How to Monetize Your Spotify Playlists

As a Spotify playlist owner, you’re probably wondering how you can make the most out of your playlists. You’ve likely stumbled across playlists with thousands of followers, and you’d like to reap similar results. Some of the most popular playlists generate enough income to pay the average person’s bills, and who wouldn’t want to make money based on their good taste in music?

Paid Placements

Some reports show that major record labels have paid thousands of dollars to add their artist's songs to popular playlists, and this "paid placement" (where a fee is paid for a playlist owner to consider/add a song to their playlist) is also common among unknown artists as they try to get their music added to playlists, both big and small. The amount of money you may earn depends upon the size and quality of your playlist, as well as how active you are in selling placements on your playlist to interested parties.

An example: we contacted a Spotify playlist owner with 7k followers, who wanted $30 per month (and for a top 10 position, wanted an extra $10, so $40). Using these figures, if you place 5 songs each month without any special placement, you could make an extra $1,800 annually. With special placement, the number increases to $2,400. These numbers also assume that each song is only retained for a month. Most artists will want you to keep their songs on your playlist for many months. If we assume that a song will be on your playlist for six months, then the above totals are multiplied by 6 for a total of $14,400. I think you’ll agree, this is pretty nice money for a smallish playlist.

Before concluding this section, you should now that Spotify frowns on paid placements – and as a result we don’t encourage it – but in the interest of full disclosure you have the right to know that this practice is not uncommon.

Paid Song Reviews

A second avenue for generating income is to affiliate yourself with one of the commercial services that acts as a middleman to connect owners and artists. As a playlist owner you are paid a small fee, in exchange for reviewing a song with the idea that if you like the song you might add it to your playlist.

Hurdles to Successful Monetization

Even if you're just starting out on Spotify and don't yet own a major playlist with thousands of followers, your playlist can be successful. But first, it is necessary to understand what hurdles you face as you attempt to monetize your playlist.

Finding Your Playlist

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you that most genres of music have hundreds of thousands of playlists created by record labels, artists, and listeners. As a result, your playlists can easily get lost in the mix. The standard way of discovering playlists is to do a key word search in a Spotify user account, followed by manually filtering and sorting the results and recording the data. This is a tedious and time-consuming process, and unless you own a major Spotify playlist with a large following, you’re likely not going to be found.

Finding You

The second hurdle is finding you – the owner of a playlist – as Spotify does not provide contact information for playlist owners. This means that even if your playlist is discovered and people are interested, they still don’t have an easy way of getting in contact with you.

Connecting Curators (You) With Artists

There are several sites available that attempt to eliminate some of these hurdles, including Playlist Pump, Playlist Push, and Playlist MatchMaker. A few thoughts on these options: Playlist Pump and Playlist Push don’t directly connect artists with playlist owners -- they act as more of a "middle man" in the process, agreeing to pass along an artist's songs to popular playlists for a fee, with no guarantee that the playlist owner will add the song to their playlist. Artists who use these services are paying for only the chance to be added to major playlists, with the understanding that their material might not be accepted. Alternatively, Playlist MatchMaker handles this process differently, and directly puts artists in contact with playlist owners.

Artists who use Playlist MatchMaker can perform a genre-specific search, and the system will return tens of thousands of matches. After sorting and removing duplicates, artists should typically have a few hundred to a few thousand playlists with 50 or more followers provided to them from this search. What this means is that, even if you have a modest-sized list, Playlist MatchMaker will likely locate it, and it will be featured in the list of genre specific playlist search results. This means your playlist is likely to be found.

Additionally, playlist owners or curators can register with Playlist MatchMaker, and their contact information will be added. When a search is performed and your playlist is matched and provided to an artist that has conducted a search on Playlist MatchMaker, your contact information is available to them, and this means they can find not only your playlist but they will also be able to find you.

The bottom line is that your Spotify playlist's success really depends upon your ability to connect with/contact Spotify Artists. Working with a service that directly connects you as a playlist owner to an artist simplifies this process and makes those connections possible. When the main hurdles to playlist discovery are eliminated on Spotify, the door to your success is suddenly wide open, making it entirely possible for you to successfully monetize your playlist.

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