Your time and money should be spent in playlists, here’s why
We live in a world that is entirely digital. Everything we do revolves around some sort of technological device. This is no different in the music industry. 10 years ago, getting an artist’s music on the radio was a surefire way to get them heard and touring around the world in a matter of weeks or months. Radio still has its benefits, but now the music industry has transitioned to something that is far more relevant, convenient, and user friendly: playlists.
Getting played on the radio is still relevant and is definitely something to stamp on a resume, but it’s not going to last much longer… maybe five more years. The technology that radio stations utilize is state-of-the-art, but it’s not necessarily the same for the consumer. To have a song played on the radio, a listener must call in and request it and it may or may not get played. Playlists, however, are the complete opposite. A user can search a library of 30-40 million+ songs and instantly download it to their device, share it with their friends, and add it to a playlist. A group of friends from around the world can even contribute to a playlist from their own devices. Beat that, radio.
Currently, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and SoundCloud are dominating the streaming world. According to Business Insider, 82% of Americans 12 years and older use Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, and Apple Music. Recently, Spotify hit 140 million active users (that’s roughly have of the United States’ population), and 50 million of them are paying users, reports The Verge.
What is playlisting and how does it work? Playlisting contains the same process across the different platforms and achieves the same results. According to Kim Gilmour on dummies, “A playlist is a group of tracks that [a user] can save and listen to at [their] leisure.” All a user has to do is come up with an original (or unoriginal) playlist name and begin adding their favorite tunes to it. Other users on the platform will be able to search (if the playlist owner allows for it to be searched for) and then follow the playlist(s) the user has curated. Anytime that playlist gets updated by the playlist owner, the followers will receive a notification. Artists will often curate playlists so their fans can listen to what they’re listening to.
Why are playlists so important? Let’s use Spotify as an example. Based on the description on how we described playlists working above, think about this: Many Spotify playlists have tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. Each of those followers actively listens to those tracks, upping the stream count and revenue for the artists, managers, and labels involved. “Real fans–the people who go to concerts and buy merchendise and actually pay for music–use streaming services like Spotify,” states Wired. “If you get things working on Spotify, that’s going to crank the wheel,” adds Mark Mulligan, an industry analyst.
One of the main reasons why Spotify playlists are effective is because they’re simple. A user creates a new playlist, adds some music, and shares it with friends. That’s it. Spotify has mastered the art of intuitiveness and simplicity, and humans love simplicity. “Computer games, such as Spacewar!, had been developed by hackers at MIT, but at Atari they had to be made simple enough that a stoned freshmen could figure them out. There were no complicated manuals or menus. The only instructions for Atari’s Star Trek game were: ‘1. Insert quarter. 2. Avoid Klingons,’” states Smithsonian.
There are downsides to the simplicity game in playlisting, though. One of the most negative elements we’ve experienced with playlisting is companies charging outrageous amounts of money and guaranteeing artists a high amount of streams. Most often, these companies utilize bots that will fake or spoof the number of streams that is displayed on Spotify (Spotify knows instantly if your song is gaining organic streams or not). When the bot or company gets terminated from Spotify, then those numbers vanish. If an artist has spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on these fake streams, then they’re going to be out of luck because Spotify won’t refund this.
We can mutually agree that playlists are the new radio. They’re powerful, intuitive, and extraordinarily effective. With future updates and integrations that we’re making with Tunebula, the follow-to-download gate is going to be ages ahead of its competitors, especially when it comes to playlists. Furthermore, Jamvana and its employees have the knowledge and tools an artist and label needs to get their music sitting in playlists with hundreds of thousands of followers.