Spotify playlists and the follower flaw

There’s a downside to me trying to push indie music on Spotify. It’s not the fact I spend time trying to find tunes through radio streams and online sites curate the playlists accordingly, it’s not when people approach me with music – sometimes fitting, sometimes not – to consider for the lists. It’s the common habit with Spotify that people might follow a playlist, it doesn’t mean the people actually listen.

I want to help promote music. Really, I do. It’s part of why I’ve had involvement with the Pretty Voices rock band (getting them on indie radio and helping on social media), it’s part of why I’ve put together the Underexposed Soft Rock and Easy Listening playlist, or the other ones for that matter. It’s all there for people to give a listen to the music. Maybe they like it, maybe they don’t… But it does mean they at least gave it a try for their opinion to judge.

What I’ve got instead is a nice count of followers on the Underexposed list and a lack of listens on this playlist that’s constantly updated. What I’ve gotten is 4 follows on the Softer Side of Indie 2019’s (short) playlist, and there’s yet to be someone who gives the playlist a listen. There has yet to even be a follower of The Lighter Side of Tampa Bay playlist (and that’s open for more songs), so that’s a complete lack of exposure and a lackluster promotion of the playlist. Rah. Insert the appropriate disappointment emoji here.

There are those at the very top of Spotify’s playlist system (including Spotify itself) who get a shitload of followers and listeners – it’s like they’re deejays, just on a non-radio platform – and that’s really reputation and marketing helping them out. I’ve got neither, though there is a positive of being respected by some of the artists who I’ve got on the playlists and who I interact with on different social platforms. It gives me more reason to want to help promote. It gives me greater disappointment that I’m not luring listeners, fans, and helping gain them success.

Then again, it’s not my job to do promotion for a musical artist. Oh, I’m available for work (hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge) but I’m not the one who is supposed to go all-in trying to get any particular artist into the public ear. I’d like to, though it’s also a challenge as the music industry is huge and, again, my reputation within it (be it promotional or as a lyricist) is nil. Hell, Johnny Fonts has no fans – the listeners who like what I’ve put together – for all I know. I’ve got fans in writing, but they’re from my days as a hockey blogger, not a musical-exposure/promotional person (or poet-turned-song-lyric-writer).

The self-doubter in me sees the huge load of playlists out there covering the multitude of genres and so many niche subject matters, it’s easy to just throw up the hands and say “waste of time, what’s the use?” It’s when I go to some of these artists pages and see songs I have on the Underexposed playlist leading the “Popular” list (though the song likely has less than 1,000 total listens on Spotify), it reminds me that the playlist does have an influence. There’s a reason to keep trying and keep hoping.

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