With over 217 million monthly active users, Spotify presents an enormous opportunity for indie musicians.
After all, artists like Glass Animals and Zara Larsson blew up almost single-handedly through Spotify promotion.
But with millions of artists out there fighting to be the next big hit, it’s tough to break through the noise. That’s why a strong Spotify promo strategy is vital to give your music the best shot of success possible.
Here, we walk you through everything you need to know about how to get on Spotify. From creating a profile and getting verified, to getting featured on Spotify playlists, this post will give you the tools you need to get out there and spread your sound to the world.
How To Get Music On Spotify: Setting Up Your Artist Profile
Before you get started, it’s important to understand that there are two types of Spotify profiles you can have: your user profile and your Spotify artist profile.
Anyone can sign up for a user profile, but you can’t just hop on to Spotify and create a Spotify for Artists account. You have to have your music uploaded on the platform first.
How To Get Your Music On Spotify
It doesn’t matter who you are – as of now, you can’t simply throw your tracks up on Spotify like you can on platforms like Soundcloud. Uploading music to Spotify is a little more complex. Spotify requires artists to go through a third-party distributor to get tracks on the platform.
If you’re wondering how to put your music on Spotify, there are a few ways out there:
- Your record label will work with a distributor to upload music. If you’re one of the lucky few to be signed by a label, they take care of uploading your music to Spotify through their distributor.
- Distribute your music via a third party. There are plenty of artist distributors out there for indie musicians. In most cases, all you need to do is sign up for an account and submit your music. Keep in mind distributors charge a membership fee or take a commission.
- Spotify is also testing a beta feature to allow artists to upload music directly onto the platform using a Spotify for Artists account. However, this requires you to have a Spotify for Artists account first (meaning you’ll need to start with one of the other two options above).
Once you’ve got music up on Spotify, you’re ready to get started with Spotify for Artists.
How To Make An Artist Profile On Spotify
Spotify for Artists lets you claim your artist profile and get verified (that’s the little blue tick next to your account name). By doing this, you’ll have free reign to get creative with your profile and delve into Spotify data for your music.
Claiming your profile is pretty straightforward. Just hop on to Spotify for Artists and submit your artist link. From there, Spotify will double check your credentials and grant you access to your account.
Thankfully, getting that blue tick next to your name is also easy. It used to be that you needed to have 250 followers before you could become a bona fide verified artist. Today, once you have an artist profile on Spotify for Artists, your account is instantly verified.
How To Change Your Profile Picture On Spotify
Your Spotify profile picture is the first image listeners will see, so pick one that sums up who you are as an artist. Change it up regularly to keep it fresh – you could upload a new image when you have a new release, for example.
Changing your profile is simple, but needs to be done from a desktop or laptop and not the mobile app. If your profile is connected to your Facebook, your image will automatically pull your Facebook Profile through. If this is the case for your profile, follow these instructions to unlink your Spotify account from Facebook first.
Otherwise, here’s how to change your Spotify profile picture:
- Click into your profile
- Hover over your image at the top near your name
- You’ll see the word “Change” appear from the bottom. Click this.
- Select your new image. (Must be a .jpeg format and no more than 4MB).
For more instructions, you can follow Spotify’s directions here.
Spotify also offers the ability to create a custom image gallery with up to 125 images. In your gallery, you can upload press shots, behind-the-scenes images of you making music, shots from your latest gigs, or images with fans. This is a great way to help new listeners get to know you better, and give your current followers a taste of something new.
Keep in mind that Spotify lets you curate the order of your images, so think carefully about the story you want to tell. Start with images that will grab new fans right off the bat.
Set Up Your Artist Bio
Once your profile is set up, it’s time to start crafting your bio on Spotify. Although it requires a bit of time, this section matters. It’s a chance for you to tell your story, share your personality, and connect with your listeners.
Your artist bio is limited to 1,500 characters, so spend them wisely. Use this space to tell listeners who you are, why you make music, what kind of music you make, and any career highlights you’ve had so far. Spotify also lets you use @tags to link to Spotify content, such as your latest album or other artists you’ve collaborated with.
Link Up With Social Media
Social media is equally as important as Spotify if you want to make it as an artist. Having a strong presence on the major platforms gets the word out there about your music. To make it easier for fans to follow you, you can (and should!) add links to your Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook accounts, as well as your Wikipedia page. These will appear in a More Info section on the About tab of your Spotify artist account.
Set Up Team Members For Your Profile
Promoting your music isn’t a solo act. Spotify allows you to add team members to your account, from your bandmates to managers and promoters. This way, you can work together to get your music heard on Spotify.
There are three different access levels for team members: full access, edit access and view access. You can learn more about how it works, and the recommended settings for different team members, on Spotify’s website.
Get Familiar With Spotify Analytics
One of the awesome things about Spotify for Artists is the ability to dive deep into the data behind your listeners.
Spotify provides a treasure trove of analytics to help you succeed, including:
- Time filters for the past 7 days, 28 days, and 2 years
- A graph to track the all-time streams and listeners of all your songs, going back to 2015
- Stats on your followers (those that hit follow or ❤ on your profile) and listeners
There’s a ton more available on the platform, so we recommend setting some time aside to get familiar with your data. Remember to check it on a regular basis too, so you know what’s working and what’s not.
Get Discovered Using Spotify Playlist Submission
If you want to reach more listeners on Spotify, playlists are your best friend. Playlists are one of the main ways that users discover new artists. If one of your tracks is featured on a popular playlist, it instantly boosts your listener numbers. More listeners = more royalty payments and more followers.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to game the system. It takes a solid understanding of the different avenues for Spotify promotion, patience, and hard work to get your music out there.
There are a few different ways to promote your music on Spotify using playlists.
- Create your own playlists
- Pitch songs to independent playlist owners
- Submit your music directly to Spotify’s editorial team
Not all playlists are created equal, and getting featured on one of Spotify’s big playlists, like Front Left, will have a much bigger impact than adding music to a friend’s playlist. However, it’s much harder to get on to Spotify’s curated lists, which is why a Spotify promotion plan that features all three of the strategies is the best way to go. Let’s look at each one a bit deeper:
Creating your own playlist
This is the most straightforward approach. All you need to do is create playlists on your Spotify user account (not your artist profile) and add songs. While you can create a playlist purely for your music, it’s best to spread the love out to other musicians. Curate playlists based on moods, activities or even special events like the first day of summer or national holidays, and pepper a few of your tracks in alongside ones from other artists to keep it authentic.
If you feature other artists, don’t be shy – drop them a line and let them know! They might plug your Spotify playlist on their social media, which is a win-win for both of you. The same goes if you’re featured on another artist’s playlist. What goes around comes around, after all.
Pitch Songs To Independent Playlist Owners
Start out by doing a search for keywords that are related to your genre, style or your geographic location. List any interesting playlists in a spreadsheet, along with their owner and follower count, then do a quick social media search to see if you can find any contact information online. Once you’ve got this list sorted out, you can start pitching.
When you’re pitching, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Playlist owners, especially the bigger ones, get hundreds of requests from artists. If your request seems generic or rambles on, chances are it’ll go straight in the trash.
The best way to pitch to playlist curators is to start with the intention of forming a relationship with them. Check out their playlists and compliment them, and ask if they’d be open to submissions. Once you’ve got a conversation going, you can send your pitch email.
When pitching, keep your email concise and cover:
- A couple of sentences on your background as an artist
- Your target audience
- Any insights into your style or sound
- A link to your music on Spotify
If you don’t get a response straight away, don’t be afraid to follow up. A lot of emails get lost in the inbox. Sometimes a gentle nudge is all a playlist curator needs.
Finally, when pitching, start small and work your way up. A playlist with a few thousand followers is likely to be more receptive than one with hundreds of thousands of followers. Remember: every follower counts.
Submit Your Music To Spotify’s Editorial Team
Making it onto an official Spotify playlist is the holy grail for streaming artists. The good news is that you can submit your music directly to Spotify’s editorial team using Spotify for Artists. The catch is the song needs to be an upcoming track (meaning it’s unreleased). Finally, you can only submit one song at a time.
It’s easy to submit your track in one of two ways:
- Hop on to the Home tab and click Submit from next release
- Head to the Music tab and select Submit a song next to the release
From here, all you need to do is fill out the information and hit submit. Once you send it off, Spotify’s editors will listen and choose to either feature that song, feature a different song from your release, or pass on the submission. There’s no timeframe for this, but the earlier you get your song in, the better.
It’s free to submit your track, and doing so means your song will also get featured on your followers’ Release Radar playlists. In other words, when you have a new release, submit it.
Spread The Word Through Spotify Promotion
Spotify success isn’t just about setting up your profile and getting featured on playlists. Getting featured has far less impact in the long run if you don’t ride the wave and capitalize on it as much as possible.
Once you get a track on a playlist, you have a window of opportunity to spread the word and get as many new followers as possible.
Share any playlists you’re featured on to your existing fans across social media to get your music played and noticed, and encourage them to do the same. You could even consider running a competition for fans to share your music and win a prize, like a meet and greet or some signed merch.
Lastly, if you’re getting some traction, amplify it by submitting your music to third-party websites to get even more exposure. By doing all of this, you have the best chance of converting these new listeners into fans that will support you both now and into the future.
Wrapping It Up
A strong Spotify promotion strategy is a must-have if you want to make it as an indie artist. With a solid profile, consistent playlist pitching, and a great social media plan, you’ll give your music the best chance of getting noticed on the world’s biggest streaming stage.
Do you have any other tips that we missed? Drop us a suggestion below!