The landscape for music fans worldwide is changing constantly and this affects how people discover new music and fundamentally, the music they listen to. According to research conducted by RIAA, streaming is, by far, the most popular way of consuming music in 2020, as it accounts for 85% of the total revenue in music sales in the U.S. For this reason, developing and growing as an artist on streaming services like Spotify (the most popular streaming service with a 32% market share, according to MIDIA) has become a goal for many who pursue a successful career in the music industry.
However, the competition is overwhelming, as approximately 40,000 new songs are uploaded to the platform every day. And as of 2020, the top 43,000 artists are bringing in 90% of streaming revenue - that is $963 million of the $1.07 billion – according to calculations by Rolling Stone. Unfortunately, from this large streaming revenue pool from Spotify only 10% - or $107 million - is left for the remaining small- and medium-scale artists in this situation (around 3 million artists).
However, it is possible to achieve long-term success on Spotify with the right growth strategy. For this reason, our team of experts carried out some research and determined how to increase your followers on Spotify for maximum success in the long run.
You need a Spotify growth strategy, here’s why
With Spotify for Artists, you can view your “Source of Streams” chart and see if your fans discover you directly from your artist page or from one of their playlists. This way, you can see what is already working for you and invest your time into that area. In short, you must create a Spotify promotion strategy.
Most people focus on playlist marketing - getting their tracks featured in well-known playlists - as this seems like the most logical place to get streams from.
However, most streams on Spotify are coming from users’ collections and listening recommendations from the algorithm. Therefore, if you are aiming for long-term success as an artist, the ultimate goal is to increase your following on Spotify and get your music saved in listeners’ catalogs forever. This will pay off in the long-term, as opposed to only boosting your streams – in the short-term - by getting featured on a popular playlist for a few weeks.
There are many services which claim they can get your songs into these playlists and deliver you streams but you need organic followers for long-term growth. Also keep in mind, Spotify deletes fake followers, so in the end, these methods won’t be the best way to invest your hard-earned cash. Therefore, we believe that building a fanbase organically is the best way of achieving success in the long-term. In the same manner that creators thrive on any other social media platform, one needs to know the algorithm and play by its rules.
The Spotify algorithm
Spotify works in a similar way to other social media platforms like Instagram, as it uses algorithms. Instagram does this with images and Spotify roughly does the same with music. However, for music curation, Spotify uses a mix of human creation and their computer-generated algorithm (which is a complex math equation that guesses your interests, tastes and emotions based on collected data). The algorithm is constantly changing, but we know for sure that the Spotify algorithm favors those with good engagement. This means that those artists who have their music saved to users’ music collections, or those who simply attain big streaming numbers, will be rewarded with spots in Spotify-generated playlists. If you have many followers, your chances of being in those (often user-personalized) playlists will grow.
Simply put, increasing your Spotify followers is of great value in the long-term because your listeners will return to your music eventually. All because your music will be recommended to your followers by Spotify’s algorithmic playlists.
But how can you increase your followers?
Ways to increase your Spotify followers
1. Try to get your music saved
As people hardly delete music from their collections. People saving your music to their collections benefits your chances of beating the algorithm too, as you will be featured in users’ “Artists”, “Songs” and “Recently Played” collection. If listeners return to your music through these pages, chances are you will show in users’ “Your Daily Mix”, “Discover Weekly” and “Release Radar”playlist. The weight of these playlists cannot be overlooked, as they generate BILLIONS of streams.
Pro Tip: A great strategy to consider using hereis running a pre-save campaign for new releases.
In conclusion, your music is likely to be recommended to users who have saved your music to their collections. In turn, this will increase your chance of gaining followers, as people typically listen to music they can share with friends who have similar taste.
2. Use Follow-To-Unlock gates
Tools like Fangage offer the possibility for artists to restrict access to specific types of content from their fans. In order to unlock the content (for example, your new radio show episode), your fans will have to follow your Spotify account (or Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud, etc.). This way, you can easily boost your reach and following on these platforms.
3. Claim your profile with Spotify for Artists
Accessing Spotify for Artists offers many benefits to your artist profile. Firstly, you will receive that blue “verified” checkmark next to your profile. Secondly, you will be able to customize your profile with a bio, images, tour dates and more. There are many more helpful resources that come with verifying your profile, but most importantly your profile will look professional and this will boost your credibility in the eyes of fans, but also playlist curators and other music industry professionals.
4. Use Spotify Canvas
As Spotify calls it, Spotify Canvas is “the album cover of the streaming era”. With this relatively new feature, you can add 2D- and 3D-graphics, mix media and video visuals to your music on Spotify. This way, you will be able to give your listeners an extra opportunity to resonate with your music.
5. Promote tracks via a mailing list or other direct communication with fans
E-mail marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and we advise you to use this channel to your advantage when promoting your music. There are many benefits to organizing a mailing list. First, there is the fact that you own the data, which gives you more control over your fan-relationships. Secondly, you can use this data to your advantage in many ways. Besides that, if fans have given you their permission to mail them, they’re basically telling you they want to hear about your career. So, you should use mail as a vehicle for fans to follow you on Spotify, pre-save your new releases or even to promote new merchandise.
6. Share links everywhere
There are many ways to share your Spotify links through other channels nowadays. You can, and you should, leave links on your social media channels and mails. Nowadays, there are many options to share links to your Spotify account, an example is sharing through Instagram Stories.
Another relatively new way of sharing links is by using Spotify’s QR-codes. Get creative and test it out when you’re having a performance.
7. Make your own playlist
As discussed earlier, for long-term success on Spotify you will need followers. But a great way of attracting those, together with creating an identity for yourself as an artist, is by making your own playlist (or several). Include your own music, but also feature music that fits well with the emotion you’re trying to bring across with the playlist. Make sure it is a great branded piece of work where you present yourself as an artist, but also share what kind of music had a big influence on you or inspired you, with your followers. This is a great way for your fans to engage with you and get to know your personality. This also lends you yet another opportunity to share something valuable on social media, which might acquire you some new listeners.
Let's put this up front: your Spotify followers aren’t everything when your ambition is a career in music, as you will need to focus on lots of other marketing efforts to cultivate a loyal listener-base.
But if you have a significant follower base on Spotify and get your music saved in people’s music catalogs forever, chances are the algorithms will be in your favor in the long-term. The algorithms will recognize your engagement and get you featured in more and more Spotify-generated playlists, building a loyal listener-base on Spotify on the long run almost automatically.
If you are looking for an all-in-one tool to manage your fan-relationships from one place, check out Fangage. Our online tool will help you collect (and own 100% of) your fans’ data, communicate with fans through SMS or mail, analyze advanced insights and much more.
You can create a fan-platform for free in only a few minutes!