Think back to when you were a kid, dreaming of making music for the rest of your life.
Dreams like this were more elusive before the rise of YouTube and online music streaming apps. Now, artists can get their music in front of millions of people without a record deal.
And this digital music revolution isn’t slowing down.
Easily, the most famous music streaming app of the bunch is Spotify – boasting an impressive 180 million users, it’s even credited with launching the career of Grammy Award-winning artist Lorde.
Could you be an upload away from turning your dream into a reality? Is Spotify the right platform for you and your music?
Also, this article is for musician’s, not for music fans uploading their music collection for listening purposes.
How to directly upload your music to Spotify
Spotify had an attempt at making it easy for artists to upload their music quickly. The idea was you didn’t have to go through music distributors, like Label Grid, and instead, you could upload to Spotify directly.
Unfortunately, as of July 2019, Spotify discontinued direct access.
“Almost a year ago, we started to beta test a feature that lets independent artists upload their music directly to Spotify. Today, we notified participating artists about our decision to close the beta program, along with how we can help them migrate their music to other distributors over the next month.”
> Please refer to this link for the full press release.
Regardless, there’s plenty of distributors that allow direct upload to Spotify, so you are not out of luck.
How to upload music to Spotify, the pros and cons of Spotify, and how to get the most from this platform:
There are many ways to distribute your music. The most common way is through the internet, but other options such as physical distribution or even direct sales through independent record stores are also available. This article will focus on how you can get your music distributed by a digital music distributor.
What is a Digital Music Distributor?
An online music distributor is a company that provides services for independent artists, musicians and record labels who want to sell their music digitally.
In short, the distributor takes your music files and distributes them to online stores and streaming platforms, such as Spotify.
Choosing a music distributor
Depending on the type of music you wish to distribute, e.g. rock, punk, dance music, hip hop, metal etc., it’s always wise to do your research before applying for digital music distribution.
Many distributors will offer different skillsets, such as providing advice about playlisting, pitching, strategy, and some will go as far as submitting to Spotify and Apple Music for playlist consideration on your behalf.
If you are looking for a distributor that offers more than just digital distribution:
I recommend checking out Label Grid, which provides a whole music management tool kit. Symphonic, which also provides a synchronisation arm. Or Cygnus Music – they have a solid team to help you grow. All companies have a fantastic team who can help you with everything from marketing, playlisting and providing solid advice.
Here’s a list of some (not all!) music distributors to get you started.
Creating your Spotify for Artists profile
Once your music is distributed to Spotify, you can create a Spotify for Artists profile, and you can’t do this before your music is on their platform.
Spotify can be a powerful marketing tool, so this is an excellent opportunity to flex those branding muscles.
Is your current band photo looking a little dated? This would be a good time to update everything from your photos to your official bio.
Spotify gives you 1500 characters to tell your story. You can also include links to your website, music magazine features, and your merch store. Don’t hesitate to talk about the artists, events, and stories that inspire your music.
These little details can help people connect with your music. Keep building that connection by including your own Spotify playlist. This is a great way to show love to fellow artists and give fans another way to get to know you better.
If you want to submit music for playlist consideration directly to Spotify, it must be unreleased (as in, on Spotify and before the release date) music and done via Spotify for Artists. Plan accordingly and make sure your release date is no less than a week away before submitting.
Syncing Up with Spotify
Once you’ve registered for Spotify and set up your artist profile, look at Spotify’s partnerships with other digital services.
These Digital Services include:
- CD Baby
- Emo Bands
If you sell music, concert tickets, and merchandise through any of these services, connect your accounts to make them appear on your Spotify page. This is a quick and easy form of cross-promotion.
Syncing your CD Baby, Emo Bands, and Distrokid accounts will also verify your Spotify page, making you a verified artist on Spotify (blue check and all!).
Is Spotify Free for Artists?
One of the first questions artists ask is whether or not Spotify is free.
The good news is, yes! Spotify does not charge. However, keep in mind that the music distributor you use will likely charge a fee or commission.
Spotify also allows artists to promote merchandise without a fee.
How Much Can You Earn Through Spotify?
This is where Spotify receives its biggest criticism. In recent years, the streaming service has received significant scrutiny over its revenue model for artists.
Despite nearly a million streams per minute, Spotify only pays out $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream. Worse, this revenue is paid directly to the music holder, and this means the royalties are often split between artists, writers, music producers, and their record labels.
This makes it much harder for new artists to earn a living from Spotify.
While Taylor Swift may be one of the most prominent artists globally, she too took up the cause against Spotify when she pulled nearly all her music from the platform in 2014. Swift called out the platform for directly cutting into paid album sales.
Even though Spotify claims that working musicians can make up to $425,000 in monthly royalties, Swift’s claims further shed light on potential problems with the service.
Is Spotify the right platform for you?
Here’s a recap of the top takeaways of Spotify:
- 180 million users and almost a million streams per minute
- Create your own branded artist page
- Tell your story, sell your albums, and promote your merch
- Get your music on Spotify through your music distributor of choice
- See which music trends best with built-in analytics
- Spotify is free, but your music distributors will charge a fee
- Artists can only earn $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream
Spotify is part of a special club of music streaming services for both fans and artists. Other services include Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime Music, SoundCloud, and Pandora.
Start Making a Name for Yourself
Feel music stardom within your grasp?
If you’re ready to try your luck and upload music to Spotify, bookmark this guide right now and get to work on your Spotify presence!
But remember, Spotify is just one piece of the promotion puzzle. If you really want to get your music out there, start building your robust list of industry contacts now or talk to an expert who can help.