In part 1, I went over the basic principles of how Spotify works and addressed some of the talking points around the audio streaming giant. In part 2 I’m going to look at what steps you can take as an artist to make the most out of Spotify and how to monitor the performance of your releases. I will also go into the things you should not be doing, in order to not jeopardise your ability to benefit from the platform.
What to do…
The first thing you need to do is claim your Spotify profile. To do this you just need to sign up for Spotify for Artists, as well as allowing you to edit your artist profile you will also have access to in-depth statistics.
You can access Spotify for artists via a computer or using the app (available on Android and iOS), some of the higher level functions that we’ll get onto later only accessible via a computer. You can also grant access to your profile to members of your team such as managers or bandmates.
You need to have a Spotify account to access Spotify for artists, during the verification process the user account merges with the artist profile and your fans can see, and follow, your listening habits. This can be a useful tool to help create your brand and artist identity. You can make playlists of the songs and artists that influenced you, or make greatest hits playlists of your own back catalogue.
You can have private listening sessions so fans can’t see everything you listen to, but it may still be a good idea to have a separate account to avoid accidentally revealing any secret favourite songs you’d rather your fans didn’t know about.
So here’s a step by step guide of what you can and should be doing with your newly verified Spotify artist profile, and other steps you should take to make sure you get the most out of Spotify.
1. Clean up your Profile
Previously, in order to get your profile verified, you not only had to have a certain amount of followers you also needed to make sure no other artists tracks appeared on your profile. This is no longer a requirement for verification, but it’s still a really good idea to make this your first step. If there are errors in the data for any of your tracks then you need to contact your distributor to help tidy this up, they will submit a metadata update to Spotify.
If you notice tracks on your profile that are by other artists or vice versa, you can either contact your distributor or send an email to the Spotify for Artists Support Team and let them know the errors.
2. Update your profile picture/Create a photo gallery
By default, your profile picture will be the cover of one of your releases, which may not make the best-looking profile picture. From the Spotify for Artists desktop site or app, you can upload pictures into a gallery and choose one to be your main profile picture. Or choose exactly which of your previous releases you want to use the artwork from as your profile pic.
3. Add/Update your biography
If you don’t have a biography on your profile then add one, if there’s one there then keep it up to date. This a really good opportunity to tell your story and establish your identity. The biography can be up to 1500 characters. The biography can contain links to other web pages and content. Much like the profile pic and photo gallery, having an up to date biography on your profile will help it to stand out from the rest.
4. Create playlists and choose an “Artist’s Pick”
You can use the “Artist’s Pick” section to promote one of your own songs or concerts, or you can select a release from another artist and have this featured on your profile. This can be useful to promote side projects, for example, a member of a band went solo the new solo profile for the member wouldn’t benefit from the existing audience unless they promoted the new release to them via other mediums. You can make the release the Artist’s pick, and it will be displayed on your profile for 14 days or until you change it. You could also make reciprocal agreements with other artists to promote each other’s releases in the Artists Pick section.
5. Promote your profile on social media
Specifically, promote your profile and encourage people to “follow” you. By doing so your new releases will appear in that users “Release Radar”, new releases will also feature in the app and appear on the personalised release emails sent to that user. Followers will also see your upcoming local tour dates, on the concerts tab inside their Spotify app and in their concert recommendation emails. You can find the various sharing options under the (…) symbol next to the play and follow buttons on your profile. You can even use the code provided to embed sections of your profile into your blogs and web pages.
6. Submit forthcoming releases for playlist consideration
By default, all tracks are available for the automated (algorithm created) playlists such as Discover Weekly but the playlists curated by humans are far more popular and therefore more lucrative and beneficial to appear on. However, getting your tracks on these playlists, for anyone other than the highest profile artists, is extremely difficult. That may change very soon as one of the most exciting features of Spotify for Artists is the ability to submit your songs to the Spotify curators for playlist consideration.
This can only be done with unreleased tracks and must be done at least 7 days before the release date. So, you will need to set a release date at least 7 days in the future (although I would allow an extra few days for your distributor to process the tracks, so set the date at least 10-14 days in the future). Once the track has been delivered to Spotify by your distributor you will be able to see your forthcoming tracks in the “Catalog” section of Spotify for ArtiTheserests under the “Upcoming” tab.
If you have upcoming releases there will be a “submit a song” button next to each release. If a track is selected for a playlist it will appear on that playlist on its release date, there’s no set time for how long it will stay on the playlist, that will depend on how it performs. Tracks that do well will stay on the playlist or better still may get moved to a playlist with more followers, those that do not perform as well as expected will often be removed from the playlist.
A few things worth noting;
- Submitting a song doesn’t guarantee a place on an editorial playlist, but does give it the better chance.
- It’s only possible to submit one song per artist profile at a time (even if you have more than one scheduled release).
- You need to be listed as the main artist on the release to submit. The option is not available for featured artists or compilations.
- Spotify reserves the right to creative control for their selections. This means they may choose to feature a different song from the release on their playlist.
- It’s totally free to use, and it’s not possible to pay to increase your chances, nor can any external parties influence the editors.#
Line-In, Over and Out!
The first draft of this article had a whole paragraph on a tool I found just a few months ago called Spotify: Line-In.
This tool allowed any Spotify subscriber to log in and submit changes to any release on the platform, this could be correcting errors in the titles or artist names or could be adding tags and moods to the music to give it a better shot at being added to automated playlists.
However, when I went back to Line-In to double check my information and to get some links I was saddened to discover the tool has been shut down.
The news came as quite a surprise to me as the editor was only launched earlier this year and I had noticed an improvement in my statistics after updating my own tracks.
I hope the shutdown is because they are planning to add some of the functionality of Line-In to the Spotify for Artists app, but no details of any future plans were given in the announcement it was being shut down.
In the 3rd, and final, part of the article I will be going into the “what not to do’s” of Spotify.