New year, new music? We've got pro tips on how to get your music onto streaming playlists.
GYROstream's Viv Mellish shares honest advice on giving your song its best shot at reaching more music fans.
Read the dos and don'ts about scheduling, services on offer, how to pitch, what points to focus on and more.
How important is it to the success of your new single to get added to streaming playlists? How do you make your song standout from all those other songs vying for attention?
Artists have been asking these questions for over a decade now, but the game is always changing. So, we enlisted our mates at GYROstream for insight on how to prepare and pitch your music for 2022.
Brisbane-based, Australian-owned GYROstream helps independent artists distribute their music to digital platforms around the globe. We asked Viv Mellish, GYROstream's Director - Marketing and Promotions to explain the latest trends and best practices.
1. How can a self-releasing artist pitch their music to the digital music services?
Some distributors offer direct editorial pitching to key DSPs (Spotify, Apple, Amazon etc.) as part of their service, and for some like GYROstream you need to apply to be accepted as there are limited spots available and they book up quite far in advance (around 4-6 weeks). Others don't offer in-house editorial pitching at all e.g. TuneCore, DistroKid.
No matter who you go with, there are things you can do yourself to help increase your chances of getting on playlists — but please keep in mind there are 60,000 songs uploaded to streaming services EVERY DAY. Just because you don't get on an editorial playlist, it doesn't mean your track won't still be successful in other ways.
Our top tips if you're pitching your own music:
- Ensure you claim your artist profile on all DSPs you can.
- You can pitch a track to Amazon and Spotify (read their tips!) through their pitching forms. The pitching form is the absolute best way to get your song heard by playlist editors on those platforms.
- Make sure your profiles are up to date on all streaming platforms BEFORE release. Read our blog post covering the A-Z of platforms. It's always good to do a digital audit of all platforms around 3-4 weeks before release day to update bios, profile images and make sure everything is a-okay.
- Get your music in early so editors have time to listen. We recommend 2-3 weeks before your release date and at the very latest, seven days before release.
If you do have a direct email address for someone at a DSP and they are happy to receive pitches from you via email — it's important to clarify this before bombarding them — our advice would be to email them around 7-10 days before your release goes live but to not overload them with information.
Keep it simple and include:
- a listening link
- link to your main social media channel
- link to your profile on the platform you are pitching to
- link to your press image and/or press release if you have one (you should really have one!)
- 3-5 pitching points — more on that in the next question
2. What are playlist editors looking for in a pitch and is there a suggested format for pitching? What are the three main points to include in a pitch?
It's very hard to say as it varies from artist to artist. From our experience, below are some tips and tricks and also some advice on what to write in the 'track description' part of your pitch.
The below information is intended for use mostly via Spotify for Artists pitching form as it's generally the most important platform for streaming revenue in Australia for independent artists, however, this information can be easily applied to any pitch you are writing.
NOTE: Not everything will work every time and it’s important the pitch is individualised to suit the artist.
First sentence is the most important one. Include:
- Something about the song first and where you are from and if you identify as First Nations. If you comfortable to share that you identify with a cultural or minority group and are happy for this to be included, include this about yourself.
Next wind in accolades, achievements and upcoming plans, these could be:
- A short sentence to paint a picture of what the song is about and if it's from a bigger release.
- Who it was written with or produced by if notable and mention their other credits.
- Then, include two to three accolades as separate sentences.
- Future and promo plans last: what is coming up e.g. is this single part of a bigger EP or album release? Live shows? Marketing plans?
- Big streaming numbers or monthly listeners e.g. if you have over a million streams+ on a song that's impressive!
- Mention previous playlist wins and placements — if there's a lot, don't bother listing them all individually, just highlight one or two or give a figure e.g. 10 editorial playlists).
- Notable previous radio and blog activity. Ideally include media and platforms that are widely known in the artist’s primary market. If not, leave them out.
- Only include award wins if they are State, National or International competitions.
- Info about sold-out shows or tours. But don't dwell on it too much.
- Mentioning live supports — if those artists aren't streaming more than about 50k monthly listeners on Spotify, don't include them.
- High profile, national festivals you have played.
- Are you working with a notable team? Have you signed a deal with a new manager or booking agent? Does that manager work with other artists of note? If so, include.
- Share your own interesting story. Do you live in a van? Overcome an obstacle? Are you huge on TikTok? Do you have a special talent outside of music? Is Bruce Springsteen your dad? Do you do all your own production? Did you write the song in a cave? Anything that is unique and different should be included.
Fictional example with a lot of important information in one sentence:
'The Recipe' is a reconciliation anthem from Northern NSW First Nations hip-hop artist JK-47's upcoming debut album and was written with producer Kanye West.
When to talk about the song:
- If you have limited, solid accolades (it's ok if you don't - everyone has to start somewhere) you can include more info about the song and its meaning/ lyrics, especially if it’s pivotal to the story.
3. What other assets should be included in a pitch?
If you have means to get your pitch directly to editors, you may be asked to supply an exclusive photo for potential playlist covers. Take a look at the playlist covers on the platform you are pitching to, generally the shots they feature are tight, sometimes with a transparent or altered background and the face of the artist is clearly visible.
It's always good to get some photos as part of your press shoot that could be used for playlist covers. Visually interesting foregrounds with simple backgrounds are generally preferred. Here are some great examples below.