Spotify Canvas: Create Captivating Videos for your Release

November 25, 2020

Spotify Canvas allows TuneCore artists to easily create and upload videos to complement their releases via the Spotify for Artists app.

If you use the Spotify app, chances are you’ve come across some artists’ uniquely captivating video content while jamming out to a new release or a classic hit. These looped videos, ranging from music video clips to psychedelic animations, appear on the Spotify player while playing a selected song. Now, TuneCore Artists can easily take advantage of this attention-grabbing feature to create and display visual components of their own. 

Spotify Canvas allows artists to upload 3-8 second looping videos for each of their releases. Through beta testing, Spotify reported an increase in track shares by an average of 145%, playlist adds by 20%, and streams by 5%. It’s an innovative way to incorporate video technology and music together that evoke both emotion and engagement from listeners alike. 

If creative design isn’t your forté, Spotify’s SoundBetter program allows you to connect with designers to find the perfect visual concept for your release. “Since Canvas is a unique format to Spotify, we want to make it as easy as possible for artists to find visual artists to help them create eye-catching visuals,” the company writes. “After selecting a designer, artists share details on the sonics of their track and their creative vision, which the designer then takes into account to create a custom Canvas tailored to meet their needs.”

How to get Spotify Canvas:

  1. Open the ‘Spotify for Artists’ mobile app (iPhone, Android).
  2. Click the “library” icon at the bottom.
  3. Select your TuneCore-distributed release.
  4. Click “Create Canvas” and pick a video from your camera. The ‘Spotify for Artists’ app will help you edit 3-8 seconds for looping.

Spotify has also shared some helpful hints for when you’re creating and editing your looped video for your track:

1. Choose footage without talking, singing or rapping.

With only 3- to 8-second clips, Canvas is not synced to the track, so it’s not practical to try to sync the video to the lyrics; it’ll have the effect of an awkward overdub.

2. Avoid rapid video cuts or intense flashing graphics.

Too many rapid cuts can make your Canvas hard to make sense of visually, and flickering images may overwhelm whoever sees this.

3. Remember to focus the action in the “safe area.”

Don’t put anything crucial in the “hidden area” (which is only visible on certain phones), and keep in mind that the player controls will partially obstruct the lower half of the screen.

4. Consider excluding the song title and artist name.

The artist name, song title, and track length are all already visible in the Now Playing view on the Spotify mobile app. Get the most out of every square inch by letting the images speak for themselves.

5. Learn the scoop on the three types of loops.

Know your way around the loop options and pick the best one for your imagery. The Continuous Loop has the satisfying feel of a “seamless” looping gif with no clear beginning or end. It may take some practice or know-how to get this one right, but it’s worth the effort. The Hard Cut loop has clear edit points, but—as this example from L’Impératrice shows—even that can be artfully disguised. The Rebound is the simplest way for a novice video-maker to get a seamless clip: It plays your clip forward and then reverses it. As this example from Tune-Yards shows, the effect is not only fluid but mesmerizing. (Remember — these only work on our mobile apps!)

6. Try to tell a full story in the time allotted.

Millions of super-creative people have proven that you can do a lot with a little where video is concerned. A Canvas may be only 3 to 8 seconds, but incomplete storylines or drastically trimmed music videos could leave your fans wishing for more. Take a look at some live examples here for inspiration.

7. Connect your vision across your Spotify profile.

You’ve likely already uploaded album art, a profile picture, a header image, and perhaps playlists. So what you do in your Canvas is just one part of your persona on Spotify. Why not stitch together a cohesive artistic vision across your profile? Note how Homme uses the half-circle motif in her Canvas visuals—a theme that also shows up in her album art and even track titles.

8. Try creating a theme or narrative that crosses an entire album.

Instead of creating twelve separate visuals for his 2019 album Tangerine Dream II, Alex Wiley connected the tracks and visuals with this motif of a flickering TV and a surreal living room tableau.

9. Feel free to update.

Unlike the art printed on the cover of a physical album, you’re free to change your Canvas over time, or as your look evolves. Billie Eilish, for instance, has updated her Canvases to celebrate her fans, filling each track with animated versions of fan art. Change your Canvas to tell a story, to explore different visions, to keep people engaged—or just to keep things interesting for you!

10. Let your music live for the moment.

Is there synergy between your tune and a holiday? Is there something in the news that has inspired you? Canvas is a tool to let you express yourself, and you can update it whenever inspiration hits. As one example, Tycho did a catalog takeover for Pride, updating all of his canvases to celebrate the month. Thanks to your ability to change your Canvas, your songs can capture the here and now like never before.

Once you access Canvas in your Spotify for Artists account, you’ll be able to track how many views each of your videos receive so you can keep tabs on how they’re performing. The best part about this feature is it’s free for TuneCore artists, so you can test out as many concepts and creative directions as you’d like. 

For TuneCore Artists who want to claim and verify their Spotify for Artists account, you can access this via your dashboard. For more information on the benefits of distributing your music to Spotify and reaping the benefits of managing your Spotify for Artists profile, click here.

Tags: artist tips featuring spotify spotify for artists