Music Marketing 101 (in 2021) ➡ Spotify playlisting has become a big part of music marketing in the past couple years…but we don’t see many talk about the more questionable aspects with this form of music marketing specifically when it comes to music marketing agencies.
What does Spotify want from its citizens? What the Spotify marketing app wants is musicians to do things right.
When will Spotify Reward The Artist?
1- Engage the users they show their music to.
2- Clean up their profile and keep it regularly up to date.
3- Use their Spotify for Artists portal to put up a few current/ presentable pictures that are high-res/ that look good.
4- Update the artist bio with something compelling that would make people want to listen to more of your music. Imagine an editorial playlist curator reading it. Make an impression.
5- Link your social media pages.
6- Enter your latest single or playlist in the artist pick field.
7- Regularly update your user playlist. (which we will get way more into in this article).
(btw…if the above is done right, it will also increase your Spotify Editorial playlist pitch approval rates).
Your Release Strategy
But all of the above won’t even matter if your release strategy is not right.
1- Make sure you have a new release at least every 6-8 weeks.
2- Make sure to submit it to the Spotify editorial playlists.
If you don’t know how to make a great editorial playlist pitch, contact MusicPromToday here.
Don’t waste your time on pre-saves, they don’t matter much. Especially if you are just starting. What matters is what you do after your release comes out.
When you make it to your release day.
Release days are a lot like throwing stones in a lake. The bigger the splash you make at first, the bigger the ripple the pond will have. (but keep in mind.. you need a healthy growth rate too)
The easier it will become to promote your records as that ripple will last longer and make your music promotions campaign easier.
Hey! Don’t forget social media:
1- You should be responding to comments on YouTube and Instagram.
2- You should go live on Instagram and talk to people on social media.
3- You should be very active and engaging.
If you get added to a playlist, share it on your social media pages! It can only help the algorithms. This will encourage them to add you more in the future.
Yes, that’s a lot of work for an artist: creating content, messaging, engaging and networking. This is also where deep knowledge in advertising and the Google, Facebook and pop-up ad space will help you take your numbers to a whole new level. Check out our story on 5 Powerful Facebook Tips to Boost Your Music Marketing or Facebook music campaign insights here. A few shortcuts to help you save 50 hours of research.
Just make sure you don’t pay anyone who asks for money to get you on a playlist, that is some con artist strategy and a ripoff. We’ll dive deep in this shortly.
You may also think of employing services like Submit Hub or others to spot a match and pay these clubs of playlisters. Usually they charge you a fee to have playlist curators hear your music… is that genuine love? It’s an increase of reach but here’s the catch:
- These services DO NOT work for every artist or band.
- They work for very few and it’s not worth the investment.
- Some artists get added to great playlists for little money.. while others spend a fortune and get nothing in return.
- It’s a gamble and at MPT, we don’t recommend to gamble with your budget no matter how small or large it is… in the hopes of MAYBE getting exposure or playlisted.
- You will not land 40 or even 100 playlist approvals and you will not get a 100K streams from them. Firstly, that is not an end goal you should have in mind.
- These platforms distract you from the right avenues to focus on to grow your reach.
How much is a listener worth to you per dollar?
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
Keep in mind, most paid playlists will not scale enough to help you get enough listeners per dollar. If you’re thinking about carpet bombing these and submitting to every playlist out there…it’s never going to be worth the money and it’s not going to go well for your wallet. These services tend to work best for people who submit to a few playlists who seem to be a perfect fit and then hope for the best. (no big expectations)
What You Need To Do:
Making your own playlist and finding smaller and similar acts in your genre and adding them and tagging them on social media will bring you reach. Let’s say your local scene… people in your micro genre or people who have written songs about the same things or whatever creative ideas you have. If you do those playlists every week and continually tag and reach out to them on social media, you increase your chances of getting similar fans and favor the algorithm.
We agree that this is time consuming. It takes hustle, resource and energy to do what others are not willing to do. To find out similar acts and the right size of act, analyze their fans, to tag them, mention and engage with the artists…but it’s the best trick and could really help set you up for bigger things in the future.
One of the hardest things for musicians to do seems to keep their attention on talking about their song and making content that keeps reminding people to listen, telling stories about what the song is about, doing play throughs, unboxing of the daw session, talking about the lyrics or showing behind the scenes or whatever else you could do to keep commands. Let’s face it, a well advertising Instagram story and a few posts on your timeline about the release won’t do all the job, even though they look great.
Sometimes these playlisters from Spotify are also bloggers that are influential in their bubble, win-win situation for your music pr campaigns?
In a nutshell, these strategies all set you up to grow your relationship with your fans while getting you playlisted. They will also ease the music marketing promotion of your next song and allow you to do better than your last one.
2R’s: Rinse, repeat.
Repeat the above over and over again. This nearly never works unless you’re using consistent sustained music promo.
Promo is not just dumping in cash in your releases, meaning…:
1- You need to release music regularly. Putting out two to three tracks isn’t going to do the trick.
2- You have to release a string of records and sustain it.
3- Work hard to promote it.
4- But also engage with advertising. It fuels your campaign and exponentially grows engagement and kicks in the algorithm in your favor. These platforms love getting paid.
Remember: Getting playlists that are a good fit for your niche influences the algorithm more rather than getting on playlists that just drives traffic, numbers and impressions. In other words, if you’re a dance music artists, there’s no use to land a Jazz or Classical music playlist. This significantly increases your chances of getting editorial playlisting within your genre too.
WHAT SPOTIFY RECOMMENDS
From time to time Spotify, MTV or other big corporate behemoths come out with these fan studies and while they can seem totally lame…upon first glance, we always find these super interesting since these are some of the only organizations who have the money to study fans habits and they do it since they want to understand how to make more money with their own apps.
Spotify recently put out a new fan study where they show how one artist can up their game on their platform.
What’s in this fan study?
First, we all want to learn how to get more streams and Spotify has some advice one of the keys to blowing up your streaming numbers is to get fans to hold on to your song and whether that’s saving or playlisting them it doesn’t really matter as they say a fan that saves your track will listen to it 3 times more than a fan who doesn’t. Game changer.
Spotify’s free promo cards
They allow you to link your song after it’s been released and remind your fans to stream it with a tool so it gives them a nudge to save it as well.
Make a call to action to playlist your new song from your Twitter and your Instagram stories which can really help rank up those saves.
FACT: After a listener adds you to a personal playlist… they’ll listen to you 4X more and look at your profile 12% more and this seems to actually help with your relationship building with fans since they say in fact 60% percent of all merch purchased from Spotify comes from listeners who have playlisted the artist.
Drop music regularly. Spotify Marquee Campaigns
The best thing you could be doing is dropping music regularly…since those new songs you drop also help the other songs you’ve put out.. since according to the Spotify catalog:
Streams get a 15 to 20% lift on release day. Spotify suggests using their new marquee campaigns to promote your music but unfortunately they aren’t available to everyone quite yet but they say running a marquee makes you twice as likely to be playlisted by a user but their promo cards are effectively the same thing and they are available to everyone.
In music marketing, building relationships makes a big difference and Spotify gives actual data why your biggest fans can drive a massive amount of streams. On average the top 5% of your fans are listening 6 times more than the rest.
Spotify suggests that you make more music and a talk show to drive those streams…For those who are not familiar, Spotify teamed with Anchor FM to allow you to make DJ sets, to narrate a podcast and have your own episodes..a place where you can talk to your fans about music and play your own music as well as music from other people.
Spotify builds these products because they are in the business of keeping people on Spotify. They make tools that do all this so if you use them they will keep users on-app and hence why they invest in them.
Spotify says that adding or updating a canvas on your track will increase shares by 10.7%
Consistent sustained promotion is the most important thing and so many artists get horrified when the official release date isn’t their biggest day… but here’s a fact: 53% of releases peak more than 7 days after release… this means you have to keep promoting after the main release week to make sure you’re reaching anyone who missed the initial drop.
So often promoting a song takes months before it peaks, some say up to 180 days before it can go viral… but so many musicians never even work it for those full seven days.
We have to remember that it’s actually a bad thing for release day to be the biggest day for you and your promotions should be ramping up all the time, instead of seeing the hype dying if you had a good day 1. New artists: make sure every week is just bigger than the last one.
Many artists and bands are versatile but they skip around genres like it’s a contest.
FACT: Spotify wants you to realize that listeners are less closed minded than many people think and 53% of metal fans also follow a hip-hop artist and Spotify has recognized this as they now say it’s possible to tag your tracks with multiple genres when pitching them to playlists.
It’s time for artists to feel less confined when it’s time to pitch and realize the world is more fluid.
Signs That a Playlist is Worthless
A) How to Weed Out The Bad Guys: Analyze Playlists
A lot of Spotify’s editorial playlists like New Music Friday or Pop Revolution may drive 10-15K streams in a week to your track depending on your position. If you landed on a playlist that’s generating you 20-30K streams in a week and the playlist has much less followers than those streams, you are most probably getting bots and click farms. Avoid this at all costs otherwise not only Spotify will delete your track, but may also disable your entire artist page. Even if the pitch sounds promising and affordable. Do not fall for the trap.
Some playlists will ask for a monthly fee or a fee for a position, avoid those as well.
B) Playlist Influencers You Really Need
Getting playlisted is great. What you really want is people adding your songs because they love it not because they were told to. Where as, a real influencer, will make their followers add your songs to their personal playlist too and not ask for a penny in return if they genuinely like it. And this builds momentum.
Put it this way…when you create a YouTube channel, or a playlist….you start for fun or as a hobby… you pour your heart and soul and it isn’t just a financial decision, so try to find people that will add your record because they actually like it and not for $$$ in return.
C) Not all Placements Are Bad But Track Engagement Matters: Ads To The Rescue?
You can’t actually track engagement of songs over time (like how many seconds or minutes were played) which if you didn’t know is one of the key characteristics that Spotify uses to determine whether to place your song on an algorithmic playlist…. What you can do is manually track engagement!
Quality streams, will drive quality listeners and a good engagement ratio like a good save rate and followers for example.
An average quality playlisting campaign may drive 3-4% engagement, where as an Instagram story ad campaign promoting your release can drive up to 7-10% engagement (saves/listeners).
An ad campaign will also help skyrocket your profile views and ‘listeners own plays’ on Spotify, which is good for long term growth.
The longer you run an ad campaign driving Spotify streams and tabulate your results, you realize that the results fluctuate but work better than playlisting. This also and indirectly helps you get algorithmic plays too.
Avoid paying an individual offering your a playlist position. Some are smart and label the transaction as a ‘donation’ – avoid them. Activities of those types violate the Spotify terms and can get your page deleted at any time. Why take the risk?
Spotify is in the interest of getting people on their platform and staying there as much as possible. So when you’re sending a bunch of people from somewhere else to Spotify that’s one signal Spotify uses to think this person has an engaged audience and we want to find more of those people that will like this. If you’re just picking up numbers in a playlist you’re not helping Spotify at all so why should they help you.
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