In today's music industry, playlisting has become a cornerstone of music promotion. While major labels have long embraced this strategy with their own playlisting brands—such as Sony's Filtr, Warner's Topsify, and Universal's Digster—independent artists and labels can also reap the benefits of creating, growing, and maintaining their own Spotify playlists. The short answer to whether you should be building your own playlists is a resounding "Yes!" Let's delve into why this is a crucial strategy and how you can effectively implement it.

The Benefits of Owning a Playlist

1. A Winning Strategy Used by Major Labels

Major labels extensively use playlisting as a key promotional tool. These playlists, managed under dedicated brands, serve as powerful channels to promote their artists and releases. Independent artists and labels have the same opportunity to create their own playlists and leverage this strategy to reach a broader audience.

2. Owning an evergreen Channel and Audience

When you create and manage a playlist, you essentially own a dedicated channel and audience. This means you have a direct line to listeners who are interested in your genre or theme. You can use this channel repeatedly for all your releases, ensuring consistent exposure and engagement - even months after you start directly investing in advertising. 

3. Industry Clout and Influence

Popular playlists can boost your clout in the music industry. As a playlist curator with a significant following, you become an influencer, capable of shaping music scenes and movements. This influence can open doors to new opportunities and collaborations.

Principles for Rolling Out a Playlist Strategy

1. Identify the Right Theme

Choose a theme that fits your music and resonates with your target audience. The theme should be broad enough to allow for regular updates. Avoid themes that are too time-specific, like "Best Country Music of Summer 2024," which will lose relevance quickly. Instead, opt for creative and descriptive themes such as "Country Music to Drink Coffee To" or "Chill Country for Studying."

2. Curate with Care

Fill your playlist with great music that fits the selected theme. This not only keeps listeners engaged but also ensures that your playlist remains a go-to destination for your genre or mood.

3. Place your Music Strategically

Place your tracks between popular "sticky" tracks—those with low skip rates and high engagement. This association can help your music gain traction and recognition by being linked to well-known acts.

4. Keep It Fresh

Update your playlist regularly, changing at least 10% to 20% of the tracks each week. This keeps the playlist dynamic and interesting. Tools like Playlister.Club offer valuable resources and discovery engines to help curators find fresh music efficiently.

5. Monitor Playlist Health

Use your Spotify for Artists data to monitor the health of your playlist. Position your tracks in various spots (Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 40) and track the streams generated from each position. The proportion of active listeners to followers is a key indicator of your playlist's health.

6. Invest in Growth

There are no shortcuts to building a solid listenership. Never stop investing in your playlist's growth. Utilize Instagram and Facebook ads to attract new listeners. A compelling ad with a small, ongoing budget can significantly boost your playlist's reach.

7. Track Acquisition Costs

Constantly monitor the follower acquisition cost for your playlist. This cost can vary widely between genres and moods. Focus on playlists with the lowest acquisition costs, and consider launching multiple playlists (3 to 5) to maximize your reach and impact.

Building your own playlists is a powerful strategy for independent artists and labels. By curating engaging, themed playlists and strategically placing your music, you can build a dedicated audience, gain industry clout, and ensure consistent promotion for your releases. Embrace this approach, invest in your playlists, and watch your influence and reach grow in the music world.

If you are a label or artist looking to get started with a playlist growth strategy, drop us an email with the subject “Playlist Growth” at and we can help! 


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