In 2013, a Spotify user by the name of Sean Parker added “Royals” by the then-unknown pop star Lorde into his playlist, titled “Hipster International”. With 814,000 followers on Hipster International, Forbes aptly dubbed it one of the most influential playlists many years ago. What followed was sensational; At sixteen years old, Lorde’s song was catapulted into success and even debuted on Spotify Viral Charts soon after. Her song “Royals” amassed hundreds of millions of streams, and her subsequent albums were equally as successful as this first song. Other large artists such as BØRNS and Halsey also share similar initial success stories, and many smaller artists are growing their listener base through Spotify day by day. It should come as no surprise then, the immense power that this app has in a music makers’ career. Users, labels, and artists are all taking advantage of this platform, and for good reason too. The reason for these artists’ success lies in engagement and activity with their content, not necessarily in the number of total streams.
In a previous blog post, I discussed some of the differences between the different types of playlists that are on Spotify. These major playlist categories on Spotify include editorial, algorithmic, and listener, or user-generated playlists. Some emerging artists assume that getting placed on any of these playlists and gaining a large amount of streams immediately guarantees their success. Of course, streams can be a great metric to quantify reach and a powerful tool for introducing original music to the world. However, these streams carry little value if there is no organic user activity with the content, or if these streams are bot streams. Bot streams or other non-organic streams do not accurately represent how many users are truly engaged with the content. For additional insight on this difference, you can check out our previous blog post here.
Playlist activity is defined not only by whether users stream music, but also when they favorite, save, add to their own personal playlists, follow the artist account, and more. Overall activity metrics tell Spotify that the song is generally liked by many and has great potential to reach more listeners around the world. It is clear that playlist activity is all-encompassing, while playlist reach simply identifies how many listens a song got.
Obviously, both playlist reach and playlist activity are important aspects of improving an artists’ fanbase and following, but activity reigns supreme when designing a marketing campaign for a song. Chances of landing on large, influential playlists developed by Spotify’s editorial team or the algorithm itself are improved the more people engage with artist content, because Spotify tracks overall engagement only. The importance of organically increasing engagement cannot be understated. As an artist, you want listeners to enjoy and listen to your music, to the point where they follow your account, add the song to their personal playlists, and share with their connections.
How to Develop Your Music Promotion Strategy
At PlaylistStreams, we recognize how important activity is for emerging artists, and also how difficult it can be to initially increase engagement with a song. While building a fanbase through engagement does take time, there are a few tactics that can greatly improve chances of success. Before releasing music, we recommend submitting songs through a Spotify for Artists account to the Spotify Editorial Team to be considered and added to their playlists. Creating high-quality, suitable content for each artists’ target audience is another important factor to success. A great method of increasing engagement is reaching out to user-generated playlists that match the vibe and genre of the song. PlaylistStreams draws on its large database and connections to playlist curators cross-platform to find the perfect playlists for your activity and stream goals. With time and commitment, your goals for organic engagement can definitely be achieved with PlaylistStreams campaigns.