Getting featured on a Spotify playlist is a major step in your career. Making it onto a curated playlist with hundreds of thousands of followers is more effective and just as prestigious as a feature in Rolling Stone in our humble opinion. And although Spotify for Indie and DIY Artists may sometimes seem like an untameable beast, it really isn’t.
Here are some real tips we’ve seen work for artists who started out with <1000 streams on all their songs. Without any help from a label.
TAME THE BEAST
First, you gotta get familiar with the way Spotify works. It’s a streaming platform alright. But it comes with tools, tricks and best practices you need to fully understand.
SPOTIFY FOR ARTISTS
Spotify for Artists should be one of your daily dashboards.
This is the place that allows you to create a beautiful profile and keep an eye on how our music is performing. Make sure you use amazing shots as your profile and header pictures. Professional and engaging ones. It can make a tremendous difference when you’ll share a link to your profile. People are more likely to click, stream and fall in love with your music if they find your picture appealing enough to wanna know more.
Also, the Spotify curators (and other playlist curators) will care about how engaging your artist profile is. It means that you care, that you’re working and on top of it.
So be sure to:
- share a compelling biography
- update your Songkick Tourbox so that your next gigs show up on Spotify
- use your best pictures and update them from time to time
- always have an artist pick that is live
Use your own data too: Keep track of your social activities and newsletters to see how they influence your streams. Did your fans stream you more after you sent that email blast? Good. If not, think about how you can improve the next one.
Another good thing to do is compare yourself with other artists of the same level and genre. Are they doing much better? Then check out what they’re up to and let them inspire your strategy. Are they doing less good? Then you may be doing something right already.
SET YOUR MIND ON DATA AND ANALYTICS
The word in the industry is there is no such thing as a Spotify payola. And we say hurray to that! This means that even the little guys get a chance, even if they need to work much harder to get on a curator’s radar without the muscles of a label team to help.
How do you get on a Spotify curator’s radar? There are a few ways.
Press of course, is one of them (one we can help with too). Spotify curators are music fans and they are obviously passionate about new music. So much that they made it their job. You bet they have their favourite music blogs on top of reading the mainstream music press. Discovery and indie blogs are therefore just as important as Stereogum. One more reason not to neglect the smaller blogs, especially those that are linked to HypeM.
Then you gotta get your own streams started (following the tips below). Spotify is an analytics driven beast, always was and always will be. The company works with very powerful and accurate algorithms that allow us to discover music in the most relevant way. To do so, they constantly analyze data.
How many people are streaming your music? How many new followers do you get monthly? Are there peaks that would mean you’re actively promoting your music on Spotify?
Are you releasing regularly and does it look like there is a pattern and strategy in place? Do your followers listen to important or influential artists as well – meaning you could be just as good as those more famous guys?
There’s tons of information in a stream, a new follower, a related artist. And Spotify knows how to read and make the most of that information.
This is why you gotta make sure something is happening on your Spotify account at all times.
MAKE IT A PRIORITY
If the Spotify for Artists dashboard should be one of these tabs you never close, your Spotify account should also be active all the time. There are simple ways to keep up.
CREATE GOOD PLAYLISTS
Give something to the people. Make them great playlists with music that has inspired you, music you think your audience would truly love to discover. Be creative and find engaging themes.
Some of the first playlists that really took off before the curated ones even existed were interesting collections where people would also learn something. I.e have something to talk about. Like the famous “covers that are more famous than the original”. Find your own theme and nail it.
You can sometimes be sneaky and add your music to the list. But only do it if it fits. Otherwise you’ll jeopardize the quality and coherence of your playlist and people will simply not listen to it.
SHARE YOUR MUSIC
Obviously, share your music on Spotify. Twitter and Instagram are great for that because you need to constantly share content. So just go for it.
Design alternative artworks that relate to the song so you don’t only and always share the same cover artwork. For instance, use a cool picture with a few words from the lyrics. It’s so easy to do using Spark or Canva. This’ll allow you to share the same song more often without exhausting your audience.
SHARE OTHER ARTISTS’ MUSIC
Be nice! And help promote other indie or diy artists you love. If you’re lucky, they’ll do the same for you. If not, you’re still the one who helps your fans discover more music and who is nice enough to post something else than their own stuff from time to time. You’re the cool guy really.
And if you’re using the #NowPlaying and #Spotify # regularly, this may also get you on someone’s radar.
So be generous and get sharing.
GET MORE FOLLOWERS
To get more followers, you literally have to ask and invite people to follow you. Be shameless. But not desperate.
Share your Spotify Artist link on all your social networks on a regular basis. Make sure to use the Spotify widgets on your website too.
If you can, set up a social unlock campaign in which people need to follow you on Spotify to get something for free: a free download, a free +1 at your next gig, access to an alternative take of your most popular song…be creative. And generous.
Also make sure you embed your Spotify follow button your website (front page, contact page, music page).
Finally, don’t be discouraged if the numbers don’t grow like crazy at a fast pace. That is the Spotify pace. Because it’s real, organic and extremely competitive. You can’t buy fake followers like on Twitter. That would look stupid anyway if they don’t stream your music. Know these Twitter accounts with 50K followers and 1 to 0 like per tweet? Not good.
There is no easy way and there isn’t one step by step guide that works for every one or that will guarantee a feature. But if you keep working hard and follow these guidelines, you’ll definitely improve your chances significantly.
Spotify for Artists recently released a series of short and helpful videos to make the most out of Spotify as an indie or diy artists. Be sure to check them out.
Feel like you could use a little help with your strategy? We’re here, get in touch.