Playlists are king, but as an artist, producer, or musician you may not be too familiar with how to pitch to editorial playlists. Hopefully, I can offer some advice on ways you can compose your pitch to hopefully secure an editorial playlist placement.
It’s no secret that we’re currently entering an era where music consumption is no longer revolving around specific artists, albums, or singles, but instead, on the moods we’re in, the genres we love, or the activities we’re doing. Digital service providers (DSPs) such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and Deezer – for example – are well aware of this and actively curate hundreds if not thousands of playlists on all of the above.
This means that we, as artists, have to think about how we fold this into our marketing practices, not only timing it just right but making sure we cover all of our bases when we tell curators about our music. The first thing is where do you start with editorial playlists?
… For Artists
The first thing I would recommend to anyone looking to pitch to editorial playlists is making sure you have access to all of the artist-facing tools available. This includes:
While Tidal seems to be working on an artist platform, no headway has been made just yet, the same goes for other DSPs, though please do let me know if there’s a platform I haven’t mentioned yet.
Once you have access to most of these platforms you’re almost ready to get your music in front of editors. That being said, it’s still not quite as simple as only two of the five platforms I mentioned above give you the ability to reach an editorial curator directly; Spotify and Amazon Music.
Currently, there is no direct way to pitch your music to Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, Tidal, Napster, etc etc. – though this could change in future. You’re not completely out of hope though as certain music distributors may offer the ability to pitch on your behalf. I would recommend reaching out to your distributor’s support to see if this is an option.
Timing is everything
Okay, so you’re looking to pitch your music to editorial playlists and you have access to artist dashboards on Spotify and Amazon Music, now what? Well, first you want to make sure you’re preparing your music at least four weeks ahead of your proposed release date. Yes, waiting is hard, but so is missing out on opportunities to have your music featured on editorial playlists.
The sooner, the better, in my opinion. If you can get your music distributed and available in your “upcoming” sections around six weeks ahead of your release you’re more likely to at least have your pitch in front of the right people.
That’s not to say you won’t catch a lucky break by pitching two or three weeks, or even a week before release, but you’re giving your pitch the best chance it could have.
The next step though is figuring out what to actually write.
Do your research
Before you can really get into the depths of writing a great pitch you want to do the thing that most of us hate to do: research. Take some time to browse around Spotify and Amazon and make a note (an actual note, a spreadsheet is a great thing to keep track of these things) of what playlists are being curated by these platforms.
Create a list of editorial playlists you think your song would fit on. Think outside of the box, too. Don’t just search “Pop” or “House” and write down the main genre-based lists, think about the overall mood of your release, is it upbeat and super happy? Maybe it’ll be a good fit for Spotify’s Seratonin playlist, is it sad and moody? Then maybe sad girl starter pack might be a better fit?
Knowing your audience, or at least your target is key to helping you draft a killer pitch for editorial playlists. There’s no point being incredibly vague, otherwise, it’ll likely just get overlooked.
Attention to detail
One pitching mistake I’ve seen from a number of artists who have released via Kiwi Bear Records is that they often focus on details that aren’t important to curators. Things such as running ad campaigns for the release, details on the label they’re releasing with and what they do, and how many times they’re going to share the music on social media.
While these details are important for a successful launch campaign, they mean very little to a curator who is trying to figure out whether they’d be interested in your music and if they are, where they can place it.
The reason for this is usually because – and this comes from personal experience too – it can be very difficult to write about yourself. So here are a few topics you can focus on when writing your pitch for editorial playlists which may get the creative juices flowing:
- Talk briefly about yourself, are you a singer-songwriter, or a music producer? Where are you based?
- Talk about the ideas behind the track and what were you hoping to achieve with the overall sound of the song.
- Talk about the lyrics, do they tell a story? Is it happy or sad?
- How does the track make you feel? What feelings were you trying to invoke with the song? Think about the overall mood. Is it happy, sad, melancholic, chill, or energetic?
- Talk about the creation process! What instruments feature heavily on the track? Is it super bass-heavy?
One final thing I’d suggest is utilising the space available. With 500 characters to play with (on Spotify, at least), you want to make the most of it and fill every character (if possible). Obviously don’t use shorthand, but try and squeeze as much info as you can into those 500 characters.
Your overall goal is to tell the curator – without even listening to your music – what they’re about to listen to and how it could make them feel. This will help the pitch get in the hands of the right curator, and that’s exactly what you want to happen.
Be hopeful, not hopeless
One important thing to note here is that Editorial placements are never guaranteed. While there are definitely ways you can improve your chances (a topic that’s way too deep for this post), for the most part, they’re still never a sure thing.
Pitching to editorial playlists should just be a very small part of your overall promotional and marketing process, almost one of those things you drop and walk away and leave to do its thing. Don’t pin all of your hopes on editorial, instead factor it into your other efforts, such as social media campaigns, ad campaigns, generating pre-saves, or sign-ups to your mailing list.
Also, don’t forget user-generated playlists, too. You can also pitch to those too – something I’ve covered in a separate post.