5 Reasons Why Your Music Isn’t Getting Playlisted

5 Reasons Why Your Music Isn’t Getting Playlisted

Having trouble getting your music playlisted? This is an issue many independent artists face, but it can be particularly frustrating not knowing exactly why your efforts aren’t paying off. That being said, some of the biggest reasons why you aren’t getting playlisted are easily fixable! From not providing enough marketing drivers to not enough lead time, here are 5 things that may be holding you back…

5 Reasons Why Your Music Isn’t Getting Playlisted

Not Submitting Early Enough

Submitting your music for playlist consideration requires time for the curators to review and potentially add your songs. To ensure you’re giving them ample lead time, we recommend submitting around 4 to 6 weeks before the release date.

This allows playlist editors to evaluate your music properly and consider it for inclusion in their playlists. Rushing submissions at the last minute may result in your music being pushed to the side and not given adequate consideration.

Marketing Drivers

The underlying forces that compel you to buy or pay for certain products and services are called marketing drivers. As an artist, these are the key details you want to be shared with DSP’s like Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, YouTube, Soundcloud, Pandora, etc. to help you stand out. When it comes to playlisting, your marketing drivers can help playlist curators better understand your music and its potential appeal to their audience. Not providing enough information here may actually hinder the chances of your song being chosen.

It’s also important to be as honest as possible when providing marketing drivers. Ensure that if you say you have a consistent and active social media plan, you better actually be posting on socials when they check. If you claim your music fits a certain genre, be sure it truly does. The more accurate info you provide, the easier it is for your song to be placed on the best playlist for it.

Your Music Doesn’t Fit The Playlist

If you’re targeting third-party playlists, the best thing you can do is listen to the playlist first, and only pitch songs (if any) that truly fit the vibe. All too often, artists will send a link to their Spotify profile expecting the curator to sit there and go through all their songs to find something to feature. With hundreds, sometimes thousands, of submissions a day, they don’t have time for that. It’s up to you to offer something that’s worth featuring. At the end of the day, they’re doing YOU a favor.

With editorial playlists, all you can do is make sure you’re providing accurate marketing drivers that properly set the vibe of the track so it can be pitched accordingly by our team. The more detailed information you provide, the easier it is for our team to match it with the appropriate playlists.

You’re Not Promoting Your Music Online

It truly surprises me how many artists in this day and age still refuse to improve their online presence. I understand the artistic yearning to be mysterious… but effective promotion is VITAL for driving audience engagement with your music on DSPs. It’s just a part of the game, and ignoring this crucial fact can break your chances of success in so many ways, even aside from just playlisting.

This means actively promoting your music across various channels like Instagram, Twitter, FacebookTikTokYouTube, press releases, targeted ad campaigns, and whatever else you can manage. As long as you are engaging with your audience, creating compelling content, and leveraging different promotional strategies, you can significantly increase the visibility of your music. Showing that you are actively working to drive traffic to DSPs, (like Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) greatly increases your likelihood of playlist placements.

You Don’t Have a Consistent Release Plan

Keep in mind… a playlist is not a marketing plan. Consistently releasing music and having a well-defined release plan are two key factors in building momentum as an artist and in turn, attracting playlist curators to your music.

Staying active on socials, having a great website, offering merch on your website and updating it often, interacting with your fans online and in person, posting music videos to go along with your releases, etc., all of this helps to grow your fanbase and spread your music as far as it can go.

Marketing yourself as an artist is just as important as creating the music itself, and many factors go into fostering a strong presence in this insane industry. There are thousands of other artists looking to make it out here, which means you need to go above and beyond to stand out in any way you can.

Advertising Your Latest Release Online

Advertising Your Latest Release Online

So you’ve finished creating your next big release, but maybe you’re not entirely sure how you want to spread the word… We’ve compiled a few suggestions to get those creative juices flowing in order to make your next release a great success.

How to Advertise Your Latest Release Online

Know Your Audience and Where They Are

You may think you know your fans more than anyone, but there are some great free tools available to you that may enlighten you a bit on some key locations and targeting options you might have overlooked. Facebook and Instagram insights are two of these valuable tools that can help you reign in on your most-active audience demographics, from age to location to time of engagement and more.

Another valuable tool is Spotify similar artists, located on your artist profile. These similar artists are suggested based on what fans of your music are also listening to on the platform. Utilize this data to help you grow your audience from similar artists. Lastly, focus the majority of your budget on your most-active audience, you’ll find that loyal fans will do a lot of advertising for you when provided the right information, the share button is only a click away.

Be Creative

Many advertising platforms require more than just your latest video or song in order to create an advertisement, it’s best to be creative when creating these assets. Think like your fans, how would they like to be told about your latest release or shown your latest video? Society has shifted to an instant gratification biome where you need to grab their attention in as little as 3 seconds before you’ve lost it. Always make sure you’re putting your strongest asset forward to get the best results from your investment.

Creativity doesn’t end with the assets, you can also be creative with the type of ads you use to present your message. An example is utilizing Facebook’s event response ads to create an ‘event’ for your new release date where you can drive traffic to this event page and provide them with information about your release, set up a watch/listening party, or even perform a Q&A.

Don’t Get Too Big for Your Britches

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Many artists tend to think they need to cover all the advertising platforms and make sure their message is absolutely everywhere, regardless of having only a few hundred bucks to make that possible. Find your top 3 (socials & dsps) and streamline your focus there. You want to make sure you’re advertising in the locations where the bulk of your fans are, not everywhere and anywhere your fans might be (unless you have the budget to do so). If you’re rolling in cash, however, unleash the beast!

Watch it Like a Hawk

Advertising isn’t like the Ronco Rotisserie, you can’t just set it and forget it. You want to make sure once your ads go live, you keep an eye on the spending, adjust your ad scheduling, add/remove targeting from your audience, etc. – all to help improve your results. The last thing you want to do is spend your full budget only to realize after the fact that it was a wasted effort because you didn’t effectively optimize your ads accordingly throughout the life of the campaign.

Build Upon Your Foundation

Once you’ve got a few campaigns under your belt, don’t let that data go to waste. Utilize the converting users in new audiences for future ads, create re-marketing lists from engagements and share new information in past event pages.

We know this all can be overwhelming, but once you get a hang of it, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing this sooner. Remember, we have a dedicated team here at Streaming Promotions to help you out if you ever hit a wall or feel you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

Good luck!

How to Know if Signing a Recording Contract Is Right For You

How to Know if Signing a Recording Contract Is Right For You

This information is brought to you by Debbie Egel, an attorney whose practice includes writing and reviewing music contracts, running an independent label for over 10 years; and developing indie artists. She is knowledgeable of the economics of music, the DIY process, and has written an instruction manual for Indie artists, labels and managers called “For The Record” and teaches an on-line course. Debbie has a deep appreciation of the business of music as well as her legal knowledge as a practicing attorney. We are sharing it with you here to give you a sense of some of the decisions and complexities involved in these questions. Streaming Promotions does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult with your personal legal and tax professionals regarding your specific situation before making any decisions.

When it comes to major record deals, there are a lot of things to consider. That’s why it’s important to always get a second, or even third, set of eyes on anything that requires a signature and involves your finances. Here’s what to look for before you dive in…

How to Know if Signing a Recording Contract Is Right For You

You LOVE music, and you have been working hard, creating and recording music. You’re also keeping up a social media presence, getting gigs, taking photos and posting, getting your look right, releasing and marketing music and the list goes on and on. Now you figure it must be working because someone has reached out and is speaking to you about signing a record deal.

While many artists view a record deal as the solution to their problems, look before you leap.

Record labels can be great opportunities to get your music in front of an audience and help you build fans. Labels can provide support in terms of production, marketing, legal knowledge and access to experienced industry vets. It takes a village and no one can do this alone. However, you should be careful, thoughtful, and selective before you sign on the dotted line.

The contract will be defined as binding you for a period of years or a number of singles or albums that have to be delivered to fulfill the agreement. The contract is like signing a marriage license. It is basically a relationship, and it is important to date before you get married. So how do you know if a record deal is the right move for you? First and foremost…

Do Your Homework

Artists should be paying attention to these items:

  • What is the label’s track record with your genre?
  • Do they have a website?
  • Do they have artists that have been signed fared well?
  • Is there already an act signed that sounds similar to you?
  • What can this label do for you that you can’t currently do on your own?
  • Have they listened to your music? What do they have to say about it?
  • Have you spoken to them and what is their plan for you moving forward?
  • What type of assets can they provide such as production, marketing, finances etc.?
  • How long does the contract bind you?
  • Has the company asked you about split sheets, production agreements for your current music.
  • Philosophically, do both parties to the agreement have the same vision for the music?

If the relationship is a failure, it can often mean the ruin of an artistic career. So be careful!

What do labels look for?

Truth be told, artists working independently can only get so far before needing a bigger team. Labels can be that team, helping you increase your reach and overall success. However, this costs money.

Like any successful business, if you need a large injection of money in order to get to the next level, you must be able to recover that investment. With record sales declining and streaming income at an all time low, record companies need better ways to secure their investment. For example, like a 360° contract, which is used to potentially make a profit from their investment.

How have you built your fanbase? Are they buying your projects? Look at it like this: if you’ve been pumping out nothing but free albums, do you really anticipate them buying your major label debut if you haven’t put any value on your music beforehand?

What else do they consider?

Labels also typically consider physical attendance at your shows and whether you can sell units or derive money from streaming. They also look at your other income streams, like merch and touring.

Remember, both sides have to benefit or else the relationship is not going to be successful.

What you should know at the table…

Contract terms depend on the bargaining power of the artist. A new artist with no real history of earnings will not get the same terms as an artist with a proven record of strong earnings.

These terms can include:

  • Royalty rates
  • The number of songs to be delivered
  • What costs the record company will pay for
  • The amount of money the record company will spend on social media campaigns
  • What type of music production support they can provide
  • Whether the record company will also participate in the money earned from music publishing, merchandising and live performances.

If you have confidently answered these questions and are willing to give up a percentage of your earnings, it’s time to contact an attorney to review the deal.

From a legal standpoint, a contract that is well written and contains clear and unambiguous deal terms is off to a good start. Just make sure to use an entertainment attorney that understands these terms and can fight for you during contract negotiations.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Think twice about using an attorney the label directs you to!

In Conclusion…

It is important to point out again that team work makes the dream work. The progression in an artist’s professional career is to attract a label that provides all the necessary elements to get you to the next level. Having said all this, focus on making the best music you can and building your fan base. It all begins and ends with GREAT music. If you’re making waves, labels will come to you, and that’s a much better position to be in anyway.

What is Micro-Sync Licensing?

What is Micro-Sync Licensing?

We’ve talked about sync licensing and royalties many times on this blog. One thing we haven’t talked about is micro-sync. In this post, we’ll dive into what it is and why it’s important. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Micro-Sync Licensing?

Let’s break it down…

Sync licensing refers to the synchronization of a song with any form of visual media. Any time your song is featured in a TV show, movie, commercial, etc., that’s called a “sync placement”. That being said, sync and micro-sync are essentially the same thing, but with one major difference.


Sync vs. Micro-Sync Licensing

Just as an artist would be paid licensing fees and royalties for a placement in a TV show or film, they would also be owed “micro-sync” fees and royalties for smaller features.

Some examples of the types of common micro sync licensing placements include:

  • User generated content, i.e. YouTube
  • Social media posts
  • Internal company videos
  • Video presentations at events and conferences
  • Professional wedding videos
  • Podcasts
  • Video Fitness Classes
  • Twitch Livestreams
  • Apps
  • Mobile Games

Typically, sync licenses are negotiated between the production and content owners for thousands of dollars per license. However, this process can be very time consuming and requires a lot of paperwork.

On the other hand, micro sync licensing is on a much smaller scale, so the business model is quite different. Content owners looking to get into micro sync need to operate in a marketplace that facilitates quick and easy licensing so they can achieve a high volume of small placements. This adds up!

How does this benefit you?

It would be nearly impossible for you to find thousands of people who are willing to pay you a few bucks each to use your music in their video project. However, the demand is out there. If you play your cards right, you could have steady income coming in from all over the world.

  • The best way to achieve this is to work with a platform like MusicbedSongtradr, or Artlist. These prominent platforms aggregate music, attract content creators, and make the licensing process a much simpler, streamlined experience.

In Conclusion…

Micro-sync opens up a lot of opportunities for small content creators to harness the music of real artists. With micro-sync platforms, artists have a whole new way to spread the love and collaborate with ease.

Good luck!

Grants For Independent Musicians

Grants For Independent Musicians

If you’re a talented independent artist looking for grants for musicians to help you out in your musical journey, look no further. These are some of our favorite grants for musicians in need of some support…

Grants For Independent Musicians

Salt Lick Incubator

The Salt Lick Incubator is a nonprofit organization that supports emerging musicians on their path to sustainable careers. Their project grants range from $5,000 to $15,000 and are awarded to musicians performing in songful, contemporary genres to use for projects such as producing a song or album, producing a music video, developing social media assets, pressing vinyl, touring, or developing branding and marketing assets and strategies. — All grants are also accompanied by a plan developed with each recipient to ensure the artist’s activities are both strategic and successful.

“A successful applicant is an emerging artist pursuing a career in song-driven music who performs at a high level, has a distinct artistic voice and vision, and who has submitted a feasible project proposal that aligns with Salt Lick Incubator’s vision, mission, and strengths. A willingness to engage and collaborate with a broader musical community is encouraged.”

  • Applications open February 26, 2024 and close* April 16, 2024. Awards announced on or before May 30, 2024.
  • Applications open June 1 and close* July 25, 2024. Awards announced in September, 2024.
  • Applications open October 1 and close* November 25, 2024. Awards announced in February, 2025.

National Endowment for the Arts

“Through our work, the NEA aims to strengthen the non-profit music ecosystem by supporting projects that have potential regional, national, or field-wide significance, and that nurture the interdependent relationships between and among stakeholders. Organizations of all types and sizes may apply for presentation, professional development, engagement, music and health, and service projects.”

Applicants may request cost share/matching grants for musicians ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. However, applications must be for projects only. Some of the types of projects they support include:

  • Public presentations of musical works
  • Commissions and/or co-commissions
  • Development and performances of new musical compositions and innovative works
  • Performances and educational engagements by NEA Jazz Masters that honor their work, history, style, and/or significance to jazz; and broaden public awareness of the art form
  • Domestic touring (NEA Music grants cannot support international tours)
  • Festivals and other events (may include performances, lecture-demonstrations, audience talkbacks, master classes, and workshops)

That’s not all, though. You can check out the full list of requirements and guidelines here before you apply. (Deadline to apply online: February 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time.)

Dolly Parton Songwriters Award

The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award is an annual, nationwide competition open to aspiring songwriters. The awards can be used as a career grant for study, instrument purchase, recording costs, or other professional expenses and are not restricted to tuition costs. Founding endowments include a lead gift from Sony Music Publishing’s Rusty Gaston as well as a contribution from country superstar Luke Combs.

The revised program offers $20,000 for up to two of the best original song entries in any of the following genres: Americana, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country, folk, or roots. Judges for previous competitions have included GRAMMY-winning artist Kacey Musgraves, hit songwriter Rodney Clawson, and Nashville music industry veteran Mark Brown.

To apply, you must meet these requirements: 

  • must be between the ages of 17 and 24 as of February 15, 2024.
  • must be in residence in the United States or its territories.
  • may only submit one application per BMI Foundation awards program.
  • may not submit the same musical work to more than one BMI Foundation awards program.
  • may only submit works that have not been assigned to any major music publisher or major record label.
  • may only apply if they have not previously won the Dolly Parton Songwriters Award or Nashville Songwriting Scholarship. (Honorable mention may apply again.)

The ASCAP Foundation Scholarships

ASCAP Foundation Scholarship programs seek to ensure that opportunities for the study of music are available to students at all levels. With a long list of options to choose from, there’s a diverse lineup of opportunities for musicians of all backgrounds looking for support. Some scholarships on this list include: Asian American Pacific Islander ScholarshipBetty Rose Scholarship, HBCU Scholarship and many more. There is a long list of options for high school, college or university students looking for support.

  • Check out the full list right here.

John Lennon Award

The John Lennon Award is an annual competition open to student songwriters and composers of contemporary musical genres including alternative, pop, rock, indie, electronica, R&B, and experimental. Over the past twenty years, more than $400,000 in scholarships has been awarded to talented young musicians throughout the United States, making this award one of the nation’s most esteemed accolades for emerging songwriters.

Through the generosity of Yoko Ono and Gibson Musical Instruments, three scholarships totaling $20,000 are presented annually for the best original songs submitted to the competition. Works are judged by a prestigious panel of music publishers, songwriters, musicians, and executives. BMI’s Vice President, Creative, New York Samantha Cox, and Tim Pattison, Director, Creative, New York, oversee the competition.

(Note: The same eligibility requirements apply as the Dolly Parton Songwriters Award)

peermusic Latin Music Award

The peermusic Latin Award is an annual competition open to student songwriters and composers of Latin music. One of the few distinctions of its kind, the award was established in 2003 through the generosity and vision of peermusic CEO, Ralph Peer II. For two decades, the program has nurtured promising musicians who have gone on to distinguish themselves in the fields of television, film, recorded music, and concert performance. A $5,000 scholarship is presented annually for the best original song or instrumental composition in any Latin genre.

(Note: The same eligibility requirements apply as the Dolly Parton Songwriters Award & John Lennon Award.)

New Music Creator Fund

The New Music Creator Fund offers grants to individual music creators working in any genre who need support to get to the next stage of their creative practice. The program supports costs that relate to collaboration with other artists and practitioners. Their aim is to enable music creators to take the lead in the development of new and existing ideas and projects. In addition, they support and represent a broad range of individuals across the country and musical spectrum. Not to mention, they give out a total of 50 to 60 awards of up to $5,000 each (with the average grant being $3,000).

With this fund, artists can use the money for things like: 

  • Support for the time you need to create new material and initiate new collaborations with your proposed artist(s)
  • Creation fees for a work in progress that does not have additional support
  • Performer or other collaborator fees
  • Project specific equipment
  • Recording costs
  • PR/marketing
  • Technical assistance/skills building
  • Support for digital presentation/creation of music videos
  • Workshopping
  • Joint R&D (research and development) into new project ideas
  • Other costs you consider to be essential e.g. childcare for yourself or a collaborating artist

Interested? The deadline for this years application has passed, but make sure to save this for next year! In the meantime, learn everything you need to know right here.

To wrap it all up…

Being an independent musician comes with a lot of ups and downs, mentally and financially. There are foundations out there that have committed to providing resources for artists who need a little help to get to the next stage of their career. Although some of these grants for musicians aren’t currently open for applications, save them for next year! You never know what could come if you don’t even try.

Good luck!