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5 Reasons Why Your Records Aren’t Being Playlisted On Spotify [Industry Insider]

Industry Insider Austin Staubus from ItsNoRequests shares some insight into ways that you're hurting your chances of getting playlisted on Spotify.

1. You Don’t Have a Verified Artist Profile

Before Spotify rolled out “Spotify For Artists” you had to beg and plead 250 people to follow your artist page to qualify for that coveted blue check. That’s all changed. In April, Spotify gave artists the ability to verify their own profile through “Spotify For Artists,” which now gives artists insights into who’s listening, where they listen, and how. It’s a no brainer for an artist and shows Spotify that you actually use their platform. Why would Spotify playlist your record when you couldn’t take the time to verify your own profile?

2.) You’re Not Leveraging Independent Playlists

Independent playlists? Yes. Playlists that aren’t controlled or curated by editors at Spotify. There are hundreds out there that you can reach out and pitch to, which increases your odds to be included in much larger corporate controlled playlists like “Dance Pop” and “Rap Caviar”. A great example of an independent playlist is Bass Boosted

I’ll give you an example. I used to manage an artist named Collin McLoughlin, who collaborated with artists like Dash Berlin, Laidback Luke, and Hardwell. Collin is now the co-founder of eMastered, which masters your music in seconds. Early on, we leveraged independent playlists in order for our records to be included in much larger Spotify controlled playlists. As a result, we were able to achieve 30,000,000 plays on Spotify. Independent playlists are an untapped resource that you should leverage. They’re crucial and work.

3.) You’re Not Creating Your Own Playlists

In addition to releasing music on Spotify, you should maintain your own curated playlist to share with your followers and fans. Creating your own playlist signals to Spotify that you’re invested in their platform and gives you the ability to capture additional listeners, which you can then use to promote to your followers when you release new material. A great example of an artist utilizing this strategy is KYLE, who’s “Songs to SMYLE To” has over 2,9000 followers. Creating your own playlist is an under-utilized strategy that not enough artists leverage.

4.) You Purchased Fake Plays Through A Click Farm

Buying fake plays is the fastest way to not be supported by the powers that be at Spotify. Spotify is a data driven platform. They can tell the difference between active (real) and passive (fake) plays easily. For example, Tuma Basa, who handles hip-hop playlists like “Rap Caviar” on Spotify looks closely at metrics like how many times a record has been saved, how many times people are searching for a record, and the completion rate (the percentage of saves to a user’s own playlists + percentage of users who listen to more than 90 seconds of a song). Not only will Spotify not touch you with a 10 foot pole, they might delete your artist profile all together.

5.) Your Record Isn’t Strong Enough To Compete

It’s the number one reason your records aren’t being playlisted. It’s a harsh reality to accept. Spotify is an incredibly competitive platform. Every major label, distributor, and manager is pitching to editors at Spotify. However, if you records aren’t being playlisted it should be a clear indicator that the music you’re making isn’t strong enough to compete. Yes, there are some cases were great records are overlooked. However, the best music always rises to the top. Spotify’s playlist decisions are based entirely on user interaction. If you record isn’t moving organically there’s no incentive for Spotify to drag and drop your latest single into one of their popular playlists. The only thing that Spotify cares about is keeping people on the platform listening. Why would they take a chance on a record that’s not moving? 


Beyond the insights, why does the record matter in popular culture? What does the record do for Spotify? Is there important press or editorial surrounding the release? There are all questions that Spotify asks when choosing whether or not they want to playlist a record. If you’re unable to answer these questions your chances to be playlisted are low. While data reigns king at Spotify, these additional factors are taken into consideration by editors for the biggest playlists.

Austin Staubus is the Managing Director of ItsNoRequests, which helps artists, labels, and managers leverage highly engaged playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. For inquiries, comments, or questions contact ItsNoRequests at austin@itsnorequests.com