DPG Playlisting Services
Playlisting is a hot topic right now. We hear constantly that ‘playlisting is not a marketing plan’ and recently, there’s a very vocal group stating ‘stop paying for playlisting’. At every virtual conference we attend there is talk about playlisting, what it is and whether to do it. Playlisting is seen as a tool to generate streams. But playlisting is way more than that.
We call what we do ‘playlisting’, but what we do revolves around online strategies to get an artist’s recorded music heard, with outreach to independent playlisters as a key component of that. There’s so much more to it than just streams and getting on playlists.
We help artists grow their online presence across as many platforms as possible, so that they are positioned optimally to make a living doing what they love. Online presence is key right now for the vast majority of artists who don’t have the traditional avenues they’ve always had for feedback ie, being able to tour and perform live.
Feedback, experience and exposure at the same time
Independent playlisting campaigns are one of the few direct feedback loops available to the vast majority of artists while they aren’t touring, from a community that is vested in helping artists get their music heard. We send your music out in strategic tailor-made campaigns to groups of hundreds of curators on different platforms (Spotify, Pandora, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Apple for ex), for feedback on where your music fits in the marketplace and for features on the platforms. Within this process, the artist matures in finding out how to feel their way in our new industry, which is, especially now, more and more about selling themselves online vs playing music. Responses can be built into a following and also further help to evolve an artist’s craft. Placements can help trigger algorithms, and reach a core or a further non-core audience. Playlists are a catalyst to engagement and listening. They just can’t be the only thing.
No other way to get it all right now
The majority of artists do not have ways to get both feedback and exposure directly on the platforms at the moment except through this independent playlisting tool. Not all artists and songs can be on company/editorial playlists, there just isn’t room. There are many worthy artists who still need exposure. This is an independent way to to help figure out the market, test it, and grow as an artist. If an artist has a relationship with the DSPs then great, but there are thousands of artists without a connection, and independent playlisting can be a critical strategy.
Support for independent music curation
We strongly believe in and support independent music curation. The DSP’s don’t have the bandwidth at the moment to fully embrace this movement, and as music fans, we don’t want to be fed only music that is a priority for the platforms. There’s great value in having an independent channel with a feedback loop. And user generated content (UGC) is here to stay. We’re just starting to see how UGC – like playlists – will further develop as a music discovery tool. It’s time independent playlisters get the credibility they deserve, notwithstanding all the bad actors out there.
One of many strategies
Independent playlisting is one of many strategies that can bring the strongest wave of results – and some immediate compensation -- especially when run in tandem with other marketing strategies like digital press, advertising, and social media engagement. Running a strategic marketing campaign that includes attention to streaming and playlisting, at a time when there are so many artists releasing so many tracks so often, can give an artist the best chance to succeed. We help artists understand the importance of social media, and how to maximize playlists on their socials.
Clearly independent playlisting is an imperfect system, but it’s what we’ve got right now and it’s part of the journey we are on to help artists get their music heard. It can be a way to keep the ball rolling and be proactive in the space. Just because it’s a messy space doesn’t mean it's not a valid space. So many factors are out of our control. Bots are a current hurdle. Generating revenue is an ongoing hurdle. We try to be as careful as possible but still play in the space.
Not every artist wants to do it themselves
Not everybody can or wants to do it themselves. As Spotify noted earlier this year, “it’s been clear just how collaborative artists and their teams are in analyzing data and planning promotional strategies”. There are many online tools available and/or many experienced teams to work with. Using experts can help with the constant flow of new features available to artists for both brand building and advertising on the platforms right now. It’s not entirely transparent and it’s not always easy to navigate and keep up. Artists sometimes want to make music and let others figure out marketing and search engine algorithms
Don’t pay for play
We’re in the camp that you should not pay for botted play, but also noting that botted play and digital advertising can sometimes produce similar results. We agree with being cautious when hiring a playlisting team, being wary of low prices, guarantees and unprofessional online profiles. Like everyone else, we can tell a bot playlist from a mile away or can tell when an artist has paid-for-play, but not always, there are grey areas.
We're in it for the long run
It’s not a short-term solution. We tell artists up-front not to expect to make a living off the streams they’ll see from an independent playlisting campaign right away (although it does happen). It can take months or years (or a minute) to ‘break’ an artist, a song, an album. The focus is on exposure, feedback, branding and fan engagement. We provide assessment tools like periodic reports, online presence reviews, digital strategies and metrics, to help put things in perspective and determine future priorities.
DPG Playlisting is a great place to start your marketing. Contact us for more information about our playlisting services, as well as our many other services that have helped hundreds of artists over the years.