A smartphone is seen in front of a screen projection of Spotify logo, in this picture illustration taken April 1, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

You may often wonder how Spotify can be so spot-on with their playlists. How does their “Confidence Boost” playlist really turn your day upside down? How does their “New Music Friday” really predict the next up and coming stars? With a library of over 30 million songs, it’s hard to imagine how the people behind Spotify are selecting these songs. Needless to say, with 124 million subscribers and 3,000 playlists, the selection process isn’t an easy one. However, for artists, it’s a matter of getting their songs into these playlists. After a Forbes interview with the company’s Co-Head of Music Strategy, Jeremy Erlich, it’s clear that there is an art (and science) to music curation.

The Selection Process

In 2018, Spotify turned the platform to artists, giving them the chance to pitch their songs for playlist consideration. Essentially, Spotify acts as the record label ( a very large one). The difference is that every artist starts from an equal playing ground. Whether you are a musician looking to expand globally or a local songwriter looking for exposure, Spotify doesn’t discriminate. Their concern focuses on the genre, mood, and other song data points.

After receiving thousands of submissions, editors carefully sort through around 1,000 songs a week and decide which are the best fit. Erlich reveals that the main thing editors look for when listening to these songs is potential.

“Our philosophy is that any good song should have a playlist where it can start and should have a path to the top of the pyramid.”

This democratic way of viewing playlists is what gets these artists to reach stardom in as little as a week. Sure, Spotify does an amazing job at connecting these artists to individuals – but the way to get the most out of this platform is to have a great song to begin with. Once a song is added to a playlist, editors track the numbers. A large amount of streams (e.g. played longer than 30 seconds) increases the track’s chances of being added to more playlists.

In hopes of expanding the personalized experience, Spotify is planning to begin to alter curated playlists. This will give artists a greater chance of getting their songs into one of these globally-loved curations.