Spotify is a complicated platform...
If you're an independent musician, it's important to understand how the Spotify algorithm works.
With hundreds of thousands of songs uploaded every week to Spotify, it is important that your song doesn't just stand out to fans, but furthermore, it gets placed in algorithmic playlists such as Discover Weekly and Release Radar.
Understanding Spotify's algorithm can help you get your music in front of more people and increase your streams. It can be the difference between being heard by more people, and getting lost in the mix.
In this article, we'll explain how the Spotify algorithm works, and give you some tips on how to improve your chances of being discovered.
Three Main Topics:
What is the Spotify Algorithm?
Put simply, the Spotify algorithm is a system that uses machine learning to personalize the music listening experience for each user.
However, the system is complex and it uses a variety of factors to personalize the listening experience for each user. These factors include the user's listening history, their favorite songs and artists, and the genres and playlists they listen to.
The Spotify algorithm uses machine learning to analyze this data and create personalized playlists and recommendations for each user. For example, if a user frequently listens to pop music, the algorithm may recommend similar pop songs or artists that the user may like.
The algorithm also takes into account the user's listening preferences and habits, such as the time of day they typically listen to music, the length of their listening sessions, and the type of devices they use to listen to Spotify. By analyzing this data, the algorithm can provide more tailored and relevant recommendations to each user.
In addition, the algorithm also uses collaborative filtering. In other words, it takes into account the listening habits and preferences of other Spotify users who have a similar taste in music. For example, if a user frequently listens to a particular artist, the algorithm may recommend similar artists that other users who like that artist also listen to.
How Spotify's Algorithm works for an Artist
So, now that we understand that the music streaming service relies on AI to recommend music to its users. As an artist, how can you increase your chances to benefit off of Spotify's algorithm?
It's actually rather simple, and the key is engagement.
In Spotify for Artists, we can see the key engagement metrics that Spotify uses to judge our music.
The metrics are as follows:
Now there are further metrics that affect how Spotify views and ranks an artist which we cannot see from Spotify for Artists, such as the length listened, the amount of shares, and Natural Language Processing.
Length of Listen
Or in other words, how long does it take a user to skip your track?
If a song is typically listened to in its entirety, we can assume that data will encourage more recommendations of that track. However, if a song is often skipped when first heard, or on a repeat listen, that will discourage a push towards any algorithmic music discovery playlists.
We know that Spotify still tracks how often a song is shared, and even the platform used to share the music. (iMessage, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Telegram, etc.)
This data was visible to artists in their Spotify Wrapped, detailing their audience's 2022 listening history.
When someone shares a song, it shows that it's not only of interest to them, but they think it would be of interest to others. It is almost a way to "vouch" for the song, as Spotify's algorithm definitely takes this into consideration when recommending music.
If your song is shared often, you can be sure the AI will implement collaborative filtering, and test out the track by showing it to other users with similar listening habits.
Natural Language Processing
Lastly, Spotify also tracks music with Natural Language Processing, or NLP. Essentially, NLP searches for any mentions of a particular artist or song in order to analyze what people are talking about online, on social media or blogs articles.
In fact, Spotify has been acquiring companies with music intelligence technology, such as Echo Nest. Their new technology can identify top keywords and terms that are related to a song, and then make recommendations of other songs that have similar terms through NLP.
Essentially NLP can categorize songs into groups and give each track descriptive adjectives to further classify each individual song.
What if my song is brand new or has no online coverage? Will NLP find my music?
If there is not much information online surrounding a song, Spotify will attempt to identify and categorize the music itself. Spotify converts the raw audio of a track into a sound spectrogram, in order to understand key characteristics of the songs, such as key, tempo, and loudness.
However, you should prioritize utilizing social media not only to send fans to their streaming platforms to listen, but also to receive feedback and discuss the track. T
How to make your song go viral on Spotify: Using the Algorithm to your Benefit
So now we know how Spotify's algorithm works for both users and artists.
They key for an artist to be featured in algorithmic playlists is high engagement.
Therefore, if you're wondering how to make your song go viral on Spotify, let's start with this.
How can an artist ensure high engagement on their music? Here are three tips.
Although obvious, it is essential your music is great. You don't want to be pouring lots of time, energy, or money into a product that could use work.
You can follow the steps in this article perfectly and get your new music in front of the ideal audience, however, if they don't enjoy the song you find yourself at a dead end.
That's why although it seems basic, make sure you put 110% into making the best possible music. This will make every other step easier.
User Generated Playlists
User generated playlist outreach can often be forgotten about in the quest to reach editorial and algorithmic playlists on Spotify. However, these playlists are great proof that your song is fit for larger audience.
To get onto these playlists, you should do three things.
First, search for playlists that fit the mood or genre of your new music.
Next, ensure the playlist has organic listeners and no botted followers. (This can greatly harm your reputation with Spotify's algorithm)
Lastly, reach out and pitch your music to these playlist creators.
You can achieve all three steps of research, quality assurance, and outreach to playlisters with our partners at artist.tools. Their service is an online database of playlist growth and curator information, which is updated daily. Check out their platform today for free, or upgrade to a paid plan for even more benefits with our link for 10% off!
Note: Not every user generated playlist is good. If you pitch your music to playlists you know will accept your music, that do not fit the vibe or mood of the song, this will only confuse the Spotify algorithm on what listening preferences fans of your music possess.
Therefore, you should limit outreach to relevant user generated playlists, not the biggest or the easiest to land placements. You don’t want to be placed in playlists that wont earn you the best return, in terms of saves and playlist adds for each play.
For an in-depth tutorial how to get your music onto plenty of User Generated Playlists, we recommend you check out our article fully covering the topic by clicking here.
Social Media Advertising
The third option you have to increase your algorithmic success is to run a social media advertising campaign, most commonly done on either Facebook/Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.
First, an artist should identify their target audience. Then, the artist must create engaging ads showcasing their music and style, which direct users to Spotify to listen to the track in full.
The reason social media music promotion can be so valuable to Spotify's algorithm, is because you can weed out the people who don't like the song before they even land on the music streaming platform. (And, it's relatively inexpensive to get results)
Essentially, when a user enjoys the song preview and heads to Spotify, they are likely to save the song or add it to their playlist. Therefore, the listeners are likely to engagement with the track, which is a huge green flag for Spotify's algorithm.
This high engagement rate could spiral your song into even more user's Release Radar, Discover Weekly, or other algorithmic playlists. And if it performs well again with a high engagement rate, you could even receive editorial placement as well.
As you can see, the Spotify algorithm is certainly complex. However, there are plenty of ways to increase the likelihood that the algorithm works for you. Primarily, utilizing social media advertising campaigns and playlist outreach strategies can greatly increase a song's engagement rate. Also, these are the fans who will likely listen over-and-over, improving data such as streams and streams per listener.
With your greater understanding of the Spotify algorithm, go forth and conquer! Best of luck, musicians.
Let's take a quick look at a few frequently asked questions on the topic of "how does the Spotify algorithm work", and if you have any additional questions let us know in the comments!
What is Spotify's algorithm?
In short, Spotify's algorithm for users is based on listening data, while for artists it is based on various engagement statistics. However, there are plenty of other factors in the algorithm. For a deep-dive, check out our full article answering how does Spotify algorithm work with current and real information.
What are Spotify algorithmic playlists?
People often ask- "What are Spotify algorithmic playlists?" Put simply, the main Spotify algorithmic playlists include Discover Weekly, Release Radar, Your Daily Mix, Radio, yearly Spotify wrapped "Top Songs" playlists, and On Repeat.
Artists with high engagement across their catalogue of music will be rewarded with numerous placements in various songs' Radio algorithmic playlists, and Your Daily Mix playlists.
Meanwhile, impressively performing songs will be given run in Release Radar and Discover Weekly algorithmic playlists.
How do I get an algorithmic play on Spotify?
Spotify's algorithm plays a crucial role in how listeners can find and discover your music. To get an algorithmic play on Spotify, you need to make sure that your music is produced professionally and has a little buzz online.
Additionally, make sure you are releasing content consistently enough to be noticed by the algorithm. Leveraging the data that Spotify provides can also help you see where your music may be popular or get more attention.
Last but not least, implementing smart digital marketing techniques (such as social media campaigns and playlist outreach) is another great option as well.
Ultimately, optimizing your digital presence is key to becoming more visible on Spotify and getting not just one algorithmic play, but thousands.
What triggers the Spotify algorithm?
The Spotify algorithm is powered by a combination of many different factors that help Spotify to curate its user’s experience. It takes into account genre, artist popularity, user behavior, streaming data and more.
Therefore, the key to getting your music pushed by Spotify's algorithmic playlists is to make sure your music resonates within Spotify's specific criteria. To learn more about the criteria needed to make the Spotify algorithm work for you, check out this entire article.
However, investing in content promotion on social media and Spotify alike can be beneficial as it helps increase visibility across Spotify’s platform.
Additionally, actively working with Spotify editors and/or playlist curators will aid in elevating your profile among influential Spotify playlists. Spotify relies on the algorithm to find similar songs, so if you are placed in a relevant playlists, this will help the Spotify algorithm tremendously.
Is Spotify Radio an algorithmic playlist?
Spotify Radio, is in fact, an algorithmic playlist. Spotify Radio is based on numerous factors such as NLP and listener habits to group relevant and related songs together. In order to get your music into this algorithmic playlist, check out our full article for an explanation.