Since Spotify launched in 2006, it has become an absolute giant in the music industry.
In fact, the streaming boom has fundamentally changed how we listen to music; we've moved from tangible products like albums and records, to digital versions of those things, and now the ability to instantly stream a virtually unlimited catalog of music right from our phone or computer at a second's notice.
I have experience working directly with Spotify, pitching playlists and I've seen this trend boom over the past 5 years or so.
Getting your music onto a playlist with millions of followers can be a huge moment for you as a music producer, and promoting your music on Spotify can be a great way to achieve this.
So, in this article, we are going to take a break from our usual production focused content and discuss some of the strategies for promoting your music on Spotify.
The importance of promotion.
This side of being a musician can often be overlooked. The internet is saturated with so many educational resources on how to make your music, that it can then be a little bit daunting when you've finished, and you can be left wondering what do I do now?
Ultimately, if you're making music, chances are you want people to hear it.
Promotion is a key way you achieve this. Because you could be the best music producer in the world, but if your music isn't getting out there for people to hear, no is going to know how good you are!
If you've got some money to spend on promotion, you can achieve a good amount of exposure, which is often what it's all about. But that's not to say that you need to put money behind it, there are free options out there.
So, let's assume you're going to be pushing your music on Spotify, and we will dive into what the promotion options are on their platform.
Generally speaking, you can either use paid promotion, or organic promotion when it comes to Spotify.
The latter relies on you using the tools in Spotify to get your music exposure, such as likes, followers and playlist spots. I can speak from experience on this topic; many music companies will want to work with artists who have tonnes of followers on Spotify, and similarly will shun artists as relative nobodies if they have no followers.
The former type of promotion we mentioned includes paying for various types of ads on Spotify. These include banner or pop-up ads, as well as audio ones.
Let's compare the two options.
Paid Promotion on Spotify
These types of ads come in two main types; there's the big marquee banner that sits on the home page of Spotify when users open it, and then there are the audio/video adverts that play to free users between streams.
As I mentioned previously, I used to work doing this type of promotion for artists, and in general, we saw mixed results.
Spotify Ad Studio is a cool feature which allows you to create scripts for your ads, and you'll get an audio demo sent back to you in a pretty quick turn around time. You can also send in your own recorded audio for the ad if you want, which will be vetted by Spotify.
This approach is all about reach, rather than targeting a specific audience.
We were running ads in this format, but we didn't see super great results.
Generally, this sort of ad has become synonymous with brands pushing products or services to Spotify users, and as such is less likely to be successful if you're pushing your music.
The majority of those ads you hear on a free Spotify account aren't for musicians releasing new tracks or albums, they're for food services, insurance or other mundane and non-musical options.
Having said that though, it isn't to say that it's a waste of time. Getting your music out there, if you have the budget to do so, is always worth it for exposure.
The other type of ad on Spotify is the large marquee banner which sits on the home page of all users. This is only available to artists with over 2500 followers, or more than 15000 streams in the past 28 days.
So already, this is clearly aimed at bigger and more established artists.
The budget for a marquee ad is $100 if you're running it through Spotify for Artists, and $250 through their local representatives, and it's taken up on a cost-per-click basis, meaning you only pay if someone actually clicks on the ad. Your ad runs until your budget is spent, or for 10 days, whichever comes soonest.
It's good because you can target what Spotify calls your reachable audience, meaning a tailored group of your listeners and followers which Spotify generates, and this is based on whether they've shown interest in your music through likes or follows.
You can see in the image above that it opens up a Marquee as soon as a user opens up the app, so this is a really good tool to use providing you meet the criteria of having enouogh followers and reach to make the ad viable.
So, there are two ways you can use paid promotion on Spotify, but not everyone has a budget available, or meets the follower requirements to be able to get the most out of this type of paid promotion.
So what about free promotion using Spotify?
Promo without paying.
There are various ways you can approach promoting your music on Spotify without having to pay for it.
We'll go over a few of these options here, because they can be really helpful in getting your music heard, which is the point of music after all!
Whether these serve as a springboard to develop your following so you can look into thel ikes of a Marquee ad, or if you're just wanting to grow your listener base, these techniques for promoting your music are tried and tested, and they should get you results if you do them right!
It's All About Playlists
One of the biggest lessons I learned when working directly with Spotify was the importance of playlists. Over time, our label puta lot of time and attention into curating our own playlists, but also pushing our music for placement on other top name playlists.
We should all be familiar with these; Spotify have their own in-house playlists, some of which have millions of followers. There are usually genre specific ones too, so aiming to get your music on these playlists is a good goal. You can submit directly to Spotify thorugh your Spotify for Artists page, more on this shortly.
But it isn't just Spotify, there are plenty of other companies who have set up their own huge playlists on the platform, so do some searching for relevant playlists featuring music similar to yours, and find out how you can submit music for them.
Finally, have your own Spotify playlist containing your music, but also music you like too. This is a great way to engage with your fans; they're getting a 'peek behind the curtain' and seeing exactly what music inspires you, but they're also listening to your tracks too. If you can rack up followers on a playlist, this is a way to guarantee streams of your music, providing you've got some of your own tunes in there too!
Think of Spotify as a Social Media
The way the algorithm works on Spotify is that if you're getting lots of fan interactions, you're more likely to get picked up for playlist spots. Fan engagement sends huge signals to the algorithm that your music is being listened to by a specific group of people.
Further than this though, is the fact that the algorithm can then recommend your tracks to people in a similar demographic to those who are following and interacting with your music.
So you should think of your Spotify page as another channel of your social media. You can claim your Spotify for Artists profile, meaning you can post your bio and photos, create a custom playlist that's on your profile, and - most importantly - see analytics data about who is listening to your music and where.
Sending your fans from your other social media pages such as Instagram or Facebook and telling them to follow you on Spotify gives you another way to interact with them. You can then advertise directly to them within Spotify
Other important tactics
There are other things you can do on Spotify to engage with your audience and make sure you're feeding the algorithm all the data it needs to get your music heard by more people.
One method is to add lyrics to your tracks (if they contain sung vocals, that is) which is another way to allow fans to engage.
But you can also run a Pre-Save Campaign on an upcoming release.
This allows fans to pre-save a track to their library before it releases, so as soon as it drops it appears for them. This is a huge way to generate some interest around the track, and the algorithm will be paying attention!
The key is; the more interactions you're having, the more you're likely to be picked up by the algorithm.
Is promotion worth the time and money?
This is a big question.
As musicians, we generally want people to hear the music we make. In a world which is growing ever more saturated with music and content, it can often be difficult to get our voices heard.
So promotion is essential if you want to ensure engagement with your art.
On the one hand, if you have the money behind you, then paying to get your msuic promoted on Spotify can be a lucrative endeavour; you're getting more exposure and potentially bringing in lots of new fans.
However, there's always the risk that you'll only see a small return based on the money you put in, so you should only do this if it's something you are absolutely sure about.
On the other hand, the free promotional options we discussed (which is nowhere near the only set of options available to you) are more of a time investment than a financial one, and this is always worth it to get people to hear your music.
These are things you should be doing as an artist if you're releasing your music onto Spotify. They're good tricks you can do to get the algorithm to pick up your music and help elevate it to suggested playlsits for users, as well as aiming for placement on Spotify playlists.
As a broad topic, promotion is something you should be clued up about once you're in a position to be doing it. Don't get ahead of yourself and worry about promoting before you have anything to promote, but once you have a solid catalog of music that you want to share with an audience, you should know the tools that will help you get it out there.
So, thanks for checking in with us here at Top Music Arts. As we mentioend earlier, this was a bit of a break from our usual production focused content, but if you're looking for some inspiration for your music, why not check out the deals we have on our Ableton Project Templates?
These are a really good way of learning all the tricks and techniques that go into a professionally produced track, and you can grab some great deals now!