You've heard that music is a cutthroat business—that you need connections and several strokes of luck to make it big. To a certain extent, this can be the case. However, in today’s age of streaming services and the ease of access to production equipment, you have more opportunities than ever to make your music heard. One of the first and best skills entertainers can learn is how to get music on Spotify.
Spotify boasts over 60 million premium accounts, and more than 140 million active users. That entire audience can be available to you regardless of whether you are signed artist with a record label.
Where it takes a stroke of luck and some well-placed contacts to score a record deal, anybody with access to a microphone and the internet can get their music on Spotify.
Still, figuring how to get your music on Spotify (and more importantly, how to get your music heard on Spotify) is a process. We’re here to help. The following steps will get your music well on its way to getting in front of the right audience on Spotify.
1) Familiarize Yourself With the Platform
Product in hand, your next step is to sign up for Spotify, if you haven’t already. Before you try to get your own music on Spotify, you should take some time to explore the platform. Find artists you like and hope to emulate and get comfortable with how music, in general, is presented.
Download the app here for your computer, and make sure to have it on your phone or tablet as well. Explore the different configurations and take note of what grabs your attention. What you see, or rather, what Spotify pushes into your line of vision, is what you should be looking at as you produce your own music.
2) Understand the New Nature of Music Listening
The album is dead. Likely, if you spend a lot of time reading about and listening to music, you’ve heard this phrase a handful of times. While the traditional album still has an important place in music, playlists now reign supreme. Due to the advent of streaming services, it’s no longer necessary to purchase a full-length album, as a large portion of your listeners will be cherry-picking individual songs to add to larger playlists they’ve curated.
Additionally, the existence on Spotify of uber-popular playlists such as their “Rap Caviar” or “Your Favorite Coffeehouse” playlists, gives you the opportunity to potentially be heard on a larger, professionally-curated playlist. As such, at least at first, your best bet at being heard on Spotify is to create a strong collection of singles. Rather than focusing on a full-length album, put together an EP or mixtape.
3) Sign On With an Aggregator
The magic of a service like Spotify is that it doesn’t require that you be connected to a giant record label to publish your music. Spotify itself has partnered with a handful of companies who will get your music to them and get your royalties back to you. Take a look at the following sites and decide what’s best for you:
Before signing up for these sites, you’ll likely need to have music on at least one other channel, (e.g., YouTube or SoundCloud). Some of the sites listed above will ask you to link to your work on these channels as part of the registration process.
Additionally, sites carry fees for their services. Some will ask for an upfront fee in exchange for the ability to publish a certain amount of music. The cheaper end for fees like this will generally start around $20 but can be more expensive. Other sites, rather than charging an upfront fee, have a revenue sharing model. AWAL, for example, will get 15% of your royalties.
4) Become a Spotify Verified Artist
It’s no secret that having that little blue checkmark next to your name goes a long way in establishing credibility for yourself and your music. You can do this by downloading Spotify for Artists (more on that to come) or by signing up with DistroKid or CD Baby.
5) Download Spotify for Artists
Spotify for Artists allows you to set up and manage your artist profile, share your playlists, and promote your music. It also will let you know who’s listening and will give you live updates on your releases.
Essentially, Spotify for Artists helps your profile look like the profiles of your favorite artists, but without paying otherworldly premiums for an agency to cultivate your image. This is in large part due to Spotify’s simplistic aesthetic, and is something you can and should take advantage of as you work to get your music heard.
At the end of the day, there’s no way to guarantee success. You can follow all of the right steps, and end up not getting any listeners. Unfortunately, there’s no secret formula for making a hit song, despite what YouTube may tell you.
The good news is that it’s easier now than ever before to give yourself a shot at being heard. If you do strike gold with one of your songs and follow the above steps, you’ll be well positioned to have your music heard by quite a few ears.
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In addition to getting your music streamed on Spotify, you’ll need to be out there performing. Whether it be at a coffeehouse, a festival, or even a wedding, one of the most important things you can do as a musician is to get yourself in front of a crowd.
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