How to Get on a Playlist: The 9 Step Guide to Doing It Yourself (3/3)

on a playlist

Continue with some last steps to get on a playlist…

7. Reach out For Press Coverage

Even in the age of data-driven success stories, it still matters to have press and music journalists on your side. It’s the human seal of approval that will get you noticed by new followers and maybe even these official playlist editors.

When your launch is ready and you are about to distribute it, do some housekeeping:

  • Update your social media profiles (e.g. Add a line like New album ‘Let’s Go’ dropping next month!)
  • Get a fresh set of press images taken and put them in a folder that you could send out with a link (on Dropbox or Google Drive among others)
  • Consider approaching blogs with an exclusive launch
  • Create an exclusive music video, sample pack, tutorial or combine to associate with your project

Keep in mind what I wrote about journalists being humans? Build relationships with music writers before you want something from them. You have something in common: A love of music. Begin a conversation first, suggest your music second.

Blogs To Reach Out To

If it is your first launch, begin with smaller local blogs. Believe me, THEY COUNT! A placement on ANY blog is a vital asset for your press kit and music bio. There is no such thing as small peanuts if you are just starting out.

Hot Tip: Certain blogs are indexed by Hype Machine, a curated music aggregator that puts music shared on blogs into one helpful feed. Reaching out to independent and smaller tastemaker blogs which are indexed on Hype Machine can have 2 positive outcomes:

First, in case your music is featured on the blog that’s some great promotion right there. Second, your music will then go into the Hype Machine feed where other blogs and playlisters could pick it up as well.

Here’s a list of all the blogs indexed by Hype Machine. Search by genre, region, or name to search out blogs to reach out to.

When you are ready to make the leap into the larger pool, listed here are some of the greater blogs: Gorilla vs. Bear Pigeons and PlanesConsequence of SoundStereogumIndie ShuffleResident AdvisorDummyDiscobelleTiny Mix TapesPitchforkInverted Audio, and so on.

Approach them well in advance, and with a set release date you could follow through on. Get in touch with radio stations too. Everything counts. From the smallest mention to a full on exclusive function.

Hire a great publicist… eventually

Hiring a publicist isn’t typically something you do right once you are starting out. Many artists do all their promotion themselves up to a certain point, or even forever!

However, when you are sure you are ready to put some money into a campaign for your launch, it is worth looking into hiring a publicist.

A publicist’s job is to assist artists to get press coverage and handle it. They will assist you to plan your promotional campaigns and deal with journalists. Publicists already have relationships with the media and they know the industry well.

When you think you are ready to get a publicist, do your research and talk to artists they represent. Be sure that they’re legit—and never simply there to make a buck without doing the legwork.

8. Approach Playlist Curators

The important thing with approaching playlist editors is getting your track in the right ears at the right time.

“When a track is in the hands of somebody who loves it, it’ll be shared on. Some recent radio plays with BBC 6 Music came this way. A friend suggested I might send some songs to their Introducing Mixtape program. I had a look and it felt good, encouraging and supportive” says Joe Holtaway.

Here’s just a few things to consider once you are doing your own reaching out.

Get Creative When Approaching Playlist Editors

An easy cold email may not work—so get creative.

Introduce yourself in person when you could. Festivals usually include panels and workshops in addition to performances. Do not skip them. Get involved in the Q and As and attempt to continue the conversation after.

When you are gigging close to somebody, send them a guest list spot and invite them to the show personally.

If an in-person meeting is not in the cards, online reach out could work as well, however, keep in mind:

Goal to begin a meaningful and legitimate interaction. A great conversation (about something other than your music on their playlist) goes a long way.

Get In Touch With User Generated Playlist Curators

A playlist is often associated with the name of the curator, look them up. When you find them, do not lead with “could you put my track in your playlist.”

Work up to it. Say why you’re approaching them particularly. Begin a real relationship based on your mutual love of music!

Other artists make playlists too. That is what’s worked for me: make a playlist and tag the artist on Fb once you share it. Most times they will not notice. However, artist’s have messaged me to send thanks for playing their track.

Every time it began a musical friendship. We have been exchanging music ever since!

A network is not just an enormous pool of email addresses you mass-message every time you launch something. It is a series of meaningful creators united under the love of music and the craft of making.

9. Don’t Rely On One Single Platform

Do not get too focused on one single platform or playlist. Attempt to hit as many listeners as possible—you will have all of the more chances to get heard.

Keep it Real

It is great to attempt to promote yourself online and hit all of the playlists big and small.

By putting all the chances on your side—distributing music, getting verified, making your own playlists, reaching out to tastemakers and playlisters—you will put yourself one step closer for getting listed.

Keep in mind that there is no perfect recipe. The music must be good, and luck has to enter the equation. However, making face-to-face and real connections by playing shows and participating in the community could push luck further in your favor.

It’s hard work and it does not occur overnight, however, it all pays off eventually.

Sure, some artists blow up on streaming platforms because they get on a high traffic playlist. However, sometimes these artists have trouble filling up a bar if they play a show—because people do not truly know who they’re. Only one of their songs got lots of plays in the flow of a playlist.

Streams are nothing when you do not have real followers who will assist your shows, buy merch and get stoked on your next launch. So ensure you cover all of your bases in an organic method: both online and offline.

“I feel as songwriters we have a responsibility also to encourage others—there is no want for competition, let’s be open-hearted.” — Joe Holtaway

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