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5 Ways Spotify Playlists Help Your Songs Reach Fans Around the World


Today at Stream On, artists, songwriters, producers, podcasters, and authors from around the world joined for the latest announcements and hands-on demos of the new tools and resources coming to our platform. We also hosted our companion event, Play On, which featured a series of talks and interactive sessions that inspired and educated creators about how they can leverage the full potential of our platform.

Among these sessions was a Spotify for Artists class on playlists and music discovery hosted by Spotify Head of Artist and Industry Partnerships International Bryan Johnson, with panelists including Spotify Global Head of Editorial Sulinna Ong, Spotify Creative Director and Head of Urban Music Carl Cherry, and Spotify Head of Global Hits J.J. Italiano. Over the course of the talk, they dove into the ways artists can use-and maximize-the power of Spotify playlists to help grow their careers.

In recent years, streaming has helped music, and culture at large, cross borders across the world. And one of the main ways fans are discovering new artists is through playlists.

Spotify playlists fall into one of three categories:

Made by Editors: Curated by our team of editors at Spotify, these playlists consist of beloved global and regional playlists, including Today's Top Hits and Pollen.

Made for You: These algorithmically driven playlists-like Discover Weekly and Release Radar-are tailored to each Spotify listener based on their taste profile and on a range of different signals.

Made by You: These playlists are created by fans who aren't just sitting back waiting for new music; they're leaning into artist discovery and actively finding tracks to share with other fans.

So how do these playlists drive artist discovery, exactly? There are five key factors:

1. Spotify playlists are global Spotify exists in more than 180 markets around the world, and that has allowed us to develop a connected ecosystem of playlists across many different genres and regions. Along with our global offerings, we have thousands of playlists like African Heat, MANSI N REGGAET N, and K-Pop ON! ( ) that help spotlight music coming out of regional and local scenes.

Together, these form our Playlist Pyramid, which starts with our more local and niche playlists, and filters up to our global playlists. Sitting at the top is Today's Top Hits, which is the biggest and most popular playlist.

For many artists, their Playlist Pyramid journey will start with local or regional playlists. These are often streamed by highly engaged fans who are looking to discover new music, and they give artists a solid platform for building their audience. But from there, an artist can take many paths up the pyramid. When a song starts to perform well, it will be placed in the region's larger playlists, and it may even be tested in other markets to see how it's received by an international audience. If the song continues to resonate with fans, the artist can take the next jump up the pyramid, appearing in global playlists like Rap Caviar, Viva Latino, and Mint. And for artists whose songs really hit globally, they could earn a place in Today's Top Hits.

The rise of Ghanaian singer and rapper Black Sherif is a great example of how this journey can unfold. His lyricism and unique blend of drill, Ghanaian highlife, and trap caught the ears of our editors in Sub-Saharan Africa, which led to his being playlisted in popular local lists like +233 Bars, Asakaa, Ghana Party, and more. As Black Sherif started to perform well on these playlists, he was placed in the region's top flagship lists-Hot Hits Ghana, No Wahala, and African Heat-which further accelerated his popularity.

Eventually, our hip-hop editors took note of his growing audience, which was starting to cross borders, and supported him across various playlists, including our global flagship playlist for drill, City to City. He has since become an emerging name outside Sub-Saharan Africa and was selected as one of our six RADAR artists in 2022.

2. Spotify playlists are curated Placements on our editorial playlists are driven by a combination of the cultural knowledge, passion, and expertise of our editorial teams, and the variety of data insights we gather from Spotify's audience. Crucially, music submitted via the playlist submission tool is the starting point for all songs, and Global Curation Groups, which are tapped into the latest trends and discussion points, can also determine the outcomes of where a song's journey continues in the editorial ecosystem.

If you're an artist who wants to better understand the pitching process, the panelists shared a few best practices to get you started:

Do pitch your music before it's released: Using our playlist submission tool on Spotify for Artists is the most effective way to pitch new music. To give your track the best chance of getting playlisted-either editorially or algorithmically-we recommend pitching your song at least seven days in advance of its being released.

Do provide as much info as you can: Our editors love having context when considering a song for placement. Who made it with you? When was it made? Where did you make it? It is also helpful to include any press, music video plans, release schedules, and promotions, as well as the social media accounts linked in your artist profile. If there's an interesting story around you and/or the song, definitely let us know.

Do think globally: When you pitch a song for placement, it's visible to our entire team of editors around the world. They're also constantly sharing their discoveries with each other. So if there are markets or regions outside of your own where you think your song will attract fans, be sure to include those suggestions when you pitch.

Do engage your audience: While you can't pitch your music to us
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