In this article, I will show you how you can promote your music on Spotify based on what I’ve learned getting over 5,000,000 streams and over 20 official Spotify editorial playlists by myself without a label, manager, or marketing team.
Here are the 5 steps to properly promoting your music on Spotify:
- Avoid “artificial” streams at all costs
- Understand the Spotify algorithm & available Spotify playlists
- Create a release strategy that takes advantage of the Spotify algorithm
- Send high-quality listeners to Spotify
- Follow a simple and repeatable promotion system
To learn more about how you can follow these 5 steps in more detail to effectively promote your music on Spotify, simply keep on reading, my friend. 🙂
1. Avoid “Artificial” Streams At ALL Costs
Spotify defines an artificial stream as a stream/play that does not mirror real user listening behavior and intent which includes any attempt to manipulate Spotify with automated processes like bots, scripts, or click farms.
As Spotify gets more and more concerned with becoming a profitable business, they are taking fake/fraudulent streams more and more seriously.
This means that Spotify is not only taking away streams from songs they think have fraudulent streams, but they are even starting to completely remove these songs from their service.
To keep their partnership in good standing with Spotify, some music distributors may even drop you from their distribution service if you get caught doing this.
When looking to promote your music on Spotify, first make sure you always avoid things like:
- Services that guarantee a specific amount of streams
- Services that put you on playlists that you can’t review first
- Playlists only filled with unknown and unrelated artists (ie: completely random genres and styles)
Struggling artists are easy prey for people trying to make a quick buck on the Internet.
Be wary of anything that is too quick, easy, or too good to be true on your journey to growing your Spotify streams.
2. Understand The Spotify Algorithm & Available Spotify Playlists
Spotify rewards artists that bring highly targeted and engaged listeners to their platform by giving artists the opportunity to get placed on Spotify’s algorithmic and editorial playlists.
Getting your song placed on one of these playlists means your song will get shown to thousands of new listeners who are similar to your current listeners for free.
These playlists and the algorithm that powers them are absolutely key to how successful your Spotify music promotion can be.
One of the reasons that Spotify is so successful and loved by its users is because of the powerful algorithm that powers it.
Have you ever heard someone gush about how Spotify always recommends them awesome music?
The Spotify algorithm keeps track of its user’s listening habits and behaviors so that it can effectively recommend music to someone based on what someone who has similar listening habits and behaviors is already listening to.
This is truly the first step in figuring out how you can effectively promote your music on Spotify.
After all, if you are trying to get something out of any platform, whether it be Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever…
You need to know how they work and what they are trying to achieve.
These platforms have their own goals, and by helping THEM achieve THEIR goals, only then will YOU be rewarded.
A good comparison to Spotify’s algorithm is the Google and YouTube algorithms.
The purpose of the Google and YouTube algorithms is to give you the most valuable content so that you stay on the platform and spend as much time on that platform as possible.
What the Spotify algorithm, in particular, is always trying to do is recommend songs that people want to listen to so that people spend more time inside the Spotify app.
The more time a user spends inside the Spotify app, the more opportunities Spotify has to sell advertisements to companies, keep people on the Premium subscription, and tell investors that their numbers are growing.
From my personal experience of releasing 20+ songs, getting over 4,000,000 streams, and landing on 20+ editorial and algorithmic playlists…
I have found that if the Spotify algorithm notices that ANY song is streamed, saved, and listened to at higher than average rates it is much more likely to push that song out to similar people.
It does this by placing your music on algorithmic playlists like Release Radar and Discover Weekly of Spotify users that aren’t even following you on Spotify but are similar to the group of listeners you originally had.
What numbers is the Spotify algorithm looking for?
Of course, the algorithm is looking at the overall number of streams your song is getting, but there are some other less obvious things it looks at as well, such as:
Save Rate – How many of your listeners are actually saving your song.
Listen Rate – How many times (on average) your listeners are listening to your song.
Playlist Adds – How many people are adding your songs to their own playlists.
New Followers – How many people follow your Spotify artist profile during the release of your song.
Hitting solid numbers here will increase your chances of your song getting pushed out.
When you are first starting out, a Save Rate of 40% or higher is likely to trigger the algorithm when combined with a Listen Rate of 1.8 or higher and a decent amount of total streams for your song (400+).
If you are seeing these numbers, watch carefully on the upcoming Friday as you have a high potential of triggering the Spotify algorithm and getting pushed into the Release Radar playlists of users that DON’T follow your profile! 🙂
3. Create A Release Strategy That Takes Advantage Of The Spotify Algorithm
If you think you’ll be able to release 1 song and run a few Facebook ads to have that song pop…
You are dead wrong.
It’s important to take the time to plan out 6 – 12 months worth of releases and make sure that your music is in a release-ready state so that you can truly focus on promotion once you get started.
Effectively promoting your music will be hard work and if you are wasting time struggling to finish music at the same time it will be so much harder.
Because your music can be exposed to 1,000s of new listeners for free within the first 28 days of its release on Spotify’s Release Radar playlist…
It’s highly recommended that you aim to release a new song every 28 days (or roughly 4 to 5 weeks).
Each release is another chance to trigger the algorithm.
Each release is another chance to pitch to the Spotify editors.
Both the Spotify algorithm and editors are looking at traction and momentum.
If they see an artist continuing to put out new music and hit better numbers, they are more likely to pay attention.
In addition to this, you will learn how to run better release campaigns and promote your music better the more releases you do.
…and here is a harsh truth and some tough love for you…
No matter how great you think your music is:
You don’t get to decide if your song is a hit or not.
The song you think is a hit might flop, while the song you thought was a B-side could go viral.
The listeners decide, not you.
The more often you release music, the more opportunities you give the fans the opportunity to decide if this release is going to be “the one”.
4. Send High-Quality Listeners To Spotify
In my experience, I noticed that social media posting is not enough because you can’t scale it up easily since you can only post so much in one day.
Playlist pitching also doesn’t work because your song is only playlisted for so long and the listeners don’t pay attention enough to save the song or follow the artist.
…so what does work best then?
Facebook Ads provide in-depth targeting options, flexible budgeting, and has an algorithm that can optimize itself to get the most results possible for the lowest cost possible.
You have the power to send highly targeted listeners over to your Spotify profile from Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
You can then leverage Facebook’s tools, machine learning, and algorithms to optimize your ads by themselves and find you more of those fans for less.
Which can then lead to a snowball effect of increasing your chances of tripping the Spotify algorithm which will find you even more of those types of fans for free.
To learn exactly how to set up Facebook Ads, check out my free Facebook Ads For Musicians course (no email or sign up required!).
5. Follow A Simple & Repeatable Promotion System
Most articles and videos on the Internet will tell you the “250 things you NEED to do” or give advice like “be on EVERY social media platform” to promote your music properly.
The truth is that this advice is usually an attempt to reach a certain word count or video length and makes you fall into the trap of thinking that “more = better”.
The truth is that as an independent artist or musician, you have very limited resources (both time and money) and you need to choose how you use your resources wisely.
Because you will be repeating this process constantly, my recommendation is to focus on just a few very specific tasks.
By focusing only on a select few steps that are going to actually move the needle, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and be able to easily repeat these steps for every single release you do.
The “secret” is to simply “copy and paste” these steps each time you are releasing a new song.
I’ve put together a simple 7-Step Spotify Release Checklist that I used to get over 5,000,000 streams that you can have for free.
This checklist has been a lifesaver for me and it really is the heart and soul of how I successfully promote my music on Spotify even to this day.
Be sure to review the steps in that checklist and click around to reveal more information about each step and why it is so important. 🙂
How To Build A Fanbase On Spotify With Ads
The mechanics of building a fanbase can really be applied to anything, including building a fanbase on Spotify.
You can find LISTENERS on Facebook and Instagram that listen to similar artists and genres to your music by using Facebook Ads.
You can then build TRUST by offering them your music by presenting a video ad with audio preview that sends them to a music link.
This trust that you establish through your music, ad and link can then lead to LOYALTY in the form of streams, follows, and saves on Spotfy.
Here is a visual representation of what this looks like:
To learn more about how you can build this out yourself, check out my free Facebook Ads for musicians course. 🙂