Here at Spotify, we make literally millions of playlists, and they can be one of the fastest ways to get your music in front of of millions of potential fans. So you probably want to get on one. We get it. But first, let’s take a second to learn how they work. To really understand how they work, you need to first understand our music programming philosophy: we’re focused on finding the right music for every moment and making sure it’s personalized for each listener on Spotify. The only outcome we’re looking for is that our listeners feel catered to, not promoted to. Every song is chosen, every playlist is made, and every decision is made strictly and specifically for Spotify listeners. Next, it’s important to understand the kinds of playlists on Spotify. All our playlists fall into three basic types: personalized, editorial, and listener playlists.
Based on a listener’s taste.
Our personalized playlists (like Discover Weekly and Release Radar) are created specifically to help each listener find songs we think they’ll like. Everyone on Spotify has their own personalized playlists catered to their specific tastes, so no two are alike. The process is automated; we make these playlists with algorithms, which is basically a fancy term for machines working with people to make the perfect playlist. For everyone on Spotify, we look closely at their habits—what they like, what they share, what they save to their own playlists, and even what they skip—and find listeners with similar tastes. Then we send them music we think they’d like. It’s that simple.
That’s how we make Discover Weekly, a mix of songs released every Monday, full of music we think listeners will like. It’s also how we make Release Radar, a personalized playlist that comes out on Fridays, serving up new releases, so your fans never miss your latest song. There’s also Daily Mix, a mix of music listeners have had in heavy rotation. We also create seasonal playlists for listeners, like Your Time Capsule or The Ones That Got Away.
This process is automated, but has real people overseeing it. The thing about these playlists to remember is that the more followers you have, the more personalized playlists you’ll get on. For example, if you have 100 followers, you’ll be in 100 Release Radar playlists every time you put out new music. If you have 1,000 followers, you’ll be on 1,000 playlists. And if you have 10,000… You get the point. It’s kind of like setting up your own personal distribution channel, so it’s a good idea to encourage your fans to follow you on Spotify.
Handcrafted by our team of experts.
Editorial playlists are created by our Shows & Editorial team, made up of music experts and genre specialists from around the globe. Their understanding of the right music for every moment is based on years of experience, and a careful understanding of listener habits and activities, likes and dislikes. We make thousands of editorial playlists; you can tell it’s one of ours by that little Spotify logo on the top left corner.
Each expert has a deep understanding of their genre, and the lifestyle and culture that music represents for the artists like you and the fans who listen to it. The team is spread across the world to ensure culture is reflected in the music curated for listeners, but also to find opportunities to share music across different regions. You already know how music brings people together, and our team believes music discovery is part of that.
Editorial playlists are the result of finding the perfect balance between an expert’s music knowledge and data about Spotify listeners that we mentioned before. Our editorial playlists work together in a system, designed to help new music rise up the ranks. This system works hand-in-hand with our team, so they’re able to bring more music to listeners. Each genre has its own group of feeder playlists—where editors test new music or group tried-and-true hits together—to see how those tunes resonate with listeners. This means if your song is doing well on a playlist like Most Necessary or New Noise, it might end up on a bigger playlist like Rap Caviar or Rock This.
Add all of the thought that goes into playlists with our ability to use data to personalize each listener’s experience, and you can see how personalized and editorial playlists are designed to reflect our programming philosophy.
Made by fans.
There’s one more type of playlist you might see in the Playlist section of Spotify for Artists, and that’s listener playlists. Listener playlists are exactly what they sound like—they’re created by listeners, and feature your music. Over the years Spotify users have created billions of listener playlists.
Listener playlists can influence personalized ones in their own way. When your fans save your music to their playlists, it’s one more signal about the type of music they like. We can use that to help recommend your music to people who have similar listening habits as your fans.
But listener playlists are also a great tool for understanding your fans. Listener playlists can help you get a sense of how your music has resonated with fans, and how these fans have helped grow your reach.
That’s a quick look into the world of Spotify playlists. Now that you understand what goes into them, we recommend taking a second to understand how these playlists have affected you. Head over to your Spotify for Artists dashboard and check out the Playlists section to learn more.
If you haven't yet, go here to get access to Spotify for Artists.