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How to curate, maintain and promote a playlist as a new or independent artist

It can be tough to get the recognition you deserve as a newer or independent artist – especially with the music industry in its current state. However, one fun and simple (and free) way to grow your audience is by curating, maintaining and promoting your own artist playlist. This could be on any DSP, however, Spotify is currently the most popular platform and likely to bring the most success, for now. 


When looking to entice potential listeners to your playlist, have at least the first 3-5 tracks by well known artists. Unless actively seeking new music, the average listener will be looking for something or someone they have already listened to before. After this, feel free to add your own tracks and music by smaller artists and bands. In order to keep listeners interested, intersperse your own / lesser known artists with bigger names throughout the entire playlist. 


Unless you’re an artist with a generally large fan base or maybe a larger social media following, it is best to pick a specific mood/genre and create a playlist around this – rather than go for a ‘My Favourite Songs’ playlist. If you’re an indie band, curating a playlist with the title ‘indie singalong’ will allow you to add your own music so that, say, fans of ‘indie music to sing along to’ can find your tracks among their current favourites. 


An example of this is Winnie Ama, an R&B artist, who’s ‘Future Soul & RnB’ playlist provides the perfect place for potential fans to discover her music amongst other up and coming artists of the same genre.


As a music fan, it may be tempting to create several playlists for every genre and mood however, it is definitely better to focus your energy on one playlist to begin with and then, if that picks up traction, you can create more. The only playlists on your artist page to start with should be a ‘complete collection’ playlist (of your entire discography, for hardcore fans) and your new artist playlist. 


Regularly updated playlists are more likely to gain followers as fans know they can rely on the curator for new / different music. Try updating your playlist with a few new tracks once a week, and be sure to pull the new tracks to the top. The optimum length for a playlist is up for debate but a good rule is 50-100 tracks. When looking at some of Spotify’s biggest playlists (Today’s Top Hits is 50 tracks; The Pop List is 80 tracks; and New Music Friday UK is 100 tracks) this feels like a safe bet. 


Now onto promoting your new playlist. It may seem silly but make sure all your friends, family and current fans are following your playlist. It’s a free and easy way for those around you to show support. 


Make sure you shout about the playlist on socials and don’t forget to tag some of the artists that you’ve included. Very often the artist or band will re-share your post or story which again can bring in new fans. Tag artists that you feel have a similar fanbase to yourself, so that when their followers see your playlist, they are inclined to check out your page. 


And finally, be consistent! Listen to your playlist, move tracks around to see what fits, and have fun with it. Don’t worry if you’re not gaining followers straight away, building a successful playlist takes time. If you curate, maintain and promote, the fans will follow. 


Playlist inspiration: 


Ellis / ‘electro funk essentials’


beabadoobee / ‘the beabadoobee complete collection’


Sasha Rome / ‘Sasha Rome’s Indie Faves’


Written by Madelene Aldridge, Head of Playlisting