Spotify is a global phenomenon get now, and the platform provides people with a chance to create an amazing playlist for the whole world to hear.
The most reliable ways to gain Spotify playlist followers aren’t obvious, however, and common advice on the subject is just as likely to lead you to frustration as it is to help you connect with new listeners.
Nearly all posts on this subject emphasize sharing and promotion on platforms outside Spotify, but I honestly believe that promoting your list is not only non-essential, but actually leads to ghost followers and hollow engagement. I can even show you just how stunningly ineffective outside promotion really is.
Spotify will do all of the meaningful promotion for you, and a good playlist will pick up thousands of followers without you doing any legwork.
Updated for 2021: The information in this list is as relevant now as when I first published this in 2018, and it’s based on patterns I started observing when I signed up for Spotify almost a decade ago.
Spotify has changed a lot in that time and has generally diminished the relevance of its user-created playlists, but I have recently found steady, organic follower growth on many of my playlists using the same approaches I’ve used for years — the same ones described here.
It’s entirely possible to gain Spotify playlist followers without analytics and without social media.
I was able to gain over 30,000 followers on a playlist dedicated to an underground genre of music without doing a single promotion or social share for it.
That list, called Synthwave / Retro Electro, eventually reached 84,000 followers, and at its peak was gaining over 100 people per day and adding over 24,000 monthly listeners to the artist in the top spot. That happened almost entirely through organic reach within Spotify.
(That playlist ultimately met a grim fate, one I will describe in a future post on how to manage submissions and social interactions around your Spotify playlists.)
Even though I later promoted that playlist on socials, the followers I gained from those efforts were practically non-existent compared to the growth that was happening organically on Spotify on a daily basis.
So forget the miracle social media post that will pick up tens of thousands of new likes overnight. It’s entirely possible to gain Spotify playlist followers without analytics and without promoting on social media. Focus instead on these approaches, be patient, and your playlist will find its audience.
Listen to Your Playlist
This may sound odd, but it’s the absolute best way to get a new playlist off the ground. After dedicating thousands of hours to dozens of Spotify playlists, I can promise you this works.
Listen to your own playlist. Often.
Playlists with high engagement become more visible within Spotify than those with fewer active listeners. When you make a new playlist, that engagement is entirely up to you.
If you make a new list and never listen to it, it will sit at 0 followers for the rest of time. If you make a list and listen to it almost every day for several weeks, you’ll start to see your follower count climb upward.
This remains true over time as well. A playlist that is neglected by its owner is likely to see a decline in the rate of new followers. But get back in and start listening regularly and it’s like adding kindling to a low-burning fire.
It’s worth reiterating that my Synthwave / Retro Electro playlist reached 30,000 followers before I did a single social share or other promotion for it.
It had been gaining listeners slowly for some time, but the real spark came when I began using the playlist as the soundtrack to long gaming sessions. Once I started listening regularly, the slow trickle abruptly turned into a steady stream of new followers.
Listen to your own playlist. Often.
It’s also important to note here that if you build a great list, your follower growth will be exponential. It may not be glamorous, but like most things in life, patience and grinding it out are going to be more effective and rewarding to you than a miracle social media post.
In the early going you may only get two new followers per week, but stick with it and in time that number will grow to 20 people per week, then 50, etc.
Once you have a high number of engaged followers, your listeners will contribute to the playlist’s algorithmic growth. With hundreds or even thousands of people listening each day, Spotify will make your playlist increasingly visible to new people and the process of it going viral will be underway.
Spotify is pretty opaque about the best methods for gaining playlist followers on its platform, though the approaches I’ve described here are ones I’ve tested and used successfully for years, and they should be helpful for anyone looking to introduce their favorite songs to a broader audience.
Establish a unique focus for what you’re doing, be picky, and listen to your playlist often. Chances are your list won’t blow up overnight, but stick with it and you have a great shot at gaining thousands of Spotify playlist followers.