Reports Music

Playlist Strategies 2020

Report by Keith Jopling
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Playlists have become a core music consumption habit and, in turn, one of the most valuable marketing commodities in music. A prominent playlist placement remains a key objective of most new release strategies and is a higher priority than radio play for many artists. Nevertheless, the supply of new songs outstrips the number of premium slots, and most artists still struggle to get onto playlists. The streaming platforms continue to iterate playlist strategies and, at last, differentiate. But where are the game changers? How much more longevity do playlists have now that podcasts and smart speakers are gaining traction? 

In this report, we explore label strategies specifically. Should labels choose to invest in new strategies now, or focus on what’s next beyond playlists?

Key Insights

MIDiA’s ‘Playlist Revolution’ report recently highlighted that, although playlists are becoming valuable commercial music real estate in their current form, there is plenty of scope for further creative development of the format. We are far from ‘peak playlist’. 

  • Playlists have            music consumption, with            of playlist            stating they are listening to            less because of playlists
  • Spotify remains            key power in playlists, but            competitors’ playlist properties are starting            see similar levels of usage            their own subscriber bases
  • Apple, Amazon,            and Deezer all ramping up            brands and initiatives – thus,            growth runway for playlists remains            in the short-term
  • Music subscribers            are the most engaged playlist                       monthly average usage), although the            in listening to curated playlists            the past two years has            with a decline in self-compiled           
  • Personalisation may            incremental growth, but a more            and sharing approach to playlists            be ‘white space’ opportunity for            format
  • Social, shared            may increase the discovery element            has been reduced as playlists            become longer and more personalised
  • With smart            now commonplace, playlisting must innovate            maintain its current relevance alongside            ‘packaged’ content, such as podcasts            stations/radio
  • Out of            tracked by MIDiA, two in            are posting playlists to their            Artist Pick pages but a                       are not using the function
  • Labels should            artist playlists better and use            pages to engage through playlists            ‘off-cycle’ promotion periods
  • Labels could            more systematically with third-party playlist            and blogs, to both work            and directly influence on-platform curated            algorithmic playlists

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:            Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Chartmetric, Facebook,, Level, Ninja Tunes, Noon Pacific, PIAS, Play Later, Sirius XM/Pandora, SoundCloud,, Sony Music, Spotify, Stationhead, Universal Music, Vans, Warner Music, YouTube

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