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When Spotify Changes The Game

Jul 03, 2021
So last year I was blessed to have made it onto the “New Music Friday Christian” Spotify Editorial playlist for 9 releases. At the time the playlist would essentially have 60ish new songs added every Friday. This was exciting and helped grow my reach that is still impacting my streams to this day.
Heading into 2020 I was thinking that things would stay relatively the same. Well, my first release “Gamechanger” made it on the list and it ended up staying on for 2 weeks back-to-back. This is when I noticed that Spotify changed the way they were adding music to this list. Instead of adding 60 new songs every week, they started adding only 30 new songs, and then also keeping the 30 on from the week before.
This change made it more difficult to get placement strictly based on the fewer number of new songs added, and then adding in that most (if not all) of the labels were now releasing singles of their artists as well. The combination of these two things basically means that, in most cases, there is not much space for indies (or even bigger independently signed artists) on that list.
There is no way to know what the plan is for the new year, but it is safe to assume that it will only become increasingly more difficult to get on an editorial playlist over time, especially considering the amount (40K) songs uploaded every day to the platform.
So why does this matter? Is it still worth releasing music even if theres no guarantee of making it on to a New Music Friday list? The answer is a resounding YES! But managing expectations is more crucial than ever. It is possible that you could write an incredible song that everyone loves, but because you are not a house-hold name yet you won’t get playlist placement.
I should add with currently over 1.1M Spotify streams, my 3 top streaming songs to date (with a combined total of 570k streams) did not make it on New Music Friday Christian. and almost all of my 39 releases have surpassed the <1K mark. So it’s not make-or-break for the long term impact of your music.
So with all that said, what do we do? Now more than ever it is important to focus on building your followers on your socials, mailing list etc and send them to Spotify, instead of relying on organic reach on Spotify alone. Not only do we need to be engaging with our current audience, but there is also increasing benefit to using ads to target new potential listeners of your music. The tips and strategies are constantly changing, but being aware and flexible to meet your audience where they are is vital to your music being heard.
I’ve heard it said that Spotify playlisting is not a strategy and I think that’s more true now than ever. The algorithms will be taking more and more control in the future, so building our audience outside of these platforms and encouraging our audience to like, share and follow on Spotify is the best way to grow. I am a firm believer in reaching out directly to indie curators on Spotify as well (which I did a post about a few weeks ago) but I think we need to be doing both as much as we can.
The future is bright for independent artists. Never before in history could we write, record, produce, distribute and market our own music like we can now. We can act as our own record label, publisher, marketing team and management. But with that comes A LOT of work and focus to do it well. Taking it all step-by-step is the way to make it work, because if we get overwhelmed we end up getting stuck.
So what do we do when Spotify changes the game? We adapt and change right along with it!
What have you found is the best way to get your music heard on Spotify?

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