A Start-to-Finish Guide to Growing Your Audience
Available in more than 175 markets and boasting over 433 million users, Spotify is easily one of the top music streaming platforms on the face of the earth. While some artists still feel a bit wary about streaming due to small payouts per stream, it’s undeniable that a majority of listeners are finding their new favorite artists on Spotify, which alone can make the platform worth your time and attention. So how can you best take advantage of what Spotify has to offer to find new fans, cultivate your audience, and get the word out about your music?
First Step: Digital Distribution
Ok, so this may seem a little obvious, but your first step is to make sure you distribute your music to Spotify in the first place! It’s especially important to submit your release to Spotify well ahead of your release date. This can afford you a lot more opportunities to use the built-in tools they offer like pre-saves, playlist pitching, and more, so you can get the word out about your new releases.
Soundrop recommends that you submit your release for distribution at least three weeks in advance of your release date in general, but if you’re planning to pitch to a Spotify playlist, I’d personally recommend erring on the side of submitting at least four weeks in advance of your release date. This is due in part to our processing timelines (you can read more about those here!); that way, your release has plenty of time to be processed, delivered, and ingested by Spotify, then you can pitch to the Spotify playlist editors and they’ll be able to listen before your release goes live. It also allows a little wiggle room for error so if your release ends up on the wrong artist page or doesn’t pass through approval the first time, you’re still in good shape.
Step Two: Double-Check Your Spotify Artist Page
The next thing I’d recommend is to make sure that your release is headed to the right artist page on Spotify. There are a few ways to do this with Soundrop. If you’ve released music under your particular artist name with Soundrop before, then you can attach your Spotify Artist URI to your release when you submit it for distribution. Easy! If you haven’t released under that artist name with us before, no worries. Once your release is delivered to Spotify, just get in touch with our team and we can check in the back end of the system to make sure the release has either gone to A) your pre-existing artist page or B) a brand new page if you don’t have one already. That way, if it’s mixed up on an incorrect page, we have time to send an artist separation request to Spotify on your behalf and fix that up for you.
Step Three: Claim Your Spotify Artist Page
Now that you’ve got your release all set up on the right artist page, it’s important to claim that page and deck it out. By claiming your artist page, you’ll not only be able to customize the photos, bio, links, etc. on the page, but you’ll also gain access to detailed analytics that can help you strategize for future releases, tours, merch, etc.
Soundrop artist Ro Panuganti is big into artist page customization:
“You have Artist’s Pick and Merchandise which is actually really nice, because if you really like listening to an artist and follow them on Spotify, you end up seeing touring information and you can kind of see what the artist themselves wants you to hear. With Artist’s Pick, what’s cool is you end up picking exactly what you feel is your most important release, and you can showcase collaborations you’ve been on–it just becomes a really cool experience for someone who is on your page that is unique to this platform.”
Another fab Soundrop artist, Shiro Neko, agrees on Artist’s Pick, adding, “Besides featuring songs, you can also highlight playlists which is also a good way to build your own and bring more plays on more songs.”
By walking through your artist page and customizing it, you offer your new fans an easy starting point to your music, as well as the potential to really dive deep and get involved with your brand. You can find instructions on how to claim your artist page in our Help Center here.
Step Four: Pitch to Spotify Playlists
Alright, now let’s talk playlist pitching. Spotify hosts an enormous catalog of curated playlists for just about every mood, genre, and time of day. Setting your new track up to go live on one of these playlists is a fantastic way to gather new fans.
Ro Panuganti is all about playlist pitching:
“One thing I love about Spotify playlists is it asks for a lot of different layers–times, feelings; really niche and really important to listeners, more than the traditional genres. I lucked out by getting onto a playlist I actually listen to frequently! It was because we submitted all that music early enough that it showed up and with another key artist that had a pretty solid following.”
As we mentioned before, make sure to give yourself plenty of time before your release date for playlist pitching, since Spotify only considers new tracks for most of their editorial playlists. Our friends The Macarons Project agree: “make sure to distribute your song 2-4 weeks before release date, so you can pitch your song before the actual publish date!” With pitching, it’s important to give Spotify as much info about your track as you can, too. Spotify themselves says, “The more info we get, the better chance it has [of being placed].”
Playlist placements lead tons of Spotify artists to success every day. I personally find most of my new music from Spotify’s curated playlists and have become a fan of a ton of new artists this way. This leads me to engaging with their artist pages, sifting through their catalogs and artist’s picks, and following them, which helps boost their numbers (including where they’re placed in Spotify’s search function!).
Step Five: Set Up Your Spotify Pre-Save
To make sure you get your music into your fans’ hands right away, we highly recommend setting up a Pre-Save campaign on Spotify. You can find out a little more on how to do this through our partners, Show.co, here (and for free, might I add), but essentially this tool sets up a one-page landing-page link you can send out to your listeners before the release comes out that, when clicked, will automatically save your release to their personal libraries. That way, on your release date, they’ll be notified that the release is ready and listenable! It’s a great way to engage current fans and boost your stream counts right off the bat, and it’s super simple to set up.
Step Six: Get Into Your Analytics
“Stats are everything and for me, all of them are important,” says Shiro Neko, and luckily, Spotify gives you fantastic, in-depth analytics to use and peruse. Within Spotify for Artists, you’ll have access to all sorts of statistics, like your most popular tracks, Listeners Also Like, territories where you’re really popping, and more. These analytics can be incredibly helpful for all sorts of things, like planning tour locations and inspiring collabs.
When asked which analytics data was most important to them, The Macarons Project had a couple different answers:
“‘Source of streams’ gives us an idea of where our streams are mostly coming from. We have 43% coming from a personal listeners playlist and 17% from Spotify Algorithmic Playlist, which helps maintain our daily streams. ‘Location’ data is also useful for targeting Ads when we promote new releases.”
Meanwhile, Ro Panuganti likes to use his analytics to lean into successful series of VGM covers:
“One of the things I’ve learned is “this particular kind of song does really well” or “this series does extremely well.” My number one song is from two years ago, Fire Emblem, and my number two song is the instrumental version of that same song. I can learn that this series in particular works. […] I like to take that and figure out one good reason it’s probably doing well and one way I can learn from that on another release. Using these numbers in a way that doesn’t fry your brain allows you to find the overlap with stuff you wanted to do anyway.”
And Shiro Neko likes to use stats to inform promotion:
“If you are planning to promote your work then these stats are essential for building your strong base, as it helps tell you the source of streams and who is the most interested in you. With that, it saves you money and time, as you won’t have to experiment on different market segments. You can see your top countries, cities, and even the ages of your audience.”
So really, the only wrong way to use your Spotify for Artists analytics… is not to use them at all.
Step Seven: Use the Tools at Your Disposal
Spotify for Artists offers a ton of valuable tools. Marquee campaigns you can purchase to have your release pushed out to new listeners, Release Radar you can take advantage of, lyrics, featured Canvas videos to personalize your track… Spotify enables you to really craft a super customized listening experience for your fans. The best advice we have is to really spend some time walking through Spotify for Artists and their Help Center to learn what’s available to you.
Our featured artists had a few hot tips to share:
- Ro Panuganti: “Obviously, the draw of distributing to Spotify for some folks is revenue splits and collaborators. Check out the FAQs on the different crediting systems–a lot of people do care about how it appears with your distro: how you get it to show up as being a feature or a producer, etc. Knowing the differences in artist credits going in is really useful. Today, I think everything is a collaboration.”
- Shiro Neko: “Learning about the algorithm, reading case studies, watching videos of other artist experiences are all great ways to learn how Spotify works. Promoting your work on your social media with good tags and titles is essential. Don’t throw the idea away if you don’t have a big following, because even if just a few people will come over to listen to your song, it does matter and it’ll be nothing but positive that you are driving traffic from another site to Spotify. If you are consistently bringing traffic in, you’ll have a good chance to get featured on Spotify’s algorithmic playlists like ‘Discover Weekly,’ ‘On Replay,’ or ‘Radio.’ Those playlists will give you tons of plays, so keep it up!”
- The Macarons Project: “Make sure to always update your artist profiles when you release a new song. And overall, optimize all the features that ‘Spotify for Artists’ has to offer (from Canvas to Fan Support). There are lots of features and resources that can help independent artists grow!”
But don’t let this abundance of features overwhelm you. The main focuses are what we’ve already laid out: your artist page, playlist pitching, pre-saves, and stats. The rest is sprinkles on top of an already iced and beautiful cake. 😄
Ready to start playing around in Spotify? Distribute your music through Soundrop today!