Spotify announced this month that they hit the 50 Million Paid Subscriber mark (with probably close to another 100 Million free users as well). Their rapid growth isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and with Facebook’s decline in popularity amongst the younger generation, and Spotify’s increase, it’s probably in your band’s best interest to learn the ropes; especially if you have new music on the way.
The most important thing you can do (even if you don’t have new music coming) is to build your followers! Your followers are the foundation for spreading your music on Spotify, and the basis for utilizing the promotional tools the streaming service offers.
The first thing you want to do is become verified. This will open up full functionality of your Artist Spotify Dashboard, and allow you to customize it. In order to receive verification, you have to reach 250 followers. So how do you do this? Well the easiest way is to encourage your social media followers to follow you on Spotify as well. Also, be sure to plug your page while playing gigs. For an artists that has a few thousand social media followers and gigs regularly, it shouldn’t take you more than a few months to a year to reach that milestone if you promote it properly.
Once you’ve gotten your blue check mark, it’s really time to start building your followers. But why are followers so important when releasing new music? Here’s the run down:
When your new album/EP/single drops, Spotify automatically promotes it to your followers that Friday in three places:
- In their Release Radar
- Inside the app
- In a release email
A user’s “Release Radar” is a playlist that consists of new music from artists they follow. It’s updated every Friday and is usually made up of music that’s been released in the last 2-3 weeks. It also features similar artists that Spotify thinks you might enjoy. Every user has a Radar Release, and this is the place a lot of people come to see what’s new. This feature is relatively new, so it’s effectiveness hasn’t even come to full power yet, but it’s definitely getting there.
Featured in the App
Every Friday, Spotify creates a “New Releases For You” section on the home tab of their app with all of the new releases from artists the user follows. This section is also featured all week in the Discover part of the app.
Every Friday, Spotify sends listeners an email highlighting top new releases. The email features up to 10 new releases from artists they follow and a link to their Release Radar for more discovery.
So let’s see what that actually looks like:
The most followed Texas/Red Dirt artist is currently Josh Abbott Band with 75K followers. That means when they release new music it automatically appears on 75K Release Radar playlists, in the discovery section of 75K apps, and an email is sent out to 75K people alerting them of the new music release…best of all… it’s all free!!! Not only will all of your followers be notified of your new music in 3 different places, they will also literally be one click away from listening to it. That’s pretty powerful [FREE] promotion if you ask me!
These three features can not only make a big impact on fans being aware of your new music, like almost all technology-based platforms these days, Spotify uses algorithms for pretty much everything it does. When picking up songs for their in-house playlists, discover weekly playlists, and daily mix playlists, Spotify looks at monthly listeners, streams, and followers. All three elements are a continual circle of each other —more followers leads to more monthly listeners, which leads to more streams, which leads to more followers, etc… The more people listening to your music, the more likely Spotify is to pick it up and add it somewhere… and followers play a big role in that.
Currently, I only a see a few Texas/Red Dirt artists actively trying to build up their Spotify followers, so I think the gettin’ is probably pretty good right now. Once more artists see how advantageous it is, it’ll become quite competitive [Remember the explosion of artists trying to get people to like their Facebook page several years ago].
So how do you gain followers? Unfortunately, there’s no magic secret. The basics work right now: social media giveaways, run a boosted Facebook/Instagram campaign, give away your sticker after your shows to people who show you that their following you etc…You can also embed a “Follow Me” widget on your website that will automatically allow users follow you with one click — like this:
Another thing artists can do, is to pitch their music to popular playlists and promote the playlists their on. Playlists are great for cross promotion and a way for artist’s fanbases to be exposed to each other’s music. Plus as the playlist grows, it leads to more streams, which leads to more followers, and the continual circle happens again…
While there are many things you can do to grow your Spotify base, the most important thing is that you start doing it now. If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that when great promotional tools are available for free, use them early and often! Eventually platforms leverage their promotional power and users start having to pay to utilize their tools to their full capacity. This is especially true when company’s go public, and guess who’s gearing up for their IPO soon…
Related: Check out our Texas Country, Americana, and Red Dirt Playlist on Spotify: