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  • Writer's pictureArashk Azizi

The power of the playlists. Chapter three, User Playlists!

User playlists

It’s obvious from its name. No matter what platform you are using, there is always a feature that makes it possible to create your own playlists. Getting into these playlists is not something that you can actually plan for; depending on the taste of the user, they might add you to their personal playlists, or not.

Based on Spotify’s stats, more than 60% of the streams around the world come from this source.

If you have already targeted the right audience and have everything else right so your music gets to them, chances are most of them will add your music to their playlist.

But here my point is not about how to get on these playlists, but about the fact that these are actually fairly important playlists. Many artists disregard user playlists since there are not many streams coming from them. Each of these playlists has 1 to 10 or so followers, therefore the number of streams you get from them will be just a few per month.

But you should keep in mind that streaming platforms care about these playlists. If you are added to a hundred or more (real) user playlists, regardless of how many streams they might bring you, the platform will consider it as a factor for your music popularity, therefore it will give you a higher chance to get featured on automatic playlists by the same platform.

Ask your fans and friends to add your music to their personal playlists. That will help you more than just playing it from your artist or album page.

Create your own playlists

As a musician, you have your own taste. Not just for creating music, but also for listening. Chances are the same people who might like your music taste and listen to your playlist, also become your fans and listen to your songs.

By becoming a curator, you start interacting with a much bigger audience than just a musician. Not only you can introduce your own music, but you can also introduce the music you love and have influenced you and your music.

The process of having playlists and becoming a curator is a long and somewhat expensive one, much like being a musician itself. There are some points that might be worth mentioning though:

  • Create playlists on as many platforms as possible.

  • Be true and honest to yourself and your audience in terms of your favorite style and genre.

  • Don’t stick to a handful of playlists, create as much as you need.

  • Sharing is the key. Independent musicians might share your playlists if you feature them on them. Don’t just go for the big names.

Be everywhere:

When we talk about music streaming services, Spotify is the first name that comes to mind. And to be honest, creating and sharing a playlist on Spotify is much more straightforward than on most other platforms.

But it does not mean that you should just stick to Spotify. The number of streams on Youtube is more than on any other platform. Youtube presents a variety of features in its free version. Something that most other platforms don’t. Also, you can almost find everything on Youtube. These two features had made Youtube a gigantic streaming service, and while many might see Youtube only as a video-sharing platform, it is in fact one of the most popular music streaming services, so much so that Google decided to close Google music and turn it into Youtube music.

Creating playlists on youtube is a feature that can help you grow your audience, you should not miss that.

Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon, and some other platforms have the playlist feature as well. They might not be as important as Spotify and Youtube, but if you mastered your playlists on those two platforms it’s better to start looking at the other ones as well. I’d say Apple Music is actually very important, though you don’t have all the cool features available on the other two platforms. Maybe in the near future, Apple starts to care about independent musicians and users too.

Be honest:

My only advice here is, to be honest with yourself and your audience. If you are not into rock music, don’t waste your time creating playlists in that style. That will not help you. It’s not the same style as yours, you can not add your own music to it and most of all, you probably won’t be able to choose the right tracks. Be honest and only stuck to the genres and styles you actually love, no matter how unpopular that might seem, there is always an audience pool that you can access through your art.

Don’t just go for the trending music, beware that curating and creating trend music is as hard as any indie style. You might think otherwise, but be my guest and try if you like. It’s not being bad or lousy that makes a track trending, it’s a lot of other factors. Yes, there is much bad-trend music out there, but it does not make it a law that any bad music will become popular. This is true both in composing and curating. So the best thing you can do is, to be honest, and do what you are good at. You might be good at trends and popular music of the day, so be it and do whatever you can to attract your audience.

Be varied:

It is important to cover a variety of audiences on your playlists. Therefore it is important to have different playlists in different styles. Don’t be afraid of creating new playlists, that’s the only free thing you can get, so get as much of it as you need.

Be fair:

It is very tempting to add the most famous artists in your genre alongside your own music in the same playlist. Unfortunately, that won’t be enough. When an artist has one million listeners a month and is featured in the same playlist as another artist with one thousand listeners a month, the streaming services algorithm will not be affected and therefore your music will not be featured on automatic playlists. When creating a playlist, besides being aware of genre and style, you must be aware of the level of popularity of the artists in your playlist and use it to your advantage.

Don’t get me wrong, having some super famous artists is always good, after all, you need them to bring and keep people in your playlist. But you also need artists that are just a bit famous, let’s say artists that have something between 100k to 400k listeners per month. If you put the music of these artists alongside your own in the same playlists, considering their genre and style are close enough to you, then streaming services algorithms start to notice that the people who are listening to them are also listening to you. So you’ll have a chance of being featured in their radios or other automatic playlists, and from there start to attract real organic audiences every day.

Also, keep in mind that featuring artists with few streams per month, might end up in those artists following your playlist and sharing it, hence another source of a new organic audience for you.

Things to remember:

In the end, I want to remind you that there is not one way to get more audience. For each genre in each country and for each artist, there is a unique way to find the right audience. Whatever you read here or read and watch on other blogs and vlogs, are just general guidelines to help you find your own path.

Even record labels and marketing specialists have difficulty finding the right audience for each of their new artists. So if You haven’t found your way yet, don’t be discouraged, the audience is out there waiting for your music, you just need to find the right way to reach them.

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