Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Spotify is the most popular audio streaming service in the world, with 515 million users and 210 million premium subscribers. There are over 11 million artists and creators currently using the platform. The size of that audience alone makes it a worthwhile platform on which to promote your music.
It is helpful for an independent artist to think of Spotify as a promotional vehicle rather than a revenue source. The detailed statistics of daily and monthly listeners available to Spotify artists can help an artist focus their promotional campaigns; the more listeners you have, the more likely you are to convert these listeners into fans who will buy your music and attend your shows.
Benefits of having your music on Spotify
Since you want to know how to get your music on Spotify, you might already be aware of the benefits. Having access to the largest audio streaming audience in the world is no guarantee of listeners, but it’s a good place to start. The convenience of Spotify’s “one-stop shop” model means that having your music on the platform makes it easy for people to access. When you learn to leverage curated playlists, you can start to target listeners in your genre and demographic.
How to get your music on Spotify as an artist
As an independent artist, you will not be able to get your music on Spotify by yourself. However, it’s extremely easy to find a digital distributor to get your music on the service.
Choose a music distributor
Spotify has a list of recommended and preferred distributors on its site; all are available for a small fee. Use their recommendations unless you are 100 percent confident of another source. Don’t get ripped off!
Prepare your music for distribution
To upload your music to a distributor, you’ll need uncompressed digital files (WAV, FLAC, AIFF), your album art in .jpg format perfectly square with a resolution of 3000 x 3000 pixels, your lyrics, and all your essential track info for your metadata. The FAQ section of your chosen digital distributor will give you all the specific information you need to upload tracks.
Set up your artist profile
You can create your Spotify For Artists account on your own, or, once your distributor has uploaded your music and it’s on Spotify, your distributor will provide you with a link to create it.
Optimize your artist bio and image
It’s important to make a good first impression with your artist bio and image; this is the first thing potential fans will see on your profile page. To stand out from the herd, follow your instinct on what feels natural and unique about presenting yourself. You have three places to present images: an avatar, a background image, and an image gallery.
Link social media and websites
It is basic artist branding to make sure that your Internet presence is consistent from platform to platform and your social media links are available to potential fans. Spotify has a section on the artist profile called “More Info.” This is where you can add your social media sites and any other pertinent websites that you want your fans to access.
Tips to improve your Spotify presence
Once your music is on Spotify, you can begin the process of boosting your presence in the algorithm so you can get noticed by the curators of the editorial playlists. This is a very effective way of building your audience on the platform, and it begins with creating playlists.
Craft engaging playlist descriptions
To get your playlists noticed by the algorithm, you’ll need to make the titles of the playlists catchy and the playlist descriptions clever, engaging, and search engine optimized. The key to this will be to use keywords that listeners might be searching for. These will relate to genre (“the ultimate blues playlist”), moods (“Music For…”, “Songs To…”, “Chill Songs For Stressed People”, etc.), artist names, and song titles. You have 300 characters to create your playlist description, so use them wisely!
Utilize artist picks and featured tracks
Another way to boost your music is to use the “Artist Pick” feature in your artist profile. You can showcase any song, album, or playlist plus your concerts, your merch, and podcasts. The Artist Pick stays up for 180 days, but you can update it at any time. You can personalize your pick with a brief paragraph and an image.
Create playlists and collaborate
When your music is on Spotify, the way to promote it is to craft your own playlists.
Curate your own playlists
When you create titles and descriptions and optimize them to hook the algorithm, people will start to notice your playlists. The algorithm prioritizes playlists with one track per artist, so overloading your playlist with your own music will not work. Presenting your tracks next to similar artists or with interesting musical juxtapositions will attract listeners and boost you in the algorithm.
Collaborate with other artists on playlists
You can collaborate with other Spotify users on playlists. A great way to cross-promote your music is to find another artist to create a playlist with and create something enjoyable for both of your fans. Be creative, have fun, and make sure to promote your collaborative playlist on each other’s social media. The same rules apply concerning catchy titles/descriptions and SEO.
Engage with fans on Spotify
There is no way on the Spotify app to directly engage with your fans one-on-one. However, the “Artist Statistics” will show you data about your listeners: their location, their demographic info, and which tracks they are listening to the most.
Respond to listener feedback
You can use the Artist Statistics information — and specifically the tracks that are resonating — to understand what they like and give them more of it. If they listen most to your blues songs, play more blues! If they love your emo tracks, make more of those.
Promote fan engagement and community building
Without direct access to fans on Spotify, you’ll want to think creatively about how to encourage engagement and community. Some ways to do this would be to have a fan-based Facebook group or Discord, promote contests involving new releases, and try new ideas, like a fan-collaborated playlist.
Promote your music on Spotify
While I’ve touched on some of the cost-free ways of promoting your music, if you have the budget, Spotify also has direct advertising available by signing up for their “Ad Studio.”
Leverage Spotify ads and promotions
You can create audio and video ads that will be placed in Spotify content and presented to free listeners. Also, if you have more than 1,000 followers and over 5,000 streams in the last month, you are eligible to sign up for Marquee, Spotify’s ad service that is a full-screen recommendation for new releases.
Cross-promote on social media platforms
Much of an independent artist’s work to promote on Spotify involves promoting your music off of Spotify. This means telling your social media followers about new releases, promoting your playlists, and notifying your audience when you’ve been added to an editorial playlist. Be consistent in doing this and the work will pay off. People won’t listen to your music if they don’t know about it!
What else can you publish on Spotify?
Besides your music, there are other types of content that you can publish on Spotify. Podcasts are the main one, and with Spotify’s “Music + Talk” feature, putting together a combination podcast/radio show is incredibly simplified (if the music is on Spotify). You can publish spoken commentary to your albums, live versions of your songs, and demos to give insight into your creation process.
Can you make money through Spotify?
If you are Drake or Taylor Swift, there’s money to be made on Spotify. As an independent artist, you will probably make pennies, at best. That’s why it’s more helpful for indie artists to think of Spotify as a promotional exercise.
That said, you can link to your merch store on your Spotify profile; many indie artists do make significant money from that feature depending on how many listeners they have and how much traffic comes to their profile page. In addition, Spotify has added a fee-free fundraising link where you can link to a Kickstarter / Go Fund Me, or to a cause that you support.
That’s why it’s important to have merch and music available for sale online, and Disc Makers is the place to go when you’re looking to manufacture CDs and vinyl LPs. Visit www.discmakers.com to see our packages and pricing.
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