How I got my first 1000 Spotify streams on a track

Artists, this article’s for you! 1000 Spotify streams is a milestone because Spotify tells us so. When you reach this milestone on a track, the service will start telling the world how many streams that track has had to-date. Before that, you only see “less than 1,000”.

I reached the milestone for the first time in my catalogue with the track “Lutin” by William Chernoff from the EP Quartet Reunion.

I’ve been wanting to reach it not because of the streams, but so I can tell you exactly how how I did it.

First, let’s summarize some quick history:

The reasons why none of my other tracks got 1000 Spotify streams

Quartet Reunion came out on February 5th, 2021. I’ve released music 13 other times before then, and none of them have had 1,000 Spotify streams yet.

Here are all of those releases and why none of them hit the milestone:

  • “Earthling Terminal” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Interdimensional Space Cat” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Reliable Friend” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Little Mylk” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Legend” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Sitting to Her Left” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Ulla” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Nomads” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • Aim to Stay — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • ATS Bonus Tape — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Niel Gow’s Lament” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “Canyon Moonrise” — I didn’t pitch it to any curators
  • “In Shadows (feat. Kria Wall)” — I pitched it to a couple curators and learned how that works, so I was ready to do it well on my next chance

You probably won’t need 13 tries like me to learn the lesson!

Oops, I forgot one release.

That would be “Lutin”, the first single I ever released, from back in August 2019—so it would be at the top of the list above.

That’s the same “Lutin” as the one that hit the milestone today.

Wait: I released the same track 18 months later, and only then did it climb toward the milestone? Yes, including “Lutin” on the EP this month meant it was ready for new pitching, despite it being old.

First, you need to find playlists

Ask your artist and music professional friends first; they might have their own hobby lists. Most of the playlists I pitched for this release came from threads in an online community forum!

I also went on curator/artist marketplace services Submithub and Humanhuman (note: Humanhuman is now defunct and offline). Submithub did nothing on this go around, but I don’t mind the service.

So far, this is the only method I’m using to find new playlists when not suggested by friends:

  1. Pick artists I like
  2. Check these artists’ profiles on desktop Spotify to see their top playlists
  3. Search online for a Facebook or Instagram account that matches the curator’s name, or maybe an email address

At first, I found hundreds of curators. But I took away the ones with no new adds in the past year, and that cut down tremendously on the total.

Victoria Cowan and I pitched “Lutin” to 22 playlists

We also pitched the other two tracks, “Aim to Stay (Discovery)” and “Earthling Terminal”, to about 15 playlists combined.

Why more for “Lutin?” Well, because it has an obvious style: 1970s, funky, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, fusion, retro, a bit trippy. The other two tunes don’t have as much of an obvious vibe.

Victoria did most of the pitching.

She got 1 great add, I got 1 great add

This is Victoria’s add, and this is mine. We got a couple other adds from smaller curators, but these two were the only ones that drove any amount of streaming.

These two playlists are delivering about 50 streams a day, when combined, for “Lutin”—hence the 1,000 streams this month.

Victoria got her add from the three-step method above. I got mine because I pitched my previous release, “In Shadows”, to the same curator on Humanhuman unsuccessfully. Here’s how that led to this add for “Lutin”:

  • The curator said he liked my music, but vocal jazz wasn’t really a fit for him
  • I saw that he had the Psychedelic Jazz playlist, and I knew I had “Lutin” as an obvious winner for it
  • I submitted to him again this time and got added: no-brainer

It’ll pay back

Our total expense on pitching “Lutin” was $30 for getting the consideration through Humanhuman. Note that we’re not paying for the playlist add directly—doing so would be against Spotify’s Terms of Service (section 9.13).

I value streams at about $2 per 1,000 as the sole rights-holder. It’s a bit of an underestimate, but it’s easy math and should be good for a few years as the rate drops.

Seems quite possible that, given the 1,000 streams this month, I’ll soon have 15,000+ new streams and earn back that $30.

It’s your turn to get 1000 Spotify streams

Maybe, like me, you’re only 2 playlists away from breaking through this milestone. And if you’re already doing this stuff, I would love to hear from you about it! We’re all working hard to reach people.

For everything I’ve learned about getting on Spotify editorial playlists, check out this article.