Promote Your Music on Spotify
Getting more exposure on Spotify is high up on any artists to do list.
In this article we’re going to cover some of the main ways to promote your music on Spotify, and look at how these can fit into your overall marketing strategy for your music.
Whether it’s building your Spotify followers, getting on Spotify Playlists, using Spotify Ads to promote a new release or upcoming concert, growing your monthly listeners, dealing with a Spotify promotion service, or using social media, the tips we cover here should get you well on your way to increasing your Spotify plays.
Table of Contents
- Join Spotify for Artists
- Build your Spotify followers
- Playlist Submission
- Use The Canvas Feature
- Add Your Lyrics
- Create Your Own Playlists
- Promote New Releases With Artist Pick
- Use Spotify Ad Studio
- The Spotify Algorithm
- Spotify Promotion Tools and Services
- Collaborate With Other Artists
- Buying Spotify Followers and Plays
- Promote on Social Media
- Review Your Stats
Join Spotify for Artists
A lot of Spotify promotion can actually be done on the platform itself, and there are a few tools provided that can help you to do this.
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have your artists profile claimed and verified. We’ve seen a few instances where people have uploaded their music to Spotify, but they haven’t claimed their profile.
Sorting this is easy, just head over to https://artists.spotify.com/ and follow the steps to get started.
The Spotify for Artists section provides you with the ability to update your artist profile, manage audio and video ads and view the stats about your tracks. Learn more in this Spotify for Artists guide.
Assuming you have this all up to date, let’s take a look at some of the key Spotify promotion tips to build engagement.
Build your Spotify followers
When it comes to organic Spotify promotion, probably the main determining factor in how well your tracks perform comes down to your followers.
Spotify even say this themselves:
“On Spotify, the key to getting your new release in front of fans is “Follow.” Think of your followers as subscribers to your mailing list on Spotify.”
There’s a few main reasons why followers are important, and these come down to how your music gets pushed throughout the Spotify universe. Most notably in these three main areas:
Release Radar – The release radar is a personalized weekly playlist that pulls together new tracks based on followed artists and listening history. If you’ve managed to get followed by your fans, you’ll likely show up in their release radar playlists.
Discover Weekly – this is a section that appears in the discover section of the Spotify app, as well as in the home tab every Monday.
New release emails – On Fridays, Spotify also sends out a new release email to users, which highlights up to 10 new releases from artists they follow.
As you can see, building followers is key to real Spotify promotion, not to mention the impact on your relevance and credibility elsewhere. Remember, Spotify is just one part of the pie.
How to See Your Spotify Followers
One of the most common questions people ask is how to see followers on Spotify.
It’s fairly straightforward to see who followers your profile. You just need to head over to your profile page on the app and then click on the ‘followers’ button.
Unfortunately this feature is not supported for playlists, so if you were hoping to see a list of all the people who follow your Spotify playlists, this isn’t going to be possible 🙁
Tips to Increase Your Spotify Followers
So you know that followers are essential to your Spotify performance, but how do you get more followers?
There’s quite a few things that you can be doing, and following along with the advice in this article will help, but there are a few specific follower related tips:
Embed the button on your website – Putting the follow button on your website is a great way to convert people to followers – follow the tips on this post.
Email newsletter – Send a message out to your email list asking them to follow you. Explain the benefits. You’d be surprised at how many fans actually don’t use the follow feature.
Promote on social media – Send out the same message on your social platforms. Ask people to follow. Don’t just share your tracks and hope for plays, ask them to follow, share and like.
Remember engagement is just as important as plays, so your goal should be to increase engagement across the platform.
The rest of the article will help cover a range of areas designed to get your promotion game up to scratch, boosting your engagement and growing your fanbase.
Submit to Playlists
Playlist pitching can seem like the holy grail of music marketing to some artists, but in our experience it should only be one aspect of your music marketing strategy.
The changing way that music is consumed means that playlists have become more important than ever. With over 50 million songs at a user’s fingertips people look to playlists to tell them which of those songs they should be listening to – in essence, playlists are becoming the modern day radio stations, and Spotify playlist promotion is the modern day equivalent of radio plugging.
And the stats back this up, Spotify have recently revealed that in the time since the Discover Weekly playlist was created it has generated 2.3 billion hours of streams, for context that’s 266 thousand years of streams!
With this many streams coming from playlists, playlist promotion has become an essential aspect of Spotify promotion.
In this next section we’ll cover the different types of Spotify playlists, how they work, and how to go about getting your music on them.
What Are the Different Types of Spotify Playlists
The three categories are:
- Algorithmic playlists (or personalized)
- Editorial playlists
- User Curated playlists (sometimes called listener playlists)
Broadly speaking, playlists will fall into three main buckets that are important to artists, and it’s important to really understand the difference between these when trying to get noticed for playlist consideration.
These are automatically generated by Spotify and will look different to each user depending on their tastes. These are playlists like Release Radar and Discover Weekly.
You can increase your chances of appearing on these playlists for a particular user by having more followers, more plays, and more people saving your tracks in their library and playlists.
These are playlists created by Spotify’s editorial team who listen to your track and, if they like it, will add it to a relevant playlist created by Spotify, such as Today’s Top Hits or RapCaviar. You can tell if a playlist is curated by Spotify, as it will have the Spotify symbol in the top left corner.
You can pitch your track to Spotify for consideration on one of these playlists by the process we mention below in the How to Get Featured in Editorial Playlists section.
User Curated Playlists
These are very similar to the editorial playlists in the previous section, except rather than the Spotify playlist curators being actual Spotify employees, in this case they are Spotify users.
This could be an individual Spotify user, or it could be a playlist created by a big brand.
How you pitch to these will vary from playlist to playlist, but you can find out more in the How to Get Featured in User Curated Playlists section.
Which is Better, Algorithmic or User Curated Playlists?
There’s quite clearly a big difference in the approach to getting featured on algorithmic playlists vs getting listed on ones made by Spotify playlist curators – so which ones are more effective for your playlist promotion efforts?
The unhelpful answer is both.
In this interesting article from CDBaby there’s a great quote mentioned which may put playlist submission as a whole into perspective:
“Bryan Johnson, director of artists and management at Spotify UK, says “What we are seeing is that this playlist (Release Radar) is becoming a huge driver of streams – more than any of our programmed editorial playlists, which are the ones that everyone pitches for. It’s Release Radar which is driving listens.”
The key to getting on release radar is getting followers. The more followers you can build, the more often you’ll appear.
Getting on Editorial and User Created playlists can be great, but they can often result in plays and not follows. This isn’t a bad thing, and still opens up the door to a new audience, but keep it in perspective.
That might not be what you want to hear in a Spotify playlist submission guide 🙂 – but it’s an important point.
General Submission Advice
Before we get into the weeds on how to submit to each type of playlist it’s important to first run through some more general advice that’s applicable to any type of submission.
- Be polite when pitching to playlist curators, they don’t owe you anything, and if they don’t want to add your song to the playlist that’s their prerogative.
- Include a Spotify link to the song you want added. Don’t just provide the artist name and song name, and expect the playlist owner to search for it.
- Include some information about how you plan on promoting this track yourself. People want to know they’ll be including a song that will get a bit of traction.
- You will have more chance of getting a playlist feature if you have a following, so make sure you do as much as you can to promote yourself as an artist on Spotify. This is a bit chicken and egg I know, you wouldn’t be looking to get on a playlist if you didn’t need to promote yourself.
- If you have a following off Spotify, mention that (and also try to get them to follow you on Spotify).
- Big up the song in the pitch, you want whoever is going to listen to it to be enthusiastic about giving it a go.
- Be realistic about whether your track is a good fit for the playlist you’re pitching to. If it’s not a good fit, then don’t waste your time or the curators time.
We’d also mention that Spotify playlists shouldn’t be your only focus. There’s lot’s of places off the platform to submit your music to and you can check out our music submission guide for more ideas.
How to Get Featured in Discover Weekly & Release Radar Playlists (Algorithmic Playlists)
These are algorithmically generated playlists that Spotify creates based on the artists a user follows and listens to, and artists that Spotify thinks they’ll like.
So what can you do to increase your chances of appearing in these playlists?
Build your follower numbers
One of the most important things you can do is to build your follower numbers. The more followers you have, the more chance you have of appearing in these playlists.
To get more followers check out our guide on increasing your Spotify followers.
Consider more frequent releases
More frequent releases can keep your followers engaged, keep your monthly listeners high and increase the chances of your tracks appearing in these playlists without plateauing.
When you pitch an unreleased song to Spotify (covered more in the next section) they will add the pitched song to your followers’ Release Radar playlists.
Be aware of engagement and activity ratios
What your listeners do with your music is just as important as getting plays. If people are sharing it, liking them, and adding them to their playlists then these tracks are much more likely to be favoured by the algorithms than tracks which have plenty of listens but no engagement.
How to Get Featured in Editorial Playlists
One way to get featured in editorial playlists is the same as with the algorithmic playlists. Increase your plays, and your followers to the point where you’re picked up by Spotify’s curators without having to pitch them.
The main way you’re likely to get featured on these playlists is by pitching your song to the editors at Spotify. To do this you’ll need two things:
- A Spotify for Artists account. If you don’t have one of these you’ll need to set it up before your song is released and ensure your artist profile is up to date.
- An unreleased track. Editorial playlists look for unreleased music – you can’t pitch a song you’ve already released.
Interestingly, even though you have to pitch an unreleased track, this won’t necessarily be the track that gets chosen. Spotify might choose another of your tracks to go in a playlist.
To pitch your track you follow these steps:
- Log in to your Spotify for Artists account. Currently pitching can only be done on desktop, so don’t log in to the mobile app.
- At the top of the Home tab select “pitch a song”
- Choose your song and fill out as much info as possible.
Important things to note
- You’re only pitching the song, there’s no guarantee that Spotify will place it in a playlist.
- You can only pitch one song at a time.
- You can’t pitch a compilation
- You can’t pitch if you’re a featured artist on the track.
If you’ve got your eye on being included in a particular playlist, try hinting at it in your pitch.
E.g. If you think your track is perfect for the Feelin’ Myself playlist then talk about how the track makes you feel empowered.
To improve your chances of getting your song accepted, you should follow some of the general submission advice listed earlier.
How to Get Featured in User Curated Playlists
When it comes to user curated playlists, there are generally two further groups that these playlists will fall into:
- Label curated playlists
- Individual playlists
Label Curated Playlists
It’s no surprise that the major record labels have become invested in utilising playlists on Spotify. So much so that they have their own playlist brands built around curating playlists to provide exposure for their artists.
The three main brands are:
Digster – owned by Universal
Filtr – owned by Sony
Topsify – owned by Warner
Each of these brands has multiple playlists with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Spotify itself has very strong ties with them, and this is reflected in the exposure these label’s playlists get on the platform.
Unfortunately, as an independent artist, getting your songs on these Spotify playlists isn’t simple. There’s no way to submit to them for playlist inclusion. They also serve as a means to promote artists signed to the corresponding record labels so if you’re a new artist you’ll have to forget about these for now.
In addition to these major services there are a handful of other smaller record labels with their own brand which are definitely worth reaching out to.
They can be fairly easy to find. If you understand your audience and your genre, spend some time working through relevant Spotify playlists and take note of who they are curated by, which is linked to in the playlist bio:
Here we can see this playlist is curated by Soave Records – they have a small selection of playlists with a decent following, with clearly defined genres.
Submitting to these sort of playlist curators as an independent artist is a much more straightforward process, as they will usually have clear instructions on how to submit new tracks. In this instance you can see the info in the footer of their website.
Individual Curated Playlists
Now we’ve covered the Label curated playlists, it’s time to take a look at some of the individual curated playlists and how to reach out to them.
To find these guys it’s a similar process to reaching out to the smaller labels, but what makes the process a little bit more difficult is often the lack of presence these Spotify playlist curators will have online – which can make knowing how to get in touch with them that bit more difficult.
Google and Facebook are your friends.
Once you have a list of some of the playlists you would like to be listed on, it’s a case of heading to Google and Facebook, and other social media platforms to try and find any contact details for the playlist curator.
It can sometimes be hard to pin these people down and know if you’ve got the right details, so don’t get caught up spending hours on this. Be realistic about the ROI of finding this person, and how much it would benefit you to be listed.
Again it pays to keep in mind the general advice on contacting curators, as mentioned previously.
This can be quite a chore – so it’s no wonder that a host of different tools and services have popped up over the past few years to help streamline the process of Spotify playlist pitching.
Playlist Submission Tools and Services
Playlist submission tools are a way of submitting your track once and having it pitched for consideration to multiple different playlists all at once. Using a promotion service takes away the hassle of finding the right playlist, and finding contact details for each of these playlists.
These tools often provide you with the stats of the playlists, such as monthly listeners and followers. They often aren’t limited to just Spotify either, they can also help you reach music blogs, YouTube channels, Instagram influencers, or other streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Deezer.
These can be either free or paid. The downside of free Spotify playlist submission is usually that your pitch will be placed in a big backlog with hundreds or thousands of other pitches. You might be waiting a long time for the playlist owner to see your pitch, if they ever do at all, reducing the chances of any playlist placement.
Some examples of the most popular playlist pitching tools include SubmitHub, PlaylistPush, Playlist Supply, Neon Collective, Soundplate and Indiemono.
For a more detailed overview of these tools and music promotion services check out our guide on music promotion tools.
Use the Canvas Feature
Music and visuals have always gone hand in hand.
The Canvas feature on Spotify allows you to bring visuals in to accompany your tracks, and adds an extra level of engagement to your music.
The Canvas feature isn’t available for everyone, but we are seeing a lot of artists are able to use it.
We recommend you get to grips with this feature, and we’ve created a more detailed Spotify Canvas guide to help you through the process.
Add Your Lyrics
Another feature that’s been added fairly recently is the ability to have your song’s lyrics displayed on Spotify.
This is powered by either Genius or Musixmatch, with Musixmatch actually offering a bit more functionality, including the ability to sync your lyrics in time to your music so they show up in the app at the same time.
Both of these services will require you to get verified on the according platform. Sign up for Musixmatch here and Genius here.
For more detailed steps check out our guide on adding lyrics to Spotify.
Create Your Own Playlists
As well as trying to get featured on other peoples playlists, why not consider creating your own. As an artist, your fans will likely take an interest in the sort of music you would put on your own playlist.
It’s also a great opportunity to build relationships with other artists in your genre. As you curate your list, why not reach out to those featured to let them know – they may end up being Spotify playlist curators themselves and feature you back.
At the very least hit helps get your name about and build some valuable relationships – something you will find invaluable in your music promo efforts.
Promote New Releases with Artist Pick
The artist pick section on your profile can be a great way of highlighting things to your fanbase. Whether that’s your latest release, an album you have been enjoying, or one of your favourite playlists.
You can also place a short message about why you’ve chosen this.
It’s a great way to further engage with your fans and promote yourself.
Use Spotify Ad Studio
Spotify Ad Studio is an advertising platform that allows you to create and manage your own ads that appear on the streaming platform.
You can get specific with your targeting, selecting to target fans of a particular artist, or target fans of your genre. This is where it’s really to understand who your audience is, as it allows you to target them much more effectively.
This is where your Facebook Audience tools can really come in handy. Playing about with this can help you get a much better understanding of what ages and genders are likely to be into your sound.
The Spotify Algorithm
In the same way Google uses an algorithm to bring you the most relevant search results, Spotify has an algorithm designed to bring you the most relevant new music.
When it comes to understanding how the Spotify algorithm works, there’s really a couple of areas you care about as an artist.
- How well you come up in the search results for your music
- How often your music is recommended to listeners – for example in the radio, or discover feature
Understanding how the algorithm affects your reach is useful for any artist looking to maximise your presence on Spotify. But it’s not straightforward.
How Does the Spotify Algorithm Work?
The Spotify algorithm is complex, and can’t be easily summed up in a few paragraphs.
However, some of the key areas that it looks at are engagement with your songs, additions to playlists, frequency of the music you are adding, amongst other things.
All in all it comes to how much you engage with the platform, and in return how much your audience engages with you.
The whole system is run by an AI called Bandits for Recommendations as Treatments (BaRT)
The details of the system are complicated, and outside the scope of this article, however for those who want to better understand it there are a few useful articles worth checking out to start with.
How Spotify’s Algorithm Manages To Find Your Inner Groove
I Decoded the Spotify Recommendation Algorithm. Here’s What I Found.
How Spotify’s Algorithm Knows Exactly What You Want to Listen To
Spotify Promotion Tools and Services
There are a countless number of tools and promotion services that have been developed to help you with marketing your music on Spotify and other platforms.
These range from music promo tools designed to help you with getting better insights into your audience and performance, those designed to help you connect with popular playlists, to the more questionable services designed to increase your followers and plays on the service.
These can be a useful addition to your arsenal, but for those getting started out we recommend you learn and understand the basics first.
Once you have a good foundational understanding of how to promote yourself you can look at adding these into the mix. Until then don’t worry about using these to launch your promotion campaign.
If you want to learn more about the different tools available check out our guide to music promotion tools.
Collaborate With Other Artists
Collaboration has to be one of the most effective promotion techniques. Not only on Spotify, but across the board.
A good collaboration exposes both artists to each other’s fanbase and can be very mutually beneficial. Being listed on a track on Spotify will allow fans to click directly on your name and see what else you’ve done.
However it’s very important to consider how the collaboration fits into your story as an artist. You’ve spent time cultivating a certain brand and image, and anything you do should fit nicely with this.
Collaborations can come in many different forms also – it doesn’t have to be jumping on a track, it can be getting featured on each other’s playlists, sharing each other’s music on an Instagram story, or even using the artist pick we mentioned earlier.
So get creative, get out there and start building some connections.
Buying Spotify Followers and Plays
No doubt you will have seen a variety of Spotify promotion services out there offering organic promotion designed to boost your Spotify plays and increase your Spotify followers.
Buying Spotify followers and plays is such a grey area and you’ll find so much conflicting advice out there, published over the last few years – a lot of it coming from the promotion service companies themselves.
Spotify is a system, and like most systems where there are benefits to be had, people will try and hack it.
It’s easy to see the appeal also. Using a promotion service can seem like a quick way to boost your profile and make you seem more attractive to labels and partners.
It’s a negative area of an industry that focuses so much on image and perception – and for a lot of artists they feel like they need these stats before anyone will take them seriously.
However it’s not without its downsides. Time and time again we see instances of people using an apparently legit Spotify promotion service to buy streams and getting a quick initial boost and increased monthly listeners, only for these to drop back to zero a few weeks later.
It’s quite clear that these aren’t real plays or real people.
Promotion services like this actually harm Spotify, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they will be actively targeted by them.
While the exact ins and outs of the Spotify algorithm are not fully known, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine how this sudden jump in plays and then drop off could be perceived as lack of engagement and potentially have negative effects down the line. If your monthly listeners jump up and then drop off it doesn’t look very good, and is quote obviously caused by fake streams.
Does this mean none of these promotional services help? Not necessarily, there are likely some Spotify promotion services out there which are run in a way which can actually make this work, but the decent ones are not likely to come cheap or be freely available.
Think about it – if you had a music promotion service that could take an artist and make them a major player in the music industry in a short space of time, would you be selling access to it for $20 online?
In life you get what you pay for, and this is true when it comes to buying plays and followers.
Should I Buy Spotify Plays?
Our answer would have to be no. The odds of getting good results are stacked against you. Not to mention the potential algorithmic impact this could have on your results elsewhere.
Have people done it before and been successful? – sure. But people are always doing risky things, and every now and they they pay off.
Play it safe – focus on organic growth, and getting in front of real people and you will be better off in the long run.
Promote on Social Media
If you’ve been doing Spotify promotion for any length of time you’ve no doubt revisited your social media strategy time and time again, so we’re not going to go into detail on it here.
But if you’re not using your other social platforms to drive listeners through to your music then you’re missing a trick.
Be sure to promote your tracks and artist profiles to your fans and followers on other platforms, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud, TikTok – wherever. Think of this as a free Spotify promotion service, people used to pay good money to get let their fans know a new track has dropped. Encourage users to follow you as opposed to just sharing your tracks.
Remember, followers on Spotify are key to increasing your engagement and getting picked up by the algorithm.
Also sharing your tracks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will also create a Spotify player – allowing fans to quickly listen to your music, and at the same time boosting your metics on Spotify.
Don’t forget that other social platforms are a great way to reach out to curators, music blogs and influencers, and network with the people that can get your music shared – that up and coming TikTok influencer may just be the person that gives your music the push it needs to go viral.
There’s also the option for paid music promotion on these platforms – Using Facebook manager you can run paid ads to get your music in front of people who match your audience profile.
If you want more detailed guides on each of these platforms be sure to sign up to our updates, as we’ll be covering Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in future articles.
Review Your Stats
It’s hard to maximise the impact of your Spotify music promotion activity without reviewing your stats. These can all be viewed in your Spotify for Artists dashboard.
Your stats provide you with insights into how well your tracks are performing. You can view the source of your plays, your monthly listener data, how listeners are finding your tracks, the cities they are listening from, as well as demographic data such as listeners ages and genders.
All this information is extremely useful to get an insight into your audience. You can then use these figures to work out estimated royalty payments (using our Spotify royalty calculator).
We’ll be digging deeper into this in future resources so be sure to stay tuned and sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date when new posts go live.
If you want to check out some of the most frequently asked questions be sure to check out the Spotify FAQs page.
So there we have our full rundown on how to promote your music on Spotify. Hopefully you’ve found it useful.
Be sure to check out all the linked to resources for more detailed insights into each of these areas. We’ll also be creating guides to music promotion on other popular streaming services such as Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon Prime and YouTube in the near future.
We’re always on the lookout for new artists to work with and help with their Spotify promotion, so be sure to get in touch if you would like to work together. Also don’t hesitate to sign up to our mailing list below to be kept up to date with new resources as they are published.