For the last few years, we have all heard about how Spotify is evil and how Spotify has completely destroyed the music industry. I have the unpopular opinion that it’s not as bad for musicians as many people say it is.
Now because I hold this opinion, doesn’t mean I’m not going to talk about the negative side of it as well. There are several things that I am not fond of and I will discuss below.
As a listener, I do hold the opinion that Spotify is hands down the best streaming service for the user as the customization and amount of music you get for such a cheap price is hard to beat. As a musician who was signed to a major label and is operating now independently, I have a love/hate with Spotify as I see what it can do for you in the big scheme of things.
What Do I like About Spotify?
Spotify Allows Musicians To Reach The Whole World With Their Music
Think about it. As a musician, you are your own business and your own boss. You can wake up every day knowing that your music is right there for the world to hear it through Spotify. Spotify has recently made it so musicians can just upload their songs instantly as well. You used to have to wait 48 hours for the upload to go live.
Labels are like vultures who are just sitting there waiting to see songs explode on Spotify. If you are able to gain traction on Spotify you will receive a lot of feedback from labels. Think of it kind of like how Myspace was back in the early 2000s, bands who blew up on Myspace typically got label deals and became popular.
Spotify Artist App
This app allows the Spotify artist to track all over their songs data and see how it is doing in comparison to others. Spotify has recently stated that there is a new formula that makes it so songs that have a high download percentage will be favored in play-listing. This is huge because this means that artists who have smaller followings can get their songs a chance if their songs are connecting.
If your song is connecting Spotify will notice it and will start to give it play-listing. Yes, obviously this is very difficult to do. There are millions of musicians uploading their music to Spotify that you are competing against so you will want to figure out ways to drive fans and new listeners to your page to listen.
Try and grow your monthly listener count as high as you can. The higher this count is, the more attention from labels and the more money you will ultimately make. I’m not trying to make it sound like you need a record label to succeed either. Bands like AJR and Dennis Lloyd exploded on Spotify and they decided to not sign record deals.
Spotify gives you the freedom to stay independent and potentially reach the whole world if your music connects well enough.
I briefly touched on this above. This is the most important part of Spotify. Landing on play-lists is the main thing that can take your song to the next level these days. Try and have all of your friends and families to save your song and add it to all of their playlists. Spotify takes all of this data into account to decide whether or not songs are connecting.
A high download percentage rate is anything above 10% for a popular song once it has been play-listed. Your songs should be well above this percentage before any play-listing if you want a chance for this. For example, if your band has only a 10 percent save rate on your song before play-listing, you probably won’t be able to land play-listing with it.
Make sure that you follow Spotify’s guidelines for submitting songs. If you don’t do this you are basically disqualifying yourself from getting put into a lot of their playlists. Remember that if you’re a brand new artist it might take time to crawl through Spotify.
Try and submit your songs to New discovery play-lists. A good technique you can use is to reach out to bands who have similar followings as you do and ask them to add your song to a playlist they have in exchange that you’ll do the same. Doing this 100 times and having a bunch of different moderate level bands adding your song can help.
What I Don’t Like About Spotify
The Death Of The Album
They have 100% killed the album in this day and age. Album sales haven’t been hot for a while obviously, well now Spotify has made it even harder for bands to put out albums. In order to get major play-listing, you must follow the single approach.
For example, my band has recently put out an album and got to 1 million plays on each of the singles. When we dropped the album, we were only able to reach a couple hundred people in each major city. The way that social media throttles your activity to your followers is already brutal. Spotify wants you to submit singles in order to have those climb through their playlists.
I would suggest not releasing an album until you have a single taking off or gaining traction. A couple bands who have done this recently are “I Don’t Know How But They Found Me” and “lovelytheband.” Both of them were able to move singles and then release an album. However, the albums don’t really have anywhere near the number of spins as the singles do.
The pay isn’t great, but it is currently better than most stream revenues. On average artists earn between $6,000 and $8,000 per million streams. This doesn’t sound like a lot of money and it’s really not a ton. However, getting your songs to this level of exposure opens the door up for you to tour and start to grow a fan base.
Also, with the new music modernization act, I am hopeful that Spotify will increase what they pay to artists as album sales are pretty much gone for 99% of bands in the industry currently. Even if Spotify changed it so artists were able to make $20,000 per million streams, it would bring so many more quality artists to the table and create a real supply and demand.
What Is Spotify?
Spotify is the largest streaming source in the world currently. Users are able to use it for free or pay a fee of $9.99 a month in order to have unlimited streams with no ads. If you are a free user you will hear an ad after every few songs.