This is Why Spotify is So Important for Artists and Songwriters
Like it or not, we're in the middle of a major transition in technology and how users consume music, and it's time for artists to get serious about building up their artist accounts on streaming platforms.
Apple just announced the end of iTunes, and while that doesn't mean an immediate end to physical downloads in their Music app, you better believe it's coming.
Apple has been pushing Apple Music, their subscription streaming service, hard the past couple of years, not allowing users to make download purchases on mobile devices. Apple's focus is only going to continue down the subscription path for all of their entertainment apps.
Recently, the Music Modernization Act was passed to increase royalty payouts to songwriters by 44% over the next five years through streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
There was a huge backlash in the songwriting community here in Nashville because Spotify, Amazon and Pandora appealed the decision.
And understandably so: Music streaming rates are shit-ty in an already tough business.
But look at it this way: In any major business transaction, there's going to be negotiation. In this case, Artists and Songwriters are one business, going against another business, Streaming.
Of course streaming services are going to appeal. (Apple did not, btw.)
With change, there's always going to be growth pains. And let's face it, the music business has never been easy.
But the good news is, it's going to get better (it has to), and I think there are so many positives and growth opportunities with Spotify for independent artists. Much more than with any other streaming service, despite a slightly higher payout from Apple Music.
Streaming is here to stay, so it's time to adapt and think outside the box with a positive attitude and see the opportunities that are available.
Here's why I think Spotify is the most important streaming platform available to artists.
Spotify is Accessible to Everyone
Spotify is the only streaming service that is accessible to everyone.
Spotify has two accounts available:
1) Free with advertisements
2) Subscription with no advertisements and higher streaming quality
Every time someone shares their music on social media through Apple Music, I'm not able to listen to it because I don't have Apple Music.
I'm not going to have two running subscriptions for the same purpose, and I'm guessing most people aren't either.
Bottom line: When you share a Spotify link, you know that everyone will be able to access your music.
Spotify Invests in Music Curators
Spotify has invested in music curators that create regularly-updated Playlists for each genre. Because of this, Spotify has creatively influenced most genres, especially Country music.
I have witnessed a handful of Country songwriters become either successful independent artists or signed to major labels because of their relationships with Spotify Country music representatives and Playlist placements.
No other streaming service has provided more opportunities for Country artists and songwriters than Spotify.
Spotify Provides Tools for Artists to Further Their Careers
Apple Music is starting to catch up with this concept, but Spotify provides powerful tools for artists to use for the marketing of new music and touring.
For example, Spotify provides artists data of where their fans are located around the world, which means that artists are able to work smarter when it comes to touring and online marketing.
The Power of the Playlist
Spotify's Playlist system is POWERFUL. Think of it as the Google of music streaming.
And you can think of Google as just a popularity contest: the algorithms in place allow for the cream to rise to the top.
Spotify Playlists work in a similar way.
For example, if an artist releases music that other people are adding to their playlists, Spotify algorithms recognize this as being popular, and that puts the artist on Spotify's radar for future potential placement on their highly-popular, curated Spotify Playlists.
And that's where the money and opportunity is.
Here's a great PDF from CD Baby on how to use this Spotify algorithm to your advantage. (Note: must provide email address for this PDF Guide, but it's worth it.)
Simple as it is, having a play count for monthly listeners and top songs for each artist on Spotify can have a powerful psychological effect on potential fans. Bigger play counts lead to more clicks and listens through the rest of your catalog.
It also gives artists extra talking points about their music for marketing.
For example, instead of saying something generic like "Hey, check out my music on Spotify!", an Artist can say "Hey, we've reached 10,000 plays on Spotify, thank you so much for listening! If you haven't listened yet, please check it out here (link)."
Everyone likes to be a part of something that's popular and on the rise!
Spotify just hit 100 Million PAID subscribers, 217 Million monthly active users, and 32% year-to-year growth. * (Compare that to Apple Music with 50 Million paid subscribers.)
You can't ignore those numbers.
The popular saying in business is, "location, location, location."
You have to be where listeners are, and the majority is on Spotify.
Once physical downloads are replaced with streaming, I believe we're going to start seeing accelerated growth and opportunities for independent artists and songwriters.
Now's the time to take streaming seriously and put in the work to build up your streaming artist profiles, and while I recommend focusing on Spotify, it's important for your music to be everywhere and to promote your music through all streaming services like Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon because there's a large chunk of people using those services, as well.
In my next article, I'll be giving you actionable steps to help you understand, build, and promote your Spotify artist account.
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