When curators add songs to their playlists, it is important that your music meets their needs. This is if you want to win a place on the listeners list. The chances are greater for your song to get listed when it matches a particular genre, feel or style, that govern the songs of a particular playlist.
Occasionally, longer tracks are accepted to arouse the curiosity and interest of the listeners. Hence while releasing your song, you must always keep the playlists in mind.
Think how the radio edits of a song works. Usually they are crisp and exactly to the point. This is done to save time and also sustain the interest of the audience who might otherwise change the station. The same logic applies while creating playlists too. So, now you will know why it is important to first release a shorter version of your song that will best meet the needs of playlists.
This discussion however, does not intend to spoil your originality or creativity. First complete the original version of the music in its unmodified state as you have intended and then go for a short edit that will prepare the song to fit into playlists.
Also called as radio edits, create shorter version of the song that will best meet the format expected by the playlists along with other shorter songs. Just have a glance at a music similar to yours to know how some popular playlists work on various online streaming services. Go through the songs on your favorite playlist and consider the following aspects.
Length of the song
It is always best to keep it under 4 minutes and not more than that.
Length of the introduction
The intro must not drag beyond 15 seconds. There are more chances that people might skip it before the 30 seconds mark is reached.
Length of the outro
Ideally the outro must not be longer than 15 seconds. It is important that people play through your song all through.
Structure of the song
Begin with the main hook, the vocal part and the aspects that will give a taste of your song within the first 15 seconds.
Since not all playlists are created equal, it is important to get the listeners go past the 30 second mark and it is done to a good extent. Though your listeners can play the song and stream the track, it is necessary that they listen it for about 30 seconds at least. If not, it will not be counted as a stream and you will not get paid.
Remember that you must make every effort to grab their attention very early so that they do not skip. If their interest is sustained at least for the first 30 seconds and hopefully through the rest of the song, it is all done.
This discussion would have given you a fair idea on what you must do while editing your song. At the same time, let this not ruin your creativity. Go for radio edit after you have satisfactorily worked on your song. Release the radio edit first and keep the extended original version of the song for the album.