Being able to promote your music on Spotify is a must for any modern producer.
After all, Spotify controls about one-third of the music streaming market.
But trying to stand out in an ocean of daily new music can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way! From playlist promotion to artwork, you can take many steps TODAY to promote your music on Spotify!
That’s what we’ll explore in this guide. Together we’ll look at:
- Why you should be on Spotify (if you’re not yet)
- How to get on Spotify if you’re a new producer
- 13 practical ways to promote your music on Spotify
So let’s dive in! 👇
Why You NEED to Be on Spotify! ✅
First things first – should you be on Spotify?
As I touched on in the intro, Spotify remains the undisputed leader in music streaming.
Sure, there are other (free) alternatives such as YouTube and Soundcloud.
But being on Spotify in 2023, especially as a beginner producer, is vital.
In my opinion, this is all down to Spotify’s “discover” features. Spotify remains the king of playlists, recommended artists, “daily mixes” curated just for you, etc… There just isn’t anywhere else you can discover so much new music.
And as a new artist, getting discovered is your number one priority (after making good music of course).
How Do You Actually Get on Spotify? 🤔 (2 Easy Methods)
If you’re just starting to produce, you might not have a Spotify profile yet.
Uploading music to Spotify isn’t as easy as YouTube or Soundcloud. But it’s also not that hard.
Essentially, you need to go through a music distributor.
These are companies that will handle the music licensing, distribution, and royalty payments for you.
If you are releasing your first track through a label, they will handle all of it for you. Your artist page will then automatically be created. All you have to do is claim it through the Spotify for Artists platform.
If you’re self-releasing, I can make one wholehearted recommendation: Distrokid.
Although the interface is a bit clunky, it’s cheap, fast and gets the job done. I have never had any issues with them:
For just USD 19.99 a year, you can upload as many songs as you want. The process is quick and simple, and collecting your royalties is fast.
And no, this is not a sponsored mention 😅
I know I know, it’s not all about the numbers. But we do want our music to get heard, no?
So let’s dive into the meat of this article: how to promote your music on Spotify.
We’ll work in order, covering the basics first. Then we’ll move on to more advanced techniques. And hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to bring your Spotify game to the next level!
1. Make Good Music 📀
Sorry for stating the super obvious – but this is where it all starts.
As they say in the business, you can’t polish a turd.
It might sound crude, but it’s true. If your track is not release-ready, no amount of fancy promotion will help.
So how do you know if your music is release-ready? That’s the million-dollar question.
Here are a few things I picked up over the years:
- Not every song you finish HAS to be released
- Seek honest feedback from producers you look up to
- A/B test your track with a professional one. Does it stand up?
- Get your track professionally mastered. A good mastering engineer will also tell you if there are any major issues in your mix.
- In a few years, you will wish you hadn’t released those first few tracks. You will improve as a producer, and that’s part of the game. But you have to start releasing at some point.
Most importantly, you need to be happy and proud of what you release.
Struggling to finish tracks? Check out our Song Finishing Accelerator Course. Or check out this video from Aden:
2. Get Your Spotify Profile Cleaned Up 🧹
A good-looking profile is the first step to promoting your music on Spotify. All you need is your Spotify for Artists profile:
This is where you can access detailed info on your streams, audience, upcoming releases, and more.
Here’s a checklist to make sure your Spotify profile is up-to-date:
- Create a bio. As they say in marketing, “KISS” – Keep It Short and Simple. Describe the genre you produce, the mood, and a little bit about yourself. Also, you can include any notable past releases and labels here:
- Add some pictures and press shots. Don’t go overboard – 3 or 4 will do. Played at any gigs? Include pictures for some added clout (yes, your brother-in-law’s birthday party counts as a gig).
- Add a cover picture. Make sure it is appealing a draws attention.
- Make sure your social media profiles are updated:
- Set an “Artist Pick”. This is a place to highlight your most recent release:
3. Work on that Artwork! 🖼️
Artwork often comes as an afterthought for many producers. But think about it for a second…
What’s the first thing people see when they scroll through Spotify? Yup, the artwork.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered a great album just because of the artwork:
Spending enough time on your artwork is vital. And you don’t need to be a graphic designer to come up with cool ideas. Nowadays, free tools such as Canva and Gimp make it super easy to do your own artwork.
If you’re releasing with a label, make sure you give your own input. Tell them the idea you have in mind, to colors you want, and the mood it has to convey.
If you’re not sure what artwork you want, draw inspiration from the pros. Scroll through Spotify: what jumps out to you? What do you like? What don’t you like?
Looking for more ways to promote your music on a budget? Check out our 5 best tips here!
4. Make your Artist Name Search-Friendly 🔍
This is a short one – but make sure people can find you quickly on Spotify!
This will also help down the line with SEO if you have a website. Before choosing a name, Google it and search for it on Spotify. Make sure nobody has it already.
5. Make Sure People Follow You! ✔️
For the longest time, I didn’t understand the purpose of following artists on Spotify.
After all, it’s not like they’re posting anything, like on Instagram or Twitter. So what’s the point?
I have two words for you: Release Radar 📡
Release Radar is a playlist automatically generated by Spotify. And it’s customized to every listener.
Updated every Friday, you get all the most recent releases from all the artists you follow.
According to Spotify, “Release Radar has become a top-three personalized playlist for listeners worldwide”.
So making sure people follow you is the best way for them to discover your new music!
6. Collaborate More (it makes it easier to promote your music on Spotify)! 🤝
Collaborations are one of the best tools to promote your music. We even wrote a whole blog post on how best to collab with other artists.
And yes, “collab bro?” has become a meme over the years.
But think of it this way. If there are 2 of you behind a track, it will be twice as easy to promote your music on Spotify.
It also means that people can discover you through another artist’s profile:
Collaborations are a great way to cross-pollinate your respective audiences. But don’t take it from me, just have a look at some of these collabs in pop music.
7. Create a Hype Train for Upcoming Releases! 🚂
Create some momentum before your track is released to the world! Here are 5 practical tips to make sure you don’t float under the radar:
- Create teaser audio/video snippets. Instagram especially makes it super easy to create short videos. Teasing the song and cutting it before the drop is an especially effective method.
- Encourage people to pre-save your track. On release day, the track will be automatically added to their Spotify library. Fanlink is one of the most popular options to do this.
- Have a few press shots lined up to promote the release. On Instagram and Facebook, pictures of people tend to be boosted by the algorithm:
- Send your track to DJs. Getting airtime in DJ mixes is one of the best ways to create awareness for an upcoming release.
- Do an early listening party on Twitch. Invite fans to listen to your upcoming release ahead of time. This could be accompanied by an Ask-Me-Anything session.
8. Get on Editorial Playlists to Promote your Music on Spotify 📼
Getting on playlists is one of the most common ways to promote your music on Spotify.
There are 2 types of “official” Spotify playlists: Personalized and Editorial.
You can recognize them thanks to the Spotify logo:
Personalized playlists are curated for each listener. These include the Release Radar, Daily Mixes, Discover Weekly, and more. They are generated algorithmically based on what Spotify thinks you will like.
Editorial playlists on the other hand are “hand-crafted” by Spotify staff. These include popular playlists such as Deep House Relax, Techno Bunker, Happy Beats, and thousands more.
So how do you get on those playlists? Through the Editorial Playlist Submission.
This happens on your Spotify for Artist page. Under “Upcoming Release”, you will be able to fill in a submission.
Try to cover as much information as possible. What genre is your track? What language? Which instruments are present? What mood does it fit?
If you’re releasing several songs at once, you can only pitch one.
So make sure you pick a track that is catchy. One where the intro isn’t too long for example. This is because it will feature on a playlist where people might not have heard of you.
A 2016 study found that 1 in 3 people skip a song in the first 10 seconds.
And I doubt this metric has improved since then. This means you have a short window to grab the listener’s attention.
The Editorial Playlist Submission is the only way for your track to feature on official Spotify playlists. So make sure to do it diligently!
9. And What About Listener Playlists…? 🧏🏻♂️
Getting on Listener Playlists is a great way to promote your music on Spotify. Listener Playlists are the ones you and I meticulously build over years and years (OK, maybe that’s just me).
This tip is all about building relationships. Get to know popular playlists in your genre and their curator.
Here’s one way to go about it. Scroll to the “Discovered On” feature for an artist in your genre:
This will tell you where a specific artist has been featured. Look for Listener Playlists (the ones without the Spotify logo) and find their curator:
You can quickly gauge how popular the playlist is by its number of likes. One additional tip here also: check if the playlist is still relevant by using the “Date Added”:
Next, jump into your socials and get chatting! Be friendly, to the point, and (I can’t stress this enough) – personalized. Do not – I repeat – do not copy-paste the same message to 25 people. This is the fastest way to stay on “read”.
Bonus points if you use the person’s actual first name:
You can also track playlist additions for your own tracks. For this, go to your Spotify for Artists portal:
Here you can see which tracks have been added to which playlists. And you can see how many streams each track has gotten in that specific playlist. A great way to find playlists to pitch future tracks to!
10. Curate Your Own Playlist to Promote Your Music on Spotify 😎
This one is definitely more of a long-term strategy. But it’s one I see many artists using.
The idea is to build a playlist that gains enough traction to boost your own tracks.
It goes a little something like this 👇
Firstly, create a playlist in the genre you produce (chances are you already have one). Make sure it is set to “Public”:
Next, add any releases you’ve had to that playlist. Make sure they fit the genre of the playlist though!
Finally, for the most crucial bit: keep it updated!
Weekly updates are a minimum. Make sure that for every update, you post about it on your socials! Tag the relevant artists too – they will often then re-post it to their own socials:
With time, more people will start following your playlist. In turn, this will convert to more people discovering your music inside!
11. Warning – There’s a Downside to Playlists… 🚨
It might sound like there are only upsides to being featured on playlists.
But there is a downside: getting onto Editorial Playlists is not the best way to grow new followers.
Sure, it can give you a bump in streaming numbers. But oftentimes, people will just put on a playlist and then go about their day. This means they will eventually listen to your track, without knowing who you are.
So is chasing playlists a waste of time? Definitely not. But just be mindful that featuring on one, big playlist won’t directly translate into loyal new listeners.
Looking for more music marketing tips? Check out our 15 favorite strategies here!
12. Re-release your Singles Multiple Times 📊
Let’s say you have a 5-track EP coming out. What artists will usually do is release 2 or 3 singles ahead of time.
But instead of releasing each single individually, you can re-release each previous single with the new one.
Let me show you an example:
You can see how each new single leading up to the album release includes the previous.
This technique is called “cascading” your singles and was supposedly invented by the Chainsmokers.
The goal is to increase the visibility of each song. If somebody wants to listen to your second single, your first single will automatically start playing when the second one is over.
13. Use Dedicated Services to Promote Your Music on Spotify 💲
Finally, let’s talk about Promotion Services. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of ads for these on Instagram before:
I am including this one last because it is not one I recommend for everyone. And it is not one I’ve experimented with personally.
The idea here is that you pay a fee to get featured on Listener Playlists.
Services like these include SoundCampaign, Daimoon Media, and Indie Music Academy:
For starters, these types of campaigns can be pricey (they start around USD 150 and can easily run up to USD500).
Some guarantee a number of streams, while others don’t. In any case, you don’t know on what playlist your song will end up. And there is no guarantee that your investment will translate into long-lasting listeners.
I personally have never used these types of services. But they do seem to have some popularity, so they might be right for you!
I hope you enjoyed this post on how to promote your music on Spotify! What are some of your favorite techniques? Did I miss out on anything? Feel free to get in touch with me at [email protected].