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Music Marketing: I pulled data from 300 user generated Spotify Playlists to find the best playlists to pitch to.

Examples of Spotify playlists on a black background.

When it comes to growing on Spotify, getting on popular playlists is a key strategy that every growing artist needs to know. I personally have gained a good number of monthly streams and followers by simply getting on a few playlists in my niche, as have many other artists I know.


While services like Submithub, Groover, PlaylistPush and more offer playlist pitching services, (which you can review my ranking of them in a previous blog post), there are a good number of playlists that aren’t on these services.


Instead, artists looking to grow on user created playlists will have to pitch their song directly through email, DM, or even filling out forms. However, that can take a lot of time and a lot of work.


Because of this, you don’t want to take the time to pitch to playlists only to have unrealistic expectations. And while services like is it a good playlist can offer some insight, often times you won’t get a complete picture and will only get estimates. You might not even get any information at all if the data they have on the playlist is not sufficient.


In this article I will attempt to answer the following


  • What is the minimum/lowest number of streams and listeners an average playlist should generate per month?

  • What is the minimum number of streams and listeners a top playlist should generate per month?

  • Do more followers on a playlist equal more streams on average per month?

  • What are some verified playlists that accept submissions I can easily pitch to?


What does the data gathering process look like?

Excel table showing Spotify playlist stats.

To solve this problem, I pulled data from over 300 playlists of varying sizes that were provided by a variety of artists in different genres. All data pulled is based off 28 days of streaming. Additionally, this data comes directly from their Spotify for Artists page, meaning these data points are not estimates but are in fact hard data points.


All playlist data is directly from user generated playlists, this does not include algorithmic playlists such as discover weekly or Spotify Radio. This will lead to more accurate answers vs estimates and will focus solely on playlists that are picked by users.


Finally, some playlist data contains multiple songs from the same artist, however this is rare. To maintain accuracy, these playlists were not averaged out per song and instead were counted as if they were one song as it is ideal for an artist to get multiple songs on top playlists if they can (and the difference when calculating this out was negligible).


This data also does not factor in the position of the song, but instead takes the numbers as is in order to get the best overall average of simply being placed on a playlist, not necessarily negotiating also being put in a top spot on the playlist.


How many listeners and streams should a Spotify playlist generate?

A Spotify playlist on a laptop in a dark room.

Of the 300 playlists, I went through and eliminated playlists that had some “questionable” metrics (one playlist for instance had 1 listener but generated over 100 plays a month). I did this to get the most accurate representation of real playlists and avoid possible bot playlists. Here are the numbers from those playlists.


Averages from all playlists


  • Total Playlists: 288

  • Total Average Listeners: 50

  • Total Average Streams: 87.5

  • Total Average followers: 5994

  • Total Average Songs: 303


Based off the above numbers, we can conclude a few things:


1) The overall follower to listener ratio for any sized playlist should be at least .8%

2) The overall streams to listener ratio for any sized playlist should be at least 1.5%


Using these metrics, whether you are pitching or growing your own playlists, you should be able to determine a minimum number of streams and listeners that a playlist will generate within 28 days based on their follower count. This means if you are hitting these ratios while growing your playlist, you are on the right track.


Example


  • You pitch to a playlist that has 1000 followers.

  • Using the numbers above, you should expect to receive a minimum of 8 monthly listeners and 15 streams from this playlist.


Those numbers might be surprising (and small), which is why it’s so important as an artist to do your research and realistically manage your expectations when it comes to playlists.


Additionally, this may give the idea that you need a large number of followers on a playlist to generate noteworthy streams.


However, you will see that, while more followers does tend to lead to more streams and listeners, there is a cutoff point where an increase in followers has a diminishing return.


What does a Spotify Playlist that generates decent streams look like?

Person listening to a Spotify playlist on their phone wearing headphones.

While the overall averages above gives somewhat of a picture, this total data alone isn’t enough to give us an answer of what an ideal playlist to pitch to would look like. Instead, we need to dive into playlists that provide enough streams to warrant pitching to.


To find this out, I looked at playlists that generated at least 100 unique listeners a month. I used unique listeners vs streams as listeners as having more listeners is more likely to lead to building a fan base vs having more streams but fewer listeners. Of my data set I was able to pull 35 playlists that matched this criteria.


Additionally, the 35 playlists that generated at least 100 unique listeners a month varied in size. The smallest being 335 followers and the largest being 142179 followers.


Here is what that data looks like:


All Spotify playlists with over 100 listeners a month


  • Total Playlists: 35

  • Average Monthly Listeners: 304

  • Average Total Streams: 526

  • Average Playlist Follow Count: 20134

  • Average number of songs: 183


Taking the top playlists for each artist (For artists that had multiple playlists that had at least 100 listeners a month the top 5 were taken, for artists that had under 5 all were taken) came out to 15 playlists.


Of these playlists here are the stats:


Top 15 playlists with at least 100 listeners among the contributing artists


  • Total Playlists: 15

  • Average Monthly Listeners: 434

  • Average Total Streams: 771

  • Average Playlist Follow Count: 27854

  • Average number of songs: 170


What do these Spotify Playlist numbers mean?


Based off these numbers above, an “ideal top playlist” that generates a decent number of listeners is going to have at least 20k followers, have under 200 songs, and should generate anywhere from 500 to 800 streams per month.


When looking at playlists to pitch to, playlists that fit this criteria should be your top priority for pitching. Additionally, if you are currently building a playlist and you meet these numbers congratulations, you are meeting the threshold for a top playlist!


Do more Spotify Playlist followers equal more listeners and streams?

Social media icons in light red on a wood background.

Looking at this data, this might lead to the conclusion that “more followers = more streams.” However, as mentioned earlier, that’s not always the case and the answer is more complicated than that.


For instance, in the case of the top 15 playlists, the difference in follower count of the largest playlist and smallest playlist is astronomical. The largest being 142179 followers and the smallest being 335 followers. With our averages, you would expect the playlist with nearly 150k followers to be extremely high in both listeners and streams.


However, while the smaller playlist generated an impressive 344 listeners a month and 562 streams per month, the largest playlist generated similar numbers of 479 listeners a month and 583 streams per month.  


Why is this? Looking at the numbers, the main difference between the two playlists other than followers came down to the number of songs. While the larger playlist has 410 songs, the smaller playlist has only 27.


Here are what those numbers look like.


  • The smaller playlist generated a song count to listener ratio of 12.7 and a song to stream ratio of 20.8.

  • The larger playlist generated a song count to listener ratio of 1.2 and a song to stream ratio of 1.4.


Looking at these ratios, this means that you are nearly 13 times more likely to get a significant number of streams on a smaller playlist with fewer songs than being on a larger playlist with a significantly larger number of songs. 


In fact, the playlist with the largest number of monthly streams had 11,000 followers with 157 songs and generated 2408 streams per month. While this number is impressive, the largest number of streams coming from one of the smaller playlists instead of the largest one was unexpected.


This would indicate that the impact of followers on a Spotify playlist is diminished significantly as the number of songs on a playlist increases. This aligns with other data showing that 50-200 songs is ideal for a Spotify Playlist. This also aligns with my own data found in this article. So while the number of followers can be a good indicator of streams, you also need to factor in the total number of songs on a playlist as well.


It should be noted, that being toward the top of the playlist has been shown to generate more streams. However, this data set looks at average as a whole and when pitching to playlists it is much easier to pitch simply being added to the playlist as apposed to also asking to be put in a certain spot on the playlist.


However, I would still recommend looking at follower count and as long as this is growing it could indicate the smaller playlist is a good playlist to pitch to.


So while you should still be focusing on getting on playlists that have a larger follower count, a playlist with a lower follower count but also a lower number of songs could still be a good playlist to pitch to.


This is especially true if the playlist has been growing in followers while the number of songs stays consistent.


What key points can we take away from this study?

Based off the information and data calculated through this study, here are the key points to take away when it comes to Spotify playlists:


Key metrics regarding Spotify playlists


  • An “ideal top playlist” that generates a decent number of listeners is going to have at least 20k followers, have under 200 songs, and should generate anywhere from 500 to 800 streams per month.

  • Playlists with more followers tend to generate more listeners but there are diminishing returns based on number of songs and other factors.

  • The amount of monthly listeners decreases significantly as the number of songs on a playlist goes up.

  • Playlists with fewer followers but also fewer number of songs can generate as many streams and listeners as larger playlists with a large number of songs as long as the follower count of those playlists is consistently rising.


How can I find playlists to pitch to and what are examples of good Spotify user generated playlists?


If you are looking for ways to find and pitch to playlists don’t worry, I have already written an article with a good number of techniques for doing so. You can read that here:



Looking at the data, here are a few examples of awesome playlists to pitch to that get real listeners and decent traffic:


Verified top ideal Spotify playlists that easily accept submissions



This article could not be possible without help from the following artists:


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