I’ve been looking at how to promote music on Spotify.
The obvious issue is that with Spotify getting serious traction in the EU and the US, any artist would be a fool not to use it, have their music on there and work out how to maximize that exposure.
I know some people think the royalties are too low and you’re better off not being on Spotify – that might work for Coldplay looking to maximize their ‘week one’ sales, but I see no justification for a DIY or indie artist not being on there. Exposure = fan attraction and relationship building. I don’t care about the ‘missed sales’ or low revenue from those plays. I want to see an artist build a long-term sustainable fan base who will pay for the ‘fan experience’ in a multitude of ways – downloads and streaming of the artist’s music being just one of those!
Get your music on Spotify
In order to use Spotify to promote your music, the first thing you need to do is get your music on there!
It’s actually pretty easy to get your music on Spotify. See their own page about that here.
If you have a deal with someone that gets your music on iTunes, then you’ll likely be able to get on Spotify easily. For example, Tunecore have you covered.
Spotify Artist Profile page
All Music Profile with biography and images
The most obvious issue that I had was that some of my artists don’t have a biography or pictures on their Spotify Artist Profile page. As far as I can tell, the Artist Profile page is generated from the metadata that is supplied by your digital distributor (or aggregator) to Spotify and then added to by pulling information from the All Music Guide.
If you have a biography and images on the All Music site, these will be pulled wholesale into Spotify. If you don’t, it looks like you need to go to All Music and submit information (although they will write the bio themselves rather than using what you submit directly). This can take a month or so but will then be pulled into Spotify. If you have any evidence that this can be done directly with Spotify, please let us know!
Send fans to your Spotify Artist Profile
I then realized that I wanted every artist site that I work on to have a prominent link in the sidebar (where you have your links to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc) direct to the artist profile on Spotify. I’d suggest that this is now a ‘de facto’ addition to the networks that you should link to.
To find the URL of your artist profile in Spotify, search for your artist name and click through to the Artist Profile page. Directly under the band name you’ll see a ‘Share’ link. Click on that and if you select the Twitter option it will bring up a pre-prepared tweet including the URL. Just cut the bit that begins with ‘http’ and that is the direct link to your Artist Profile page. (Don’t bother with the actual tweet!)
Find a Spotify icon by searching for that in Google (image search), download it and add it to your sidebar. If that makes no sense – time to ask your web nerd to help you out again!
Why do you want people to go and check you out on Spotify?
Well, it’s another place where they can listen to your music and with the addition of Facebook integration, everything they listen to on Spotify will show up in their Facebook Ticker feed (unless they bar it, which I know a lot of people have!). That could be a lot of exposure for your music to their friends.
People tend to highlight (star) or add to a playlist music that they discover on Spotify – which should encourage them to keep coming back to it. As I said at the start of this piece, I’m not bothered about the small royalty (although you will earn a little by people listening to your music on Spotify) but I am interested in them becoming fans!
Nonetheless, an obvious advantage of being on Spotify is that people can buy your music from within Spotify with one click and add it to their library.
Promote using Spotify playlists
There’s already been a lot of stuff written about how you can use Spotify playlists to promote your music once you have it on there. It’s a simple idea and one that you ought to be trying to see if it works for you.
Creating the link to share a playlist works the same way as we set out above for finding the ‘http’ link for your Artist Profile. Just go to the playlist that you’ve created in your Spotify account and ‘click ‘Share’ to get the URL.
You’ll notice that the playlist will be from your personal user profile. Now that you must have a Facebook profile to open a new Spotify account, it might be worth setting up a ‘fake’ Facebook profile using your band name as the first and last names of your new Facebook profile. That way your Spotify account will have your artist name and that’s what will appear in your playlists as ‘Created by…’. NOTE – Facebook frowns on fake profiles…a lot! So, you’re probably better of just having the playlist come from the Spotify account of one of the band members. As with Facebook, this problem is obscured for singer/songwriters who perform under their own real name!
Simple playlist rules are that, unless you’re already very successful, you don’t want to just make playlists of your own material. Make up lists of your influences, your genre or your local scene. They don’t necessarily have to have your music in at all on occasion. Just having music to talk about by referencing a playlist can give you something to engage your fans with. For example, a short blog post on your influences with a short playlist for your fans to listen to as they read could prove very popular.
Then, of course, you can leverage other online coverage by offering your playlists to other sites. How about what you’re listening to on the tour bus that you send to all the local ‘what’s on’ blogs for each town you’re visiting on tour?
There’s plenty of other ideas for promoting your music on Spotify if you have a quick search – such as ‘piggybacking’ and recording covers as discussed in this article on Ditto Music.
Advertising on Spotify
One other option is to advertise. You can do this to people who you know have Spotify by using a Facebook ad that is additionally targeted to Facebook users who ‘like’ Spotify. Or, you could advertise on Spotify itself. This can be surprisingly cheap and you’ll no doubt have noticed how an element of Spotify advertising is now de rigueur for all major label releases, whether that takes the form of the audio ads that non-premium Spotify users hear or the various banner placements that you see within Spotify.
I’ve been lucky enough to see what Spotify can do with their in-house promotion when working with major label acts. They post on their blog, mail to their newsletter (over 2 million strong), post to their Facebook page and so on. It can drive awesome amounts of traffic and interest to an artist.
Of course, that’s generally available to internationally recognized acts, but they do offer this ‘Platinum promotional package’ to bands that they take a shine to. Remember that Spotify is run by music lovers and they want to be seen to be helping grass roots acts.
How can you get spotted by them and offered this kind of help? Well no-one says that’ll be easy but do the things we always recommend – get some great music locked down, build a presence online and offline with a live following and drive attention to it. If you add a little bit of focus to Spotify’s blog and their Facebook page (by commenting there etc), who knows if that might help you get lucky!
Before you count on that though, get your music on Spotify, send your fans to your Spotify Artist Profile and creatively promote your music and your scene through playlists.
That’s the basics of how to promote music on Spotify. Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list!