Canadian Musician - September/October 2017 - Page 10

INDIE INSIDER Can Indie Artists Get on Spotify Playlists? A ttend a music industry conference this year and you’re bound hear that “streaming is the new radio” – maybe even a few times. Radio used to be an indie artist’s ticket to fame and fortune, or at least a decent SOCAN cheque and a noticeable boost in ticket sales. While Nielsen surveys show radio’s influence is still significant, streaming playlists, especially on Spotify, are having a huge impact on artists’ earnings and popularity. The importance of these playlists has become obvious, but what is still less clear is how songs get added to them. Like radio, is it largely the domain of the signed artists with the backing of label-employed pluggers, or can indie label and self-releasing artists get their songs on these play- lists? The answer to both is “yes.” For starters, there is much more to Spotify than the mega-lists with millions of followers, such as New Music Friday or Top Hits. There are over 2 billion playlists on Spotify, the majority of which are user-generated or algorithm-generated; human beings employed by Spotify curate a just a minority of premier playlists, like the very influential RapCaviar. “The thing is, you have to look beyond just the top-tier playlists,” says Kevin Breuner, a member of the band Smalltown Poets and the director of marketing at CD Baby, as well as co-host of the DIY Musi- cian Podcast. “Indie artists need to realize there is opportunity and the whole playlist world is far, far deeper than they probably ever imagined. They have to do a little bit of work and a little bit of dig- ging and they can find those second-, third-, fourth-tier playlists that can do a lot to generate significant boosts in revenue and exposure for them.” The lower-tier playlists can easily boost a song’s stream count by tens of thousands while also increasing the likelihood that song will be picked up by one of Spotify’s higher-ranking playlists. The best way to break into this world of playlists is to first focus your efforts on getting onto user-generated playlists. For one, they’re just easier to get onto, and two, Spotify heavily relies on analytics when creating its own playlists. If a song’s analytics show it’s per- forming well on smaller playlists, the song moves up the ranks, so to speak, to the official Spotify lists. “Performing well” means a low skip count and high listener engagement, which includes listeners liking it, adding it to their library, and adding it to their own playlists. 10 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N “You can find the users fairly easily who make these user- generated playlists and then you can contact them directly on Facebook,” says Ari Herstand, an independent musician and author of How to Make It in the New Music Business, as well as a columnist for DigitalMusicNews.com. “But you have to go about it right. You don’t want to just go, ‘Hey, I’m amazing! ]YHۈ[\^[\ &H]8&\B^H] H^H]\\\H[][ۜ\]\\ۋZK8&^Kx&[HX[Hݚ[[\^[\ ܙX]ܚ]] &H8& []X X[&H[[^YZ8& HH^KHX[HݙHHۙ][H\YYۈ]^[\ &H8& [œ]Xx&]HY[Y[ۈ][\][H\YZ˸&HYZ]\[H][H\8& HH^Kx&[HH]\XX[H\[X\Y\ۙ[H[][ܚX[H[ۈ\^[ B\ ]YHۛ˸&H[[^H]X[H[^K8&YXZ XX[H\\ܚX[H[  &H[x&]HZ[\H[KB[ۜ\[[x&\H\ZK8&^KYHH]\][Y[H۸&]ۛYHx&x'