Artist Advice Column: Building A Smart Streaming Strategy Pt. 2

We dive further into how to get your music on streaming services, strategies to get more plays and more.
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Streaming is a vital part of growing yourself as an artist. If you aren’t focusing on streaming, you will be left behind in the digital age. Figuring out how to get your music heard on services that boast catalogs with tens of millions of songs and big time players competing for the lucrative top playlist spots is vital. You likely won’t become a streaming star like Drake, The Chainsmokers, Ed Sheeran or Rihanna, but racking up plays into the low millions can have benefits well beyond slowly rising royalty checks.

Before you look to start pitching your music to streaming services, make sure you establish yourself by using your own channels to push your music on various streaming services. When you release songs, send out a general link that has all digital and physical options in one place, but also in separate posts that focus on the services you want to spotlight with that release. A big album? Send out your Spotify and Apple Music links. A smaller, less official release, send out a SoundCloud or YouTube link that will allow you to be more spontaneous.

Make sure links to your streaming profiles are included on Facebook in your bio so fans know where to find you and remember to follow you there. They may have arrived from that medium, but you want to send people the other way.

If you have a publicist or are doing PR yourself, including the proper streaming links in your mailouts is crucial. Make sure the links work and give writers all of the streaming options available, so they can listen wherever they choose to listen. If there is one place that your campaign is focusing on, then that can be mentioned or at least the embed code can be shown in the release, but allow them to make the final decision.

In addition to pushing your own releases on streaming services, having a playlist is very important. We touched on this in the last segment, but it is worth noting again. Even if you are a rock band and not a DJ, this is something that will allow you connect with your fans and push your releases further. You listen to other music so just put together a list of songs that you like and keep this playlist updated regularly and on a schedule. You can include songs of yours, some throwbacks from your discography that might need more love and then show your friends some love. This will then allow them to reciprocate to you. It doesn’t have to be you who goes in and updates the playlist, but can be your manager who physically does the act.

On streaming platforms it is vital to have other people post your music. It is great when fans put your music in their playlists or save it offline to listen on the go, but if you can have other artists, influencers or official playlists push your music, then you are doing something right. The first and most obvious thing to do is to get your friends in the industry to support your music. Just as you should have a playlist, they should have one as well. From this, do your bets to have them support your releases in their playlists. If you release an album, just a track, but you know your friends, work with them.

However that likely won’t get you all that far without getting you on major company and influencer playlists at the streaming services if you want a big boost. Spotify simplified the process allowing you to send a song into their editors through your artist profile. They will want other data on the song including mood, genre and other notes that will help them make a fit on a playlist. They want to know the instruments, if it is a cover and what cultures you or the song belongs to. The more information, the better. You may not want pigeonhole the song, but they have find a home for that track, so help them or give them options.

Outside of Spotify, many main editors for Apple Music and other services can be found if you do research on the web. It may sound simple, but in fact the information is there. Carl Chery is the head of Urban Music at Spotify and is one of the most sought after names in the business. Search LinkedIn or Twitter and their emails can be listed right there. 

Influencers can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be individual people who have built up playlists over the years or websites who have developed their own following that you can pitch to there. For a website, you can pitch them for playlist placement, in addition to a spot on their site. For the individual influencers, they will likely have social media channels that have information that has information on how to send them songs. You can also message them through that channel, but finding an official email is best.

There are third party aggregators that allow you to pay to get your submission heard, but there is no guarantee your song gets placed. Avoid those if you can and under Spotify rules, those aren’t allowed.

A few things that will give you better chance at getting listed on big playlists. You will have a big following in general and on their platform. Make sure you are verified on their platform. Always send in unreleased music for them to listen to. Don’t send an old song. Getting press coverage can help get your name out there and help your chances.

Your streaming strategy can translate to the live arena as well. Spotify’s CEO Daniel EK says that Metallica uses streaming data to help determine the setlist for that city. You can dive into your data and see the preferences for each city on your tour dates to uncover some gems in your catalog and potentially the sleeper pick for their favorite song of yours. 

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