10 Tips for Spotify
The number of people paying for a music subscription service such as Spotify, at last count, was estimated at 41 million globally – growth of around 40% from 2013. By contrast, download sales have declined in virtually all established markets.
(IFPI, Digital Music Report 2015)
In this post we will look at how labels and artists can adapt their marketing strategies. We outline 10 simple rules that will help you get the most out of streaming. We focus on Spotify since their overall reach across all tiers is largest – currently about 75 million worldwide.
Finding and keeping your streaming fans
Before streaming, the value of each fan in the digital world could be fairly easily quantified as a single sale on iTunes. It’s unlikely a fan would buy the same piece of music twice digitally.
Now that revenue is generated each time a piece of music is played, the value of each fan is harder to quantify.
Will Hope, director of label relations at Spotify, explained at The Great Escape this year:
Now a fan equals someone who’s going to play something a lot over a long period of time, and the economic value of each fan is variable… It’s a far, far longer-term scenario. It’s not just down to specific units and smaller chunks of time. It’s something that happens slower, but can be far more impactful…
So, the question is no longer just how to encourage someone to listen to your release on Spotify, but how we can encourage them to listen, engage and become an advocate for your music. This will help you find longer term value from each release and reach a much wider audience.
In the land of Spotify, the playlist is king. Or perhaps, the kingmaker!
Whilst editorial space on digital services becomes more and more focused on each user and their listening habits, playlists can act as the ultimate discovery and archiving tool. Ultimately, inclusion in one playlist can snowball into inclusion in others, boosting plays and generating revenue.
It’s worth bearing in mind too that users on Spotify’s free mobile tier cannot listen to music on demand and are only able to shuffle artist discographies or playlists. So, for the 40 million free users, playlists are really important.
Digital housekeeping: 10 simple rules for streaming promotion
To be best placed for consideration on the top playlists, and to get the most from your catalogue on Spotify, you need to make sure you’ve done your housekeeping. Here are the 10 rules to follow.
- Get your artist account verified
A verified account gives you better profile artwork, the ability to create branded playlists with images and descriptions and makes it easier to manage your discography. You’ll also get a nice blue tick telling the world it’s the official artist account. This all helps you engage with your fans on Spotify.
First, you’ll need a basic Spotify user account before you can get your artist account verified. Your user account and artist profile will be merged once verification has been completed.
Second, you will need at least 250 followers before you can begin the process. If you don’t have 250 followers, read through the rest of this article and you’ll reach the mark soon enough.
If you’ve got 250 followers, you can verify your account by following the instructions on the Spotify guide here.
- Spread the word
It’s important that you are actively promoting your releases. Don’t expect people to stumble across your music.
If you’re used to sharing SoundCloud links, remember that you’re not earning money from SoundCloud outside of the US.
First of all, share Spotify links on social media. It sounds obvious but it’s important to remember that sharing links on Facebook and Twitter is fundamental to directing people towards your music.
To find the sharable URL for your music from Spotify:
Click the 3 dots next to Save and choose ‘Copy Album Link ‘
Spotify’s Embeddable Player is another great way of getting your music heard. It helps you put a Spotify player for a playlist or album on other websites like Facebook or your blog.
Lastly, followers will automatically be notified each time new music is added to your artist account so the more followers you have, the better! Follow Spotify’s guide to get the most from the follow button.
You can also tweet a link to your music to us @state51 and we’ll retweet for you.
- Make your own playlists
This is a really important part of promoting your music on Spotify.
Successful artist playlists help to tell a story and engage your fans. A good starting point would be playlists of your influences, music you’re listening to on tour, or your favourite tracks from a certain era, place or genre. To help the users on the free Spotify tier, it doesn’t hurt to create playlists of your latest albums.
Remember, users can follow playlists in the same way they follow artists. If you create interesting and well thought out playlists, then you are likely to attract followers. Each playlist follower will be notified when a new track is added – don’t be afraid to throw in one or two of your own songs once you’ve reach a good number of followers.
Here are a couple of good artist playlists on Spotify to get you started:
Melt Yourself Down
It’s advisable to build playlists which you can update regularly. Start with around 25 tracks and aim to add around 10 each week. It’s best not to have too many playlists exceeding 100 tracks.
It takes time to build playlist followers, so stick with it and keep adding tracks regularly.
- Promote engagement
The term ‘engagement’ is thrown around quite freely when we talk about promotion on streaming services.
Spotify’s editorial teams, who are responsible for curating the playlists promoted on the Spotify main pages, are more concerned by engagement than by individual track plays. But what does engagement mean?
Simply put, it means the number of times a track has been played, shared and playlisted within the Spotify ecosystem. Are people responding to this music – spreading it amongst friends, saving to their library and slotting it into their playlists?
This is what you should be encouraging amongst your fans and actively doing yourself using social media, newsletters and every other tool at your disposal!
- Release singles
It is difficult to promote an album on Spotify if there is no other music available from the artist.
We would always encourage a new artist to release a single or two ahead of a debut album, so you can begin the process of building awareness of the artist and generate followers as early as possible.
See how Melt Yourself Down staggered the release of singles in the lead up to their album here.
- Link your account with Songkick
Songkick is a website that shows people when and where bands are playing live. It is integrated with Spotify, which means that a list of upcoming local gigs is shown to users within Spotify.
Be sure you have all your upcoming gigs in the Songkick database. Click here to update your gig listings – these should populate into Spotify automatically, let us know if this doesn’t happen.
- Share playlists across services
Once you’ve created your artist playlists, it’s simple to transfer them to Deezer and Rdio – saving you the time you’d spend recreating them.
To transfer your playlists from Spotify to Deezer, you can use http://spotizr.com/
To transfer them to Rdio, you can use http://resp.in/
The same rules for promotion apply on these services.
- Use Facebook
Over half of Spotify users connect their accounts with Facebook. This means those users can find out what their friends are listening to and share their listening habits.
For artists and labels it allows for ever more focussed promotion. You can use Facebook Adverts to target users who ‘like Spotify’, live in the area you’re touring in or match your Spotify demographic – if you’d like to find out what your Spotify demographic is based on past releases, we can tell you! Just ask 😉
9. Submit your information to AllMusic
Similar to many of the digital music services we deliver music to, Spotify pull their artist data, including images, from Rovi/All Music.
Spotify explain how to obtain a Rovi ID to update your artist image here.
In addition to obtaining a Rovi ID via the Spotify portal, it’s a good idea to send All Music an artist biography. This will be used by Spotify, iTunes, Deezer and many other digital services as the source of information they display about your artist. You can submit artist biographies to All Music via email: http://www.allmusic.com/product-submissions
10. Use Spotify ads
If you’re on our Conspiracy deal, then we can help give you the extra push on Spotify using audio adverts.
Audio ads play for users on the free tier, often encouraging them to subscribe to a premium account.
Thankfully if you’re with state51 you can use these to help promote your music! We can provide these for free on a case by case basis. You’ll need to prepare them yourselves, so contact us to discuss booking one in and get some tips on what works best.