You’ve no doubt seen the looping videos playing in the background on Spotify for sometime now and wondered how you go about doing the same thing for your music.
Spotify Canvas is the name of this feature, and it’s a great way to display looping visuals that complement your music, increase engagement with your listeners, and ultimately grow your following on Spotify.
In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about Spotify Canvas – how to get approved, how to upload your visuals, and some great tips of getting this most out of Canvas.
What is Spotify Canvas?
The Canvas feature replaces the traditional static artwork with a looping visual, providing artists with the opportunity to add visual context to the listening experience.
It’s a great way of adding more engagement to your music, and the stats reflect this. Spotify claims that adding a high quality canvas visual has increased track shares up to 200%, in addition to increasing artist profile visits, streams and shares – all essential parts of your Spotify promotion strategy.
As an artist you also have the ability to share your Canvas artwork directly to Instagram Stories, driving people back to listen to your music on Spotify.
These backgrounds can be updated as often as you like, allowing you to change things up when inspiration strikes.
Who is Eligible for Spotify Canvas?
Spotify Canvas is currently in a limited beta stage, which means that it is still being tested, and hasn’t been fully rolled out to everyone. You can see how to apply for this beta test below.
How to Get Accepted for Spotify Canvas
To get access to using this feature you’ll need to fill out this form showing your interest in using Spotify Canvas, and add your Spotify for Artists account details.
When you’re accepted you’ll receive an email saying your account has access.
Where Does Spotify Canvas Show?
Spotify Canvas only appears on the Now Playing screen on mobile devices. Where normally a user would see your album artwork, they will now instead see a looping visual.
The visual will take up the whole screen, so don’t put anything important or detailed in the lower half / third of your canvas, as this will be obscured by the player controls.
Where to Get Canvas Designs
You’re in charge when it comes to creating your Canvas designs – so feel free to express your creative side and experiment with visual expression.
You can either record and edit your own video backgrounds to upload, or work on getting some Canvas visuals created to match your music. This could either be with your creative team, your record label if you have one, or working with a designer that specializes in this area.
You can also rework your cover art into moving designs that can complement your branding across platforms.
On a sidenote – if you’re using media that you don’t own then you have to make sure that you have the correct legal permissions.
How to Add a Canvas Video
Even though a Canvas is only visible on mobile devices, you can upload one on both mobile or desktop devices.
In both cases you’ll obviously need to have the media file on the device you want to be uploading from, and on mobile you’ll need to have updated to the latest version of the Spotify for Artists Mobile app.
In both cases you’ll need to navigate to the track you want to add the Canvas to, and click “Add Canvas”.
Dimensions and Requirements to be Aware of
Your media file needs to be in a 9:16 ratio, and between 3 and 8 seconds long. It should also be in an MP4 or JPG format.
Depending on the device size, some of your Canvas might be off screen. The lower portion of your Canvas will also be obscured by the media controls. For this reason it’s a good idea to check out the specs, and keep any important visuals in the “Safe Area” of the screen.
On the same site you can check out the content guidelines. These are things like:
- Don’t drive traffic outside of Spotify
- Text must be relevant to the track, and not promote other songs / brands / websites.
- If you’re overly promotional Spotify reserves the right to remove your Canvas
- Your Canvas can’t be hateful, obscene, threatening, etc, it should follow Spotify’s normal content policy here, as well as the Canvas content policy mentioned on the Canvas site.
Tips on using Canvas
Spotify has provided some great tips for using the Canvas feature so we won’t rehash them all here, you should definitely go read them before creating your Canvas, but the most important ones are:
- Your Canvas is on a loop, so it isn’t synced to your song, for this reason be aware when using a video with anyone talking or singing, as it might not match the lyrics.
- Remember to focus the action in the “Safe Area” (more on that in the previous section).
- Consider excluding the song title and artist name – these will already be visible in the Now Playing section, you don’t need to repeat it.
- Update your Canvas – You can change a song’s Canvas as many times as you want. You can update it for a holiday, or change it over time to reflect the look and feel of your latest album, upcoming release or latest brand image.
You should now be up to speed with Spotify Canvas and how it can be useful to build your visual identity, as well as understanding how to get accepted and what requirements your designs need to follow.
We’ll keep this guide updated as things change and the program opens up to everyone. If you’re still waiting to be accepted, be sure to sign up to our mailing list to stay updated with the latest music promotion guides and news.