Honest answer? If you have the budget, you should do both.
Playlist pitching is the most cost-efficient way to get streams, but it carries inherent risk.
Ads are usually pricier (because you’re paying to get people from one platform to another), but they always provide engaged streams and good data.
If you have the budget, going with both options can give you the benefits of each while reducing risk – because even if you get on a bad playlist, your ads should feed Spotify enough good data that the damage won’t be too bad.
It’s kind of like investing. Having both ads (low-risk, steady growth) and playlisting (higher risk, high potential growth) in your portfolio is a nice balance.
Of course, let’s be real – most of us don’t have the budget to go heavy into both options.
So, if you have to pick one, it’s a matter of risk tolerance.