Childish Gambino's success came from an unlikely source.
Donald Glover, also known as the Childish Gambino, has enjoyed enormous success in multiple sectors of the entertainment industry. His movie career is on the ascent, after appearances in The Martian and the recent Marvel flick Spider-man: Homecoming; his acclaimed television series Atlanta has been nominated for several Emmys, including one for him as Best Actor in a Comedy; and, even through all that, his music career has far from died out. In fact, specifically where his track "Redbone" is concerned, he received a radio airplay boost from an unlikely source: Spotify playlist inclusion.
The playlist in question is Spotify's most popular one, "RapCaviar". It currently has more than 7 million followers and has played more than a small part in molding the sound and the direction of mainstream hip-hop music. Curated by Tuma Basa, a former disciple for MTV and BET, "RapCaviar" has become the the place to be for singles that want to take the next leap into heavy radio rotation, at least according to Daniel Glass, president of Glassnote Records. "Radio stations picked up on that—'If RapCaviar can play it, then I can,'" said Glass in a new article about Spotify's reach that was published on Rolling Stone with the title "How Spotify Playlists Create Hits."
In fact, Glass' most popular artist, Childish Gambino, benefited greatly from Basa's "RapCaviar" placement. "Redbone" has since been certified 2x platinum by the RIAA after debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in December of 2016 but falling off the map completely not long after that. The power of the "RapCaviar" listener base, along with its placement in last spring's box office sensation Get Out, the once-forgotten Gambino track re-entered the chart and has now spent a total of 36 weeks (and counting) on the Hot 100, going so far as to peak at No. 12 earlier this month. Not bad for a song that was seemingly left for dead upon its initial offering.
Whether you're a big artist who's almost guaranteed a spot on a prominent playlist or a smaller creator who may take a couple of years to get significant listenership, there's no denying that streaming services like Spotify are now the de facto music trendsetters.