How to Grow Your Presence on Spotify
Tips and Tricks to grow your traffic on Spotify Music
Ok, so you have your music on Spotify. But you notice that your numbers aren't quite what they should be. Not many people are following you or you aren't getting much traffic. Well let's start by breaking a few things down:
This represents how many people are actually following your account. Don't be fooled though. Follows doesn't automatically translate to streams or listens. Many people follow users and then completely forget about them. However, to the average viewer, seeing your profile with a large following will subconsciously trick them into thinking you are a big deal. It's just the way the brain works—stats work.
A high follower count also ups your Spotify analytics, meaning that if you appear more popular, you will be presented to more people to listen to your music—so keep those stats high!
Streams are the amount of times your song is played in a day. You ideally do not want this number to be way bigger than your listens. This is because one person could stream your song 50 times in one day, but Spotify only pays you per UNIQUE listen, so regardless of how many times that person streams it in a day—you are only going to get paid for one listen. Still, it is a good indicator of how many times your song is played in a day.
Listens, as I said above, are the amount of times unique plays are streamed of your music. This is your bread and butter. You want to focus on this stat more than almost anything else. These are the stats that will reflect how much you get paid. Not that you will get paid much per listen—it's less than a penny per listen, but get enough songs up and those add up.
Playlists are the other most important thing you must focus on. While yes if you are an insanely popular artist, people will find you just by searching for you—most people are not going to search for you. When you start on Spotify nobody actually knows who you even are, and it's only through random chance that the Spotify algorithms might actually display your work for others.
So for all ordinary people you will want to get on
as. many. playlists. as. possible.
Now let us split up playlists into three categories:
High Content, Low Followers: These will have hundreds of songs but few followers—these are the worst ones to get on, and your likelihood of being heard is rather low. In addition, all embedded playlist links only show the first 100 songs, so if you're 101 or over, there is a pretty good chance you will almost never be heard. Still, if you're on it, it doesn't hurt—just don't bet your stats on it.
High Content, High Followers: This is slightly better. These playlists are usually built in such a way that people have to join them in order to be added to them. Over time the amount of people following them grows and grows as these people never stop following them. They often have several hundreds of songs on them. You may have a better chance of being heard here, as these people are more likely to listen to the songs as they are on the playlists. However, your listening stats will probably decay over time as these people simply tire of hearing the same songs over and over, and the amount of new users following it is a slow trickle.
Low Content, Low Followers: This may seem like a bad place to put your music, and it can be depending on how active the playlist is, but it can also be a good place to invest your music.
If the playlist is old, and still has very few songs and playlists, don't expect to get much traffic from it as the person is investing no effort into growing the playlist.
However, if the playlist is NEW with very few people on it, then you have a very good chance of being high up on the playlist, so when it DOES finally grow and be huge, you will be high enough up to be viewed and played by a LOT of people. These have massive potential, esp. for more commercial playlists like hip-hop piano and EDM.
Low Content, High Followers: These are the BEST playlists to get on. However there are two variations of this.
The first is a playlist where the curator is simply SUPER PICKY about which songs they add on. They have a ton of followers because the followers want to follow quality. If you get on this playlist you have a great chance to get a ton of traffic because both the playlist curator and the playlist followers consider your music to be top notch. This is the ideal playlist to be on, as you will likely never be removed from it and enjoy great stats for years to come.
The second is less desirable. It involves a playlist where the featured songs only last about a month before being replaced by new songs. They have lots of followers, because the followers have built up over time and are interested in the ever-shifting songs that appear on this playlist, like a radio. You will get a ton of attention while you are on it, but that will drop drastically once you are removed off it. These playlists are good though in getting exposure. People learn who you are, like your songs, and you may get placed on a more permanent playlist off of this one. These are ideal for people just starting out.
Another great thing you can do is curate your own playlist. This brings people to you and you get to choose who you wish to feature.
So now you know all the terminology, what is the next step? The next step is to get your artist profile.
You go here, verify you are the artist in question and voila! You will get a blue check mark beside your name on Spotify. This verifies that Spotify has verified you are the artist. This page will become your bible.
This page updates only once daily, at varying times, so it is kind of annoying that way. A live updating page would be much better but we can't have everything. Below I shall detail every part of this site.
The first thing of note will be the live updated amount of people listening to your music at the top left hand corner on the "home" page (_ listening now)
This will give you a general idea how many people are listening to you at any given time, and at what times of the day they listen to you the most. This can help you in determining when to advertise and drop your music.
Below this you will see tips and videos to help you grow your audience. You will also see milestones submitted here. For instance if say your song reaches 100 listeners or streams, it will show as a milestone here.
Next is the "This week" category that shows you how your stats grew from the previous week. Good to measure your demographics.Shows whether your listeners, streams, and followers went up or down from the previous week.
Expect these to fluctuate wildly as peoples' moods change and you are added and removed from various playlists. Be sure to not wait too long to upload new music as well or peoples' interests will slowly wane from you. People can only listen to the same songs so many times!
Next is the "Trending songs" category, which shows which of your songs are performing the best. These will show on the "top 10" at the top of your artist profile. You will see the song or album listed as well as the streaming number. Click "all songs" to view the complete list.
Next is the "Top Playlists" category, which shows you which playlists you are in that are providing you with the most amount of traffic. This one is a bit frustrating as it does not show you ALL the playlists you are in, but it is a pretty good analytic regardless. Click "all playlists" to see more.
The first tab in this music tab is the Songs tab. In this tab you will see ALL your songs listed that have been listened to. At the top right you have the choice of viewing the last 24 hours, the last week, the last 28 days, since 2015, or all-time. This is a great way to monitor traffic, and see which songs are doing well and why.
If you have a ton of songs, you can also use the search bar to search for a specific one.
Next is the Releases tab. This shows all your songs played with the same options above—except this time it is grouped by album, ep, or single.
An album needs to have 10 or more songs to be considered an album by Spotify.
An EP needs to have up to two to nine songs to be considered an EP by Spotify.
A single is just one song.
You will see four columns:
Streams, Listeners, Saved, First released.
These have one for the whole album itself, and for each individual release.
Saved is how many people have clicked the "heart" icon beside the song and saved it to their listening queue.
First released refers to the copyright of the album single or EP.
Next is the Playlists tab. These are playlists created and tailored to a listener’s taste using algorithms. Spotify automatically makes them for you.
The first is the Release Radar. This shows new releases from everyone you follow put int a nice list for you to listen to. In this case it shows release radars of other people who have heard your music on their release radar, as well as your own, if you follow yourself.
The second is Your Daily Mix. This creates playlists of people that you follow or that you have on your playlists for easy listening. As this number of people grows it will create multiple separate playlists (Daily Mix 1, Daily Mix 2 etc). It loads more songs in the playlist as you listen. This is an easy way to keep track of music of the people you are interested in without actually having to go to their profile to listen to their music.
The third is Artist Radio. This shows you what songs of yours are being played from your radio—you can make an artist radio or convert a playlist into a radio playlist. If you do so it will add similar people to a playlist radio along with your own songs.
The fourth is Discover Weekly. A weekly collection of songs a listener hasn’t heard yet that introduces your music to fans based on their taste. You may find that this one is often empty.
Editorial is the next category on this page. This one is tough to get on. You have to have been picked up by Spotify's editorial team and put on editorial playlists. This is the biggest way to be seen, but also the toughest to get on. You also have to communicate with your distributor if you wish to be considered for editorial playlists so that they have enough time to evaluate your album ep or single. If you use a distributor such as dittomusic you must send them an email along with your newest submission requesting this.
Listener is the last category on this page. Listener is playlists made by Spotify listeners. This is where you see who is putting your music in their playlists. Unfortunately this list is not extensive—clicking "show all" will not show every playlist you are in—it will say __ of __ which is rather annoying—I would prefer to see them all.
This will show you how many of each of your songs are on each playlist though, which is useful to know.
Last is the Upcoming tab. When you have unreleased music you’ll find it here. Note: expect a gap between the date you upload music to a distributor or label, and when it appears here. This can be several days depending on the distributor.
This is also where you’ll be able to submit a song to Spotify editors for playlist consideration.
This is when you have to send an email to your distributor or they will release it a couple days before scheduled release to Spotify and Spotify will not have enough time to evaluate it. They need at least a week to evaluate your submission.
NOOOW we get into the meat of the page—this is where you will spend more of your time. This shows the graphical charts that show you visually how your traffic is doing over time. The top shows the graphical charts split into streamers, listeners, and followers divided into daily weekly, every 28 days, 2015 and all time.
It also shows you your monthly amount of listeners, and how much of a percent it has increased from the previous month. This goes up and down daily.
Below that shows you where your streams comes from. This is also vital. Ideally you want the second to fifth categories to be the highest.
Your Profile and Catalog will be the most unreliable way to maintain listeners, as will "Other" as that is usually links on other sites to bring people to your work.
Listeners own Playlists is one of the most ideal, as is Listeners of other Playlists.
Spotify Algorithmic Playlists will increase the more you submit, the more your stats increase, and the more you actually use Spotify to listen to music. The more they see you participating the more they will showcase you to other people. Expect this to slooowly go up in time.
Spotify editorial playlists is the most coveted but the hardest to get on. Don't feel bad if this is low or at 0 percent for you.
Their Age is the next category. Spotify has more of a young person demographic—so the age range that will be the highest is the age range of 18 to 35. You would be well advised to focus mainly on this demographic. Old fuddy duddies don't know how to use Spotify haha..
Anything below 18 years of age tends to be very minimal, and anything after 35 tends to peter down.
The gender difference will depend purely on where your traffic is coming from. America tends to be mostly male listeners and "non gender binary conforming" while the rest of the world appears to be more split between male and female. Also EDM is more male, while more emotional "pretty" music tends to be more female, but it seems that regardless, more men seem to listen to music on Spotify than females.
Next category is Listeners also like. This shows you related artists similar to your style that your music listeners are also listening to. This does not become active until you hit a certain threshold of traffic on your submissions as it has to find a consistent average of listeners that listen to the same related artists.
Next category is Top countries. This is one of the most interesting. It shows a list of countries that have played your music the most, as well as a physical map which shows countries coloured in darker the more they listened to it. For most people their most listened to audience will be in the states—the states is just the most of any demographic regardless. However if you are from a certain country you may find you have a cult following there—or if you make certain music you may find you have cult followings in countries that highly value that music. You may even find weird niche followings in places you never even imagined! It's fascinating to observe! Personally my biggest listeners are in places that are asian and American, as well as the UK and Germany, because I make EDM ambient and videogame music.
Last but not least is your profile tab. This shows you your spotify page as others will see it. here you can update your bio, add a picture of yourself, and highlight your latest comments for people to see or your latest album release.
This shows your top 10 songs, your albums, EPs, and singles, and your artist playlists. Here is where you can add playlists you either curate or have been added to so that people can scroll through them when, or if, they visit your page. This is a good way to advertise to others other peoples playlists as well, as well as keep track of which playlists you are on.
It also is useful in that it shows the amount of songs on a playlist and how many followers are on that playlist. This demographic is very important as it shows you the health of the playlists you are on. It also allows you to periodically check up on them to make sure you are still ON these playlists, and to remove them from your feed if you are not.
This is your personal profile area—here you can post images of yourself, your social media links, and a bio.
here you can show which concerts you have coming up for people who want to keep track of your touring. Spotify will share Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Songkick, and AXS listings on Spotify and in emails they send to your followers. You’ll also see stats on listeners and followers in cities you’ll be visiting.
So yeah, as you can see, it's a VERY useful tool!
So you have your music, you have your artist analytics page to keep track of, but still, nobody knows who you are so how do you remedy this?
Well the first and most obvious of course is social media. On spotify, if you click the ... beside any song profile or album, you can share it to social media. The app will have options the desktop version doesn't have—like whatsapp, instagram etc.
Share it everywhere, but don't overdo it. If you are sharing every day or every week people are going to get annoyed, and frankly sick of you, and thus turn them off you. Try doing it once a month or less if you can. This also lets your latest release saturate quite a bit before moving on to the next one.
Think of every new submission like throwing a log on the fire—wait until it burns down to ashes before you throw another one on the fire—this will prolong the fire as well as your own resources.
Next you will want to get yourself on some playlists. This can be difficult but there are sites that you can join to help you with this. Soundplate is one and will allow you to both submit music to playlists and also curate your own playlists. Soundplate is important because anyone that willows your playlist will also follow your personal profile on Spotify. You can also add artist and playlist links that they must follow in order to be on your playlist, and while some may unfollow after most of them will not. This will get people used to hearing your music in their weekly radar and other auto generated playlists and slowly trickle your music into peoples experiences.
You really should make and join playlists of the music that you make, so that other like people listen to you and network with you. I make quite a diverse array of genres so it is a little more difficult for me.
You can also add your email and a personalized message to each person you approve to be on your playlist and through this way slowly build an email list. Email lists are very important to have as you can blast a new release out to everyone that is on them and reach fans that way.
Another good site to join is Less Records. Less Records is a relatively new music social media platform where you can make your own profile and curate your playlists on there. People pm you requesting to be added to your playlists, and you can do the same. You get to personally interact with these people which is rather nice. You will find as you build and curate playlists that you form more of a community with fellow curators and people wanting to be on your playlists, and people whose playlists you want to be on. The more music you make and the more playlists you make the more familiar you will get with each other and the more likely you will add each others music.
Another thing you should consider doing is add your OWN music to playlists—weaving them into ones you curate so your music is heard, as well as making specialized ones for your own music. Consider making a playlist that showcases ALL of your work, with the newest ones being on top, and consider making playlists of your work by genre, so when you request to be added to specific genre playlists you can just link them that playlist for that genre to be considered—people don't like to have to fish through songs of a whole bunch of genres—they simply want to hear what is pertinent to them.
There is no alternative to hard work and dedication. You will grow what you put into it.
At this point it's just a matter of maintenance, and slowly submitting more and more music. I advise that you stick more so to releasing full albums, and just submit an ep or single here or there if you are going too far between submissions. But it is key to keep at it. If you suddenly don;'t submit for a year you will lose a lot of followers simply because people are not interested in someone that isn't super established that is not making music. Peoples' attention spans are rather minimal these days, and their constant need to be entertained overrides any personal loyalty you hope they may have towards you.
You can also try to get on peoples blogs who are influential to gain type—or if you have the money pay a big influential site like artistrack to showcase your work for a time. The longer you dip into that collective traffic the more people will retain who you are and keep coming back for more. If you do nothing however you will get nothing. I left my Spotify account to rot for about four years after I submitted one album and while I did get a very minimal amount of listens I had no followers, and nothing grew during that time. It's all in what you put into it.
And make sure to actually USE Spotify! Use it to listen to others music, and the frequency that Spotify will actually share your music with others will naturally increase :)
So keep at it, grow it, be consistent and keep hitting those curators and curate playlists to grow a following and an audience!
Hope this helps!
PS: You can view all of my work on my playlist below:
As well as hear my latest 2 albums:
Aaaand you can follow me here: