If you feel passion for music, then learning how to make money from making Playlists on Spotify could be the next big step in your music career
Oh, the dear art world.
If there’s one thing that technology has brought that has really changed people’s lives is the possibility of living off your dreams fully.
Let’s go back to a couple of decades ago… Pursuing an artistic career was something that was a privilege accessible only to a lucky few. Making money out of music? The possibilities of truly living off that were one in a million.
But nowadays, people who truly feel a passion for art have the opportunity of monetizing their passion. Nowadays, it’s way easier to become a musician, to enter the music industry, you can even start your journey without a record label supporting you, many artists have skyrocketed their careers by self-producing their music!
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Still, that’s only one part of the huge potential the digital age, the internet, and streaming platforms offer for music lovers searching for their favorite song.
Let’s say you’re not a singer, but you truly feel a passion for music. You may have a vast knowledge about recording, producing, instruments, genre, how different styles work, etc… Did you know that with that knowledge you can basically make a living out of listening to music?
Well, to be fair, this is not a new job, making money out of crafting a playlist is something that has been a thing for decades. What’s different now is how many options there are for doing so, and making this job your main source of income!
Oh, the sweet power of technology! And the power of Spotify playlists!
So, let’s unpack this huge topic! Let’s learn how you can gain money from making Spotify playlists.
Can you make money for music playing on your Spotify playlists?
Short answer: of course!
Hey! It’s not that simple, there are certain things that you need to know before embarking on any independent ventures, such as Spotify playlist curating.
Basically, this whole thing consists of being a music curator, more specifically, a Spotify playlist curator.
So, what does a music curator do? Basically, music curators are people who work off listening to music (to a lot of music), categorizing it, and then spreading it to the world.
For example, a music curator in a radio station is the person who receives all of the new music, listens to it, organizes it in the station’s library, categorizes it, and finally, chooses which songs will be playing for a certain amount of time. Some playlists can be even more selective and thematic, for example, a playlist featuring only female vocals.
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There is a lot of knowledge that’s needed for this, mainly because they need to keep in mind the radio’s listener analytics, meaning that the music cannot be the few songs that the curator liked, the songs had to align with the client’s demographic.
So, let’s just say that Spotify playlists now function as the new radio.
Decades ago, the radio was people’s main source of new music. The songs that made it to the radio were the ones from leading artists, and the ones that the mainstream public was discovering, so something very similar happens with a Spotify playlist.
Now, let’s see what are the general curator skills:
1) Passion: it is a repetitive job, a tedious one, too. Liking music is one thing, but developing the patience, knowledge, and love a curator needs to spend the whole day listening to music, every single day, it’s all rooted in a strong passion for music. Nothing else.
2) Technical knowledge: Liking a song is one thing, but being able to recognize recording techniques, vocals, instruments, genres, beats, influences, etc… It is a matter of having a deep knowledge of the music industry and how a song is produced. Also, creating a compilation of music that aligns with a person’s mood, or the relaxed feel of the atmosphere; basically creating the playlist’s theme is a matter of knowing a lot about music in general.
3) Appreciation for all genres: Let’s say someone is well versed in just rock music… But with knowing nothing of the hip-hop genre or pop. Even worse, finding those genres to be disgusting! Well, bad news, it’s part of the job to be listening to all kinds of music, not just one. It’s almost impossible to focus on one specific genre only, mainly at the beginning, so you need to know and appreciate a vast amount of genres to start at this job.
4) Strong organizational skills: Curator roles don’t stop at listening to music and selecting which one goes out into the world. Another part is having a precisely organized library, with the songs divided into several categories so it’s fairly simple to find one at a given time. Organizational skills are a must for this job.
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So, how much do Spotify playlist makers make?
The idea of getting paid by doing something you love is quite tempting, isn’t it? Great, let’s talk numbers.
It is important to highlight that there isn’t a specific amount of money for this question to be answered, for many reasons.
First, Spotify playlist curators can work for very different amounts of money, depending on how they are working as curators. Yes, sounds kind of confusing, so let’s unpack that:
There are many ways in which someone can become a Spotify playlist curator, therefore, there are different amounts of money someone can make out of this job.
Spotify offers the opportunity of working directly for them; that is one of the options that offer more revenue, but it’s also the most difficult one to achieve.
Other streaming platforms like Apple Music and even big record labels have in-house curators, who work making successful and popular playlists. This job can also generate a lot of revenue and help you get paid.
Generally speaking, a professional playlist curator for a big company, call it a streaming service or a record label, can make anywhere from $24K to $40K a year.
As you may imagine, getting in contact with such big companies is quite difficult, and it’s already mentioned that technology has evolved into making things a bit easier, and that’s true.
Luckily, there are more ways in which playlist curators can make money out of making a playlist.
That’s by becoming a curator for platforms that offer song reviewing services to artists, contacting them to playlist curators, and paying for that service.
At SoundCampaign, playlist curators earn money on a level-based system. The lowest level gets $1 per song reviewed, while the highest level gets $14 per song reviewed. The level will depend on how many points the curator has gained, and the points are rewarded based on the number of followers they have on their Spotify playlist, as well as the added value these playlists provide to the artists. Having fans engaged in the playlists is one of the basic things that help you gain more points.
An in-depth description of how SoundCampaign works for independent playlists curators will be provided in the next few paragraphs.
Now it’s a great moment to discuss a very important matter:
Is it legal to pay to be on a Spotify playlist?
Before jumping into this market, let’s discuss some legal issues.
Spotify is very severe when it comes to its terms of service.
This said you need to know that getting paid for putting a song in a playlist is against the terms of service. You could end up losing your account and all of your hard work.
Usually, emerging artists and record labels jump into this practice. It’s called paid placement, also known as selling placements.
However, this is not only unfair, but it’s also unethical.
Because those songs don’t end up in those playlists because they’re good, or because they have a great production and talent behind them. They end up there because someone paid the playlist owners for it, and this inevitably ends up ruining the quality of the playlists.
Now, you may think this rule contradicts all that has been mentioned before, right?
Well, it’s not that simple. There is a huge difference between this practice and working as playlist curators.
Playlist curators, independent or not, don’t get paid solely for putting songs on playlists. They get paid for listening to new songs, reviewing them, and offering honest and professional feedback.
Whether or not the songs end up in the playlists is totally up to the playlist owners’ judgment, it’s not an obligation to put any song on their playlists.
It is crucial that you understand this difference to make a day job out of being a music curator. Especially if you want to make a decent monthly salary out of this.
How can I get a job making playlists for Spotify?
As mentioned before, there are many ways in which playlist owners can make a living out of their passion.
If this is something that has caught your attention, you should first know the basic requirements for becoming a playlist curator.
Every platform that connects artists with music curators has different requirements.
- You need at least one playlist with +400 organic followers: Highlight the organic part; to be considered as music curators, playlist owners should have at least one playlist with 400 followers or more. Any kind of non-organic growth will be detected by the platforms, particularly Spotify, by using algorithm metrics to figure out if the playlist owners are truly creating value on their playlist. Here you can read about how to grow your Spotify playlist followers.
- Playlists must have a bare minimum number of songs: Some platforms will require the playlist owners to have a certain amount of songs in their playlists. SoundCampaign asks for an exact figure, which is a minimum of 20 songs.
- The playlist must prove that they have an added value: In SoundCampaign’s case, the platform will check out if your playlists have helped emerging artists and songs to be discovered.
How to become a music curator at SoundCampaign:
SoundCampaign connects emerging artists to hundreds of curators that will listen to their new release, offer professional feedback, and finally offer the opportunity of having their music on their well-crafted playlists.
Moreover, SoundCampaign also offers the opportunity for music lovers to make money by becoming playlist curators on the platform. After meeting up the requirements, curators can start to work for the platform while helping out new artists find out what experts think about their music, and finally being able to make it into a popular Spotify playlist for the world to listen to their art.
Monetizing from your passion is easier than you might think. SoundCampaign has a unique reward system in which you will be able to go up in the levels as you listen and review the songs. Depending on your level, you can make anywhere from $1 up to $14 per song reviewed. Getting your hard-earned cash is as easy as requesting a bank transfer from the platform and you’ll receive your money in USD or local currency (if you’re based out of the US).
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Becoming an independent playlist curator:
Working independently is also possible and it’s the best strategy if you know what you’re doing, although it’s significantly harder than working for a music curation platform.
To start working as an independent curator, you need most of the requirements listed above; having popular playlists, having an organic following, and having a deep understanding of music, popular playlist tricks, and song applications.
Independent streaming curators can either start knocking doors and offering their services, always providing the exact metrics and analytics that prove their knowledge and their ability to create a perfect niche playlist, not some rough figures. Then emerging artists and record labels could actually consider starting working with them.
Another common option for independent curators is creating their own curating company. Creating their own company comes with all the difficulties of entrepreneurship, but it’s also great to make money with other clients doing what they love.
Taking the independent road is usually more difficult, because of what it takes to make you a name in a very crowded industry. Still, it’s always a good option for someone who feels like they have a broader knowledge and believe in their dreams.
Being able to get paid for doing an activity you love is perhaps most people’s dream. Being able to craft a Spotify playlist and being able to help out artists who also live out their dream is the perfect job for someone who truly feels and loves music. Whether you live a skater lifestyle or prefer a more employed route and to work in a more relaxed atmosphere, it can be a way to make money living the dream. Becoming a streaming curator, having music playing all day, and being able to discover new artists every day is easier than you think, all thanks to the digital era and how amazing it is for artists and music lovers.