How to get 200,000+ followers on your Spotify artist playlist (with Simon Field)

Norwegian deep house producer Simon Field is back with the new single Shake The Tree on London’s Perfect Havoc label. But Simon is also much more than a talented music producer. He is the perfect example of a 2019s one-man DIY music machine as he also curates one of Spotify’s most popular indie playlists of his own.

Simon Field’s Ibiza 2019 playlist has a whopping 220,000 followers. It’s one of the few artist curated playlists with so many followets as it’s neither a Spotify editorial nor label owned one, The playlist generates Simon some 40,000 monthly Spotify plays for his own tracks among the total 96 songs on the playlist. We caught up with Simon to ask him a few questions about building a strong Spotify trademark playlist of your own.

Alex Esser, HMWL: Hello Simon! Congrats on a new amazing release! How are things in Oslo today?
Simon: Well, Oslo is frozen over after a few days of snow, we´re down to mins 10 to 12.. brr. Good time of year to be in the studio and create some Ibiza vibes.

Alex: Tell us about your Ibiza 2019 Spotify Playlist? When did you start it and what was the original reason to do it?
Simon:  Well, started it around 2015.. so its been up there for a while. This was on rise of Tropical House, and to be honest I hate that… its not at all house. So I collected all my favorites in the playlist and used to argue with friends what´s house.

Alex: Did you see the immediate growth of followers or did they come gradually once you hit a certain amount of plays / followers?
Simon:  Not at all. In fact I didn’t know I had followers before a few months later. This playlist was not made to “harvest” followers or be click bate but more a music passion thing. My online mixtape. An ID card for my artist kinda. Ones I realised that it was growing I started to look for opportunities to grow it further. Also I got more thorough on the curation.

Alex: What’s your take on the overall mood of a playlist one want to create? I’ve heard you compare it to a DJ set where you want to be very selective with songs and build up the mood gradually?
Simon:  To me its about taste and absolutely about build, highs and low. I would like the transition between tracks to be as smooth as possible not to scare the listener or keep the mood so he does not change playlists or go looking for something else.

Alex:  Did you manage to figure out how the Spotify search results work? is it the amount of Active Listeners compare to total followers on a playlist that determines which playlist appears at the top of the search when someone searched for “Ibiza”?
Simon:  Well, I´ve spoken to Spotify and they obviously will not tell what goes into the search rank. I think streams is the main ingredient ie NOT the follower-count. The only thing that follower count does is to impress others. So totally pointless.

Alex: Some indie editors would argue that one should never change the first 10 tracks of a playlist in order not to break the pattern and scare away some long time followers. How do you feel about that?
Simon:  Well, tbh there are as many curation strategies as there are playlists. My thing has been to always start with something know or catchy or something that is typical for the playlist. Just like a DJ set you give people something familiar or really catchy to pull the in and make them stay on.

Alex:  Finally three tips from Simon Field for any artist out there who wants to build a strong playlist of his own? (Finding name, weekly additions, discovery vs genre etc)

 

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Simon:

  1. Firstly, the playlist should be relevant for you as artist. For me it’s like creating that record shelf where you want your record to be in. That could of cour, of course,nre shelf, although all the major genres are pretty much taken. But if you are doing Psyco-trash-chill, you are in luck cause that’s not taken.
  2. Secondly Spotif,y is not a discovery platform. It does not convert to anything but streams. There are plenty of artists with 2-3M monthly listeners on the platform and at the same time only 500 Facebook followers. So my recommendation is go for mood. People will buy into a mood and there is already search volumes for all sorts of moods. Sad, happy, angry etc.
  3. Lastly, I would recommend updating your Playlist weekly. In fact. I would recommend listening to your playlist at least a couple of times a week. If you get tired of a track, just delete it. That will also give you an idea of kinda tracks you are missing (uptempo, downtempo etc) as well as give you a feel of when you would skip something.

Simon Field’s Shake The Tree is out now on Perfect Havoc. You get stream it here or on his Ibiza 2019 playlist ;)

About Alex Esser:

DJ, surfer and entrepreneur residing in Malmö, Sweden. HMWL label daddy. My music network is always open. Holler at alex@hmwl.org