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How To Get Fans To Stream Your Music (By Building A Fanbase)

By Matthew Vultaggio

July 25, 2021

Finding success on Spotify is more than just increasing stream counts, I’ve found that the best way to increase Spotify streams is by building a fanbase of fans who want to stream your music.

To get fans to stream your music, you need to build a fanbase from scratch by releasing music monthly, tripping the Spotify algorithm to give you more listeners and free streams, and have a place to foster a community for your fans on and off social media platforms.

…the reality is this:

It’s not just about Facebook ads or playlisting promotions.

It’s also about branding, social media, web presence, building momentum (or “buzz”), and most importantly – having an active and growing fanbase of real, genuine music lovers that actually care about you and what you do.

The 4 fundamental components of creating a thriving and active fanbase that you can call upon to stream your new releases and support your latest projects are:

  1. Brand-building and world-building
  2. Respecting the Fan’s Journey
  3. Omni-channel platform presence
  4. Touch points and return paths

Without a fanbase, you have no chance of learning how to find Spotify Success and a music career in general, really.

Brand-building and world-building

Fans look for recurring themes to latch on to and make their own. This can come in the form of:

  • Color scheme
  • Aesthetic
  • Design-style
  • Logo
  • Sounds in your music
  • Catch phrases / inside jokes

After seeing any of these consistently and frequently, you can create ‘brand awareness’ amongst your audience and fanbase.

The more content you create (music, videos, social posts, live streams, artwork, etc) the more opportunities you have to experiment with ideas for brand-building and create connections with fans.

Knowing how to properly create a world for your fans is a key step to finally finding success on Spotify.

Respecting the Fan’s Journey

DigitalMarketer created something called the Customer Value Journey, and in their words, “The Customer Value Journey is an 8-step path that people travel as they discover your brand, build a relationship with you, and become buyers and raving fans.”

What’s interesting about this concept is that not only does it work for generating customers for companies, but it can be adapted for generating fans for artists as well.

What’s even more interesting is that this concept is built around a human intimacy study conducted by Desmond Morris who mapped out the exact steps that humans go from being complete strangers to becoming both physically and emotionally… intimate.

And just like with human relationships, skipping a step increases your chance of failure to 87% and skipping 2 or more steps could be classified as assault (aka NO unsolicited links to your new song on Soundcloud sent without consent or context).

Building out your own “Fan’s Journey” is a key step to building a system that constantly generates new fans who will find and stream your music on Spotify.

Plus – it helps you learn how to easily get the fans you’ve already found to notice your latest release or project.

Build A Fanbase From Scratch With “Omni-Channel Platform Presence”

In addition to Spotify, there are 2 platforms you should also maintain a consistent presence on:

  1. Social Media
  2. Your Own Website

Although I honestly think Instagram (and other social media platforms) are BS, it does have it’s part to play on your journey to 1,000,000 streams.

It may not be a meaningful way to drive traffic to your Spotify releases, but it can definitely:

  • Help build real connections with your fans
  • Allow you to get valuable feedback on your music, content and branding
  • Drive some repeat listens and listeners to your new releases
  • Help build a sense of momentum for your project
  • Prove to the Spotify algorithm and editors that there is buzz around you

In addition to social media, it is critical to operate your own website (and mailing list when you are ready for more advanced tactics).

A website allows you to:

  • Own your own data
  • Create a centralized hub for your project,
  • Shows the algorithm you have a presence outside of Spotify
  • Allows you to easily jumpstart new projects when the time comes (ie: online merch shop, private album launches, information products such as courses like this, etc).

Building A Fanbase With “Touchpoints And Return Paths”

As you can tell, success in music is more than just success on any 1 platform ..it’s about growing an active fanbase across multiple platforms.

In marketing, there are specific ways to quantify and strategically grow these audiences across multiple platforms, and these are called touchpoints and return paths.

Touchpoints

A touchpoint is any time a potential fan interacts with you along the Fan’s Journey and it is said that that around 8 touchpoints are needed to turn a complete stranger into a customer (or in our case, a fan).

Touchpoints can include:

  • Liking or commenting on a social media post
  • Clicking on one of your ads
  • Opening one of your fan newsletter emails
  • Direct messaging your profile or sending you an email

Brand awareness is achieved when your fans see you frequently on different platforms at different times to the point they can recognize you even through all the relentless noise and distractions on the Internet.

So how do you optimize your brand awareness and the number of touchpoints your fans have with you?

Return Paths

A return path is anything that can bring your fans back to you more frequently, allowing you to easily follow up with them and increasing the amount of touchpoints for low- or no-cost to you.

Examples of return paths that you can use when marketing your music include:

  • Social media followers – although organic reach is dropping, when a fan follows you on social media, you can reach them for free via posts and stories
  • Email list – if you get a fan’s email, you can contact them again whenever you want for free
  • Ad retargeting – anyone who visits your website or engages with your ad (even just viewing the ad counts) can be put into a “Retargeting” custom audience and be sent follow up ads at a lower cost

Return paths are particularly important because, as of right now, Spotify does not have a reliable return path – you can’t easily reach out to anyone who streams your music, visits your Spotify profile, or even follows your profile on Spotify.

This is why it is very important to learn how to include touchpoints and return paths in your marketing if you want to create a growing and loyal fanbase that you can reach out.

How I Personally Got To 1 Million Streams On Spotify

It’s taken a long time. A very, very long time. But.. it’s been extremely worth it.

17 years ago I got my very first guitar, a sick Squier Stratocaster in sunburst (that I’d later bust-up quite a bit in my Nirvana phase) that started my life as a musician.

This lead to countless bands, live shows to usually 5 people (aka our parents and girlfriends), recording sessions, G.A.S. attacks, MySpace pages, and failed projects.

It took 17 whole years but I finally got what I always wanted since I was a 13-year-old kid…

A simple sliver of proof that I wasn’t crazy to be so obsessed with music and that I could actually make my passion for music my life.

Fast forward to today:

  • Over 3.5 million streams
  • 15+ official Spotify editorial placements
  • Support from big-time artists like Martin Garrix and Foals
  • Real, living, and breathing human beings reaching out saying that they dig my music

I’ve learned so much along the way, made too many mistakes, and probably spent too much money and too much time.

…And if you’re reading this right now, I’m happy to have the chance to be able to share all of those years of knowledge with you so you don’t need to go through the same struggles that I did.

But, enough about me…

“Is it possible for me to hit 1,000,000 Spotify streams as well?

It takes quite a bit of determination and focus, but honestly, if I can do it then anyone can do it.

Here are a few questions that I get quite frequently about finding success on Spotify.

What if I don’t have an fanbase or audience?

Having some kind of fanbase or audience can definitely be helpful and make things much easier, but this course is designed to show you how you can start seeing success on Spotify even if you don’t have an audience of your own yet.

I got to where I am today without an audience. In fact, I didn’t even tell friends or family that I started my musical project.

Do I need any experience or connections?

Not at all!

I assume you know nothing about digital marketing, advertising, or even Spotify in this course.

I got to where I am with no connections (as an introvert I still barely have any tbh) and I assume the same is the case for you (the no connections part at least).

What if I don’t have enough (or “good enough”) music to release?

Most music marketers will say something along the lines of “obviously the first step is to make sure you have great music” and leave it at that.

In this course, I actually provide dedicated lessons and exercises to make your music “good enough” and to make sure you have plenty of music to release.

What if I don’t have any new music to release?

Although you can use music that’s already been released, promoting music within its first 28 days of release is the best way to get on Spotify’s algorithmic playlists to get free streams and fans sent to your music.

This is why I actually provide dedicated lessons and exercises to make sure you have plenty of music to release.

Does this strategy really work… how do I even know I can trust you?

I’m not a marketing guru or business expert – I’m a musician that knows a lot about marketing.

I’ve spent the better part of my whole life dedicated to music and trying to make something happen in music.

The strategies I teach in this course are the very same that I’ve used myself to get over 3,500,000 streams on Spotify.

After helping a handful of friends across different genres in my music scene achieve amazing results, I decided to put everything I know into 1 single result-focused course to help as many dedicated music creators as possible do the same.

The proof is in the pudding as they say.

How To Upload To Spotify As An Artist (& Get Paid)?

Want to upgrade from just making music to actually get your own music on Spotify and becoming an official Spotify artist?

To upload to Spotify as an artist, you need to sign up with one of Spotify’s preferred music distributors and submit your music, artwork, and artist information through that distributor.

Thankfully it’s easy for anyone to upload music to Spotify because a company called DistroKid came along and started offering unlimited song uploads for a small annual fee without taking a percentage of any of your earnings away.

Before DistroKid, it was too expensive and complicated (..you had to pay PER song EVERY year).

To learn more about DistroKid, check out my big fat DistroKid review for everything you will ever need to know about them. There is even a handy How To Choose A Distributor Guide and some info on the nice DistroKid discount.

If you are wondering want to know more details about how to do this yourself, how exactly you can claim your artist profile, and actually make some money by uploading music to Spotify, check out my article called How To Upload To Spotify As An Artist (& Get Paid)

How To Get More Streams With Custom Smart Links

The best alternative to the endless amount of smart links, landing pages, and link-in-bio style pages out there is to simply build your own custom smart links by using WordPress.

I do this myself with my very own WordPress-based website (aka the one you are on right now) and find it to be way more flexible and effective, particularly if you want to do the Spotify algorithm hack by running Facebook and Instagram ads to your smart link pages.

The reasons I’d recommend doing this over using any smart link creator is because:

  • Without paying for these services, you can create smart links that are exactly in the style of Hypeddit, Linktree, Toneden, HyperFollow, etc.
  • Get more streams to your music by using my highly tested and conversion-optimized smart link template
  • Look more professional and credible by having a custom domain and no other company’s branding on them
  • Get your brand and identity across by perfectly customizing your smart links to look exactly how you want them to

On top of this, you’d actually have a legit and professional full-blown website and not just some smart links for promoting your music.

For a free step-by-step course on how to get started with this, check out my free course on smart links for music.

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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