How Musicians Get Spotify To Promote Them

If you want to learn how musicians are going viral and getting millions of streams on their music RIGHT NOW! Every week I do a stream where I break down how the artists blowing up in different music genres are doing it FOR $5 A MONTH. You get access to my full library of cheat codes and breakdowns of how musicians are going from no fans to millions in just months GO HERE AND SIGN UP! 

There’s so much bad information on how to grow on Spotify all over the internet. But as someone who’s spent a lot of time with playlist curators, talked to a lot of people who really know the algorithm, as well as the nerds who helped build it, I now know more about how to build on Spotify than ever and it’s time to spell it all out in this video. And this is important since Spotify is usually 80-85% of all the audio streams for an artist. It’s also the only one of the streaming audio sites that offers extensive work you can do in marketing that can build your fanbase. So it’s a perfect place to concentrate your effort, which is why you should probably learn to do Spotify better than all your favorite artists, which is what I’m going to teach you right now.

Each year at the top of the year I make a video just like this to update you on the latest strategies to get tons of streams on Spotify. Since along with YouTube, if you do what Spotify wants, you can see massive growth. And we now have new tools to understand the algorithm better than ever, so you can grow more than ever, so it’s really time to talk about it. But before we get started, the most annoying part of this video, I’m going to refer to a lot of other videos that have much more detail because if you want to learn more, I’ve made longer videos already and will tell you how to do that. So if you’re curious about any subject, well, hit the description. In fact, there’s even a playlist in chronological order where you can watch them all and really become an expert on Spotify. As well, if you’re a regular watcher on this channel, well, there’s a lot of new stuff in this one, so stay tuned.

So the first thing you need to do before anything else is we need to get your house in good order, which is your Spotify for Artists profile. Since we need to make sure that you’re a good citizen of Spotify, and you’re probably thinking, what the hell am I talking about with citizenship, since frankly, it sounds stupid as hell. Startups love talking about their users being quote unquote “good citizens”, meaning that the users of their service are behaving the way they want them to, which will make a good impression on all the listeners that they want to give to you. And what Spotify wants is musicians to do things that engage listeners, since if Spotify is going to promote that musician, they want them to stick around.

This means they want you to take under 30 minutes to just clean up your profile on Spotify using the Spotify for Artists portal. And all they want you to do is put up a current presentable picture that are high res and look good when they feature you on the feed or other features on the site. And for that, two to three pictures is amazing, but if you have more than that, go for it. Then update your bio with something compelling that would make people want to listen to more of your music or even just something silly, since I can see now that a lot of kids try to be just cheeky and not fill these out. And frankly, it seems Spotify just wants something, and I mean anything. Cause really, you all who fear being called a tryhard, sure are proving yourselves to be try not at alls, and yet you’re still getting streams, so do whatever feels right to you. But I even have a video linked on how to write a pitch that will make people curious to listen to you if they read it, since that can help you get more streams.

But once you’re done with that, link your social media, enter your latest single or playlist into the artist pick field, and regularly update your user playlists, which we’ll get more into later in this video. And if you have a Shopify store that sells your merch, be sure to put that up there so you can make some money. And yes, only Shopify stores can connect on Spotify now. But some of you are thinking this has been useless, but let me tell you something. In 2023, Spotify went hard on letting you push merch more and more. It seems like they’re going to keep doing that to keep you all quiet about how bad they pay you. And if you want to even collect donations for yourself or a charity, you could also put that as your artist pick. But I’d suggest always playing this to your latest track or a playlist that will help strengthen your algorithm, but more about that later.

But seriously, what I would have here most of the time is a playlist that’s a good introduction to your music. Since if you have a playlist of a bunch of your best songs in a good order, and someone hits play and likes the vibe, it drives up streams and builds a relationship with your music. And fans really do add these playlists to their own library. In fact, I regularly jam the band Honey’s one, since if I go to that playlist, they’re always releasing great music that I’m going to love. And I’m always wearing their hat in all these videos, so you see it works.

The second thing to do is to get your release strategy right. If you missed it in one of my most popular videos, is if you release music to appeal to Spotify and YouTube’s algorithm in order to make your music spread as far as possible, well they’ll help push you. What this entails is releasing music often enough that you take advantage of your potential fans attention spans, which is releasing music no more than every 45 days, and at the minimum put out a new song every 60 days, which I find to be the sweet spot. But again, watch the video since it’s a very complex subject. I have a few videos on how to do it right, all of which are in this playlist that goes along with this video. But if you have a few songs ready for release, you could put out one every 6-8 weeks, and you could really take advantage of the Spotify algorithm and how it helps promote you.

The next step happens 30 days before you want your song to come out, which is to make sure you do everything right to submit to an editorial playlist properly. This means submitting your signal to your distributor 30 days in advance and writing a really good editorial playlist pitch. To make this even more clear, Spotify only allows you to submit one song at a time, and they recommend you put it up those 30 days in advance in a minimum of 7 days in advance. Otherwise you lose the greatest chance of having to do very little work to have your song get on Spotify playlists and start changing your life while you get fans. If you don’t know how to make a great editorial playlist pitch, I have one of my most popular videos on how to write one, which has helped tons of musicians.

I also want to mention one of the things that works regularly for so many of the artists I do consults with, which is in your pitch to mention the playlist you belong on. And if that weren’t enough, if you’re going hard on posting short form video on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube shorts to promote your song to take advantage of the earworm era, which is how most artists blow up these days, well, 30 days is just about when it starts to work for most artists, so releasing any more often than that is often a fool’s game. Damn is it raining facts around here? I better grab my Aphex Twin umbrella.

Now so many of you are going to think that you should just say Rap Caviar are one of the huge playlists that have no artists as small as you all of them. But the key to this working is to start with the playlist that add entry level artists that then grow onto these bigger playlists. I know much of you are thinking, “Oh great Jesse, that sounds good, but how am I supposed to find those playlists?” Well Chief, the amazing service Chartmetric, which I go on and on about in all these videos, will show you what’s called playlist journeys for any playlist on Spotify. And what I mean by these journeys is if you want to be on some big playlist, it will show you the playlist that artists get on before the big one or even after the big one. So you can look around and find your goal playlist that you think you should be on that’s really big and then the ones that smaller artists are on first and put that in your pitch.

And the other artists who get on Spotify’s editorial playlist are the ones who are on user playlists and you can now effectively find those super fast by using playlist supplies playlist vet feature, which shows you whether the playlist you’re looking at pitching makes it regularly onto discovered on sections of artists profiles, which means it actually gets the artists on it fans and isn’t a waste of time pitching. While it costs a little money, this feature is a game changer and you only have to go through it every few months and is super effective. And I made a video on it just a few weeks ago. But this brings me to another point. When you pitch playlists that aren’t Spotify editorial playlists, you also want to make sure they are playlists where they are targeted to the exact genre of music and not all over the place playing all sorts of weird music that you have nothing to do with.

And this is probably a good time to make a distinction about how important a word I just used is playlist consideration, not paying to be on a playlist. I want you to really listen and take this seriously. There’s a big difference between consideration and paying for placement. I do hundreds of calls with musicians a year. And one of the main things I’m asked is, “Justine, I paid to be on a playlist and I got like thousands of plays because it was a bought it. And now Spotify is taking away my fans also like section because I cheated. And also I can’t get in the algorithm on Discover Weekly and Release Radar anymore.” Dog, I got bad news. Spotify is really cracking down on fake plays and the people who buy them. I don’t want to use the word shadow ban because that’s embarrassing, but they definitely penalize you if you pay for plays or for that matter, bots are playlists with bots. And in 2024, they’ve promised to go hard on this. And the only reason I believe them because boy, Spotify is full of shit a lot is because it actually affects how much money they make. And that seems to be the one thing they care about. So again, you can pay for playlist consideration, which is what SubmitHub has you do. But paying to be on a playlist leads to bad, bad things. Really, you don’t want to live through the find out part.

But you’re probably wondering what you should be doing now with 30 days to go before your song comes out. And that’s to start preparing your videos, your photos, and the stories you’re going to tell around your music, as well as the short form TikTok reels and YouTube shorts. The time you spend getting these things ready so it’s all easy to launch on release day is time to ensure your release goes as smooth as possible and your song blows up as much as possible. And here’s where I want to change up one of the rules that we used to discuss back in the day on this channel. One of the things we’ve seen change with Spotify is it used to be that 99% of the songs added to playlist were released that week. But instead we’re seeing more songs get added two, three weeks or even now a month later is really common. After they start to get a lot of streams and Spotify sees that people actually like this song, which is good news to artists if you ask me. So this to me says, I’m going to rescind my previous advice to never ask your audience to do pre-saves instead ask them to save the pre-save two or four times at max since we really want to have all the tools that are disposable to drive up your song. But I still want you to concentrate most of your effort after the song is out.

And if you’re wondering what I recommend and when to post those things, you can get a copy of my 60 day plan to promote your music, which is free on my co-fi page, and it’ll show you when to post those. But really what we’re trying to do early on is drive as many streams up as possible. Since if your song starts to do good and they see the popularity score and some movement there go up, you’re more likely to get added to a playlist. Since we need to do everything you can to get streams and engagement up on your song so it gets on these editorial playlists and into the algorithm. But there’s much more to the game than that. One of the things so few people realize till they have some success on Spotify is that getting in the algorithm can generate tons of fans and streams. And what I mean by the algorithm is when you achieve a certain popularity score, which is the score Spotify gives you to rate how much people like your song, that will start to get it recommended in algorithmic playlists and get you lots of other benefits like consideration for editorial playlist. And you could look up your song’s popularity score for free on the site and there’s a link to that below.

Okay, let’s stop for one second. Since I taped this video, there did become a big discussion that I wanted to bring in here real fast. It’s been a few weeks now and I’ve been seeing a lot of data on this since I first made this video. Let’s talk about these AI playlists Spotify has. These are doing huge numbers for a lot of artists, but a lot of people are now saying, “Oh, well editorial playlists don’t matter as much.” But one of the funny things I see is the songs that get on editorial playlists are really the only ones that are getting on these AI playlists as well for the most part. There’s a few exceptions, but those really are what makes it so that they know what songs to bond together on these AI playlists it seems like. And it really does seem like that’s still a really important factor. So I don’t want you all to get caught up in the discussion that a bunch of idiots are having there saying, “Well, look how much bigger AI playlists are in my numbers. I don’t need to concentrate on editorial when editorial seems to be the gateway and which starts to teach the algorithm who to bond with to do those.”

Anyway, if you have a popularity score around 20 or above, odds are you’re going to get in Discover Weekly and release radar, but it’s a little genre dependent since some genres have more competition than others. And if you made connections to other artists, you’ll get on their Spotify radio. But more about that later. Okay, I should explain this popularity score thing again a little bit because I know I’m going to get questions. It seems to mostly be about plays since most artists get it, but if you’re getting a lot of saves, very few skips, and a lot of people adopting it, well, it seems to shoot up, but that’s also because it seems to go in the algorithm and get more plays and there’s a high correlation. The popularity score also gets higher as you get playlisted more and have more people who regularly listen to your music. And lots of you find this messed up. But this is actually how Spotify democratizes music. And I got to say, I think it’s one of the few things they do well.

And what I mean by this is that people who are really small artists, the reason they’re able to blow up so often now compared to before, and this is real, since we have so many artists rising up, is if a song is really good and people love it and continue to listen, well, Spotify puts it in the algorithm. And if people keep liking it, it keeps growing and keeps going on release radar and Discover Weekly for months to come. But after you hit the algorithmic playlist, Spotify is basically testing out your song to see if they should really push it. And when those people it thinks will like it and cure it and keep rinsing it, well, it keeps going into more playlists and more people hear it.

This is also why it’s important that you have good algorithmic connections and not the terrible ones Facebook and Instagram ads make and why you don’t pitch yourself to terrible playlists with tons of variety since you want the algorithm to link you to artists whose fans are most likely to like you so you can grow at scale. So many people argue with me about this and frankly I’m bored because I’ve proved it so many times over and all the smartest people I know agree with me. But what I see over and over is the artists who grow their algorithm organically and properly through doing work in their community are the ones who grow to hundreds of thousands of monthly listeners. Whereas the people who did all these dumb growth strategies from people they hired off Instagram, well, they stall out and most of the time they never grow past a certain point because the algorithm is a dead end for growth for them. Whereas the people who did it properly, the algorithm grows for them all while they sleep.

So how do you do that organic growth? Here’s the strategy. Whereas many fans are people who like your micro genre to hear your music so it drives up the score since those are the people who are most likely to rinse your song. Now the best way of doing that is of course to get your community to recommend it. To do that you need to know your community and if you want to learn how to do that it’s linked below in one of my most important videos. But one of the other things that makes your popularity score go up and give you a great algorithm is of course to do my 60 day plan on promoting short form content. You’re going to get the people who like your micro genre on TikTok spreading around with that earworm and you’ll bring in the listeners who are the most avid music listeners and the ones who are listed at tons of artists who are just like you. So when they listen to you it builds your algorithm to have connections to the other artists that those people listen to which are the best people to be recommended to since Spotify mimics what listeners habits are and recommends them to other listeners like them.

This then draws the connections the algorithm needs to put you in release radar, discover weekly and Spotify radio and recommend you to the people most likely to rinse your music countless times instead of the worst listeners which are even worse than the people who click on ads which are the randos and influencer who like pulls out their tochis on camera that you’re friends with, recommends you to and then your algorithm is all a bunch of freaks who like that stuff. Well you’d much rather find the people who are really really really into your style of music since they seem to grow and talk about you and bring you around in a way that grows so much faster than any other method. And this technique helps you breed the best listeners and drive up your popularity score which is why you see the artists who blow up on TikTok often have such higher numbers on here than the ones who did it through f***ing ads.

But truly if you want to also train the algorithm I’ve been shouting this for four to five years despite the fact that so many artists do this so effectively and it really works is make playlists where you have similarities to other artists and put them in your profile regularly. But more about that later. But we also want to post the song to your community and get the artists you’ve befriended in your community to post it to. If you’re thinking that you don’t have community, well you need to start finding it cause honestly there’s very few artists who ever grow unless they have an exceptionally great song and the algorithm does all the work unless they have community.

Okay so let’s say your song is finally out and we’ve made it to release day. Let’s remember release days are a lot like throwing stones in a lake.

The bigger the splash you make at first, the bigger the ripple in the pond, and the easier it will be to promote your song. This is not to say that you don’t need to sustain your promotion, which I would argue is much more important than promoting your music on release day. However, a significant mistake people make is failing to promote both on release day and continually afterward. You need to do both.

On release day, ensure you are in front of your computer, responding to comments on YouTube and Instagram, engaging with people on social media, sharing stories, and posting your song on message boards. The more people hear your song when it’s fresh, the more the algorithms will push it, increasing its visibility and potential to spread. Answer any comments on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts you haven’t already addressed to get put into their algorithms, increasing the likelihood that you will be served to them again.

If you get added to playlists, be sure to share them on your socials to encourage playlist curators to add you again in the future. While not everyone has Spotify, most people do, and those who don’t are used to looking up songs on other services. Therefore, link directly to Spotify. I often use pre-save links, and once the song is out, link the song directly to allow people to follow you. Most Spotify pre-save links turn into follow buttons once the song is out.

Also, let your fellow musicians know you have a new track, and encourage them to add it to their artist playlists. Do the same for them. This reciprocal promotion increases the chances of your song being added to quality Spotify editorial playlists. Building these connections is crucial, as people looking for upcoming artists often pull together, creating a valuable algorithmic bond.

Once your song is out, upload a Spotify Canvas to enhance your song’s appeal and drive more streams. Canvases are particularly important now due to Spotify’s new feed, similar to TikTok’s For You page. Without a Canvas, you miss out on converting people over on this new feed, potentially losing streams. Just as YouTube’s browse page is popular, Spotify’s new feed is increasingly driving streams, so don’t miss out on uploading Canvases for your songs.

Now let’s discuss Spotify’s marquee tool. While I find it sleazy that Spotify charges you to alert your fans about a new song, nothing triggers the algorithm or drives up streams like putting money into the marquee tool. However, you need a certain number of listeners per month to use this tool. If you meet that threshold, it’s worth budgeting for the marquee tool to drive up your streams and help your track spread. Think of it this way: you are alerting your fans that your new song is out, bringing them back into your algorithm, and helping build connections to similar artists.

For those without enough fans for the marquee tool, there’s a less aggressive option: the showcase tool. You can use this tool if you have at least a thousand streams in a country. Showcase promotions have a longer shelf life than marquee tools and appear on users’ homepages, encouraging them to listen. This tool is cheaper and often yields results similar to the marquee tool for less money, making it a great place to spend your budget.

While we’re in this area, check if you have any songs available for Discovery Mode in Spotify for Artists. Discovery Mode slightly reduces your royalty rate, but it places your song in Spotify radio playlists, meaning your song will be algorithmically connected to another song and played when someone finishes a track. This can significantly boost your growth, though results vary among artists.

Another essential strategy is creating your own artist playlist. Find small acts in your genre, add them to your playlist, and tag them on social media to encourage them to share. This technique takes research and time but is highly effective in building the right type of fans and making strong algorithmic connections.

Lastly, remember that collaborations, remixes, features, and split releases are excellent marketing tools for building your Spotify algorithm. They increase your visibility on other artists’ pages, get you added to their release radar, and tie you to them algorithmically. This approach offers countless benefits, extending to TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

The final step is to keep repeating these strategies. Consistency and sustained effort are crucial for success. Regularly releasing singles and following these techniques will help you grow your presence on Spotify. Keep learning, and consider promoting on TikTok to drive your Spotify growth and build the best algorithm possible in 2024. Watch the recommended video on the screen to continue learning.


If You Liked That Here's How To Go Deeper

Musformation (FREE)

Scour the Internet and you will see almost nothing that is unanimously agreed upon, but our content is an exception as it’s suggested across social media to anyone starting out trying to learn how to build a fanbase. This is the starting point, our YouTube Channel tells musicians everything they need to know to grow while being continuously praised as the best information in the business even by those who work with the biggest artists. We constantly hear that major label A&R and top managers tell musicians to study our channel and come back to them when they have traction. We cover how to start your project as well as how to how to get fans as you are releasing music on a regular basis. If you prefer reading a website I have that foundation built here as well. Just follow the arrows and read, watch or however you prefer taking it in. Some people even listen to this YouTube playlist on their morning drives. If you only watch this we are happy we helped you. Hit us up if you ever need more and get subscribed with notifications on since we drop new knowledge weekly for free.

Musformation Labs ($5 a month)

Every week you get an hour long video where Jesse Cannon shows you how musicians are changing their lives by getting people to finally hear their music. In each video we dissect an artist that has been suggested by the members who has recently blown up and break down exactly how they did it. We also break down the cheat codes for how artists in nice genres regularly break out and show you what to focus on and what not to focus on. We also recap new trends, or news that could help you break your music as apps, algorithms and platforms change. We end each installment with a Q&A every week where I answer your questions live on air and put a lot of effort into answering them thoroughly. 

Musformation Calls ($200/hour)

Many of you have heard so much advice its hard to know what YOU should do so you need to talk to someone who can talk you through it. Jesse personally does each call for an hour of undivided attention. Whether you just have questions, want to brainstorm ideas for content, discuss how you can find the best team or collaborators we are haeppy to talk. We have you fill out a quick form beforehand so we can make sure we are the right fit for a call. After doing calls with over 2500+ different musicians we have never been asked for a refund because we make sure everyone we take on is a good fit. After the call you get a transcript, notes and a video recording of it. Any time you don’t use during the first call is credited to your account and can be used in the future.

Musformation Growth ($999-$10,000)

Some of you need need a bi-weekly call to align strategy with growth. We only take on artists we feel we can be helpful in your growth and are ready for this stage of strategy. While you may have the money we try to only do this with people we feel we can help. We pride ourselves on these relationships as none have lasted less than 36 months.

If You Don’t Know What’s Right For You Email Us And We Will Help You 🤔