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Spotify The Easy Way: 6 Steps to Streaming Success

Spotify New Official LogoStreaming is continuing to grow, and having worked closely with Spotify over the past few years, we feel that all independent artists and labels should strengthen their presence on the service.

To help, we’ve compiled these 6 super easy action items we’re confident will make a difference. Try them out!

1. “On Air, On Spotify”

If your music is “On Air” — meaning on the radio, on YouTube, SoundCloud, or anywhere online — it should be available to stream on Spotify. This way, you’re both monetizing your music and encouraging playlist adds and profile follows for continued listening.

2. Verify Your Profiles

By verifying your profile – artist or label — similarly to Twitter, you are giving your artist the ability to directly communicate with fans, and be highlighted with Spotify’s check of approval. These profiles not only show off an artist’s discography but also house tour dates, merchandise, biography, photos, and allow you to toggle over to view your playlists on your user profile. Your verified profile is a way to communicate with your fans within Spotify through the Spotify Social and Discover feeds, and in-­client messaging. Every time a new piece of content is released ­(new single, EP, album), your fans get a push notification, and every time you add tracks to your playlist, all followers of that playlist will get notified.

It’s simple to request a verified profile – just contact your client rep.

3. Tell Your Fans That You Are On Spotify and Grow Your Followers

Think of Spotify as a social network that allows you to monetize your own content in a creative, promotional way. On Spotify, you can gain a follower base, which in turn becomes a promotional channel­ — these Spotify followers receive notifications about updates to your content and your listening habits. Sharing your Spotify profile across your artist properties and socials will drive fans to follow you on Spotify, and allow you to engage in conversations with your fans.

Here are some practical ways to grow your Spotify followers:

  • Follow artists you like to help your fans discover the music you’re listening to
  • Create and share your playlists
  • Share across external social networks. Encourage conversation when sharing: ask fans what tracks they’re into
  • Share single tracks and albums you’re listening to and asks fans what playlists you should follow
  • Add Spotify links to YouTube and other video descriptions
  • Add the Spotify Follow Button to your website ­– putting this button on your website allows fans to follow you in an easy single click without leaving your website.

4. Playlisting

Similar to how a DJ would curate a mix for a radio station or club, streaming services use playlists as an easy way to share tracks and promote discovery.

Keep these in mind when creating your playlists:

  • Ensure your account is never empty, and that you have at ­least 1­2 public playlists available.
  • Focus on one playlist –­ choose one to maintain, and add to consistently.
  • Update regularly –­ Adding tracks on a regular basis is key. The more frequent the adds and the bigger the playlist, the better. Each time you update your playlist, it will appear in fans’ Discover feeds, and followers of the playlist will be notified.
  • Share it. Actively clicking “share” ensures you reach your fans. You’ll find the “share” button towards the top of each page, or right click (cmd+click on Mac) any title to copy and paste the link to be shared across other social platforms.
  • Share with messages: Include text when you share to help your story stand out.
  • Listen to music from your Spotify account. You’ll appear in the live ticker feed (on the right side of the Spotify client), and you’ll generate stories through Discover.
  • Add themed playlists. Once you’ve grown one playlist, add more niche, smaller playlists around certain events or themes.

5. Spotify Play Button

Spotify provides a quick and easy embeddable code that you can put on your website so that your fans can listen to your playlists and discography. By putting this Spotify Play Button on your website or Tumblr, your fans can listen to your music while continuing to engage with your site.

  • It’s easy to get the Play Button: just right click on the playlist, track or album on Spotify and select “Copy Embed Code.” This copies the link to your clipboard.
  • Paste the code into into your website and the Spotify Play Button will show up on your site.

6. Metrics

Next Big Sound provides free up-to-date analytics for your artists. When you log in, you can see your growth in followers, streaming data, and the effects of your social media campaigns. You can see how doing all of these best practices grows your streams and revenue.

  • Apply to see your Spotify data here.
  • Read this overview for a full breakdown of how to use Next Big Sound.

*For a full description of Spotify Best Practices ­ visit the Spotify Artists Hub.

Sit Back, Relax & Enjoy the Show: YouTube Playlists

February 28, 2014 Featured News, YouTube No Comments

man-watching-tvWhile it will likely be some time before tons of people are watching YouTube on internet-connected TVs, more and more people are turning to the popular video platform to watch full length movies, documentaries and other pieces of long form content on their computers, mobile devices and tablets. The reason? Many people crave the same experience they get with traditional TV — the ability to flip it on, sit back and watch for an extended period of time without having to do much else (other than make some popcorn!). How can you tap into your viewers’ desires for a lean back experience? Create and update playlists on your channel!

As we discussed previously, YouTube has placed a larger emphasis on watch time and audience retention. The search and recommendation algorithms both reward videos and channels with higher watch time, and watch time also has an impact on ad CPMs, which can be affected by a number of factors. Playlists are a great way of extending viewing sessions and increasing your watch time. Pro tip: when promoting a video on your channel, always link to the video within a playlist. Odds are the viewer will stick around to watch more than one video.

Be sure to get creative with your playlists. Artist-specific playlists are great, but go above and beyond! Create them around sub-genres, creative themes and tentpole events. And don’t limit playlists to only videos on your channel. Use videos from other channels, too: fan videos, in-studio performances, live footage, etc. Playlists are also a great way of leveraging popular content on your channel (or someone else’s) to help drive views to your newer or less frequently viewed videos.

Be sure to update your playlists regularly and rotate them on your channel. They’re also a great way to keep your channel fresh and active, even if you’re not uploading new videos. It’s worth incorporating a playlist strategy into your YouTube planning and getting your viewers to watch for longer!

Having trouble with thinking of new content for your YouTube channel?  Check out our post on Solving YouTube Writer’s Block!

Karaoke In Your Backyard

December 19, 2013 Marketing No Comments

karaoke_jollyholidayjamsAs a huge fan of karaoke (best idea of a good time = reserved room + mic + tacky karaoke machine with drastically unrelated South Korean video clips), I’ve often toyed with the idea of buying my own personal karaoke player. Usually, the daunting task of keeping my library updated holds me back and I focus rather on planning my next night out with Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.”

So imagine my excitement when I realized that not only did The Orchard have a vast catalogue of karaoke tracks, but that they were also available for streaming on Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and all other streaming services. A few days later, we had three new playlists on both our Spotify and Playlists.net profiles:

In them, you’ll find summer hits like “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines,” musical favorites like “I Dreamed A Dream” and “Defying Gravity,” and holiday classics like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Even better, we’ll be updating these regularly to include the most relevant tracks for each playlist, and if we see you like your karaoke as much as I do, we’ll create more. Think Psychedelic Hits from the 70s, Timeless Classics and genre focused ones from Pop to Country and everything in between.

So pull out that hairbrush or egg beater and start belting!

WOMEX 2013: Of Playlists and Live Recordings

November 7, 2013 Marketing No Comments

header_womex13_654x130I recently had the chance to once again attend WOMEX — the World Music Expo, which took place in Cardiff this year, and which I’ve been attending regularly now practically since the conference’s beginnings (first known as the Berlin Independence days and held in what had only recently been called “East” Berlin)… As usual, I wanted to meet old friends, listen to great music and talk about and listen to how people were surviving — and they are — in these new “digital” days.

Of the top ten labels celebrated this year at WOMEX, we are working with at least half, including World Music Network, the award-winning label for 2013. Suggesting ways and means of helping these top labels make the most of developing trends is always part of our discussions, and as pioneers in this digital sphere, The Orchard is continually learning and testing new Marketing and Communications strategies.

One of these strategies which is coming to fruition and becoming scalable now despite having been available for quite some time is the creation of playlists for streaming stores. This is one of our development methods for labels who want to open up the channels of access to their music, and has since been extended beyond the original players — Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, Aspiro — with the recent launches of iTunes Radio and Google Play Music All Access. Here’s just one example of a playlist we’ve created:

I have already gone on record with how I think streaming positively affects music accessibility in parts of the world where legal, convenient, or even any kind of music consumption is not available, and we have even pulled some very interesting positive results from streaming in more “mature” markets. I continue to believe there is a lot of undiscovered potential with these services, and look forward to uncovering them.

All these discussions with our labels are ongoing, interesting and fruitful, especially so this year with the added presence of my colleagues Naomi Moran, General Manager of our European structure, and Nic Rizzi from our London office. Naomi worked for several years at World Circuit and has a great reputation in this “World,” and Nic was there representing a really cool group he is part of, Anna Phoebe, as well as showing off some of The Orchard’s most helpful tools, like real-time Analytics, Marketable Events, Social Media activity paired with sales data, and more. These advanced tools help our labels understand their business in deeper ways and help make sound decisions when it comes to promotional expenses, touring dates and places, marketing efforts, etc.

Live recordings = Lost recordings?

In addition to meeting with labels, we had a specific desire this year to reach out to WOMEX participants who focus more on concerts, festivals, touring, artist management, etc. The notion that so many live recordings were wasted — and these are recordings that are often of equivalent sound quality to studio recordings, and even more dynamic because of the presence of a live crowd — had come up in conversations we’d had with similar actors in the music sphere and we wanted to pursue the idea further. It turns out these recordings are often not contractually available for sale, either after the show for those who were in attendance or as downloads/streams for those unable to attend. I know there is a great number of concerts happening around the world by artists that I love and that I would be happy to be able to access and pay for.

Our discussions with the key players we met reinforced the feeling that these musical moments were currently lost, along with ways of re-engaging with a fan’s intense live experiences with their favorite artists and potential revenue for everyone involved: artists, labels and festival organizers. Yet again, we can and must think outside the box in this rapidly changing space and figure out the best way to develop our role as distributor — which is to make all music that can be monetized as available and accessible as possible all around the world.

Be Everywhere At The Same Time — Reflecting on My A2IM Indie Week Panel

June 27, 2013 Marketing No Comments

Jaclyn Ranere A2IM PanelNo, I haven’t figured out how to clone myself. Instead this was some sage advice doled out during the Future of Monetizing Digital Panel that I moderated during A2IM’s Indie Week last week. Along with Oke Goettlich (finetunes), Jason Lekberg (Eleven Seven Music), Lisa Levy (Robbins Entertainment) and Chris Welz (Dead Oceans / Jagjaguwar / Secretly Canadian / SC Distribution), we discussed how to use streaming services to maximize revenue and fan engagement, and tackled some streaming skepticism along the way.

Before diving into a lively discussion, I began with a quick overview of where people are consuming music; not fully comprehensive, but an exploration of  different revenue models to highlight a few different points:

  • YouTube is a gigantic music library.
  • People don’t spend a lot of money annually on music at iTunes.
  • But, people are paying for music! Take a look at Sirius XM subscriber numbers and account fees.

And then we dove right in, taking questions along the way. Lisa provided a solid base for the conversation with a story of how her boss (the label owner) was anti-streaming, until they pulled some tracks down and proceeded to watch the downloads decrease. Lesson learned!

After that, our illustrious panelists illuminated the crowd with some key tips:

Release music at the same time on all services globally. This means download and streaming across all territories. Just because you hold something back from a service or territory doesn’t mean the fans won’t find an alternate (illegal?) way of getting your music. Or, they just won’t listen at all (which is what I do when I can’t find albums on Spotify).

Educate your fans on streaming. The faster we can make paid streaming subscriptions ubiquitous, the faster the music market will grow.

Create playlists to engage your fans and encourage discovery. If you have a developing artist, include tracks from trending artists, so the playlists will show up in their searches. As we’ve said on the Daily Rind, ShareMyPlaylists – which just announced a rebranded site today under the new name Playlists.net – is a great service to help increase your playlist subscribers.

That about sums it up. Thanks to the awesome panelists and energetic audience who made this a fun afternoon. Do you have some tips to share? Or have a bone to pick with one of my ideas? Tell me in the comments!

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About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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