One of the great things about Spotify is that you have a massive opportunity on your hands to make yourself heard by the people whom your music is intended for. Spotify for Artists makes it even sweeter by giving you the tools that you need to build a fan base out of the people who listen to one or two of your songs. But with a lot of other artists competing for listeners’ attention, what can you do to stand out? For some time, Bree Noble has been donning her thinking cap on and put herself from the consumer’s perspective to make sense of how artists can actually influence the Spotify algorithm to their advantage. She shares what she learned so far in five easy steps that you can do on your own. Listen in and learn how you can be downloadable in a few easy steps!
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5 Steps To Use The Spotify Algorithm To Turn Listeners Into Fans
I wanted to do a quick training for you about the five steps for you to turn listeners into fans using Spotify for Artists tools. This is stemming out of a project I’ve been doing personally. I love Spotify. I am a big Spotify consumer. I have a paid plan and I love playlists. I love mixtapes from the old days. I love making playlists. That’s why I started a radio station and a podcast because I love putting music together that sets a mood. I love playing music in my kitchen when I’m making dinner. I love using it as motivation when I’m exercising or doing dishes or whatever it is that I don’t want to do and need a little bit of pick me up. I am a music consumer.
What sometimes happens with musicians is we forget to look at it from the perspective of the consumer. Since I’ve been doing this big project of trying to basically get all of the music that I’d already identified as music that I love from days of buying CDs and downloading MP3s. All that stuff that I’ve done in the past, I want to consolidate all of that into my Spotify account so I can enjoy those songs that I may have forgotten about. It also will help me learn about new artists that are similar or maybe I had an album that was downloaded in 2015 and they’ve come out with new music since then that I didn’t even know about it because I forgot to listen to that artist because I wasn’t connected with them on Spotify.
Anyway, I’ve been doing this big project and investing a lot of time, mostly because I’ve got boxes of CDs in my garage. The last time I moved, I couldn’t bear to get rid of them yet. Even though I’ve got all of them downloaded on my computer, I feel like I couldn’t do it. I feel like if I get to the point where I’ve got everything that I want in Spotify and it’s being utilized the way that I want, then maybe I can let go and feel like I’m not going to forget about this music.
As I’ve been doing this, I’ve been approaching it from the perspective of a fan in many cases. Sometimes from the perspective of a listener who’s like, “In 2015, I downloaded this thing from maybe NoiseTrade or something.” I remember being interested in this artist liking them but not diving in but I probably want to listen to them later, so I download it. A lot of times, I was not necessarily a fan of these artists when I was looking them up on Spotify. I was coming at it from somebody who maybe had heard about an artist or had seen them somewhere and wanted to learn more. In this process, I was learning a lot about artists doing a lot of research and finding things that I like.As musicians, we need to think about how we can promote ourselves on Spotify from the perspective of how consumers are consuming music. Click To Tweet
It got me thinking about how we as musicians need to think about Spotify in the way that we promote ourselves from the perspective of what a consumer is doing and how they’re consuming it. I jotted down these five steps that maybe some of them, you’re probably doing, especially if you’ve set up your Spotify for Artists account. If you haven’t, you need to do that right now at Artists.Spotify.com. You need to claim your account if you haven’t already. You can either do that through your distributor. In my case, I was able to actually do it directly on Spotify for Artists, which was nice. Once you do that, it’ll take 2 to 3 days but mine was actually immediately available, so you may be able to get it right away. You need to go in there and start updating some of these things because they’ve added a lot of tools and they’re continuing to add them.
The first thing I want you to do once you get your Spotify for Artists account or if you have one, go in there and start looking around because things have been added that probably weren’t there last time that you checked. The first and most obvious one is your bio and your profile pic and all that. For me, because all of my top songs at this moment are from my Christmas album and because in general, those are my top songs. I have one song on my Christmas album that got popular. It got on a lot of playlists. It was always showing up as my profile picture and I didn’t want that. I don’t want my profile picture to be a picture of my Christmas album. That’s something you need to make sure to do. Go and update that. Make sure it’s not a profile picture from ten years ago. You need to look like you are now. Make sure that your bio is updated in there because spotify fans also like to look at those.
As I was doing my research on artists, I would look in there and I’d be like, “This lead singer sounds like somebody I’ve heard before. I wonder if they were in another band.” I’d go look at their bio and see where they were from or I’d be like, “This artist, there four people? Are there three people? Are they all women?” I wanted to look that up. Make sure that you have that information in there. Secondly, inside of that area is your social media links. You need to make sure those are updated. If you have a Wikipedia page, they give you an option to put that in there too, which is cool.
It can make you look cool if you’ve got a Wikipedia page. If you don’t, you can always go create one for yourself if you want to, but be sure and put your Facebook and Twitter, but especially your Instagram. I feel like people that are in Spotify are more likely to be on Instagram. That is an easy way for them to connect with people. I know a lot of people, the first thing they do, if they want to stay connected with someone is if there’s an Instagram button, they’ll click it and do that easy follow. It takes a second but yet they can still keep up with what’s going on with the artist instead of maybe taking a bigger step and joining their email list or something. If they follow your Instagram, that will happen eventually.
This is the first micro-step. You need to think about the way that listeners are getting to know you. They’re not going to take that big leap. They want to take micro-steps first. When you were dating somebody, first, you take their phone number or you give out your phone number. Next is you make that call and then you meet. It’s not like they’re going to jump into being on your email list right away. Make sure that those social media links are there. I can guarantee that people that want to stay connected with you, if they like your music enough, they will click on that. Make sure that they’re there. That’s step number two. After fixing your bio and your picture inside of their mixture that you have updated your social media links.
Your Top 5 Songs
The third thing, this is one that I hear a lot of people talking about and it’s something that we can’t entirely control but I want you to be aware of it and ways that you can influence it. This is your top five songs. Those are the things that show up when people go into your Spotify. If you’re like me, almost all of my top songs, you can actually expand it. At least you can on the computer version and you can see the top ten and eight out of my top ten are all from my holiday album. If that’s the case for you, we want to try to work on influencing that so we can change it because people aren’t going to want to listen to Christmas music all year round.
People only give you a few minutes of their time when they’re checking you out. The first thing that they’re going to want to hear is your top songs. If they’re all holiday music, they’re going to be at a loss to where to start. Probably the next thing they’ll start with is your latest release. What you want is those top songs to be your best songs. These are caused by the algorithm in Spotify. There’s only so much that you can control this but there are things that you can do. I did a podcast episode with Cassandra Kubinski and one of the things that she did because she had this problem. She had songs that were from 2005 because they had gotten on to Dance Moms and some other great sync placements, but those were her top placements.
She’s like, “That was fifteen years ago. I sound totally different. I want to get different songs into my top five.” One thing she did was she collaborated with someone else, like another producer who had more Spotify listeners than she did, and because of that, she was able to get that particular collab pushed up into her top five because she was able to tap into his audience and get those listens so she could push it up. That’s one thing that you can do is try to collaborate with someone that has more of a Spotify presence and be able to move the songs that you do with them that are more current up to the top of your top five.
Remember, if you expand and see your top ten, you’ll know these ones that are not in the top five, they’re 6 through 10, they have a potential of getting up into the top five if I do something to push them up the list. What you can do is you can pursue getting playlist placements for those. That would be my biggest suggestion. You can go out and contact playlist curators, specifically finding them going out to them, finding a great playlist that you love that you think your music fits into and pursuing those directly.
Another thing that you can do is you can use something like SubmitHub, which we use for Women of Substance sometimes when we want to find some great music to add into the mix. There are tons of great Spotify playlists on there that you can submit to and it’s not very expensive to submit. Just be very choosy. Make sure you’re submitting to the right ones. Many of my students in my Rock Your Next Release Program have said that they’ve been able to get some great placements through there for a very low cost. We’re talking $0.50 to $2 and they’ve been able to push up their Spotify place.
Know that for me as a consumer, when I was looking around and, like I said, these artists that I had taken note of but I didn’t know much about their music. I thought I want to listen to more of them later and I had downloaded their music. When I went to their Spotify profile, the first thing I did is listen to their top five songs. Of course, I would seek out the ones that I had already downloaded to try to find those but a lot of times, sometimes they weren’t even there. They were hard to find, they were buried within EPs and singles. You’re going to want to try to get the ones that you want people to hear first onto your top five.
Your Own Playlist
Going onto that same idea is my step number four, which is creating your own playlist that you highlight. This is a way that you can highlight the songs that you want people to listen to on your profile, especially if you’ve got a lot of music. If I were to scroll down into your singles and EP section and there are rows and rows because it gets a little crazy. I’m hoping that they’re going to do something about this eventually because it gets to be too much, especially if you have multiple mixes of the same song, all released to singles. I really think they need to separate out EPs and singles, but I can’t control Spotify. If it gets overwhelming with how many things that people have to look at on your Spotify, you want to direct them.
You want to show them, “These are the highlights of my career. These are the things you should be listening to.” If you feel like you you’ve evolved over the years and you want people to more pay attention to your new stuff, then you can create a playlist for that. If you create a playlist, you make that public and then you put it prominently on your profile. You have an ability to highlight that playlist. When you’re editing your Spotify for Artists profile, it allows you to create what they call a playlist pick. If you upload an image for it, it makes a big, huge box on the right-hand side of your Spotify account that highlights that playlist. Also, when they scroll down past your albums and singles, it will be like artist’s playlists. It will highlight that as well.
I, personally, as a listener, listened to those because I know that those are their best songs. They want me to listen to those. It’s going to give me the highlights of their career. I would definitely create that for yourself because you want to be able to direct your potential fans into what they should be listening to. It’s super easy to create. Playlists are so fun to create and doing this highlighting option is easy for you. It takes a few seconds. Definitely do that.
Spotify Fans Also Like
Number five is another one of those things that we can’t quite control but we can influence it. It’s called Spotify “Fans Also Like.” It’s a tab inside of your Spotify that anyone can see. Although we cannot choose those because they’re all chosen by algorithm, we can know what is causing them to be chosen and try to influence that. The biggest thing that influences this is shared fans. People that follow you, people that listen to your music, who else do they also follow and listen to? You can’t control people’s behavior. What you can do is try to get on playlists with artists that are similar that you want to be associated with.
Because of that, they will naturally be listening to both of your music and potentially be following both of you because they like that playlist. I certainly do that. When I hear a song on a playlist after a song that I’ve already liked, I’m paying more attention and I might also follow that person. Working to get on playlist that makes sense for you and that associate you with artists that you want to be associated with is a big way that you can influence this.
The other thing that you can do that will be helpful, and I also promote in my Rock Your Next Release program is getting press whenever you do a release. The reason that this helps is because this is driven by an algorithm, which goes and not only searches what’s happening in Spotify, but the whole internet. If you get on blogs or podcasts that highlight artists that are similar to you that you want to be associated with, Spotify algorithm will notice that. It’ll be like, “Bree was on a blog that also Sara Groves was on. Maybe their music is similar and they would have similar fans.” Another thing that can influence it in that way is having similar descriptions as an artist.People will only give you a few minutes of their time to check you out. Make sure that what they hear are your best songs. Click To Tweet
Let’s take something specific. Let’s say that you call your music Americana hip hop. Let’s say that is what you’re calling your music. They’re going to look for other people that might also call their music that and associate you with them. If you want to be seen as associated with a particular artist, I would go and see how they describe themselves, how their press is describing them and try to use those words. Not only will fans of that artist identify you with them and be like, “That’s how they describe Taylor Swift. I’m sure I’m going to love Olivia Rodrigo,” or something because they’re being described in the same way. They’re being associated with each other by the press. It doesn’t have to be big press. It can be an online blog, podcast kind of press.
Fans will notice that, and then so will the algorithm. You need to think about finding ways to associate yourself with artists that you want to be associated with, whether it’s through words and descriptions or through trying to get on playlists, blogs or podcasts that those same artists are on. That’s a way that you can influence the algorithm of the “Fans Also Like” section. I use that so much when I was doing my research and I’m still in the process of this project. If I found an artist I liked, I’d be like, “I love this artist. I can’t believe I didn’t know about them. I wonder who else I don’t know about that is like this.” I always clicked that tab. Sometimes I’d find artists that I knew and I’m like, “No wonder I like this artist because I like four of these other artists on here. It makes total sense.”
Sometimes I’d be like, “Who is this? I’ve never heard of this person.” Sometimes it would be like an obscure person that only put out one album in 2017 or something and hasn’t put anything out since but I was so glad I found them because they were good. Maybe it’s someone that’s totally new, someone that started putting out music lately and I never have heard of them, but because they were able to associate themselves with an artist or already liked, I discovered them that way. Another thing, when you work on this section, it will also make it such that Spotify will offer up your music to people that like these other artists that are on that list.
For example, if I’m listening to someone’s album and in the background, I’m working or something and the album ends, it will start playing similar artists. What it thinks I would like. Almost every time, it is spot on, I love the music that it chooses for me. I’m like, “I need to see who this is. I don’t want to lose this artist. Who are they?” I would click on them and then I would go down that rabbit hole. Keep in mind that there are so many ways that the Spotify algorithm helps us as artists. I know that sometimes we get a little bit bitter about how little we get paid on there, but we need to look at the positive side of how much marketing help we are getting for free from Spotify and the algorithm.
Yes, we can’t entirely control it, but we can influence it. Use these five steps that I gave you and be conscientious and strategic about how you use them to influence the things that you can’t control and definitely control the things that you can control. I hope that was helpful. If you want to learn more about this stuff and other ways that you can maximize your marketing and opportunities for your releases, definitely want to check out my workshop. It’s totally free. It’s at RockYourNextRelease.com. See you guys on our next episode.