Playlisting? What's That? - The Business is Changing...Again.

Mar 11, 2024


Alright, so I’ve been calling the music industry the “ever-changing business” for some time now. It’s not different than all the other industries out there. I know, but we are working in the art sector, and it's a little alarming when we are so dependent on massive companies to put a threshold on success. 

For those of you who live under a rock (or are just too busy—kind of rude, sorry), there have been a whole lot of layoffs lately. Name a big music company, and chances are that they have fired employees. YouTube Music said goodbye to 43 out of 50 of its employees. The same thing happened to Spotify in the last few months, mainly in the artist rep team. Why is that, you ask? Money and technology. 

By now, it’s common knowledge how playlisting works. You have editorial, user-generated and algorithmic playlists for most DSPs out there. We all used to push really hard to get the editorial team to playlist a new release. It would normally mean more playlists along the way, more algorithmic plays and more significant numbers online. With budget cuts, the team in charge of communication with the artist's team is getting smaller and smaller, the editors are working on fewer playlists than before, and the number of new additions on mid-level playlists is slowly shrinking. 

If getting editorial placement is getting harder and harder, and the point of contact at DSPs is shrinking, where are we heading? The answer to this question is what Spotify wanted all along, a customized listening solution based on the algorithm. Think about it: Most playlists are now “personalized.” More and more users are using the “Radio” functionality on the platform, and with the new (ishh) discovery mode, they are heavily pushing towards a system-based curation instead of a human-based one. 

So what’s next? How can indie artists grow their streams online? I’m not going to tell you the same exact bull**** that every music industry guru/sect leader is telling you out there: post on social media, be active online, do stupid things on TikTok… Maybe I should put my face on a YouTube channel and try to prove to you that I can get you 10,000 fans in a month with MySpace or MSN advertising. ( I apologize for this random brain fart). 

No, but really tho. What’s next? If getting editorial placement is getting increasingly hard, we need to redefine objectives for releases. One tool that will be coming to all DSPs is discovery mode. To do it, a release must be out for at least 3 months and have received a minimum of one stream on Radio (Spotify radio, not traditional airwave radios). We’ve seen different levels of success on this, but in general, it has increased the overall performance of a release for streams that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. If you don’t work with a distributor that has a built-in tool for that, you can do it manually on Spotify for artists. 

On top of that, the user interaction with the artist on the platform is getting more and more important. The amount of time someone streams a song, or the saving/skip rate. Those are two very important metrics on a growing algorithm-based platform. 

We will write more about that in the future as we experiment with new tactics to try to figure out how to properly do it. This was only my two scent on some news I received from our partners not too long ago. 

Stay tuned for more and have fun out there!

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