Oktiv Spotify Playlist Pitching

My DIY Spotify Playlist Pitching Campaign

I last wrote about Spotify playlist pitching back in January, when I detailed my campaign with Playlist Blaster. I’m still getting thousands of streams per month from those placements!

As much as I’d love to hire them again, I’m not made of money. So I decided to pitch my single “Crystal” the old-fashioned way: reaching out to curators directly.

I haven’t had much luck with direct pitches in the past, but I was convinced things would be different this time. My songs tend to straddle genres, but this one is pretty much center of the bullseye. It even hit #1 on SubmitHub’s synthwave chart:

SubmitHub Popular Chart
it’s not Billboard, but I’ll take it

The hardest part of any playlist pitching campaign is figuring out how to contact the curators. Many don’t want to be reached, understandably!

A drop-dead simple way to find approachable curators in your genre is to search Spotify for your genre plus “gmail.com,” like so:

Spotify search results

Virtually all of the resulting playlists have an email address in the description.

Spotify contact info

You can also search for your genre plus “IG,” “Instagram,” “Twitter,” “Facebook,” etc.

That’s all fine and dandy, but it’s a ton of work. There’s no way to filter by number of followers, when the playlist was last updated, or any of the other data points that might factor into your decision.

Fortunately there are services that leverage Spotify’s API to surface just those sorts of details. The one I’ve seen pop up the most is PlaylistSupply, priced at $20 per month.

I confess I’ve never tried it. Instead I used a platform that takes the concept to the next level, using AI to surface the most appropriate playlists for your song.

It’s called OKTIV.IO, and it comes in at only $5 per month for an individual artist, with a 14-day free trial. That’s an affiliate link, so I may earn a small commission if you decide to stay on past the trial period.

Here I’ve searched for synthwave playlists with 1000 or more followers that include contact info:

Oktiv playlist pitching

There are only 23, which would make for one easy afternoon of pitching. I’m too much of a glutton for punishment for that though!

When I disable “known contacts only,” I get 983 playlists to pitch to.

I’m only scratching the surface of what you can do with search here. If you want to find playlists with 500 followers or more that have been updated in the past month, with less than 200 tracks and having a popularity score of less than 50, you can do that.

Where OKTIV.IO truly shines is the AI-powered My Mix.

As Arthur C. Clarke’s third law states, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That’s a fancy way of saying I don’t know how it works.

First, you enter keywords for each artist in your dashboard. I used the three genres I assigned to the song in SubmitHub.

Oktiv keywords

Give it a day to chew on data, and you’ll get a list of playlists to pitch to, sorted by appropriateness:

Oktiv AI-powered search results

I eliminated playlists with less than 500 followers, plus playlists that haven’t been updated in 2022. When the dust cleared, 177 playlists remained.

OKTIV.IO has a built-in Workflow feature to track your pitches, but I had grander schemes.

I exported the data as a CSV and added it to my old pitching spreadsheet. Then I added top-performing playlists from curators who added my tracks on their own, courtesy of Spotify for Artists.

Pitching to curators was precisely the monumental pain in the ass that I expected it to be. It took a dozen or so hours to work through the list, and then another couple of hours to follow up with non-responders.

The results were… decent!

Here’s a view of my completed spreadsheet from outer space:

My Spotify playlist pitching results
if you can read this, you’re too close!

And here’s what all the pretty colors mean:

Blue (16) – Added my track as a result of this campaign
Pink (4) – Had previously added my track
Salmon (8) – Had previously rejected my track (probably on SubmitHub)
Plum (3) – Asked for money
Orange (14) – Couldn’t find contact info
Yellow (38) – Didn’t respond
Grey (112) – Didn’t attempt

As you can see, the playlists that OKTIV.IO ranked higher were more appropriate than the ones at the bottom, which is a sea of grey.

I didn’t bother pitching to those for a variety of reasons, often related to the theme of the playlist: instrumental, female, Soviet, featuring saxophone, etc. I wouldn’t expect OKTIV.IO to catch those sorts of restrictions, but the last 20 or so were a bad fit based on genre alone.

The AI has been updated several times since I exported my results in mid-June. Scanning my My Mix today, I don’t see many obvious misses, even among the last 100 results.

Finding contact info wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be! Most of the top genre playlists are by other artists in the scene. If the username doesn’t give it away, it’s a safe bet that the curator is the artist in the top slot of the playlist.

Many of those artists were ones that I’d previously added to my playlist, so they may have felt inclined to return the favor. In that sense, I have a bit of an unfair advantage compared to an unknown artist pitching on the strength of their music alone.

I just checked Spotify for Artists, and the playlists that added me as a result of this campaign generated about 1800 streams in the past 28 days. Only 3 of the 16 produced more than 100 streams, and one of those already had some of my other tracks.

Was it worth it?

I’m convinced it was. The track may stay in some of these playlists for months or years. Now that the lines of communication are open, reaching out for future pitches is a cinch.

Still, there’s no way I’m going to do this every month. I’ll reserve these sorts of efforts for my most playlist-friendly tracks.

Let me know if you give OKTIV.IO a shot! I can’t stress how much it streamlined what could’ve been an overwhelming process.

How are you pitching your music to playlist curators? Share your thoughts, questions, and advice in the comments!

12 Comments

  1. Hi Brian,
    Another great article as always and your attention to detail and that spreadsheet is next level OCD.. in a good way! I used Oktiv after a previous article in which you mentioned them. I subscribed for 1-month and my experience was not quite as positive as many of the searches returned generic inappropriate playlists that had the loosest of connections to the search terms. It also missed a number of playlists that I’m already in that matched the search terms. I kept leaving it to chew over the data and would return again a few days later and it kept returning the same playlists. On further scrutiny many of the playlists were not-engaged or fake followers (there are ways to spot the more obvious one’s) with only a couple of playlists that were worth a pitch. Personally I have found the Chartmetric free plan more useful and their new $10/month for 3x artists plan would probably be an even better option as it gives you full access to all the data.
    Take Care,
    Neil (indeliblescars.carrd.co)

    1. Great to hear from you Neil!

      It’s interesting that you had such a different experience, considering we’re probably looking for the same playlists! I’m sure the search results have improved since you tried it.

      I believe your My Mix (used to be called Daily Mix) only updates when a new song comes out, unless you manually request it.

      I’m a fan of Chartmetric too. I haven’t had a paid account for awhile, but when I did, I didn’t find the suggested playlists feature to be particularly useful. If I remember correctly, there were no options or filters, and it didn’t provide many results. Maybe that’s changed though!

    2. Hi Neil,

      It’s Alex from OKTIV.IO here.

      Really sorry to hear your playlist results weren’t great at the time.

      The search page results are based on what Spotify returns for those keywords.

      As Brian mentioned, the algorithm behind ‘My Mix’ is constantly improving and we’re trying to make it as helpful as possible in narrowing down to the relevant playlists.

      If you have time, please drop me an email at [email protected] and let me know what genre you’re looking for and an example of a playlist that fits well. I’ll see how we can improve the results for you.

      I’ll also give you another month’s access for free once we’ve made some changes so you can check it out.

      All the best,

      Alex
      CEO, OKTIV.IO

      1. Hi Alex,
        Thanks for reaching out and I apologise for the lateness of my reply. As you suggest I will email you with more detail on my previous experience of your service and the search terms used. Thank you for the kind offer of one months free access which I will gladly accept as I’d like to test your service again after Brian’s recommendation with my new single which will be out later this month.

        Take Care,
        Neil (indeliblescars.carrd.co)

  2. Thanks for another great and insightful article! Will have to give this a go for an upcoming release.

    With the platform did you find it better to be quite specific on genre/overall vibes vs. an all encompassing genre?

    1. Thanks Jeffrey!

      I didn’t really experiment, but you might try some different options in search, and then set the most successful as keywords for your My Mix.

    2. Hi Jeffrey,

      It’s Alex from OKTIV.IO here.

      For your algorithmic mix, you can add up to 5 keywords. I would recommend making a couple of them generic, and the others more specific, to make sure you get a decent number of results.

      You can update your ‘related artists’ on the dashboard page, which helps us find playlists that are relevant to you by checking how many of those artists are featured in each playlist. You should get pretty good results even from generic search terms, as long as the artists you’re similar to are featured in some of those playlists.

      Hope your release goes well!

      Kind regards,

      Alex

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