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Spotify From The Source: Highlights and FAQs

SpotifyQuestionsWe recently had the lovely Alix Rosenberg from Spotify Label Relations come into The Orchard office and run a Spotify School special for our clients. We liked it so much, we asked her to write a guest post for us, too. Check it out below along with some Frequently Asked Questions and links to further resources. Alix, take it away! 

Since my time at Spotify began almost two years ago. I’ve seen the platform develop into one of the most robust tools an artist can hold in their arsenal.

Spotify not only allows artists to clearly, and accurately display their full catalog, allowing users to peruse their entire discography, but it also allows fans to connect with them on a deeper level. Through the addition of features like verified artist profiles, social sharing and follow, users can now get a complete picture of who that artist really is. Whether it be an intimate playlist of tracks that got them through a hard time, a playlist of album inspirations, or a simple summer BBQ playlist, the artist is able to give their fans a glimpse of what they’re like behind the curtain, and how they personally like to consume music as part of their larger creative process.

Last year’s acquisition of Tunigo and its full integration into the platform as our new homepage, or Browse page, gives us a more clear ability to expose our users to great music. Through our plethora of owned playlists spanning many genres, some with over 1M followers to date, we’ve created an environment that fosters discovery and introduces users to new music in an ecosystem that they’re already comfortable with. We pride ourselves in the ability to highlight great artists, and give equal visibility across both the major label and independent spaces.

Aside from the promotional opportunities Spotify provides, we are also able to provide our partners with different perspectives on their artists’ successes through data and analytics. Our partnership with Next Big Sound allows any artist, manager or label to sign up and track plays across Spotify, while comparing those numbers against social properties and other digital service providers. We hope these tools are able to provide even further insight into what moves the needle for a particular artist, if there are new territories to consider while routing tours, and even hope it may enable artists to get better terrestrial radio play by displaying the popularity of a particular track. For more information on Next Big Sound, and the services Spotify provides for artists, visit SpotifyArtists.com.

For more information on our best practices, verification, and marketing opportunities, please visit our Spotify Hub.

See below for answers to some FAQs, and click here for a full list. Do not hesitate to reach out to your Orchard rep with any further questions!

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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.

Engage with Streaming Services to Better Engage Your Fans

Engage with streaming services: playlistingAs more and more of our clients here at The Orchard see streaming services generating a major share of their revenue, a blog post about marketing your releases on streaming services seems pertinent.

À-la-carte download stores do not always have the discovery dimension that full-length streaming functionality offers, and the structure of the store is very much built around a lead homepage and a few editorial pages. Marketing your releases on such a service is therefore highly dependent on the relationship you’ve built with the editor and the quality of your pitch.

With streaming services who boast about 20 million tracks open to for users to browse and listen to, the game has somewhat changed. Other than Beats who position themselves slightly differently, a lot of these services make heavy use of algorithms to populate their recommendations or browse sections, limiting editorial placement so far.

To help increase your visibility despite these restrictions, here are a few guidelines on what you can do to market your content on streaming services:

Less is more (isn’t it always?)
It’s more effective to make fewer playlists containing a limited number of tracks (10-15) and keep them updated regularly. Every time you update your playlist, your followers receive a notification.

Keep an eye on what’s trending
Consider including tracks that are popular at the time into your playlist in order to increase your chances of gaining more followers. Your playlists don’t necessarily have to include releases from your catalogue only.

Weave your own web
Good ideas for artist playlists are themes such as what they listen to before going on stage or what they listened to while writing their album. These playlists also offer a great opportunity for artists from a same label to include each other.

As a label,  you can take advantage of a large catalogue by creating playlists around  one of your strongest genres.

Be active on the service, even when you don’t have a recent release
No matter what stage you’re in in producing a new record, it is important that you not wait until said release is coming out to start engaging with streaming platforms. On a service like Spotify, you want to build a base of followers before the release comes out, so that when it finally does, all your followers get a notification about it.

In a nutshell, you want to keep your profile exciting. If you need ideas or additional best practices, keep an eye for service-specific resources, like Spotify for Artists, and follow our updates on The Daily Rind.

Stream Our Texas-Sized SXSW 2014 Music Sampler

sxsw_texas-sized-samplerIt’s hard to believe, especially given the seemingly inexhaustible supply of cold and snow heaped on us here on the East Coast this winter, but SXSW is once again right around the corner. To that I say YEE FREAKING HAW! Goodbye twenty degree weather and the possibility of snow flurries. Hello to the relative certainty of warmer temps and the inevitability of good BBQ, breakfast tacos, margaritas, cold beer, and more great music than you can shake a stick at.

The team has spent the last few weeks listening to as much music as we can by artists who will be performing next week to get ourselves in the right frame of mind. And because we also want you to be in the right frame of mind, we’ve assembled the following massive 200-track Spotify playlist (also available on Playlists.net) featuring some of our favorite tracks from Tweens, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Sam Roberts Band, Leif Vollebekk, Albert Hammond, Jr., DJ Rashad, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Lizzo, Travis Barker, and many many others.

Now all we have to do is dig up our warm weather gear.

*News Flash* The Music Business Has Been Fixed

billboard_musicpopularityThat’s not really true. Let me start differently. The music business is not broken. If I hear one more artist complain about the broken music industry and the small digital payouts, I am going to pull my hair out. (Luckily I am already bald so it is not a real concern.)

If you are successful, the music business is amazing. Lots of fun, money, drugs and alcohol (if you choose and I am not endorsing this behavior) and of course the opportunity to make music that people enjoy. If you are not popular, the problem is that there is not much money. Still lots of fun, drugs and alcohol (but you have to pay for them) and still plenty of opportunities to make music. But no money. And it has nothing to do with Spotify payouts or the quality of the music.

I used to hear complaints about the broken business back in the 20th century. Here is a list of a few of the common ones:

  • I need to get signed by a label to release my music.
  • Recording is too expensive.
  • I have no way to reach potential fans.
  • I can’t get distribution.

These problems don’t exist anymore. Solved. But still there is a lot of complaining. The system must be broken. The business just doesn’t work. I can’t make enough money to survive with my music. Digital services just don’t pay enough.

SSShhhhhhh. Let me tell you a little secret. It is a secret that all the successful artists know. Are you ready? You need to become popular. Then you earn a lot of money. People that knew this: Elvis, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, every rapper that ever existed, Taylor Swift, Jarvis Cocker, Oasis, and the list goes on and on and on.

The last time I checked there was still only one number 1 single every week. Make it to number 1 and you will see that the system pays out a lot of money. Don’t get hung up on your numbers of streams, downloads, views, etc. It is only the amount in relation to the other artists. So 100,000 video views may seem like a lot but it really doesn’t stack up to the billion views a top artist receives. Same with streaming payouts. Even 1 million streams is not a lot. There’s no money in 1 million streams.

So please stop blaming the system. It is hard to make money in the music industry. But it is not because the industry is broken.

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