how my spotify playlist went viral

Written by Kyle Hauk

Two years ago, I got onto Spotify and started listening to a song my friend recommended earlier that day: Catamaran by Allah-Las. I was hooked right away. The playful sounding guitar, the splashy reverb mixed with melodic riffs, reminded me of the beach, good times with friends, and surfing. The album cover is what really sold me, though. A faded picture of a faceless, ponytailed girl holding a seashell up to her ear appealed to my aesthetic preference, and I felt like the image fit the song perfectly.

I had an idea. I wanted to capture the feeling of surfing and being carefree at the beach, and put it into sounds. I selected the “new playlist” option, and added three songs: Catamaran, Sandy, and Catalina by Allah Las. After adding some Beach House, Mac Demarco, and Growlers, I was satisfied with the general sound of my playlist, so I clicked “edit name” and typed “Surf.” The playlist was initially private, and I would listen to it on car rides with my dad, and after surfing with my best friends. Eventually, I found out about the Beach Goth festival and the scene surrounding it, so it was only appropriate for me to rename the playlist.

I remember watching the following climb. I was psyched to see it reach 30 followers, because at the time I only had 25 followers on my account, which meant that random people were enjoying my taste in music. When it reached 100, I knew that it had potential to be big. I started adding music furiously. The Spotify algorithm, friend recommendations, and Discover Weekly playlist became my best friends in finding new music for myself and others to enjoy.

As of now, my “Beach Goth” playlist is currently at 2,963 followers, and I have only recently started slowing down in adding music. I greatly appreciate when upcoming artists reach out to me and ask me to listen to their music. I’ll add them to the playlist, and to me, it is the most rewarding thing to watch their following grow as a result. Some notable artists I have had the opportunity to watch grow are:  Tomorrows Tulips, Tomorrow’s Tessellations, The Prefab Messiahs, Silhouettes, Aunt Cynthia’s Cabin, Subtle Orange, and more.

I’m very happy with what has come out of my playlist, and it is a very rewarding feeling to know that so many people enjoy it. I hope you check it out, and if you’re an upcoming artist looking for more exposure, I’d be happy to give your music a listen. I respond to DMs via Instagram frequently, so please contact me there at @kylehauk.

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