Spotify 101: How to Get the Most Out of Your Spotify Artist Profile
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
When I’m talking with my clients about marketing their music, the statement I hear most is:
“I really don’t understand Spotify…”
The easiest way to explain Spotify is this:
Spotify is an algorithm and social media platform.
Once you understand that Spotify is more than just a music streaming service, and that it's like any other social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc), it starts to make sense.
All social media platforms have algorithms in place, and all of them reward content creators based on popularity and value.
The goal for any social media platform is for users to stay on their social media site for as long as possible.
For example, Facebook wants users to stay on Facebook for as long as possible to generate more ad dollars.
Facebook algorithms reward content that is popular because it keeps users on Facebook.
Facebook wants you to be engaged with your audience because it keeps users on Facebook longer.
So when you create a post that resonates with people, and you respond to each comment, the Facebook algorithms increase your exposure to your other friends that normally would not have seen your post.
The more consistently you create compelling and engaging content, the more your posts will show up in Facebook's feed because Facebook algorithms know that when you post something, users are going to stick around and be more active on Facebook.
And guess what?
Spotify is no different!
3 Key Things to Understand About Spotify
Frequent Music Uploading
Spotify algorithms want to know that you're a serious content creator that's driving people to Spotify.
Spotify makes money two ways:
1) advertising to non-subscribers
2) paid monthly subscriptions
You're creating value for yourself by directing people to Spotify. So, it's important to release new music on a consistent basis and promote your Spotify account on other social media platforms.
The most effective way to do this is to release singles once every x months and build momentum through consistency.
The most powerful thing about Spotify is Playlists.
Releasing music regularly triggers Spotify algorithms to notice you more for playlist consideration.
Currently, Spotify recommends uploading your music at least 4 weeks before your release date, so Spotify curators have enough time to review and consider your music for a Spotify-curated Playlist.
It's important to know that when you upload an EP or album, you're only allowed to choose one song from your project for Spotify Playlist consideration.
But if you spread out a 5-song EP into singles over 5 months, then you've just increased your chances for Playlist consideration, and you'll be providing regular content that you can use to gain marketing momentum.
Something to think about!
Landing a Spotify-curated Playlist has the power to expose your music to hundreds of thousands of potential new fans, and hopefully a percentage of those new fans will FOLLOW your Spotify account.
Unfortunately, landing on a Spotify-curated Playlist as a new artist in a popular genre is hard, but don't let that discourage you.
An important action to take is encouraging people that you know to ADD your music to their own Spotify Playlists (no matter how small).
You should also create your own Playlists with similar music and promote those Playlists on your social media platforms, as well.
The more active you and your fans are with your music on Spotify, the more Spotify algorithms take notice for future Playlist consideration.
Encourage People to FOLLOW You
Think about Spotify as if it were a popularity contest (like Google).
The more Followers you have on Spotify, the more those Spotify algorithms take notice of you.
It's important to encourage people on a consistent basis to FOLLOW you on Spotify to receive alerts when you release new music.
Actionable Steps to Increase Your Spotify Activity
Here are some ideas that you can use to increase your Spotify activity, but feel free to modify and experiment to see what best works with your audience!
1. At least once a week, encourage people to FOLLOW you on Spotify through all of your social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories): "If you haven't already, FOLLOW me on Spotify to stay updated on when new music is released. Every Follow helps to grow my music, so thank you for your support!" And provide a direct link to your Spotify Artist page.
2. Add your Spotify Artist link to your Instagram bio, and encourage people to "click the link in bio".
3. Upload your new releases at least 4 weeks in advance and encourage people to "Pre-Save" your new music. Provide the direct link to your Pre-Save page. (Distrokid makes this easy to do by giving you a direct link that you can share everywhere - more info below!)
4. The key to all marketing is CONSISTENCY. Don't be afraid to talk about your music on a weekly basis in various creative ways. For example, DO post a photo from your studio session and talk about your new single and release date. DON'T just say "Hey! Check out my new music!" It's important to stand out from everyone else releasing music, and that means creating more interesting posts to promote your music. Use your creativity!
5. Create a Spotify Playlist of your entire catalog of music and embed it onto the front page of your website. You should also encourage people to follow your Playlists by posting a direct link on your social media sites.
You can also look into Playlist curator sites like SubmitHub.com to possibly land on smaller Playlists that are still effective with getting more streams and exposure. (Warning: Does require money to submit your music, and no guarantee of landing on Playlists. Also, be wary of people asking for money for Playlist placement... that's a red flag!)
One Click Away
This tip deserves it's own marketing article:
Any action that you would like someone to take should always be One Click Away.
You'll notice in the above tips that I say to provide a direct link to the action you would like a user to take.
So many times I see artists simply saying, "Check out my Spotify page and follow me!" without providing a direct link.
No one is going to stop their scroll flow on Facebook, close out Facebook, open up Spotify, search for your name, forget how to spell your name, open Facebook back up to double check, go back to Spotify, fumble for a second through the search results, click on your name, and then click the Follow button.
Ain't nobody got time for that!
You have to make it as easy as possible for people to listen to your music with One Click Away.
Recommended Digital Distribution Service for Uploading to Spotify
I recommend Distrokid to my clients for digital distribution.
Distrokid makes it easy: upload as much music as you'd like for a low, yearly subscription rate. You keep 100% of the royalties, and you can upload as much music as you'd like.
I recommend Distrokid's "Musician Plus" distribution option ($36/year), which gives you the option of setting a "pre-save" date and allows users to save your new music on Spotify before it's released. When the release date hits, users are notified in Spotify that your new song is available.
Within Distrokid, you can access your "Spotify for Artists" account that allows you to submit your single to Spotify for Playlist consideration, customize your Spotify profile with photos, a bio, tour dates and playlists you've created. It also shows you important statistics of how many streams you've had for each song, Playlists that have added your music, where your fans are located and even how many people are streaming your music at that moment.
Being able to view daily Spotify streaming statistics is an important tool to use when you start marketing your music on different social media platforms, and it can give you insight on what type of advertising is resonating best with your audience.
You also receive that sexy Spotify-verified checkmark by your artist name. Neat!
How to Submit Your New Release for Spotify Playlist Consideration
When you upload your new song, you'll be provided a link in your Spotify for Artists area to submit your new release to Spotify for Playlist consideration.
Or once logged in, go to Music > Upcoming Music
Here, you'll fill out detailed information about your song, so that Spotify curators can easily make a decision if and where your song should be placed.
The reality is, there are no guarantees to landing a Spotify-curated Playlist.
Although Spotify uses algorithms to determine what's popular with users, there's still the human element of Spotify curators listening to new music coming in for consideration, and there's a ton of great music being uploaded to Spotify daily.
But by focusing on releasing singles consistently instead of albums, the more chances you get for Playlist consideration.
It's also important to realize that Spotify is just a portion of your marketing efforts.
You should have a website that links to all of your social media accounts, has a mailing list sign-up form, and contains an embedded Spotify Playlist of your music. (All on the front page.)
You should be creating engaging Facebook content and responding to every comment.
You should be creating engaging Instagram content (some of this can be crossed over from Facebook) and using Instagram Stories to draw people in with your personality.
You should be running your music like a business, and your music should be everywhere (iTunes, iTunes Music, Amazon, Tidal, etc.).
The key is consistency and creating momentum.
The best way to maintain consistency is to write out a plan of what kind of content you would like to create for each social platform, then create a release schedule of your content on a calendar.
This creates deadlines, which creates motivation. We all work better with a plan that has a deadline.
And it works.
I have sat down with clients, created marketing plans for scheduled content releases, and I've seen the growth and engagement from existing and new fans.
I've also seen what happens when you stop. (You lose all of that momentum!)
I care about the success of my clients and the music we create, and for those who are ready to put in the marketing work, I'm always willing to sit down and help create a marketing plan specific to them.
Are you ready to take your music to the next level?