How to get your music on playlists

We were at the Ditto Music X conference in Shoreditch to learn how new artists can get their music playlisted...


Getting your music playlisted is a key challenge for new and emerging artists. 

As the music industry constantly evolves, there are an ever increasing wealth of new platforms available to help new acts find an audience. At the recent conference held by Ditto Music, it was clear that music streaming is at the heart of these new connections. 

But how can an emerging act get their music onto a playlist? And how should you approach these influencers? 

With the first panel featuring Joe Mason, Artist Ambassador, Ditto Music, Lewis Varrilly, Artist Marketing, Deezer and James Walsh, Ditto Music/Neighbourhood, we were on hand to learn how to ensure your music ends up on the right playlist for you...  

Remember there are different types of playlists

Joe Mason (JM): Playlists span mood, genre, region and much more. When pitching to music streaming sites think about your musical style and which playlist it would be best on. Remember not every playlist will work for you and your music. 

There are influential playlists not curated by Deezer or Spotify

JM: There are important playlists outside the major streaming websites. So find out who is making these, whether they be a publication, blogger or music industry influencer. Then send them your details. Find them via some careful Googling. It’s quite easy to get contacts online and these playlists can be very influential.

Don’t make music just to get on a popular playlist

Lewis Varrilly (LV):

No artist should ever contemplate changing their style to get on a playlist. Not only does it dilute the artist’s sound but it’s bad for the industry." 

Get all your promotional assets ready

LV: Prior to contacting any streaming site, tidy all your marketing and communications material up. Get a database of contacts/emails and plot how you are going to target them. Remember you can also do this totally by yourself. You don’t need a team or manager in place to prepare.  

Playlisters look at the wider industry to inform music decisions

LV: We look at the wider industry when making decisions on which artists to select. Does someone have coverage by the BBC or Hype Machine? If so, then it’s likely we’ll be interested. These are indicators that something is happening and we want to be a part of it.

Maintain momentum 

LV: As a new artist, you need to demonstrate momentum so make sure you have plenty of music in the locker when you start off. This will help you grow and compete with other artists. 

Don’t just put one song out, then disappear for six months. It only resets your career back to the start." 

Make sure you have full rights to the music

James Walsh (JW): You need to remember to ensure you have permission to use any music. So if there are samples, make sure these are all credited correctly before submitting to a streaming platform.  

Look at your peers in terms of how they release music

JW: Do your research and look at your peers or artists working in a similar style to you to see what has worked for them and what hasn’t. Then think about how you can apply this to you and your audience.

Remember that your fans will be across all the platforms

LV: So don’t ignore one to the detriment of the other. This can be slightly insulting to an audience and result in you potentially losing fans.  

Approach streaming sites a week before release

LV: When to approach a playlist platform? Ideally give up to a week’s notice. No one is going to do anything with a track if you email music across on the day of release.

Playlist markets for jazz and classical are smaller – but there’s still a market

LV: The numbers are certainly smaller when it comes to more niche genres like jazz and classical music but there’s still a market. You’re reaching a more dedicated audience so skip rates are not as great. The audience is more active and engaged…

Look out for more #ICMPSpotlight blog content from the Ditto X event.

Visit Ditto's website for more on them and their services.

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by Jim Ottewill
May 8, 2018
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