Spot on Track is the most highly developed, publicly available tool to track playlisting history of any song on Spotify, regardless of whether it is your artist’s song or not. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Find your artists in the search functionality and click follow – On the dashboard, you now have a quick view of the artist’s recent playlist adds at any time. You can also sign-up to get daily, weekly, or monthly reports.
  2. Search a song from any artist – Spot on Track separates the data into two categories: playlists the song is “currently in” or previously in”.
  3. Measure the number of days the song was in a playlist – You can also see the current position a song is in a playlist or the peak position it was previously in.

With a basic knowledge of playlists, you can use Spot On Track to loosely extrapolate where plays come from to help identify target playlists for your artist – I say loosely because you can’t accurately measure outside marketing drivers or organic discovery beyond playlisting.

While to my knowledge, Spotify doesn’t allow for specific playlist suggestions for a track, it is still important to do this research to understand the playlisting landscape and possibilities. If you would like to see how Spot On Track works in action, keep reading.

How Spot on Track can deliver value: California Girls by NoMBe vs. Sonny Alven Case Study

It has been just over ~500 days since this track came out in September 2016. The song recently cleared 20MM streams, which gives it an average of 40,000 streams a day (that number is being calculated with a good ol’ calculator, not Spot on Track). Using Spotify for Artists back end (first graphic below), I can identify the periods the song was performing at certain numbers, and then can coordinate the graph back to the playlists the song was on during those periods via Spot On Track.

Image from Spotify for Artists

NOTE: When searching others’ songs on Spot On Track, you won’t be able to get the Spotify for Artists back-end data, which is information only available to artists and their teams. However, you can easily use a song’s total number of streams, which can be found on the artist’s public Spotify page, to make several of the same connections made below.

-The first big spike of 113,000 streams on release day came from its inclusion in New Music Friday.

-From there, the song was added to a few small playlists operated by Digster in Europe, and eventually found its way into Good Vibes, where it performed extremely well.

-As you can see from the Spot on Track chart below, it was in this playlist for 303 days and peaked at #5.

Image from Spot on Track

-The Spotify for Artists data below displays the song received 5.64MM streams from Good Vibes – In other words, it received 18,613 streams per day across the 303 days it was in the playlist.

-The top four playlists the song has been in account for 9.1MM streams to date. When the streams from additional smaller playlists are added to that number, playlists are responsible for almost exactly 50% of the the 20MM+ streams to date.

Image from Spotify for Artists

-Despite this song having become NoMBe’s most streamed song to date on Spotify, it self-admittedly had almost zero marketing (it was originally intended to only be a placeholder remix in between single releases). Therefore, we know firsthand playlisting has been a large driver of streams on this track, regardless of whether these were active or passive listeners.

-What’s most interesting is the way the song organically achieved an additional 10MM streams. Given the aforementioned absent marketing on the song, I believe this is a direct result of the song being originally discovered in these playlists by a group of users and then streamed and shared by those listeners later.

 Image Spot On Track

You can view the massive drop off in total playlist followers above when the song was removed from the Good Vibes playlist in September, but you can also see the organic growth continuing in the total number of playlists the song is currently in – the overwhelming majority of these playlists are user-generated.

One year after its release, the song is still generating ~20,000 streams a day. As can be seen below, in the last 28 days, 37% of these streams are still from Spotify playlisting – despite falling out of Good Vibes, the song has held steady in Workday Pop and Morning Commute. However, 47% of the current plays (or almost 10,000 streams a day) are being generated from users themselves – either streaming from their own playlist (38%) or discovering the song in others’ playlists (9%)!

Image from Spotify for Artists

While the song is now streamed more from user generated playlists, it still is being discovered (first time its heard) 75% of the time from the Spotify owned and operated playlists it is still included in.

Image from Spotify for Artists

Here are a few points worth mentioning –

1) While we have worked closely with Spotify on initiatives in the past, other than the initial pitch process we take with any new release, we didn’t communicate regularly with Spotify to build this song or pitch any of the aforementioned playlists.

Instead, Spotify used their intuition to determine the playlists the track should go into and the song’s corresponding performance data (skip rate, reactivity score, etc.) to determine how long it should stay there.

While the editors are constantly having to battle the rising quantity of releases submitted their way, this song’s success is a testament of their ability to rely on data to make decisions, which is in my opinion a very positive notion for our industry’s future.

2) Prior to NoMBe joining the TH3RD BRAIN family, the original California Girls song, went #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts organically. This case study of the Sonny Alven version is a relevant example of the importance of remix culture. For reference, in case you haven’t heard it, this alternative “vs” version is sped up a bit, but not that much different than the original.

Therefore, this song is further proof of an opportunity for an alternate version of a track already performing well to give new life to the song and accomplish great results with just a few simple arrangement or instrumentation changes. Could Dubset create a lot more of these stories?

3) If this song had a music video, radio push, heavy press blitz, etc. then the number of streams would be impacted by those activities, but since it didn’t and its organic activity is not as high on other streaming platforms as it is on Spotify, this is an interesting example of how Spotify’s owned-and-operated playlist ecosystem can fuel organic growth for songs on platform.

In fact, one could argue any success this song has had on other streaming services may be attributed to its original virality created by Spotify playlisting, but that would be too difficult to prove without more information. In reverse, this is similar to how an artist who receives the Next Up campaign with Apple or the Weekly One at Amazon may see streaming increases on Spotify too.

4) This song has performed better than all other NoMBe released songs on Spotify – many of which have had marketing behind them, ranging from light radio play, music videos, extensive blog support, syncs, and more. What does this mean?

a) Songs are capable of having success siloed within Spotify.

b) Other avenues of song discovery may not be as powerful on Spotify’s platform than its own playlists, unless these marketing drivers are in powerful tandem with each other (impacting at the same time) or the song is inherently viral. However, the value of additional avenues of exposure is still essential to artist development and an overall record’s record success. In fact, with all the noise, it may be more important than ever.

For example, I don’t believe NoMBe would have sold out his debut shows last year in LA and NYC (300 each respectively) without the immense support of SiriusXM’s Alt Nation and Chill, who have both added multiple songs from him into rotation over the last year.

c) The fact that Spotify opens up their API to enable third party tools like this to exist is a testament to their desire and commitment to a transparent industry.

In closing, the real value of Spot On Track, in addition to being able to track your own artists, is the ability to get access to information presented above for other artists too!

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