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How To Build A Larger Audience/Fanbase For Your Christian Music - Part 4

Are you a Christian music artist? Do you want to build a larger audience for your music? In this 5 part series, we will explain our music marketing strategy for exponentially expanding your fanbase.

Today, in part 4, we share tips on pitching to music blogs and playlists, and we go in-depth on the value and proper use of genre tags. This post contains a serious amount of information that you may want to print and save somewhere. 
Next week, in part 5, we will be sharing our final tips and wrapping up this series of posts.

Pitch to music blogs and playlists

Getting publicity for your music can easily become more than a full-time job in itself (just ask any publicist), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t start gaining traction on a smaller scale.

The most important thing to understand when pitching to music blogs and publications is that it’s not just about having great music — it’s about having a compelling, unique story that their audience will care about.

Assets like professional press photos and an up-to-date electronic press kit are an absolute must, but no one’s going to ask for them if you don’t have a remarkable story to tell in the first place.

Depending on your music marketing goals, getting your tracks featured on a playlist can be just as (if not more) valuable than getting a write-up. For human-curated Spotify playlists, it’s essentially the same as any other kind of pitch — and it often comes down to timing more than anything.

At, all of our playlists are human-curated. The playlists are refreshed weekly, and we have a list of songs that we have promised to keep in the playlist for 4 weeks. Songs on the list came to us through personal pitches using a submission form on our website. The pitched songs are reviewed by our A&R team and they decide if a song is placed or not. All of our playlists are published on Spotify, Deezer, and YouTube.

The reason why we keep pitched songs in a playlist for 4 weeks is because of the algorithms on Spotify and other streaming platforms.  Streaming platforms look at playlists. Each time a song is streamed it earns popularity points. In parallel, there is another mechanism that affects the ranking of a song... and that is based on playlist exposure. Your song benefits from being listed on playlists. The more, the better! BUT, if the song is removed from a playlist too soon, that will have a negative impact on the ranking! In general, the ranking of a song is negatively impacted if the song is added and removed from a playlist within 2 weeks. We keep pitched songs on a playlist for 4 weeks, so that the ranking also benefits from the playlist listing. 

Also keep in mind that an enormous chunk of music discovery on Spotify happens through personalized, algorithm-driven playlists, like Release Radar and Discover Weekly. This makes it possible for smaller, independent artists to reach their niche audience organically.

The key takeaway is that the more active you are on Spotify, the more you’ll get noticed by the algorithm and playlist curators.

Spotify Genres

Spotify gives artists a special way to help optimize the results of the Spotify Algorithms! In other words, you are helping Spotify algorithms to showcase your music to your potential audience. Not only that, but you are also helping the more advanced playlist curators to find your music regardless if you have pitched the song, or have listed it on websites, music forums, etc.

As of December 2020, Spotify holds 5,071 distinct genres. A number of these genres are specific to Christian Music.

Your distributor should offer you the ability to add genre tags to your songs. These tags not only help the algorithms to understand what kind of music this is, it also helps systems that collect new release data to add your song to the correct release overview. If your distributor is not supporting genre tags, then your exposure is seriously being affected!

How do we use genres?

We are constantly monitoring all released music by genre. This information is used by our A&R team to expand our music database. New releases are manually screened by A&R, and if it is confirmed to be Christian (and meets our quality standards), it is added to our database. Our database is used as the source for creating our playlists. During the review process, some songs may interest A&R more than other songs. These songs will also be added list of candidates considered for posting on our website and socials. After the screening of new releases is completed, A&R creates a shortlist of the new releases that will be posted during the coming week.

We are not the only organization that uses genre details. If the 'metadata' of your song does not contain the relevant genre tags, then your song may not be noticed... unless it is pitched/noticed through other channels. We obviously monitor newsfeeds and many forums, and that helps to catch some of the releases that we did not previously discover. That data is also fed into the database. 

In the intro of this article, I shared that there are over 40,000 tracks are being uploaded to the Spotify platform each day (an equivalent of 280.000 songs per week). Only a small portion of these tracks are Christian. If we just look at the number of tracks with English lyrics for CCM, CEDM, and Gospel genres, then we have an average of 300 tracks per week (15.6 thousand per year).

Unless the song is properly tagged with a genre, or the song is 'discovered' or pitched in another manner, it is virtually impossible to know about the release. All of your energy, time, and money goes to waste if your music doesn't find its way to your target audience. 

We freely share all of the songs that we have discovered as a playlist with broadcasters, media, and playlist curators around the world. I believe that it is safe to say that if we were not able to find your music, there is a big chance that others will not find it either. There are only a few sources that collect and publish newly released music per genre. Many Christian broadcasters/media/curators have very limited budgets, so there is a big chance that they do not have alternative sources for information about new Christian Music releases...
The bottom line is that if people don't 'discover' your music in some way or other, they will not talk about it either.

I have included a list of Christian Music Genres listed on Spotify. I'm sure that there are more genres, but with over 5000 genres, there is a chance that I missed a few genres in languages that I am not sufficiently familiar with.

There are quite a few genres that apply to the English language. The following recommendations is aimed at songs with English lyrics.

Each song that you stream has one or more genre tags linked to it. The Spotify algorithms track the genre tags of the music that people are listening to, and use that information to generate song recommendations for that listener (listening profile).

As an artist, if you are only using genres that are considered a niche, then your music will only be recommended to listeners that already listen to this genre. If your song includes a more common genre tag, then your song will be matched with more listening profiles and appear in more recommendations.
You can label a song with multiple genres. In the following list you will see genres grouped as 'very common' & 'common'. I recommend trying to classify your song with one of the common genres, as well as any niche genres that you believe is relevant.

Avoid using genre tags that are absolutely not relevant to your track. Although it may seem te be a nice 'trick' to add many genres in order to get your music recommended to more people, this trick can harm you. What happens if a song is not relevant to a listener? Quite simple... the listener will intervene and move to the next song. Now remember that Spotify tracks everything! Spotify will detect that a listener moved to the next song after listening to the first 30 seconds (or less). If this happens with more listeners, the popularity of this song drop and quite soon it will not be recommended to anyone. This process of losing popularity affects the ranking of your song, and diminishes your chances of getting onto the more popular human-curated playlists. Many human curators monitor the statistical popularity of the music in their playlists, because playlists are also ranked. If your music has a negative impact on the playlist popularity score, then your music may be rejected from their playlist.
I trust that it is clear why it is important to use the correct genre tags. It is never a good strategy to try beating the system with tricks. Sooner or later the tricks will backfire.

Very common Christian genres (English lyrics)

  • anthem worship 
  • ccm 
  • cedm 
  • christian dance 
  • christian hip hop 
  • christian pop 
  • christian relaxative 
  • gospel
  • praise
  • worship

Common Christian genres (English lyrics)

  • alternative ccm
  • canadian ccm 
  • christian alternative rock
  • christian indie 
  • christian music
  • classic praise 
  • contemporary gospel 
  • deep ccm 
  • deep christian rock 
  • family gospel
  • gospel r&b  
  • gospel rap
  • messianic praise
  • nz christian
  • roots worship 
  • southern gospel
  • uk worship

Other Christian genres to consider

  • adoracao
  • adoracion
  • adventista
  • african gospel
  • ambient worship (often English lyrics)
  • apostolic worship (often English lyrics)
  • bible
  • brazilian ccm
  • brazilian gospel
  • chinese worship
  • christelijk
  • christian a cappella
  • christian afrobeat
  • christian hard rock
  • christian hardcore
  • christian metal
  • christian punk
  • christian rock
  • christian uplift
  • christlicher rap
  • congolese gospel
  • contemporary gospel
  • corridos cristianos
  • cristiano
  • deep christian rock
  • deep latin christian
  • electronica cristiana
  • finnish worship
  • forro gospel
  • french worship
  • funk evangelico
  • german ccm
  • german worship
  • gospel antigas
  • gospel drill
  • gospel r&b
  • gospel rap
  • gospel reggae
  • gospel singers
  • hindi worship
  • indie cristao
  • indonesian worship
  • korean worship
  • latin worship
  • lds (often English lyrics)
  • lds youth (often English lyrics)
  • lldm
  • louvor
  • louvor icm
  • malayalam worship
  • mariachi cristiano
  • messianic praise
  • mpb gospel
  • musica crista reformada
  • musica cristiana guatemalteca
  • musica eletronica gospel
  • musica evangelica instrumental
  • musicas espiritas
  • muzica crestina
  • naija worship
  • norsk lovsang
  • norwegian gospel
  • praise
  • psalmen
  • rap chretien
  • rap cristao
  • reggae cristao
  • reggaeton cristiano
  • rock cristiano
  • rock gospel brasileiro
  • rosary
  • russian ccm
  • samba gospel
  • sertanejo gospel
  • south african gospel
  • svensk lovsang
  • swiss worship
  • tagalog worship
  • tamil worship
  • trap cristao
  • trap cristiano
  • uk christian rap (English lyrics)
  • vbs
  • world worship (sometimes English lyrics)
  • zim gospel

That's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed part 4. Next week, in part 5, we will be sharing our final tips and wrapping up this series of posts. 

Have a great week!

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