’t need a press kit, or a pre-save link, or long bio.

How to Find Spotify Playlist Curator Contacts (for Listener Playlists)

There’s a few resources you can use to find these very relevant (perfect-match) Spotify playlists.

  1. The best place to start is the ‘listener playlists”and curators who are already playing your music a lot. These can be found in your Spotify for Artists portal. Watch the video above to learn how.
  2. The next best place to look is the Discovered on Feature on Spotify. The video above shows how to do it.

Make sure when you do this curator research you are using the Spotify desktop app. If you’ve been using your phone or the web browser version, it’s a lot more difficult and slow. Some methods I demonstrate in the video are impossible with the mobile app.

The more you do this Spotify playlist research the better you will get at it. 

Maximize Your Time – Find Spotify Playlist Curators.

There are 2 factors that will maximize the time you spend, and help avoid wasting time on a dead end.

  1. Is it possible to find a curator contact?
  2. Is the playlist good quality?

First, look at the user name. Ignore it if it says Spotify or one of the major label owned playlists like Digster, Topsify, Filtr.  Also usually if the username is something like “3295307359” it’s going to be a dead end. Move on.

I like to quickly click into each one and see if I can find an email or DM contact for the Spotify playlist curators. I really take a good look at ones that have a first and last name and a profile picture. 

Many of these will be curated by companies trying to charge you money. Or they’ll send you to SubmitHub or a playlist promotion company. And if you really want to be in touch with that curator, that may be your only option, so go for it.

And I’m not totally against paying. If it’s a curator that plays exactly the kind of music as you, and you know it’s going to get good quality streams from potential fans, I would consider it. 

DISCUSS

I’m glad you found this post before reading about 10 sites to submit your music to Spotify playlists for free. As you now know, that will only get you skips and spoil any chance of getting the attention of the Spotify editorial team and landing official Spotify playlists. Not all free Spotify playlists are good for your music. Find those perfect-match

If you have questions, please leave a comment below and I will try to respond.

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