A guide for upcoming African musicians: Pitching Your Music for Playlists

Pitching Your Music for Playlists can feel daunting and difficult. This article with music distribution and music strategy company rain. Labs breaks down how easy it can be for African artists.

In today’s digital age, playlists have become a powerful avenue for boosting your music career and connecting with a broader audience. In this guide, we’ll delve into how you can effectively pitch your music to secure playlist spots and enhance your music’s visibility within Africa and beyond. Keep in mind that while playlists are a valuable tool for artist growth, they’re not the sole determinant of success; they are just one component within a musician’s expansive toolkit for building an audience and increasing popularity.

How do artists get on playlists?

Getting your music on playlists, whether they’re on Spotify, Apple Music, or other streaming platforms, requires a strategic approach. Here are some critical steps to consider:

  1. Create Outstanding Music:
    First and foremost, your music needs to be of high quality and unique. Ensure it’s professionally produced and represents your distinctive style.
  2. Identify Relevant Playlists:
    Research and find playlists that align with your music genre and style. Look for both official and user-generated playlists.
    For example as an Afrobeats artist, strategically targeting an Afrobeats playlist such as “Afrobeats 2023” curated by Ziyad Alrasbi can significantly amplify your music’s exposure and streaming numbers. This user-generated playlist boasts an impressive following of 400k listeners, making it a potent platform to promote your music. It also has a direct pitching link for interested musicians to pitch their music for the playlist (www.afrolister.com).
    Identifying official playlists featuring artists with sounds similar to your music and fanbase will also help you be more intentional when pitching.
  3. Connect with Playlist Curators:
    Establish a connection with playlist curators by reaching out to them through social media or email. Be polite and concise in your message, introducing yourself and your music. You can read more on how to send pitch-perfect emails here. At Harmattan Rain our curators receive pitches through our pitch sheet which you can find here.
  4. Submit Your Music:
    Some DSPs accept submissions from independent artists. Follow their submission guidelines carefully. Some may require a brief bio, press kit, high-quality audio files, and links to your music among other information. Spotify and Amazon Music, have made the process easier by having self-service pitching tools included on their website. You can go
    here, to see how you can pitch for Spotify’s editorial playlists, or here to pitch for Amazon Music’s editorial playlists. DSPs like Apple Music, Boomplay and AudioMack depend on their distribution, management or other partners to pitch music for their playlists. Working and aligning with a partner with good relationships with these DSPs can be to your benefit.
  5. Network in the Music Industry:
    Attend music industry events, collaborate with fellow musicians, producers, and bloggers, and build a network that can open doors to playlist opportunities.
    Networking doesn’t mean sucking up or connecting with people for the sake of using them or their network. It means connecting with like-minded individuals and providing a value exchange. Often we think of networking vertically when networking horizontally is just as powerful.
    Who are some of your fellow creators in your market who share similar goals and values as you do? Reach out to them. You’d be surprised what you can do together. Collaborate with Other Artists. Collaborations can introduce your music to new audiences and potentially lead to playlist placements.
  6. Keep Releasing New Music:
    Consistent releases can keep your audience engaged and increase your chances of getting playlisted.


How to get on Editorial Playlists

Editorial playlists are some of the most coveted playlists for any artist. Getting on Apple Music’s Africa Now playlist or Spotify’s African Heat playlist is at the top of the list for many musicians’ career goals. However, getting on popular playlists often requires building a track record and gradually working your way up.
Here are some tips:

  1. Start Small:
    Begin by pitching your music to smaller, niche playlists. As your recognition grows, you can target larger and more popular ones.
  2. Consistency:
    Keep releasing quality music consistently. Playlist curators prefer artists with a track record of regular releases.
  3. Engage with Your Audience:
    Build a dedicated fanbase and engage with them. Strong audience engagement can attract the attention of playlist curators.
  4. Monitor and Adjust:
    Keep track of your streaming numbers, playlist placements, and engagement metrics. Adjust your strategy based on what’s working.
  5. Maximise Playlist Benefits:
    Express gratitude for your music on an editorial playlist by sharing the news on social media, and encourage fans to listen to the playlist.

This video by Spotify details their approach to getting on big playlists like Today’s Top Hits. This can give you some clear ideas on how to strategize.

Working with Partners

All of these can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re an upcoming musician, that’s why working with distribution companies like rain. Labs can be refreshing.
Distributing through rain. Labs allow them to pitch your release to their contacts at DSPs, increasing your chances of landing on editorial playlists through their partnerships. The relationship with DSPs in Africa and around the world also allows rain. Labs to pitch for their various programs such as Spotify’s RADAR or EQUAL and Apple Music’s Up Next. If
you are interested in their distribution or playlisting services opportunity, visit their website for more information. 

In conclusion, pitching your music for playlists is a crucial step in promoting your music career as an upcoming African artist. By creating great music, networking, using self-service platforms, and tailoring your approach to the African market, you can increase your chances of playlist inclusion and ultimately reach a wider audience. Good luck, and keep making great music!