Making the Most of Your Music, A Comprehensive Guide for Spotify Music Promotion
The internet is evolving at an incredible speed, and its contribution to the music business landscape cannot be ignored. Already, the fight for listeners is intensifying day by day since revenues from streaming music services in the US overtook digital music download sales way back in 2016. As such, streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music have seen a tremendous rise in popularity never witnessed before.
Breaking down the basics of Spotify promotion
Spotify boasts of over 140 million active users of which more than 60 million are paid subscribers enjoying more than 30 million songs.
As 2018 came to a close a few months ago, Spotify officially released its yearly statistics that put Drake at the top of the streaming platform, raking over 1 billion streams of the 8.2 billion streams.
The same year, Post Malone, J Balvin, Ed Sheeran and XXXTENTACION all made it top 5 with the highest streams. Ariana Grande, with her album "Sweetener," toped the female's list, getting over 220 million streams for her single "thank you, next."
So, as a budding hip-hop artist, how can you tap the potential of this giant platform to get your music to the world?
There are myriad of ways to go through this, and we've put together a comprehensive guide on Spotify promotion. Let's start from the basics.
How to promote your music on Spotify, the basics
We will assume you have no experience with Spotify and you are beginning from the basics. Here are 8 ways on how to promote your music on Spotify and connect with the world.
1. Get your profile verified, obviously
With the ease in which creating accounts on Spotify and other streaming services is, every Tom, Dick, and Harry can dupe people to think they are superstars yet they are a nobody. In this regard, Spotify thought it wise that every account must be verified to protect the over 100 million users from being duped by lazy characters on the platform.
Verified accounts are not only a win for the Spotify team but also for the artist. A verified profile with a badge gives more authenticity to your music, allowing it more attention and possibility to be added to Spotify playlist.
Back in the days, verification of accounts was only possible if your account had at least 250 followers, but this was scrapped off which mean you can start with zero followers and get your account verified (albeit with a small waiting period).
2. Bring your fans to follow you on Spotify (you’ll love it)
Of course, with no followers, no one will take you seriously. It's pointless uploading your music if you don't have an audience to play and share your music. In fact, if you don't have any audience following your music, it's almost guaranteed your music will never make it to a playlist (unless it's on the playlist of shame).
So, bring your followers from all your sources and other social platforms to like your follow your new account. In the beginning, you may be growing by about 500 follows a month, but it will keep on improving depending.
Your goal should be to get discovered by as many people as possible. That does not only give you relevance, but it also shows that your followers appreciate and love your music.
The more follows you get; the more others are likely to be influenced by it and give your music a chance. It's a hell lot of work in the beginning, but it gets better as your numbers go up.
3. Promote your music on social media for more exposure
Social media platforms are an excellent place to share your music with your fans and direct them to your Spotify account. In fact, Spotify has made it so easy to share your music on different social media networks and get the word out to the rest of the world about your Spotify activities.
Of course, you need a good following on social platforms to get an impact and get your content out. Post exciting content for your fans and the numbers will continually go high. Once you have many followers on social media, it will be easy to promote your music on these pages without looking too spammy or overly-promotional.
As your social media numbers grow, so is the traffic to your Spotify account. Social media provides you an avenue for your music to go viral especially if your fans love it because they’ll share it widely even in areas you’d not have reached.
4. Be consistent with your Spotify music uploads and remain active
As a musician, the more you produce and upload, the more you stay in the minds of your fans. In fact, it doesn't matter how successful your single was. If you stopped at that, you'd be forgotten in no time.
Therefore, you must plan your schedule of releasing songs and make sure it’s moderated and does not fluctuate to any extremes. Again, if you release too much, too frequently, you are likely to mess up and upload music with mediocre content.
Most musicians have a tendency to rise and fall with the ebb, with more activity and fame around a new release. That's a strategy of the past centuries. Today's listeners will jump ship the moment you take a backseat and brand you a one-hit-wonder.
Lastly, Spotify has an algorithm that rates your activity levels and how good your music is by monitoring how many of your songs make it to playlists. Being consistent goes a long way in shaping the opinions of your fans and tells them your commitment to your music.
5. Get collaborations
Collaborations have a double effect. If you feature an artist and make a playlist having the song, they are also likely to replicate the same.
Both of you will expose the other to audiences; none of you would have reached. If both of your music gets featured in a playlist by the Spotify playlist curators, your exposure will be maximized, creating a win-win situation for all parties.
Basically, the idea is that collaborations allow you to reach the audience of the artist you are collaborating with and putting yourself in the right place for their fans to associate with you based on the trust they have in your collabo partner. Collaborations are a good source of breakthroughs for budding artists and are an excellent promotional tool for your music.
6. Start promoting your music with Spotify playlists
As noted by Mark Mulligan, an industry analyst, Spotify plays, playlist and charts, have become the game-changer that artists, managers, and labels have adopted to beat the streaming numbers.
Streaming services like Spotify have invested hugely in curated playlists that they have creatively categorized based on moods and vibes for different occasions. These are coveted playlists that if an upcoming artist makes it to these lists, then it can only mean more millions of streams and fans.
An artist will have to study the playlists and identify those that best fit their music releases and create a winning pitch to the playlist’s curators for consideration. These playlists are a big business and are not just made by teenagers randomly compiling a list of their favorite songs.
The playlist curators target more than just streams but also chart performances, sales, and discovery. No single artist who signs up on Spotify has a different goal than being on the curated playlist.
Other than pitching to the curators, you need to build a relationship with them because that can mean the difference between getting a few hundreds of streams a month and hundreds of thousands of streams within a week of your song’s release.
The creators of Spotify made it fun to follow playlists because you get notified every time new music is added to a playlist you follow. This is the secret to the hundreds of millions of plays. All these other artificial plays risk closure of your account and don’t really cause any momentum.
7. Make use of Spotify Ads
Spotify recently launched Ad Studio, which is a self-service advertising platform which gives artists the opportunity to create and manage Spotify audio ad campaigns from scratch directly and utilizing their creativity to reach their audience.
With Spotify’s Ad Studio, you can create audio ads stretching to 30 seconds or less and make it available for the free Spotify app users. You can do virtually everything from your Ad Studio, creating new audio ad campaigns, forecast impression estimates given your target audience, to creating new audios from scratch and take care of all your Ad Studio related activities. If you have already created a voiceover, Ad Studio allows you to upload it and create an ad out it.
8. Facebook Ads is equally an important tool
If you want an option where you can choose your target audience by age, location, interest, gender, music tastes, etc., then Facebook is your only option.
Facebook provides all the customizations that will make your music promotion easy, effective, and accurate- whether you want to target desktop or mobile users.
With a user base of over 1.74 billion users, it's a platform you must invest in and link with your Spotify promotion. Your ads will be repeatedly shown to users in their news feed, which they access multiple times per day and put your music where it should be when it matters the most.
Spotify’s competitive advantages
Spotify's growth has continued to impress, and one would wonder why it's such a hit in the music streaming industry. With over 140 million users and more than 25 hours of streaming per user per month, here are some of the benefits it accords artist using the platform.
- Enough user data gives its algorithm enough information to personalize the user’s experience to levels not possible in other platforms. The data gathered provides a center point to improve search functionality and content discovery and avails the right content to the user at the right time of the day and the user context.
- More playlist categories with diverse management. Spotify’s playlists accounted for 36% of all streaming time. The way the playlists are created gives the user enough options that the rest of the streaming services haven’t matched. Users can create their own playlists, listen to algorithmically curated playlists or listen to Spotify's curated playlists like RapCaviar and Fresh Finds.
- Instead of going the Amazon or Apple way with Echo and HomePod, Spotify has maintained its platform agnostic. You can listen on any device and still get the right quality of service, and there's no prediction that it will be limited to specific hardware.
- Spotify's growth projection with all the strategies they have put in place is likely to attract even more millions of listeners. That growth projection is based on more than just the excellent user experience and personalized playlists. The ability to harness user data and synthesize this data is one of Spotify's strengths.
With all these advantages, an artist should already be thinking about how to get on Spotify playlists.