9 things we learned from Spotify’s Game Plan

Spotify has been busy lately rolling out Spotify for Artists – a dashboard service that allows for full customisation of Spotify profiles, including personalised artist playlists, promotional tools and massive data reporting.

This is a big deal. Very few streaming services allow for such a high level of user control (if at all) and Spotify’s new changes give artists the potential to stand out from one another to the platform’s 70 million users.

With so many fantastic features to start leveraging, Spotify recently released a video series detailing the platform’s key points and how to make the most of them, so we felt it was our duty to watch the series in its entirety and break the whole thing down for you.

So, kick back, grab a coffee and learn how to become a Spotify superstar.

 

Start checking your data

Spotify is now offering some seriously high-level reporting. Artists can use Spotify data to check their total streams, the location of those streams and even when they get added to playlists.

Your immediate reflex may be to yawn whenever data is mentioned, but this is actually some exciting stuff – taking a deep dive into your data is a great way of finding out who your audience is on Spotify and gives you the chance to learn something about your music that you perhaps never knew before.

Maybe you thought you were an Indie band? Well, all those shoegaze playlists you’ve been added to seem to be saying something entirely different. Or maybe you thought you were grime, but listeners keep playlisting you with hip-hop tracks. Time to rethink those genre tags.

If you’re managing your own releases, then these insights can be a huge asset. Pinpoint your listeners and start making the most of the data in front of you.

 

Set an artist pick

At the top of artist profiles on Spotify you’ll notice an ‘artist pick’ – start using this right now. The artist pick on Spotify lets you showcase just about anything you want by pinning it to the top of your profile.

If you’ve got a new release, a tour or a video, add it to your artist pick and let everyone know what’s going on. You can even add a message to your pick and tell people exactly how you’re feeling (or try and sell some tickets).

 

Make the most of playlisting

Playlisting is a great way of boosting engagement with your audience in an authentic way. Share your favourite songs with your fans, show them what inspired your latest release or even just make a compilation of your greatest hits.

Also, it’s less forceful than constantly pushing your music onto fans, but still gets their attention. Win, win.

 

Get people following you

Every single user on Spotify has a release radar playlist, and every time a user follows you your new music gets distributed to their release radar playlists. The more followers you get, the more playlists you’re on. Easy.

Followers also get notified about your latest tracks, your tours and playlists, so the more followers you can build up, the more eyes you can get on your work when it’s out there.

 

Promote, promote, promote

Never underestimate the importance of shouting about your work. These days artists have unprecedented access to fans via social media, and vice versa, so start capitalising on it.

Start with a core group of fans; your friends, family or colleagues – think of these guys as your digital street team. Get them spreading the word and sharing your releases online for their own networks to see.

Then do everything you can to make sure this network spreads out further, build a digital following and start pushing them to your releases on Spotify.

Make sure you use  a call to action to give audiences clear and simple instructions, for example: ‘Follow the link and listen to my new single on Spotify’. Simple, to the point – don’t confuse the message here by trying to sell merch as well, all in good time.

 

Start using Spotify Codes

Spotify Codes can be great tool for building up your Spotify plays and growing a following. The idea behind the codes is that they can be used to send fans directly to your music by scanning a physical code on their phones.

Think about the power of being able to send people directly to your latest release within a few seconds when you’re out playing a show – fans could scan the code and add you to a playlist almost instantly.

Use your imagination with these codes, put them on flyers, posters or just about anywhere your potential audience can see them.

 

Release consistently

Data has proven that consistently releasing singles on Spotify is a better way of boosting listener engagement over just dropping an entire EP at once.

Consider adopting a release schedule that allows you to bring out one new track every month for four or five months, then communicate this schedule to the fans so they can keep coming back for more!

Another trick is to use your Spotify data to plan your next release. With Artist Insights you can track when the momentum from a previous release is starting to dip and coincide your latest single with this – this is a great strategy for ensuring a consistency to your momentum and making sure your fans are always paying attention.

 

Setup your Artist Profile

Spotify Artist Profiles are a great way to show off your personal brand and to communicate to fans exactly who you are as an artist with a few quick visual cues.

This is going to be your first impression to fans so make sure it’s a good one. You can customise your profile in a few different ways now: set a profile picture, use a gallery to show off your press shots or live images and add merch for fans to pick up.

Strong branding goes a long way in music, so never underestimate the power of looking the part.

 

Understand your audience

If you haven’t looked at your Spotify Insights and data reporting yet, then seriously, go and do it.

Understanding your audience can be a great way of planning your next release, your next tour or your next line of merch.

Use Spotify’s data reporting to find out the age, gender and location of your listeners, then start taking advantage of these insights. Are your listeners generally females around the age of 25? If so, find out what people in that demographic like and start adjusting your merchandising to suit.

Are your listeners predominantly based in Rio De Janeiro? Well pack you bags, looks like you’re heading to Brazil.

 

Watch the full series of Spotify’s Game Plan videos on YouTube.

Photo: Heidi Sandstrom.