Since the dawn of Spotify the music industry has been skeptical about streaming. The notion that the developers in top streaming businesses earn 5-10 times the industry average whilst the artists creating the tracks earn 100 ths of a penny per play seems ridiculous. However, is it possible this is a better deal for artists than conventional distribution methods? Hear me out! There is an equal, if not higher, potential to earn the 80p you would from an Itunes sale with streaming than you wold from any other source. Don’t believe me? Lets take a look at streaming stats in comparison to radio play.
So Nick Grimshaw’s BBC Radio One breakfast show, the best performing show, averages 5.4 million weekly listeners. That’s an average of 1.08 million listeners per show. For a song play on Radio One, you will get the grand total of £37.75. With a bit of math that means for a 1million listens you’ll get about £34.95 (this is if everyone of those million listeners, tuned in collectively).
Whereas for 1 million streams on Spotify you will receive, on average, £4955.90. I know that there is an argument that radio is better for discovery but those stats are only from Radio One’s prime time, across the whole 3-hour show. There’s a high chance your track would be missed by many listeners. The 1 million plays on Spotify however are attentive listeners.
Still not convinced? There are many artists fighting the streaming revolution but the stats suggest it’s here to stay. Here are a few of our tips and tricks to ensure that you maximize the opportunity, get heard, make yourself discoverable and convert these new fans to direct revenue.
Have Good Digital Distribution
Get good digital distribution. This means have the music on all of the relevant streaming and music purchasing platforms. Make it so fans can find the you easily on their store or streaming service of choice and will spend their money and time on you. Let’s look at what some of the top services have to offer:
Soundcloud isn’t the biggest streaming service, but if you are predominantly creating electronic or dance music, the fans of those genres are its biggest demographic. However it isn’t genre exclusive. SoundCloud has helped launch the careers of artists such as Drake and Kodak Black. Even Ed Sheeran ranks in their top 3 most listened to artists. For wannabe DJ’s and casual music listeners alike, it is a popular platform so it deserves to be considered.
Apple Music is the fastest growing streaming platform in the world with 17 million users acquired over a 15-month period. Apple Music offers a great deal of exclusive content (for example Frank Oceans ‘Blond’ release). Apple’s reputation as a go-to distributor since iTunes, has paved the way for Apple Music. It is bringing in users as artists such as Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are seeing the value in it enough to deliver Apple exclusive releases. As Apple Music is directly linked to iTunes, it creates the perfect user journey to buy your digital content.
The biggest streaming platform on the Internet with over 100 million users (of which 40 million are paying subscribers). No, you won’t earn millions from it directly but honestly the statistics aren’t bad (especially considering our radio play example). Not forgetting the discovery element Spotify adds through it’s playlisting. Do not underestimate the attention you can get from simply being put onto a Monday morning playlist – it’s invaluable! As well as the new merchandising integrations it can link new fans of any artist out of the platform to spend their money.
Bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen are utilising Spotify by presenting their merch on the artist page.
Bandcamp has the ability to offer exclusive releases but allows you to set sale prices on downloading content. Bandcamp very easily allows your fans to embed your music onto their own websites and blog posts; great for linking, mentions and getting people to hear the music. It will still all count towards your streaming numbers no matter which site it is on.
It may be your least favorite way to listen to music personally, but the stats say 37% of the British population are listening to music on youtube compared to 10% on Spotify free and 4% on Spotify premium. Combined with Googles strong bias it’s a platform that needs considering. If a fan searches for a track using a search engine, the premium real estate on the results screen is YouTube. The video content you put onto YouTube doesn’t always have to be high quality. Simple lyric videos or track audio on top of the album artwork is fine. Using YouTube simply ensures that when fans search for your music it won’t be a random fan upload that gets the traffic.
Having your content available on these services is only the first step to utilising them. You then need to make your music more discoverable. This means directing general streaming service traffic to your content for them to listen and become regular listeners to your catalogue. There are many simple things you can do to help your music be discovered organically:
Apple Music Verified/Connect
Becoming Apple Music verified/joining Connect means you have full control of your profile and branding as well as having the opportunity to share images, files and ideas with your fans. It only takes 5 steps:
• Ensure your music is already with Apple. Most of the time it is already on iTunes but if not, that is your first task.
• Go to the Apple Music Artists Accounts page and log in with the Apple ID.
• Once you’re logged in, on-screen instructions are displayed and it will ask you for your role e.g. ‘Artist’ or ‘Artist manager’
• Select the artist/artist name you are trying to associate yourself with in order to get them verified.
• Wait for Apple to process this request. They claim it will take up to a maximum of 7 working days. Full details from Ditto here
Spotify is a streaming force to be reckoned with. By verifying the artist / band, you’ll become more eligible to be put into high-profile playlists curated by Spotify and influencers on the plat- form. To become verified you need to:
- Have a Spotify account (free is fine)
- Have 250 followers (linking from your social channels can help you achieve this).
- Complete the online form giving Spotify information such as your e-mail address, display name and Twitter account.
- After this relatively quick process, Spotify claims it can take up to 4 weeks to process the verification.
- Find the verification form here
Creating Your Own Playlists is a great way to gain new followers. Curating themed playlists (including similar bands), whilst including all of your artists, or your labels, best tracks in is the best way to ensure you’re reaching your target audience. As an added bonus, it’ll teach the bots over at Spotify HQ and other services to associate you with these bands (particularly if your playlists get a wide following and listenership). Youtube playlisting can help people stay on your content or come to you from similar artists. It is even more essential since the introduction of autoplay on the YouTube app.
Influencers (Find Them)
Find influencers (yes, they’re a thing). The best way to find influencers is through YouTube and Google. Look for reviews of some bands similar to you and make a note of the people you think would rate you positively or that have larger followings.
Influencers (Get in Touch)
YouTubers such as TheNeedleDrop (900,000 followers) have gained their music loving followers through YouTube and blogs, but their following spreads to streaming and discovery services such as Cymbal. We’d recommend contacting and reaching out to these influencers and ask to be included in their playlists. As always when reaching out, make sure you do your research on the influencer, keep your approach targeted and contextual and position yourself as adding value to the playlist.
Collaborate With Similar Bands
If you’re a small band, you’re not on your own; others like you will be trying to do similar things. Create a joint playlist or promote each other via affiliation on official playlists (especially if you’re from different corners of the world). Not only will it benefit your following, but will forge new personal relationships.
We’ve only scraped the surface on all of the ways artists can utilise streaming. To find out more on how to make the internet for for you sign up to receive our free e-book ‘101 Tips for Artist Success in the Digital World’ below: