SPOTIFY FOR ARTISTS AND LABELS - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

5.0 WHAT IS THE BEST MUSIC RELEASE STRATEGY FOR SPOTIFY

Now you know the inner workings of Spotify for Artists and playlists, it’s time to focus on getting your music to the listeners. No matter how big your following is, we’re going to show you how to maximize the potential of your fans by using a strong release strategy and the power of social media. We’ll also be explaining why growing your followers and pre-saves can not only help widen your reach, but it can even catch the attention of the ever-watchful algorithm.

5.1 HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL MUSIC RELEASE STRATEGY AND TIMELINE

Over the last decade, the way music fans consume music has changed. In the past, musicians would release an album every couple of years. In the run-up to the album release, artists would often put out a few singles to gather momentum for their upcoming album. Today, artists need to gain and keep fans in a saturated music market. With thousands of releases sent to Spotify each day, many artists and labels are creating a constant flow of content to stand out from the crowd, and keep eager fans happy.

We’ve discovered that the more frequently you release content on Spotify, the more chances you have to shine. For artists who aren’t ready to release an album or an EP, we recommend releasing a single each month (or as frequently as possible) to stay on the radar. This gives you a chance to hone your craft and find out what works with your audience. It also gives you a chance each month to submit a track for playlist consideration.

This strategy doesn’t just work for beginners. We’ve found that established artists can build momentum by releasing a steady stream of singles, too. For an electronic music producer releasing 12 singles a year it will be an easier task. For a band developing an album where each track tells the story of the music, it might be better to only release one or two singles before the whole album. Think about what works best for you.

Want to dive deeper into planning? Check out this article where our Artist and Label Managers share their top music release strategies.

By the way, our Artist and Label Managers have put together several release packages designed to help get your music out the door, build your fan base, maximize PR, and give you more opportunities to get playlisted. These discounted packages are based on the same proven release strategies they use every day when advising artists and labels on the best way to plan their timelines.

5.2 HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR SPOTIFY RELEASE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

First off, you shouldn’t just spam your followers in the build-up to a release. Ideally you should be posting interesting and engaging content around three times a week (at least). The more followers you have on your social media channels, the more people you will be able to direct to your Spotify profile. When you’re planning your release promotion, you’ll want to think in three phases: pre-release, release day, and after release day.

Getting ready for release: Keep the almighty algorithm and editors in mind; the more pre-saves and followers you have, the better. Start by building hype. Unify your brand presence across all your channels: that means Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud, and any other artist profile pages you have on stores and streaming platforms. Share the upcoming release day by changing your social media banners with the album artwork and promoting the date on your major social media sites. Ask your fans to go to the pre-save and follow you if they haven’t yet.

Encouraging your listeners to follow you on Spotify means they will see your new release on their personalized Release Radar playlist. If you have 100,000 followers on Spotify, you’ll automatically be featured on 100,000 playlists the week of your release — not a bad start. Plus, Spotify’s algorithm will see the attention building and possibly share your music even further. As the big day gets closer, stir up the excitement in your online communities with images or videos — anything that will get them sharing.

Release day is here! You’ve got your pre-saves — but it doesn’t stop there. On release day, it’s super important to call your fans to action and get them to like, save, playlist, play, and share your release. If you have an email list, now’s the time to shout about it. The word might be out on social media, but don’t forget to use every channel available to you. If you have a WhatsApp or Telegram group for your fans, send the news to them to boost those plays and saves. You’ll also want to update your social media banners with “Out Now” on them instead of the release date.

Everyone consumes music in different ways — if you want them to purchase or play your release, help them find your release via their preferred method. The best way to do that is with a special player or a smart link page that lets your fans choose the place they want to listen or buy. It also makes it easy for you to share once and get the maximum amount of traction on all your various channels.

Even once the music is out there, you need to keep the momentum going. Make videos, take photos, keep sharing!

We’ve created Artist Pro, a package armed with promotional tools, to help you call your fans to action and help them listen and save your music. Check it out here.

5.3 How to Create a Spotify Pre-save

A "Save-It now!" page allows your audience to save an upcoming release to their Spotify library. When it’s release day, they can find it in their saved music. It’s also a great way to show the algorithm that there’s some excitement around your release. At iMusician, we use a Save-It' now! Page. It’s part of our Artist Pro package or if you’d rather have it without the other tools, message us directly. In this chapter, we’ll show you how to set it up like the pros.

Once you’ve uploaded your release to us for distribution, simply purchase Artist Pro or email us directly. We’ll send you a link to a form to get started.

The first step is to create a short description of your release. Write something that tells your fans a little bit about what to expect. You can write anything here, just remember that it needs to be compelling enough to make people want to save it. Describe how the song sounds, the story behind it, or anything meaningful that your fans will appreciate. If you’re not from an English-speaking country, we suggest that you write the description in your own language and in English so you can reach a wider audience.

If you want to add links to your social media channels, be sure to include those in the form.

That’s it! Once we have received your information via the form, we will give priority to your release so that the link is created after around 4-5 days. Be sure that you get everything sent to us at least two weeks before your planned release date.

5.4 USING INSTAGRAM TO PROMOTE YOUR SPOTIFY

Instagram is one of the most effective music promotion channels out there. With over 1 billion monthly active users, 500 million of those users are on the app every day. As a musician, if your audience uses Instagram, so should you.

Instagram Stories are a great way to stay active on Instagram. Unlike posts, which remain in your feed, a Story is only live for 24 hours. Stories are great for sharing quick updates, peeks behind the scenes, and glimpses into your daily life. As Stories aren’t permanent, they don’t need to be as curated as your feed posts, which often follow a similar theme or look and feel. This is the perfect place to show who you are as an artist and a person.

Stories are also an incredible way to get your fans engaged. You can use features like polls, questions, or quizzes to get feedback from your fans. Get your fans involved: host Q&A’s, or get fans to vote on their favorite merch design. Sharing your music from Spotify directly via Stories is another quick-and-easy way to get your music out there.

Once you get to 10,000 followers, you will unlock a feature that allows you to link directly from your Stories. Fans will be able to “swipe up” from Stories to go to links like your website, online store, or YouTube channel. This makes it much easier for your fans to connect with your content — so keep growing that fan base!

Instagram Live is like having a live stream in your pocket. These live videos are a chance to directly interact with your fans and bridge the gap between you and your audience. Your live streams could be performances, Q&A sessions, fun songwriting sessions, or a chance to make big announcements, like your new album dropping.

For a full overview, check our our article on How to Use Instagram For Artists.