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Spotify Playlist Submission Guide

Thank you for your interest in the Playlist Series! Please follow these guidelines for submission success:

No Submissions via Email or DMs

Please send submissions via SubmitHub or Groover for their streamlined processes.

Due to an overwhelming number of requests, I’m afraid I can’t accept songs by email or social channels. (I’m barely keeping up as it is.) Sorry folks!

Consider Fit Before Submitting

Songs are mostly considered for their TECHNICAL MERIT -and- AESTHETIC FIT. Very often, I’ll love a song, but won’t have a channel for it — and it’s heartbreaking.

PLEASE review the playlist you’re submitting to and verify that your work is a match. Traits I look for include (but are not exclusive to):

  • Arrangement
  • Energy levels and flow
  • Flourishes (e.g. noise crackle, nature sounds, etc.)
  • Genre
  • Instrumentation
  • Lyrical style
  • Mixing style and quality
  • Mood
  • Rhythm pacing and density
  • Sound design
  • Subject matter
  • Tempo
  • Tone and timbre
  • Vocal tone and processing.

I consider songs holistically, so even if one element is off, it may make the track a hard fit.

While I can’t offer exact numbers, the vast majority of declines are due to aesthetic mismatches.

My Background and Tastes

I’m an artist and music producer too, so know that I’m rooting for you! That said, because of my work, my requirements are often more stringent — especially on the technical and aesthetic sides. I care a lot about the user experience, so consistency is crucial and I don’t often make exceptions.

I really appreciate thoughtful creative choices, but playlist consistency takes top spot in my consideration.

While I want to help all artists, I especially want to lift up minorities and my fellow Canadians. If you belong to either groups, please let me know in your send!

I’m very fond of non-English music! French, Spanish, and Korean are my favourites, but I’m open to other languages as well.

Lyrically, I prefer abstractions and clever analogies over plain statements.

I appreciate that we have archetypes in music, but I learn towards unique interpretations over soundalikes.

I usually prefer modern aesthetics over retro ones.

My lists include majors-backed and independent music, though I prefer promoting smaller creators.

I Need to Hear Your Words Clearly

This is a big one: if your song has lyrics, and I can’t hear your words clearly, I’ll likely struggle getting it placed.

I recognize some genres lean on fuzzy or processed vocals, but please go in knowing I have a hard time with them — especially when the aesthetic applies to the whole song.

Avoid Sending These Elements

Please know I seldom (or never) accept:

  • Political content
  • Hateful or malicious content
  • HEAVY uses of vocal processing (e.g. autotune, etc.) or mumbling; a little bit is okay, so long as I can hear your vocal tone and words clearly
  • Unfinished or uneven mixes (PLEASE only send finalized audio)
  • Recordings of birds
  • Recordings of kids playing
  • Recordings of spoken word (in large quantities).

Not All Playlists Are Equal

Full disclosure: Flow State and Focus Instrumentals are my main lists and receive the most listens. While every list is lovingly curated, they all have different listener bases. Please take this into account and make sure your spend is worthwhile!

Playlist-Specific Tips

Flow Beats

  • Largely progressive house, deep house, and tech house, but can include other four-on-the-floor or flow-centric dance genres, given that the song encourages a sense of flow.
  • Additions are seldom faster than 128BPM.
  • Instrumentation shouldn’t include aggressive, buzzy, or strong tones.
  • Atmospheric feel and organic sound design are encouraged, but not to a point where they’re overwhelming
  • Repetitive motifs are good if they evolve in texture.

Flow State

  • Largely lo-fi hiphop and downtempo instrumentals. Vocals can work in small quantities.
  • Leans towards cleaner, organic aesthetics instead of dusty, retro ones.
  • Heavy pitch wavering and repetitive sampling are strongly discouraged.
  • Harmonic progressions should resolve cleanly, pleasantly, and expand over time.
  • Prominent, catchy motifs are always tasty, but can be overpowering for the list.
  • Percussion should promote motion but not be so bright or busy to detract the listener.
  • Ideal songs have a sense of momentum, either through arrangement or rhythm, while remaining uncluttered.

Focus Instrumentals

  • Gentle, slow, sparse, minimalistic, and unobtrusive pieces.
  • Largely solo piano pieces. On very rare occasions, guitar, harp, or bowed string pieces make it, but they must be INCREDIBLY subdued.
  • Tempos should be slow and articulations soft throughout.
  • Constant, unwavering motifs (e.g. repeating broken chords, arpeggios, etc.) seldom work because they can feel like marching. If they have more flowing qualities instead, then that can fit.
  • Accepted songs typically have a minimum of drama in the narrative arc.

Slow Down

  • Largely ambient and highly subdued instrumentals. Imagine floating in still water.
  • The mood should be peaceful and serene above all else.
  • A minimum amount of fluttering or quickly oscillating elements. Slow movement only!
  • Noisy textures, tense harmonies, dramatic shifts, and percussion of any kind seldom fit.

Lazy Days

  • Imagine yourself swaddled in a blanket, cradling a cup of hot chocolate. If the song supports that image, it’s a good fit.
  • Songs are typically sleepy instrumentals, slow crooning, or subdued beats.

The Deck

  • Imagine yourself melting into a couch, favourite drink in hand, and favourite person in the other. The night is full of discourse – and hopefully intruigue. That’s the vibe.
  • Low tempos and groove are key. Sophistication and interest are important, but restraint is also appreciated.
  • The mood is dark, ambiguous, and chilled. “Slinky” or “childlike” are too far on either side.
  • Songs are typically sultry hip hop beats, lo-fi instrumentals, or R&B crooners.

Sirens / Orpheus / True North / Ongaku / Hanryu / East

  • Each asks for high quality writing, productions, and performances, but are otherwise open to all genres, moods, and energy levels — so long as they fit the demographic requirement (e.g. female singers for Sirens, etc.).
  • While the other playlists have rigid guidelines and rules, these are highly subjective. My test is if I’d want to repeat or reference the song, I’ll add it. That’s not a measure of the track’s merits— just my personal taste.

Other Playlists

Interested in one of the other lists? Please read up on them and listen through their recent additions for reference.

Send One Song at a Time

Unless there’s a strategic reason not to, please limit submissions to one song at a time. It’s often best to get feedback on one song, then tailor future submissions from there. Save yourself money and time!

Want Specific Feedback? Ask for It!

I want you to get the most of our engagement! This isn’t an offer to do a full mix review, but if you want thoughts on a specific element, please point it out so I can be more helpful.

If Declined, Please Review My Feedback

Got declined? I’m sorry on that, but please review my notes so we can improve your placement rate next time. I want to see you succeed!

Listen to the Playlists

Above all, PLEASE listen to the playlist you’re submitting to! Scan through 5-10 tracks to see if our styles are aligned.

Even though I describe some lists at length, everyone interprets words differently. It’s best to dig in yourself. (e.g. My idea of “subdued” and “chilled” is MUCH more mellow than most.)

Ready to Go?

Target carefully and best of luck, friends! I look forward to hearing your work!