Music Industry

Published on June 26th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Getting your song on the right Spotify playlist can mean a HUGE boost in royalties

Playlists are the new albums. Instead of people listening through full albums in the order in which the artist intended, everything has been torn asunder. Music fans are showing a definite bias towards playlists that feature the best songs and singles from a wide variety of albums.

Some of these mega-popular (and thus influential) playlists–Spotify’s Rap Caviar is often cited–can change an artist’s career forever. Just one song on a big playlist can generate explosive popularity–and thus massive royalty payouts thanks to the increased number of streams.

How massive? According to this study, up to $163,000.

From Digital Music News:

Today’s Top Hits, for an average of 74.4 days. At the time of this article’s publishing, that playlist is just shy of 20.3 million followers.

With that many followers, an artist has a serious chance of catapulting a long-term, lucrative career. In the short term, getting included in that single playlist may dramatically increase that artist’s revenues.

Furthermore, songs that are in the Today’s Top Hits playlist typically experience a play count increase of nearly 20 million. This equates to a tentative royalty payout of between $80,000 and $163,000.

Our data shows that roughly 1 million streams on Spotify is equal to about $4,000, give or take. The study calculates that payout as being more favorable, specifically between $6 to $8.40 per 1,000 streams. But here’s a little caveat: those numbers were supplied by Spotify, according to the researchers.

Either way, the takeaway is simple: getting on a highly-followed Spotify playlists can completely change an artist’s career. That dramatic change can happen in less than 24 hours, based on the decision of one playlist manager.

That’s a lot of power in one playlist manager, innit? Keep reading.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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