Updated: Jan 14
As a musician, you're always looking for new ways to get your music out there. With Spotify being one of the most popular streaming platforms, it's definitely worth looking into how their algorithm works.
In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into how the Spotify algorithm really works, and how you can use it to your advantage. When it comes to streaming platforms, Spotify is one of the best ways to get your music discovered by new fans.
They have a vast library of songs, a wide range of users, and they're always coming up with new ways to improve the user experience. One of the most important parts of Spotify is their algorithm, which is responsible for choosing what songs to play, and in what order. The Spotify algorithm is a complex beast, and it's constantly changing. However, there are a few things that we do know about it. For example, we know that Spotify takes into account your listening history, the time of day, your location, and even the weather. Based on this information, Spotify will curate a personalized playlist for you, which is designed to keep you listening for as long as possible. So, how can you use the Spotify algorithm to your advantage? Well, if you're a musician, you can start by making sure that your music is well-tagged. Spotify relies heavily on metadata, so the more information you can give them about your music, the better. You should also make sure to release your music at a time when people are most likely to be listening to it. For example, if you're releasing a summer song, you might want to put it out in the Spring time so it reaches it's peak as summer comes rolling in.
Spotify has a growing number of algorithmic playlists that are customized and personalized for each specific Spotify user. Because these algorithmic playlists are customized for each user, they are likely to have some great music in them.
This is how the Spotify algorithm works:
For example, no two Release Radar playlists are the same because no two Spotify users are the same.
Everyone has unique listening habits and the Spotify algorithm takes that into account to provide the best song recommendations possible for each unique Spotify user.
However, the Spotify algorithm does look at the listening habits of other similar users to provide song recommendations.
For example, let’s assume Spotify User A has similar listening habits (artists, songs, times of listening, etc) to Spotify User B.
If Spotify User A starts listening to a new song, and Spotify User B has not yet listened to that new song. The Algorithm will notice that Spotify User B may enjoy this new song and might add this new song to one of Spotify User B’s algorithmic playlists.
What Are The Spotify Algorithmic Playlists?
The type of algorithmic playlists that Spotify uses to recommend new music to users includes:
Your Top Songs
Keep reading for a breakdown of each of these algorithmic playlists.
Release Radar is a Spotify algorithmic playlist of new releases from artists that a Spotify user follows or listens to.
However, Spotify may also include new releases from other artists that they think the user will enjoy.
How to get your music on Spotify’s ‘Release Radar’ algorithm playlist:
To trigger the Spotify algorithm to get your music on Spotify’s ‘Release Radar’ playlist, all you technically need to do is release new music. You can also further trigger the algorithm by increasing your song’s engagement and stream counts through things like Playlisting, Targeted Ads, and social media.
However, you should know that if your next release has multiple songs, you can only pitch 1 song in the Spotify For Artists dashboard 7 days before release day to have that song show up in your follower’s Release Radar playlist.
This is why you should release 1 song at a time every 28 days in order to maximize the exposure your music can have through the Release Radar algorithm playlists.
It’s again important to note that if your song does well, Spotify may start suggesting your song in the Release Radar playlists of Spotify users who don’t follow or listen to you.
The number of extra streams you get will depend on how many followers you have and how engaged your followers are.
However, I have seen anywhere between 500 and 37,000 additional streams from this type of playlist when I can get Spotify to suggest it to my non-followers:
Here are some extra tips on how to get on Release Radar:
Make sure your song is delivered to Spotify at least 7 days before release day
Once a user listens to your song inside of their Release Radar, that song will no longer show up there (but another song from your release may show up in its place).
Your music will only show up in Release Radar if you are the main or featured artist for the song (being listed as a remixer will not work).
Songs with Various Artists aren’t eligible for Release Radar.
Only brand new songs will show up on Release Radar (aka no re-releases of songs already on Spotify).
Each listener can only receive one song per artist per week in their Release Radar.
Your song can appear in Release Radar for up to 4 weeks after its release if a listener hasn’t already heard it. After that, the song will not appear because it is not “new”. This is why I recommend releasing new songs every 4 or 5 weeks to capitalize on this.
Each time I release new music, I am trying to maximize my amount of Release Radar streams because this is one of the easiest placements you have control over getting on.
Discovery Weekly is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that updates every Monday and is based on the listening habits of each Spotify user. Your songs will appear in a listener’s Discovery Weekly playlist if they have recently played a song similar to yours or if you have been added to a listener’s Release Radar playlist. To trigger the Spotify algorithm to get your music on this playlist, make sure that you are actively promoting your release and getting your fans to stream your new songs. The easiest and most effective way to do this is with a playlist pitching service like Playlists Plus
The number of extra streams you get from this type of playlist will depend on how many users are listening to and saving the song. It’s again important to note that if your song does well, Spotify may start suggesting your song in Discovery Weekly, Radio, Daily Mix, and possibly adding it to Editorial playlists.
A Powerful Discovery Tool
Discover Weekly is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that features both new music and older music that updates for each Spotify user on Mondays.
Unlike Release Radar, you can’t actually pitch to get your music on this playlist and the music does not have to be new. In fact, it is quite common for artists to see older songs in their back catalog get new life if they start getting placed in Discover Weekly.
The number of extra streams will depend on how well your song performs which will dictate how many Discover Weekly playlists your song ends up on and for how long.
Factors that influence your song’s performance may include:
Total number of streams from Discover Weekly
Listening time (how much of the song listener’s get through)
How many users are saving the song after listening on Discover Weekly
How many users are liking or disliking the song after listening on Discover Weekly
How many users add the song to their own playlists after listening on Discover Weekly
How many times user continue to listen to the song after listening on Discover Weekly
If the user follows the artist after listening on Discover Weekly
How to get your music on Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ algorithm playlist:
There is no cut-and-dry way to get your music on Discover Weekly, however, a lot of artists have noticed that they started to see placement on this algorithmic playlist once their song has surpassed the 10,000 - 20,000 total stream mark and after their music has been out for at least a few weeks.
The best way to get your music on Discover Weekly is to release music frequently to increase your chances and aim to trigger the Release Radar algorithm for each of your songs so that the algorithm has a lot of data and engagement to work with.
It is also possible to trigger the Discover Weekly algorithm by promoting the song you want to push since the increase in streams and engagement can give the Spotify algorithm a reason to try pushing your song out. The easiest way to do this with a playlist pitching campaign.
So far, I have seen tens of thousands of additional streams (and counting) from getting my music placed on Discover Weekly.
Daily Mix is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that looks at a Spotify user’s past listening habits over time and creates up to 6 personalized playlists based on songs that the user has been playing often as well as some related music that the user might enjoy. As the name suggests, this playlist is updated each day.
Similar to Discover Weekly, these playlists can’t be pitched to, can include older songs, and will gain you a varying number of streams depending on how well your song performs.
Spotify uses “clustering technology” to find different sub-groupings within a user’s listening patterns (listening history and active feedback) to create a playlist made up of a user’s most commonly listened to artists as well as additional recommendations using the algorithm’s understanding of their favorite music.
The algorithm then balances the song order between the user’s well-known favorites and appropriate new suggestions.
The amount of playlists (up to 6), depends on each user, where a user that listens to lots of different styles of music will have more mixes than a user that mainly listens to one genre.
What makes these playlists different from Discover Weekly is that Daily Mix has more of a focus on familiar and favorite music with less of an emphasis on discovery. Spotify actually mentions that Daily Mix is ‘less adventurous’ when compared to Discover Weekly.
Additionally, Discover Weekly only has 30 tracks, where Daily Mix will continue to load up more songs for Premium listeners to make sure the music does not stop.
So far, I have seen anywhere between 500 and 12,000 additional streams from getting my music placed on Daily Mix playlists.
How to get your music on Spotify’s ‘Daily Mix’ algorithm playlist:
There is no cut-and-dry way to get your music on Daily Mix playlists. You simply need to keep releasing new music and driving targeted listeners/streams to your music, while hoping that you’ve created a song that performs well.
Spotify Radio is a series of Spotify algorithmic playlists that can be based on any artist, album, playlist, or song on Spotify. These playlists update over time and usually contain about 50 tracks.
Your music can appear in your own artist, album, playlist, or song Radio playlists but can also appear on other artist’s artist, album, playlist, or song Radio playlist if the algorithm notices a relation between you and those other artists.
Here are some notes on these Radio playlists:
Users can search to find Artist Radio playlists
If users have ‘Autoplay’ selected, Radio playlists will get launched as needed so that the user gets an endless mix
Spotify users can like/follow these Radio playlists
Once you build up enough streaming data on Spotify, your own Artist Radio playlist will be visible in your profile underneath your Discography titled “Featuring [YOUR ARTIST NAME]”
How to get your music on Spotify’s ‘Radio’ algorithm playlist:
My understanding is that you can get on other artist’s radio station by manipulating a connection between the 2 of you in the eyes of the algorithm by doing things like:
Running targeted ads to people that listen to that artist on Facebook/Instagram
Getting placed near them on other user’s playlists
Putting yourself near them on your own playlists and making sure those playlists gain followers and active listeners
Basically, anything you can do to prove to the algorithm that you are related can help you get on other Radio playlists.
On Repeat is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that is made up of a user’s current favorite songs based on their recent listening history over the last 30 days.
As the name suggests, these playlists automatically update to make sure it is filled with music that the user has been playing nonstop, regardless of genre.
This playlist was introduced by Spotify in September 2019 and is available for both Free and Premium Spotify users.
So far, I have seen anywhere between 50 and 2000 additional streams from getting my music placed on On Repeat playlists:
How to get your music on Spotify’s ‘On Repeat’ algorithm playlist:
The only real way to get your music placed on these playlists is whenever Spotify users are listening to your music over and over again. The best way to get on Spotify’s On Repeat playlist is to get on as many peoples’ personal playlists as possible and to have a consistent listening audience that streams your music frequently. The more people that have you on their playlists and the more those playlists get played, the more likely it is for you to get featured on Spotify’s On Repeat playlist.
Then the Spotify user needs to actually frequent their On Repeat playlist.
So… I wouldn’t expect too many plays from this bad boy.
Repeat Rewind is a Spotify algorithmic playlist that is made up of a user’s favorite songs from beyond 30 days ago. This playlist can include music across all genres, artists, and moods and is updated every 5 days.
Essentially, this is the same thing as the On Repeat playlist but is made up using listening history from further back in time. However, songs from Repeat Rewind will never also appear on On Repeat at the same time.
This playlist was introduced by Spotify in September 2019 and is available for both Free and Premium Spotify users.
So far, I haven't gotten a ton of extra streams from these playlists but I think their usefulness will increase in the future.
A few quick tips on getting into more user playlists:
This is not a simple task, however here are a few methods that have helped me get in more user curated playlists:
1. Asking friends with big Social media or Spotify followings to share my music in their IG stories, playlists, etc.
2. Emailing popular Spotify curators and asking them to listen to my new release
3. Sending out email newsletters with each new song / EP / album release (You'll need to build up a mailing list first)
4. Using a trusted service that guarantees high-quality placements in organic playlists such as Playlists Plus
5. Constantly analyzing my song's performance data and making necessary changes to improve streaming numbers Doing these things helped me get on some of Spotify’s biggest algorithmic playlists such as Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Fresh Finds. While this won’t be an easy process, these are some things that have worked for me in the past.
How to get your music on Spotify’s ‘Repeat Rewind’ algorithm playlist:
The only real way to get your music placed on these playlists is whenever Spotify users are listening to your music over and over again in the last few months but not in the last 30 days.
Then the Spotify user needs to actually frequent their Repeat Rewind playlist.
So… I would expect even less plays from this playlist than I would from On Repeat.
Your Top Songs / Wrapped
Your Top Songs / Wrapped are Spotify algorithmic playlists of a users top 100 tracks for each year in Spotify. In addition to being able to view user stats via the “Wrapped” website, Spotify creates a curated playlist for each user.
Since starting this playlist in 2019, Spotify creates a new “Your Top Songs” playlist for each year.
So far, I have seen anywhere between 3 and 74 additional streams from getting my music placed on Repeat Rewind playlists:
How to get your music on Spotify’s ‘Wrapped’ algorithm playlist:
The main way to get a lot of plays on from these playlists is essentially to have a really good year. If you found a lot of new fans in the last year and had a few songs pop off, you may see more streams come from this playlist when it gets released at the end of the year.
How To Trigger The Spotify Algorithm
The main purpose of the Spotify algorithm is to provide great song recommendations to its users so that those users spend as much time on Spotify as possible.
So why is this?
The more time a user spends inside the Spotify app, the more opportunities Spotify has to:
Keep users happy with paying for the Premium subscription
Tell investors their numbers are great so that Spotify continues to get external investment money
A good comparison to Spotify’s algorithm is the Google and YouTube algorithms.
The purpose of the Google and YouTube algorithms is to give you the most valuable content so that you stay on the platform and spend as much time on that platform as possible.
These platforms have their own goals, and by helping THEM achieve THEIR goals, only then will YOU be rewarded.
Whether that reward is YouTube views, Google search results, or Spotify Streams.
In the example of Spotify, Spotify may start to reward you with placements in algorithmic playlists and the increase in positive numbers overall will also inevitably catch the attention of Spotify editors, which may lead to lucrative Editorial playlists in the future. This leads to a big increase in your Spotify royalties.
How To Get On Spotify’s Algorithmic Playlists
So, what exactly do you have to do to get on these algorithmic playlists?
To get on algorithmic Spotify playlists, there are only 2 things you need to do:
Pitch the song to the Spotify editors at least 1 week prior to your release day in the Spotify For Artists dashboard.
Drive meaningful traffic (aka streams) to your new song within the first 2 to 3 weeks of your song’s release.
In the case of your back catalog of material, focus on step 2.
From there, the algorithm is looking for signals based on user listening habits to find out if a song is worth recommending or not.
If the Spotify algorithm notices that ANY song is:
Being saved by the people who listen to it at a good percentage
Is being listened to often
Is being added to lots of normal listener and higher profile playlists
Users are following the artist after listening to the song.
Then Spotify’s algorithm may notice that it is in Spotify’s best interests to push that song out to similar people.
Because the data and stats that Spotify provides in their Spotify For Artists dashboard do not give you all this information, I recommend using a Songstats to get a more complete look at how your song is performing.
Spotify Algorithm Hack
I previously mentioned that the way to get on Spotify’s algorithmic playlists is by driving meaningful traffic to your new release. However, that is easier said than done.
There are a few ways you can do this (social media, playlisting, etc) but this is the most effective way I’ve been able to do this myself:
To hack the Spotify algorithm you need to consistently send real, targeted listeners to your music from multiple sources such as directly from your profile, leverage user playlists, and get added to more influential Spotify user playlists.
The way I’ve done this (and got on over 7 editorial playlists and racked up over 5,000,000 streams) is by... [for members only]
(Join Spotify Decoded to read more about this secret technique and get access to my curator database with the contact info for over 4,500 playlist owners)
My favorite Music Marketing Tools
Here are some of my favorite music marketing tools that I've personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist. These are the exact tools that I use, love, and recommend to anyone - including my own friends and family.
To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.
If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the reviews online.
Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.
My course for Spotify Success
Although algorithmic playlists can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.
This is why I’ve put together an in-depth course that you can check out called Spotify Decoded . Hundreds of artists and musicians have learned to utilize this powerful resource to get their music heard by a larger audience. The Pro 2.0 bundle can be found here (recommended for best results).
Music Publishing Royalties Collection
For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.
Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.
Playlist Pitching Service
Playlists Plus is a well-known and successful playlist-pitching platform based in the US. It's loved by many artists, labels, and distributors because it guarantees that the playlists your song is placed on are organic and third party verified.
This means that the curators who manage these playlists only use organic methods to grow their following, and they only accept tracks that they genuinely like. It works so well for so many artists - myself included - because Playlists Plus has a large global network of over 5,000 playlists they work with. So, as long as the quality of your song is good they can always find appropriate playlists to support it. After trying multiple other playlisting services, I've found that I get the best results with Playlists Plus.
If you want to learn more about their services, check out the case studies and testimonials. They also offer campaigns for promoting music videos on Youtube, as well as Tiktok campaigns, and targeted ad campaigns. You can see the different types of services they offer here.
This is a great way to kick-start the algorithm (remembering that you generally need at least 10,000-20,000 streams on a song to do so) and increase your royalty payouts over time. This has allowed me to create a passive monthly income with music for the last 3 years.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article and feel free to add more suggestions in the comments below. If you thought this article was helpful, please share it with your friends and fellow musicians!
Have more questions about the Spotify? Need help developing your artist brand? Book a call today with a music marketing expert from our team.
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