Does your playlist have 1,000 followers? 20,000 followers? Even 100K followers!? Congratulations! You are a bona fide music influencer and artists will actively try to curry your favor and get your attention. 

However, the real question is: how active is your playlist? How many people are actually listening to it? Is your last round of curation engaging listeners more, or less? 

While Spotify may give you a follower count for your playlist, as far as you know there might have been zero or ten thousand people enjoying your painstakingly-curated playlist in the last week.

Curating is hard work, and it can be incredibly frustrating not knowing if listeners are enjoying your latest selection of tracks. But how can you get concrete data that can help you continuously improve your playlists? 

While there is no perfect way of doing this, without owning (or distributing) 100% of the tracks on your playlist, here are FOUR ways for you to tell if your playlist is healthy.

  1. It's growing organically: A great indication of playlist health is that it is acquiring new users organically– either through listeners recommending it to their friends, or Spotify favoring it in its search algorithms. You can track follower growth yourself by keeping a weekly spreadsheet manually updated, or you can use data tools like Chartmetric to keep close tabs on the trajectory. If you use ads to attract listeners to your playlist, make sure to take it into consideration when estimating the organic growth.

  2. Scour Spotify’s “Discovered On” Section. The "Discovered On" section on Spotify's artist profiles (found at the bottom of their web profile). It highlights playlists generating the most streams for that artist. To gauge your playlist's activity using this:
  • a) Go to your playlist and select artists, focusing on lesser-known ones.
  • b) On the artist's page, note their monthly listener count.
  • c) Check the "Discovered On" section to see where your playlist ranks.
  • d) Begin with 5-10 artists from your playlist for better accuracy.

1K monthly listeners, 2k monthly streams: If your playlist is top-ranked for an artist with 1K listeners, you're likely contributing about half, or up to 1K streams.

50K monthly listeners, 100k monthly streams: For an artist with 50K listeners (or 100K streams), a middle-ranked playlist in the "Discovered On" section contributes a portion of these streams. While the best-case scenario suggests up to 50K streams from all indie playlists, a more realistic contribution is 10-20K streams from all indie playlists. Your middle-ranked playlist (among all the indie playlists) might account for 1K to 2K of these streams.

In short: The "Discovered On" section, in the context of the artist’s monthly listener numbers, gives an idea of your playlist's impact on an artist's streams.

  1. Tracker songs: If you have access to artists that can collaborate with you, or are an artist yourself, you can incorporate “tracking songs” into your playlist that you have the backend data for, and this will give you a direct picture into the streaming data via Spotify for Artists. In order to tell if your overall playlist is healthy (and not just the first ten tracks) you need to get data samples across your playlist. We recommend a rule of fourths, i.e. having a tracked song in each quartile of your playlist. If your playlist has 200 tracks, then one track in the top 50, places 51-100, 101-150, and 151-200.

  2. Calculate your Playlist Health Index: PHI is a measure of playlist activity relative to the number of followers of a playlist. You may have a 5000 follower playlist that is incredibly active and engaging in a specific genre or music scene, or 1M follower playlist that is dead in the water. Calculating this is easy. First take the average of the weekly streams for each 'tracking' track in each quartile of the playlist:

(Average Weekly Streams per Track) / (Total Followers)

PHI's vary immensely across genres and playlist types, and across time. A movie soundtrack playlist will have a super high PHI when the movie comes out, and will degenerate over time. Therefore, it's important to keep tabs of PHI at least once a month. 


Are you a curator? Are these techniques useful? What other methods do you use to assess the health of your playlists?


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