Over the last decade, the music industry has changed significantly. Streaming platforms like Deezer, Apple Music (formerly iTunes), YouTube, and Spotify began to take hold on the market, and what was primarily an industry based on sales shifted to a streaming economy almost overnight. That meant that artists and labels, used to getting a set amount per purchased track, were suddenly left holding less than a penny per play. This left labels running to catch up while musicians stood stunned staring at shrinking royalty checks.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. In that same decade, we also saw the cost of access to the music industry drop. Tools like Ableton Live and Logic Pro made music production affordable. At the same time, digital music distributors (like iMusician) lowered the barrier to entry by bringing down the cost of distribution.
With that in mind, we are here to say that there has never been a better time to enter the music industry. We’re not here to argue about the percentages these streaming services pay; rather, we want you to know that anyone can make money on Spotify — we have thousands of customers who do — and it’s not difficult. All you need to know is how Spotify works, what you can do to make it work for you, and how to use the right combination of strategies to build your audience, grow your streams, and increase your revenue.
To help you get started with your Spotify strategy, we’ve created this guide. Everything you read here comes directly from our Artist and Label Managers. It’s the same advice they give to our customers every day.
Here’s what you’ll find inside:
CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS SPOTIFY?
In this chapter, we give an overview of the company behind the platform, explain how it’s different than an online retailer, and explain why Spotify is important for musicians. You’ll also learn how to get your music on Spotify and the type of content that is not allowed on the streaming platform.
CHAPTER 2: HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON SPOTIFY
The question on many musicians’ minds is how they can actually make money on Spotify. We start this chapter with a crash course in the difference between mechanical royalties, performance royalties, and streams. With that foundation in place, we’ll explain how and what Spotify pays artists.
CHAPTER 3: WHAT IS SPOTIFY FOR ARTISTS?
The first step in making money on Spotify is claiming and setting up your Spotify for Artists profile. In this chapter, we’ll give you all the best practices to get your Spotify profile looking professional and reflecting you as an artist.
CHAPTER 4: UNDERSTANDING SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS AS AN ARTIST
The playlist is the backbone of Spotify. It’s also a great tool to help you get discovered, build a fan base, rack up the streams, and increase your streaming revenue. In this chapter, we’ll outline the different types of playlists available on Spotify, explain the importance of this tool, and describe our basic playlist strategy. We’ll also clue you in on how to pitch your music to playlists from the Spotify editors and unofficial curators.
CHAPTER 5: WHAT IS THE BEST RELEASE STRATEGY FOR SPOTIFY?
Once you’ve gotten a grasp of playlists, you’ll start to see the importance of a strong release strategy. In this chapter, we’ll sketch out a simple release timeline that artists of all levels can use to gain momentum, get more cred with the Spotify playlists, and attract the almighty algorithm. We’ll also share some of our tips to help you promote your music via Instagram and other social media channels.
CHAPTER 6: HOW TO BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE ON SPOTIFY
These days, more than ever before, building an audience is vital to success as a professional musician. But where to start? In this chapter, we cover a few techniques to help you get more followers on Spotify. From simple organic growth to gated content, Facebook advertising to producing a podcast — we share tips for budgets of all sizes.
CHAPTER 7: MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE MONEY ON SPOTIFY
Did you know that Spotify has built-in features that help go beyond the stream to find more opportunities to make money? In this chapter, we’ll shine the light on some lesser-known tools that can help boost your income.
CHAPTER 8: SPOTIFY FOR LABELS
Spotify isn’t just for artists. It’s also for labels. If you have your own label, you’ll want to check out this chapter to learn about all of the features that Spotify has to help labels manage and promote their musicians.
At iMusician, we strive to create a world where artists who want to go pro, can. We want a marketplace where independent labels can compete on equal footing. That’s why, in creating this guide, we wanted to provide practical, useful advice for DIY musicians and independent labels. We hope it helps!