Tips for Creating Spotify Playlists as an Artist
Updated February 2023
We are always encouraging artists and their teams to create playlists to add to their Spotify (and other sites where allowed) Artist Profile and Artist Pick.
Spotify has noted that creating a playlist and posting it on your Artist Profile is a great way to “show off your catalog and musical inspirations, highlight your favorite jams, or just do you”.
We go beyond that, encouraging artists to use their playlist to also help associate their music with other similar artists and audiences, and assist in getting further attention on the platform. If you place your track on a playlist next to a Taylor Swift tune, and many people who listen to Swift’s track and then your track voluntarily add your track to their music library and their own playlists because they like it so much, what does that say about the viability of your track to gain further audience? It works the other way too –- if people who listen don’t add your track to their music library and their own playlists, this is again saying something, organically, about the track’s viability. No matter what, having people listen to your track from within your playlist is a chance to both get further engagement with fans, and learn more about what the marketplace has to say about your music.
Creating playlists is a unique blend of art and craft, within a totally subjective pursuit. We’ve run hundreds of campaigns for artists and one truth is that each campaign is different because each artist and team is different, with different soundstyles, and different personal tastes. And so it is with playlists — each playlist created for an Artist Profile pick on Spotify will be different. Give any group of people a track to build a playlist around (even within the same band), and no two playlists will be the same. What you add to your playlists will be subjective, and what makes for a great playlist may not even follow our tips below sometimes (and that’s okay).
Objectives and Target Audience
It’s helpful, to start, to identify your target audience — for example, if you’re looking to engage the Americana audience, you might want to shy away from hard rock tracks, but if you are looking to create a high energy mood, that same playlist around your track might include some tunes from that genre.
You might also want to know your objectives in creating your playlist as an artist. One of your objectives is to associate your music with other artists and show how it can be a fit. Some other objectives (more than one okay) could be:
- Sharing tracks that inspire your music
- Sharing tracks that sound similar to your music
- Sharing tracks from artists who are friends, fam or fans, or in your artist community
- Sharing tracks you love right now that you are listening to over and over again
- Sharing tracks that are inspired by a mood or theme (ex: dinner music, protest songs, work out music)
Below are our ‘10 Tips for Creating Artist Profile Playlists’. These are more about the practical craft of creating a playlist to post to your Artist Profile. Tips on the creative art of creating playlists will be discussed in another blogpost soon.
10 Practical Tips for Creating Artist Profile Playlists
- Create a user account on Spotify that is in the name of your artist, so that the playlist looks like it has been created by the artist, as opposed to created by an unknown user (the example is from artist Samantha Tieger). This is because playlists that you feature on your Artist Profile are created on a user account as opposed to directly on your Artist Profile (that feature doesn’t exist right now). The link to the playlist on your user account is copied and pasted into your Artist Profile in the ‘Artist Playlists’ section on the ‘Profile’ tab on Spotify For Artists (S4A). Note that the user account can be a free subscriber account, it does not have to be a paid subscriber account!
- Name the playlist something for the long run, ie don’t name it ‘October2020’, unless your gameplan is a different playlist each month (but that sort of defeats the purpose of building fan engagement for this one playlist on your profile).
- Do not include more than 2 or 3 of your own tracks on the playlist, and space them out throughout the playlist. The playlist should have a total of at least 15 tracks (about an hour of listening) and no more than 99.
- Add your newest track in position #1 or #2 on the playlist.
- Precede and/or follow your track with a track from a more well-known artist so that the algorithms-that-be may associate your track further with that artist and track.
- Include newly released tracks from other artists when possible, since they’ll tend to be getting more attention and placement on playlists at the moment, and your track can piggyback on that attention.
- Add artwork to the playlist. Here’s a loosely suggested template for where to place your ‘Logo’ (your band name) and ‘Title’ (name of the playlist) from Spotify. Refrain from text or important graphics in the outer yellow and red sections of the template.
- Change out a few tracks on the playlist each month or so to keep it fresh. You do not need to change out every track every month. You want to keep adding and modifying the same playlist as opposed to constantly creating new playlists.
- Be sure you have a separate ‘Discography’ or ‘This Is [Artist Name]’ playlist on your profile that includes all of your tracks and only your tracks. Include tracks that are released by other artists that you are featured on too (good talking point on socials when sharing your playlist).
- Promote and share your playlists on socials and as your Artist Pick on your profile. Shout out to some of the artists you’ve included. Include them in the ‘Description’ section of the playlist to further address SEO. Ask people to listen to your music from within the playlist as opposed to from your profile directly.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SHARING
Once you’ve created your playlist, optimize sharing it by considering doing the following when you can:
- Ask fans to listen to your track from within your playlist.
- Ask them to ‘heart’ or like your track, which adds it to their music library
- Ask them to follow your Artist Profile, one of the most important tools for getting further future fan engagement! – and Spotify just introduced a ‘Promo Cards‘ feature on S4A, giving you a custom graphic to use to share your Artist Profile on your socials, check it out.
- Ask them to consider adding it to their own playlists while listening from within your playlist.
- Follow and shout out to the artists you are highlighting on your playlists on socials and streaming sites to help form community and further support for each other.
EXAMPLES OF ARTIST PROFILE PLAYLISTS
Author Andrea Young, the founder of DPG, is a longtime curator and playlist creator who, for over 20 years, created playlists of 15-20 tracks for her weekly music go-with-the-flow shows on Aspen Public Radio. Creating playlists has been one of her favorite things for a very long time. You can find links to a few of her playlists of music she plays on constant repeat below. Hope you find something you love to add to your own playlists! #playlistingasarevolution
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