In the past, the record label would do all the promotion. Today, DIY musicians and independent labels have to learn to grow their own audiences. In fact, expanding your audience on Spotify is a must for a musician nowadays. Getting new people to follow you on Spotify won’t only mean potential new streams and income, but also more people attending your concerts and purchasing your merchandise. When it comes to pitching your tracks to playlist curators or catching the attention of the algorithm, the more followers you have, the more likely you are to succeed.
In this chapter, we’ll go over how to grow your fanbase organically, use analytics to understand your audience, and create content and ads to bring in new listeners.
6.1 HOW TO GROW YOUR SPOTIFY AUDIENCE ORGANICALLY
When you’re first getting started, you’ll need all the help you can get: from your friends, existing fans, other musicians, etc. If there’s one piece of advice we can give you, it’s that you should use every available avenue. Don’t just think digitally. Think about how you can reach your audience in other ways. Whether that’s through word of mouth, magazine exposure, making posters, or getting your tracks played on the radio.
If you haven’t already, take the time to put together an email list of your fans. If you already have an email list, you can use a mailing platform like Mail Chimp to send an email to your fans including your latest news, and ask them to follow you on Spotify. Give them an incentive to follow your account. You could set up a raffle with a prize of free merch or free music for folks who click on ‘follow’. You can also replicate this strategy on social media.
Top tip: Every time you write a post that can be related to your Spotify profile, like the release of a new single, a new playlist, or a playlist you were featured on, take the chance and suggest your fans to follow you on Spotify.
Another easy way to boost your follower numbers is to add a Spotify button to your website. All you have to do is log in to your Spotify profile and, in the “Tools” section, access the ‘Follow’ button widget. You can then copy that code into your site and a button will appear that allows anyone with a Spotify account to follow you directly after pressing it. Placing it close to a Spotify playlist with your music will make the listener more likely to click to follow your account.
6.2 UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE WITH SPOTIFY ANALYTICS
Your Spotify for Artists profile gives you deep information about your audience. By looking at this data, you can see demographic information about your fans, like their age, location, gender. These analytics also give you the chance to deep-dive into your numbers: total streams, followers, most-played tracks, and playlists you’ve been added to. Understanding these numbers gives you an amazing insight into what it is that your fans like most about you, which could come in handy when you’re working on upcoming music.
Another useful trick is that you can see what other artists your fans like. This can prove extremely useful when building your audience. As you’ll see in the next section, these details can help you target similar audiences via paid advertising.
6.3 HOW TO USE FACEBOOK ADS TO INCREASE YOUR SPOTIFY AUDIENCE
Facebook Ads are a powerful tool to target and segment your potential fans through advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. It takes some time to learn, but it’s definitely worth it. Both platforms have hundreds of millions of users who check their feed many times each day. That’s a huge pool of potential new fans. Facebook Ads aren’t free, but if you have the budget and a good strategy behind you, what’s to lose?
You will be able to target people based on their location, gender, age, bands they like, and musical taste — among other variables. When targeting other bands and musicians, check your related artists on your Spotify profile. It’s very likely that their fans will also like your music. Bear in mind that some smaller artists can’t be targeted on Facebook, so you might need to focus on similar ones that have a good number of fans.
As a first step, you can target your own fans with an ad that invites them to ‘like’, ‘follow’, or listen to your music on Spotify. Meanwhile, you can also create a campaign that collects new Instagram and Facebook fans based on similar artists and musical taste. Once you have this information you can target these new fans with the purpose of following you on Spotify.
Here are some tips and examples that Facebook suggest for successful campaigns. They are not focused on expanding your Spotify audience, but can be helpful for testing out some ideas.
6.4 HOW TO USE GATED CONTENT TO INCREASE YOUR SPOTIFY FOLLOWERS
What is gated content? Basically, it’s content that requires users to fill in certain information to access. That content could be an unreleased or live track, a remix EP, or free merch. In exchange for this content, you can ask fans for a ‘follow’ or their email address. Giving your fans an incentive makes them more likely to interact with you as an artist.
Here are some of our favorite tools for setting up a gated content campaign — Followgate, Toneden, and Show.co.
Top tip: Combine your gated content campaign with Facebook Ads to boost your campaign even further.
6.5 HOW TO BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE WITH SPOTIFY ADS
You can also promote a new release or upcoming concert with 30-second audio ads on Spotify. Even if you’ve never made an audio ad before, Spotify Ad Studio provides the tools you need to create and manage audio campaigns in minutes, with flexible options for different sized budgets. Simply share a script, pick a background track, then receive a fully-produced audio ad to review, complete with a recorded voice over.
Not only does this tool offer everything you need to create the ad, you can also target a specific audience, get impressions forecasts, and track its performance. The reporting tool also allows you to target the listeners of similar artists.
Ready to make your first ad? Get started here.
6.6 HOW TO INCREASE YOUR SPOTIFY AUDIENCE WITH PODCASTS
Over the last year, Spotify has been really pushing podcasts. Podcasts offer you a way to tell a different story from the one your music tells. This is your chance to educate or entertain your listeners. One big advantage of podcasts is, unlike many other forms of media, there is no such thing as a passive podcast listener. It’s an intimate and in-depth form of communication with your listeners. Many members of the music industry are already producing their own podcasts: Questlove, Jessie Ware
, Rick Rubin — the list goes on.
With so many podcasts out there, it’s important to find an original theme or idea. What can you do differently from everyone else? You could interview other artists in your genre, tell the wild stories that happened to you while on tour, or talk about topics that are important to you and your listeners. Get creative and add a special twist to your show.