Your Music Was Added to a Popular Spotify Playlist…Now What?

[Editors Note: This article was written by Sam Friedman and originally appeared on the Soundly Blog.]

 

It’s 2017, and album sales are sinking to historic lows. CDs are becoming obsolete. Even digital downloads are plummeting. But people are listening more than ever — they’re just streaming. The music-publishing industry is changing fast. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that in 2016, streaming services were responsible for more than 50% of revenue earned in the music industry today. And the biggest player of them all is — you guessed it — Spotify, with an unbelievable 50 million paying users.

Spotify is known for its “discover” features, most specifically its playlists. Whether it’s “New Music Friday,” “Today’s Top Hits,” or “RapCaviar,” many of these playlists have millions of followers. If your music gets added to one of the biggies, that’s about as close to a Willy-Wonka golden ticket as you’re going to get in the streaming world. Overnight, your track can soar from a few hundred plays to tens of thousands.

Today, it’s just as important (if not more so) for indie artists to try to get their music featured on Spotify playlists as it is to get press coverage. Obviously, both are optimal, but Spotify can generate some serious revenue, especially if the artist owns the music.

And beyond getting paid, it exposes your music to thousands of new listeners. In many ways, it’s not unlike opening for a huge artist in front of a new audience. Spotify often curates its playlists based on genres or moods, so when your song comes on, it’s usually because someone was looking for or listening to a song like yours. But as much as artists (and labels) are competing for features, not many of them have a plan for when that magical moment happens.

Personally speaking, I didn’t even know my song was featured until an A&R rep reached out to me to talk about my music, mentioning he found me on Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” playlist. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I checked my Spotify plays and saw that one of my tracks, which previously had less than 1,000 plays, had suddenly increased to nearly 40,000! I had no idea what to do next other than just feel giddy that people were discovering my music. In reality, there are several important steps that every artist should take when his or her music is featured in a Spotify playlist.

Promote Your Feature

First things first: if you do get featured on a playlist, treat it like a good press feature and share that thing! This is a good time to do a sponsored social media post with a link to your song on Spotify. You should already budget for promoting your music on Spotify, but after your song is featured on a playlist, make a custom post and bump up the awareness. Be sure to share the playlist itself, too, not just your song.

Thank the Playlist Curator(s)

You may have to do a little research to find the names of the playlist curators, but that’s what Google is for, right? Get to stalking! If you can, find their emails, send them a genuine thank you, and establish a relationship. It’s also a good idea to find their Twitter handles and tag them when you share the playlist.

If someone out there likes your music enough to put you on a playlist that literally thousands of other musicians are dying to be on, chances are he or she is going to be open to hearing from you. Capitalize on their interest, and make a connection as soon as possible.

Search the Charts

Even if your song is added to a small playlist and you only get a modest bump in streams, the rate of growth can be enough to earn some chart action. Search Viral 50, Spotify US, Spotify Global charts, etc. Making it onto one of these is a huge opportunity to shine.

It’s also a great way to encourage your fans to share your song. People always like to help something grow. Ask your fans for their help, and update them every time you move up a notch.

Check Other Playlists

When a song is added to a big playlist, there tends to be a domino effect. You can typically find out which playlists feature your song under the About portion of your Spotify artist profile. Search daily, but also actively go hunting. Every Friday, check the “New Music Friday” playlist. Every Wednesday, check all of the “Fresh Finds” playlists.

Remember, each playlist that features your song is going to grow your audience and is worth raving about. In addition, people will find your music and add you to their smaller playlists — thank them.

Use Data to Build Your Press Kit

Take the data from your playlist feature — number of streams, cities where you’re most popular, etc. — and add it to your press kit or EPK. Today, new artists are introduced with press quotes and their streaming data if it’s impressive. Similar to a good quote from a reputable publication, notable streaming data helps sell your music to prospective bookers, record labels, A&R execs, etc. and is powerful ammunition to build your career.

Reinvest Your Earnings

Various studies report that the aggregate net average per stream is around $0.005 depending on how much of your music you own. It takes a couple months to get paid, but make sure you have a plan ready for how to reinvest that income back into your music.

For example, stash a certain amount of that money away for promoting your next single with Instagram ads and sponsored Facebook posts. Using your streaming money for cocktails over the next five weekends might not be the best investment to help keep your music career growing.

Keep an Eye on Your Stats

Obviously, you should pay close attention to your streaming stats, but watch your overall numbers on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram along with other streaming services like Apple Music. Unfortunately, people streaming playlists that feature your song doesn’t automatically mean they’re becoming fans — they’re just being exposed to your music. Look out for people commenting on your pages saying they found you on Spotify. Those are the fans you’re going to want to nurture and build a relationship with.

Another helpful stat to track is where people are listening. If you’re popular in Sweden, for example, plan to include that territory in your next promotion, or possibly think about planning a tour there. Spotify insights are crucial in helping you target new fans and nurture existing ones.

Pitch to Other Playlists

Now that you’ve been featured once, use that as an angle to bolster your single for inclusion on another playlist. When you’re pitching, mention your success and how your track is growing. Remember, a lot of Spotify is about credibility. People tend to only pay attention when you’re on the rise. Capitalize on that and keep pitching. Singles die off fast these days, so keep extending the life of your track until you release the next one.

If you feel overwhelmed by all this data gathering, that’s because it’s designed to be complicated. There are over 900,000 distinct royalty streams that artists around the world have access to, and between 20-50% of royalties generated never make into these artists’ pockets.

How To Build a Digital Street Team For Your Band

[Editors Note: This article is written by Lauren Gill and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog. Lauren is the founder and chief power specialist at Power Publicity, a marketing, branding, and public relations firm that empowers entertainment, nonprofit, and lifestyle brands.]

If you’ve ever come across a flyer for a show in a coffee shop window or tacked to an electrical pole that’s given you pause (and I bet you have), you can oftentimes thank a street team for its presence. You probably know that street team marketing is a form of guerrilla marketing used to raise awareness of music among target fans. Street teams were heavily used by hip-hop labels to promote their albums; they hired reps to hang up posters and flyers to let people in the streets know about their new releases. Today, many people find out about new music online from their peers, but you can adapt this old-school tactic of street team marketing to form your own digital street team and reap the same benefits, including sparking conversations about your music and generating a buzz online. Here are a few tips to help you build your own digital street team.

Who should be on your street team?

Your email list subscribers

Your fans who have subscribed to your email list have a more vested interest in you than people who simply gave you a like or a follow on social media. They signed up for your mailing list to stay updated on what you’re doing and to personally hear from you on a consistent basis. Send an email to your mailing list asking them to join your digital street team first. Once you have given your mailing list a chance to join your team, open up your street team to your social media followers. Create a signup form that asks your social media followers to provide their email address to join your team. This will help you to grow your mailing list.

Your supporters

Your best brand advocates are people who believe in you and love your music. Ask your family, friends, and of course, your fans to be part of your digital street team. These people already support you and would be willing to help.

People with influence

Your digital street team members function as your endorsers, so they must have a strong influence on your target audience. Having a strong influence doesn’t just mean having a large number of followers on social media. A strong influencer has a large following and the power to sway people’s thoughts and actions. Find tastemakers who have a strong influence, access to your target fans, and the ability to persuade people to listen to your music. Reach out to these people via means already in your life: Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram. Ask around and see who’s a friend of a friend’s mom’s cousin’s college roommate. You might be surprised how small your world actually is. (Six degrees of Kevin Bacon is not just a party game.)

What do you do once your street team is in place?

Give them marketing guidelines

Your street team marketing must fit within your overall marketing plan. While you want to give your team members freedom to speak from their hearts about your band, you need to give them guidelines on how to represent you. Your street team must communicate the same messages you’re communicating in your other marketing channels. For example, you release your new single, and you want your digital street team to help you promote it. Ask your street team to post your song at the same time with genuine comments. The more people who are talking about your music online at the same time, the more likely it is that you’ll generate a viral buzz.

Reward them

Your street team members are using their spare time to help you out because they believe in you. Treat your digital street team well and compensate them. Reward them with free downloads, exclusive content, exclusive access to your concerts and events, merchandise, etc.

Getting Social Series: "Snapchat Can Help Your Band (If You Know What You're Doing)"

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally featured on the Haulix Blog. It was written by James Shotwell, Social Media Coordinator for Haulix, an online music promotion software. This installment of our “Getting Social” series taps into the world of Snapchat – and why it might be able to help independent artists promote themselves & engage with fans!]

Earlier this month, a new report was released that brought out attention to an alarming trend: Smartphone using teens and young adults (18-34) are spending more time on Snapchat than Twitter. Facebook and Instagram are still the titans of social media, but Snapchat is quickly gaining on the latter and shows no signs of slowing in the near future. You may have been told Snapchat was a place for the taking and sending of nudes, but there is so much more to it than that, and if you’re willing to put in the effort there is a good chance the latest tech trend could help your following grow in ways you never imagined.

I am not going to sit here and proclaim that I am a master of Snapchat. In fact, prior to realizing the potential such a service could provide artists I never even made a real effort to understand everything the platform had to offer. Now that I do it’s clear there is plenty of room for brands and bands alike to not only engage, but also further develop their audience with a surprisingly small amount of effort. It’s work nonetheless, but if your audience is already on board with the app then half of the work is done for you.

BEFORE WE BEGIN: It is absolutely critical that you ask yourself, and even your fans if you desire, whether or not your audience uses Snapchat on a regular basis. If your music caters to adults, especially the over 35 crowd, there may be little to no benefit from adding another social network to your marketing efforts. On the flip side, if your audience spends their summer dreading the fall because it means school will begin again then you have every reason to add this little ghost icon to your phone/tablet:

Make an Exclusive Announcement

The people who will follow you on Snapchat are going to be diehard fans, bloggers looking for exclusives, and friends you’ve made along the way. With the possible exception of the digital press, these are the people who are willing and waiting to help you promote, so why not give them an opportunity to do just that? Through mass messaging, you can share an exclusive announcement with followers on Snapchat before your news to the rest of the world. You can even build awareness for your efforts on Snapchat by first teasing the announcement across all other channels, pointing people who want to be ‘in the know’ to connect on Snapchat.

Give Fans Behind The Scenes Access Using ‘Stories’

Snapchat makes it incredibly simple to share photos and short videos with followers, but late last year they took their efforts a step further by debuting new feature called Stories. Snapchat Stories add Snaps together to create a narrative. When you add a Snap to your Story it lives for 24 hours before it disappears, making room for the new. Your Story always plays forward, because it makes sense to share moments in the order you experience them.

An example of a good application of Snapchat Stories would be any situation where you and/or your band play a festival. Throughout the day you can capture exclusive moments for followers on Snapchat, then when things wind down you can string them together and create a story for followers to enjoy in one sitting. This allows everyone to enjoy your efforts at their own chosen pace, and if there is one thing every consumer loves it is the ability to make their own decisions.

Share Snippets Of New/Unreleased Content

Snapchat made its name with photos, but the short video clips users are allowed to share can make a world of difference in your next single/video/album promotion. By sharing short clips with fans you are able to tease your latest release without ruining, or even downplaying the importance of the official premiere in any way.

Additionally, you can use the previewing of new material to engage with fans. Ask them to send back their reaction to your latest clip as a photo or video response and see what happens! It may even make for a good contest, which brings up the next point I wanted to make…

Run Contests, Including Scavenger Hunts

Having the ability to share media instantaneously with thousands of fans at once offers a unique opportunity for contests that other platforms cannot provide. This can be as simple as a request for the best reaction photo/video to a certain preview, or as complex as a city-wide scavenger hunt. Each idea comes with its own set of pros and cons, but we don’t really have time or space to run through all of that in this post. The best advice we can offer is to listen to your audience and figure out what method of giveaway is most effective. Whatever works for you is exactly what you should do. That may sound simple enough, but it bares repeating.

Everyone Loves A Good Sale

Remember how we discussed why sharing exclusives with Snapchat followers is a good idea? As a way to boost your follower count, as well as give back to those who promote your efforts, it’s a good idea to consider hosting a spontaneous merch sale promoted exclusively through the media-sharing platform. This provides further justification for people to seek you out on Snapchat, and also allows for a nice bit of personal engagement with those who have been following since day one.

ABOVE ALL ELSE:

Snapchat is a social network just like any other, and it has the power to do great things for your career as long as you know what you’re doing. Be personal, welcome fans into your world and make it known you appreciate them for welcoming you into theirs. Success is music is built atop a two-way street where fans support the artists they love and artists give back with creativity and anything else they can muster. Snapchat provides a number of unique engagement opportunities, and with proper preparation can provide a bounty of benefits, including a more dedicated (and sizable) following.