January 15, 2018

It’s Not All About the Music You Know, Package Your Release Better

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Flat lay keyboard headphones

What happened in: February

The internet is a wide and wonderful(and weird) place, but let’s face it sometimes with the sheer amount of information, music, memes and cat videos, it’s just too hard to keep up with everything that’s going on. In an effort to combat that we are starting a wrap up of everything that went down in the world of Spinnup, music, and beyond at the end of each month. If you come across anything for next month you think we should include, shoot us an email at 

The best of the blog 

  • After announcing the changes to the release data available in your artist account (seriously, check that out if this is news to you), we decided we needed to dig a little deeper. Why does your data matter? How can it help you? Can it really help you make practical decisions in your career? Resounding yes’s to all of those – read on for more.
  • Because we are loud and proud data geeks, we took this one step further to prove that music data can actually be really entertaining. Before you roll your eyes and go, “yeah, sure thing Spinnup,” click here.
  • As always we had week after week of amazing acts featured in our Spinnup Introducing series, starting with Nashville pop artist Bethany Ann, dreamy French indie outfit Mezzanine, Dutch six-piece Waltzburg, and Swedish hip-hop group taking Spotify by storm, ODZ.

Music industry news 

  • Instagram now allows business to properly schedule posts using third party services – great for organising your key image content Read more
  • Apple Music’s US subscribers to pass Spotify’s by the summer, which gives you potentially even more fans to reach in America. Read more
  • Spotify For Brands breaks down the listening habits of Millenials, Tech Early Adopters and Mums, could you be reaching more of these music fans? Read more
  • Pandora bring on demand premium service to web. Read more

Our favourite February Spinnup releases 

Women, the latest single from Zimbabwean-UK artist KamiKwazi. The track was written as a show of admiration for all the women in his life, from his mum, female relatives and friends to his girlfriend.

French singer Joko made us fall in lover with her latest EP Loon, which was released on Valentine’s Day.

New Zealand band Mako Road released their first EP with us, The Green Superintendent. With one of the most eye catching pieces of cover art this year, the project is a relaxed indie affair, that we’ve been spinning on our playlists for the last few weeks.

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Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 8.44.06 pm

The fun of music data

We’ve been talking about data a lot lately. Earlier this month we introduced you to the new data features in the artist account, and Decoded data for independent artists, explaining how to make your data work harder for you. If you haven’t checked up on either of those posts, we suggest you hit those next – there’s lots of really great information that could help you steer your career as an artist in the right direction.

Even the word ‘data’ implies things that are analytical, black and white, non-creative and – let’s be honest – a bit boring. So we asked, can you take music and artist data and make it fun? Absolutely!

The Pudding

The Kings and Queens of making data fun are the good people over at The Pudding, who visualise data and talking topics in ways only they can imagine.

Want to know who has the largest vocabulary in hip hop? Or see if pop lyrics are getting more repetitive over time? These guys have got you covered. One of our favourite data deep dives The Pudding has done is a look at Outkast’s history through the lens of data, or determine which words are the most “hip hop”. The Pudding are clearly hip hop heads, as am I, so I might be slightly biased, but seriously if you think the numbers in your artist account don’t mean anything, or can’t be analysed from a more creative angle, think again.
A look at Outkast’s history through the lens of data

The language of hip hop 

Who has the largest vocabulary in hip hop?

Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive?

How music taste has evolved

How long does it take to make it big

How music is remembered from the 90’s




Nielsen are without a doubt the authority on music data. Each year they put out in depth reports summarising the previous year’s music data and trends, which the whole music industry tune into intently! They look at everything from how likely people are to pay for music, which Lady Gaga fans spend more money on carbonated drinks, and most relevant to independent artists, what day of the week people listen to music more, and how streaming playlisting is on the rise.

How we listen to music is changing

The GRAMMY effect

How technology is driving music consumption

Playlisting: the 21st century mixtape

Going Gaga on the gridiron



Your favourite Swedish streaming giant Spotify is not only one of the best places to release and discover new music, but a great source of interesting, and sometimes random, music data analyses. Spotify look at things like which countries are the most Christmassy, how the US followed a recent solar eclipse with (you guessed it) ‘Total Eclipse of The Heart’, and why reggaeton exploded in popularity from 2014.

The most Christmassy songs & countries on Spotify

Listening diversity increases nearly 40% on Spotify

‘Total Eclipse of The Heart’ follows the eclipse

How Reggaeton became a global phenomenon on Spotify

How different genres use different scales




Now hopefully you’ll think of data a little differently next time you check out your stats in the Trends section of your artist account. Who knows – someday we might be doing an in-depth study into your songwriting vocabulary!

Make sure read our posts below to get to grips with your data and how to make it work harder for you.

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DJ club yellow light

What happened in: January

The internet is a wide and wonderful(and weird) place, but let’s face it sometimes with the sheer amount of information, music, memes and cat videos, it’s just too hard to keep up with everything that’s going on. In an effort to combat that we are starting a wrap up of everything that went down in the world of Spinnup, music, and beyond at the end of each month. If you come across anything for next month you think we should include, shoot us an email at 

The best of the blog 

  • If you think you’re ready for the summer festival circuit, read our guide to the best UK music festivals for up and coming musicians in 2018, including how to apply and application deadlines.
  • Do you have a great release ready to upload? Make sure you give it an A+ package with good cover art, we’ve got some tips on how to get it done.
  • Plus we introduced you to some of our favourite new acts, Scottish electro-pop duo Chuchoter (that’s French for ‘whisper’ ooh la la), German act To Be We who are releasing one single a week(!), and up and coming Swedish rapper taking Spotify by storm, Saimon Kay.

Music industry news 

  • Good news hip-hop artists (and fans!) – A recent Nielsen Music study has found that hip-hop surpassed rock as 2017’s biggest genre! Read more
  • Spotify recently git 70 million paying subscribers, which means as a Spinnup artist you have 70 million potential fans to reach with your releases! Read more
  • Remember what we said above about album artwork? This could be getting even better with Spotify testing a new feature that replaces static artwork with GIF-like loop videos. Read more
  • Mental Health is a serious issue in the music industry, and Help Musicians UK are doing all they can to help musicians (it’s in the name really) by launching a new operation in Scotland. Read more
  • Facebook is making some big changes to the newsfeed, which could have an adverse effect on how your fans see your artist page. Read more
  • Native Instruments launches, a new samples library for you to use in your music production. Read more
  • Amazon Music Unlimited is coming to Australia and New Zealand next month, which means your music could reach more ears down under! Read more


Our favourite January Spinnup releases 

Mezzanine, the self-titled double track single from a new French act to join Spinnup

 Vicennial, the new EP from Texan singer-songwriter Bethany Ann

The latest release from German artist Ahzumjot, ‘Baccup‘, which after just one week is already sitting at over 20,000 streams on Spotify.

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Festival trio

Guide to UK Festival Applications 2018

Here at Spinnup we are all about getting new artists and bands discovered, and while Spinnup is a great way to get your music heard it’s not the only way! Music festivals are a great opportunity to play to large audiences and get discovered by a whole new category of fans. Plus you’ll gain more fans whilst having heaps of fun.

Below we have put together a list of some great festivals across the UK and further afield that you may be interested in applying for. The best part is that you don’t even have to spend hours searching how to apply – we’ve done all the hard work for you!

But before we jump in, here are some things to consider before/when applying to a festival. Good luck!

Can you play those dates?

It seems obvious, but it’s the most important of them all! You will save a lot of hassle knowing way in advance if you and your band mates are actually available to play that particular date.

Consider travel.

How are you going to get there? If a particular festival is that little bit further away you may want to consider potential travel costs. It’s great if you’re offered a slot, but what’s the point if you can’t get there?

Will your music suit this festival?

For example, would your hip-hop vibes suit a heavy rock festival? Be realistic and don’t waste your time or theirs by applying to a festival you’re music isn’t appropriate for.

Let the music do the talking.

Make sure you send your best tracks in the application! Choose quality over quantity (bot send more than 1 track, obvs)

Demonstrate your best achievements.

Show best achievements to date – maybe you’ve supported a well-known band, you’ve had radio play or even been given a fantastic review. Showing a good history live performances will also demonstrate that you are able to deliver in a live setting.

Make yourself easy to find

When you apply, make sure to include all relevant links to your website, social media, artist profiles (for example, your Spotify artist page). You can even use your Spinnup artist profile, where you can combine all of these!

Make sure everything is up to date with current photos, the latest info on your releases and/or live shows so the festival can get the best picture of where you’re at.

What do you need to include?

Carefully check what the application requires from you and make sure you don’t miss any important information!

Here are some important pointers if you land a coveted slot.

– Rehearse rehearse rehearse! You’re going to want to be really tight for this so make sure you get plenty of prep in beforehand.

– Put together an awesome setlist; remember you’re probably playing to a more varied bunch than usual, so be sure to play some of your best crowd-pleasers.

– Be sure to make a good impression – you don’t know who could be at this festival – scouts, press, promoters for example, so don’t be late to your slot and it’s probably not a good idea to get too drunk beforehand]!

– Get equipment ready – imagine, your set is going amazingly, the crowd is ever expanding and you’re having the time of your lives and then one of your leads blows. Make sure that you have spares and backup gear, either supplied by yourselves or the festival, checking everything works beforehand!

– Bring lots of merch – t-shirts, free stickers, free download links, it’s the perfect opportunity to promote yourself even more and get some extra cash too!

festival shoulders



Big Love – 4th – 6th May

Big Love is a small, independent three-day festival set in and around a big country mansion near Hay-on-Wye (on the Wales/England border). The festival boasts a DIY attitude, promising a weekend of live music, parties, discos and great street food, all around a natural environment!

Apply here ASAP

The Great Escape – 17th – 19th May

The Great Escape takes place in Brighton and Hove, showcasing over 400 up and coming artists of a variety of genres from all over the world, as well as hosting three days of industry talks and conferences. This is THE festival for artists wanting to get discovered by fans and the industry

Apply here by Monday 12th February 2018.

Live at Leeds – Saturday 5th May

Live at Leeds is an award-winning metropolitan festival held across various venues in Leeds with an aim to showcase the best new music alongside established artists from around the world.

Apply here ASAP

Leestock – 26th – 27th May

LeeStock is a non-profit Music Festival based in Suffolk, held in memory of musician Lee Dunford with all proceeds donated to the Willow Foundation.

Apply here ASAP


Camden Rocks – Saturday 2nd June

Camden Rocks takes place in across 20+ different venues in Camden Town, London. It is London’s biggest rock’n’roll all-dayer.

Apply here ASAP

Sweden Rock – 6th – 9th June

Okay we may not be geographers but we are well aware this one isn’t exactly in the UK, but it’s a great one nonetheless! Sweden Rock Festival takes place outside Sölvesborg in Blekinge, offering the best mix of rock genres from classic rock to blues.

Apply here ASAP

Isle Of Wight Festival – 21st – 24th June

The world-famous festival takes place in Newport, Isle of Wight and its stages have been graced by various acts over the years such as Fleetwood Mac and The Prodigy.

Apply here ASAP


2000 Trees – 6th – 8th July

2000 Trees is a multi-award winning independent music festival, bringing together the best new and underground British music in the stunning backdrop of the Cotswold Hills.

Apply here ASAP

Latitude – 12th – 15th July

Latitude is a festival packed with the very best from Music and the Arts, including theatre, comedy, poetry, dance and literature. It is set in Henham Park, Suffolk, but said to be more similar to European Festivals.

Apply here ASAP (see under ‘Performer Enquiries)

Nozstock – 20th – 22nd July

Nozstock is hosted at Rowden Paddocks Farm near Bromyard, Herefordshire. It is an independent arts and music festival with of a variety of stages including a hip-hop stage, a spoken word and circus tent and a psytrance stage.

Apply here ASAP

Kendall Calling – 26th – 29th July

Kendal Calling is an independent music festival born from a group of music lovers and held at Lowther Deer Park in the idyllic Lake District.

Apply here ASAP

Standon Calling – 26th – 29th July

Standon Calling is a small themed boutique festival held in the grounds of private residence Standon Lordship in Hertfordshire. Great for families, big acts and late-night partying!

Apply here ASAP


Victorious Festival – 24th – 26th August

Victorious Festival is a three-day music festival held in the Castle Field and Southsea Common areas of Southsea, Portsmouth.

Apply here by Friday 30th March

End Of The Road – 30th August – 2nd September

End of The Road Festival is an independent music festival focusing on rock and folk music hosted at the Larmer Tree Gardens, bordering north Dorset and Wiltshire.

Apply here by Monday 19th February

Electric Fields 31st August – 1st September

Electric Fields takes place in an intimate and unique setting, deep within the forests of Dumfries and Galloway.

Apply here ASAP

Now what are you waiting for?? Go ahead and get applying! And if you happen to land a slot we’d love to hear about it! drop us a line at

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Data header2

Get more data in your Artist Account

Over the past year our small team has grown to include a group of amazing techy-types who have been working hard to improve the Spinnup service, including how we supply your release data to you. Hint: it’s a lot better now.

If you have logged in to your artist account over the past week, you may have noticed that your Stats & Activity page is looking a little different…

Here we’ll explain: 

• What new data you can access in your artist account 
• What this means for you and how you can use it to your advantage 

Our brand new trends graphs now show you more data than ever. Here you have always been able to track your Spotify streams a few days after the first stream of your track. But now, thanks to our new tech gurus you are able to see streaming data from Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Google Play AND download stats from iTunes and Amazon all in the one place. Not only that, the data we provide now goes back even further, with three months’ worth of figures – that’s triple what we used to have!


What’s new?

At the top of the screen you can toggle between streams or downloads to try and gauge how people are consuming your music. The Streams option will display streaming trend figures for Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Google, whereas the download option will change the graph to display only iTunes and Amazon download sales.

Once you have chosen which type of trend you want to display, you can then choose to view the figures & graph for all releases, or choose an individual release (or track) from the middle drop down menu. Each time you change which release to view, the Total Streams figures and the graph will change to show the data for that specific release.

The third data field is the time period, which can be changed to 1 week, 1 month, both of which show daily streams, and 3 months, which changes to show you weekly streams.

In any option you choose, whether that’s all releases over 3 months, or a specific release over 1 week, you are able to turn particular services on and off. So if you want to see only your Google streams on the graph, just click on the coloured icons of the other three services to turn them ‘off’ – they’ll turn grey so you know which ones you’ve selected. Simply click on each icon again to turn them back on.

Download trends

Okay cool, but why is this better?

  • You can now easily compare streaming services by having them all on the one graph, and see on which platform you have the most fans and streams. For example if you stream higher on Deezer than Spotify, it might be worth putting a bit more love into your Deezer Artists profile
  • Downloads are always worth more than streams, here you can easily compare the two figures and if you know how much your music is being sold for on roughly estimate how much you’ve earned from that particular service
  • Being able to go even further back in time means you can compare how your releases perform over time. Are they a hit from day 1 and then lose momentum? Or with a bit of help from social media and playlists do they grow over time?

Over time we’ll be adding even more options for you to narrow down your data (want to know how many streams you’re getting in Serbia? Or downloads in Denmark?… just you wait) to make it even easier for you to analyse how your releases are performing, and be able to capitalise on your successes.

We’ll be back soon with more information including how to read your data, and how to use it to your advantage, and what data means for independent artists.

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It’s Not All About the Music You Know, Package Your Release Better

They say “never judge a book by its cover” however I’m 99,99% sure that I’m not the only person on this Earth to do exactly that and the same goes for music. So, when you have your hot new release it’s important to put the same amount of blood, sweat and tears into the cover art as you did into the crafting the release. Plus, it’s good to stand out visually on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and the rest…

It’s not important only so that the release is packaged with a pretty, striking or necessarily revolutionary image, it’s important because it is the first thing any fans, and potential new fans, will see and judge before hearing your track (apart from Spotify playlists, but let’s not get into that now). Unsurprisingly, it’s more likely that if a listener doesn’t like your cover art, they won’t be hitting play on your hot new track. Read more

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Guide Cover

The 12 best FREE music guides

Around Christmas in Iceland it is traditional to sit inside eating lots of chocolate and reading books. But to be honest if it was that cold outside where I lived, I’d probably do that too…

No matter where you are in the world, this list of the 12 best FREE music guides are all must-reads for any independent artist.

In the lead up to Christmas we’ve given you the 12 best free VST plugins to make music, the 12 best free promotional tools to get your music out there, and now last but not least, we have the best online guides on a range of topics from songwriting to mixing, music theory and more.

So grab a *insert hot drink of choice here* and settle down in *insert preferred reading spot here* and educate yourself as an artist with these informative guides.


1. How To Be Creative – Hugh MacLeod

Inspirational illustrated advice book to spur you on to finish your tracks



2. Music Marketing – Shaun Letang

Sign up for a free Music Marketing Ebook from musicindustryhowto



3. The Head Voice and Other Problems –  D. A. Clippinger

Free your voice to do even more with this book



4. The Mechanism of the Human Voice – Emil Behnke

Learn how to use your voice



5. Understanding Basic Music Theory – Catherine Schmidt-Jones

Learn about the basics of music theory



6. Learning to Read Music – Peter Nickol

Whether you want to learn how to play an instrument, or just refresh your existing capability, whether you sing in a choir, or would simply like to follow scores while listening, this book will help you achieve your aim, letting you read music with ease.



7. Guide to Mixing – Nick Thomas

Learn how mix your own tracks



8. Free Piano Sheet Music – Edward Weiss

Put your skills to the test and learn how to play one of these tracks



9. Ultimate Guitar Sheet – Hal Leonard Coroporation

Piano not your instrument? No problem, here are some guitar chords for you to strum your heart out



10. Songwriting on a Shoestring: Writing, Producing and Promoting Your Own Songs – Mary Wheelan

Written by a songwriter for songwriters wanting to produce good music without going broke, drawing upon her experience in an effort to help songwriters save money while producing quality songs.



11. Take the Oath: A Practical Pocket Guide for the Career Indie Musician – Don Harrison

This book is a first hand account on what has worked not only for the author, but for other artists he personally knew who were making a money from performing music. Step by step, detail by detail, laid out in a simple, easy- to-understand language



12. Music Production Made Simple –  Bjorgvin Benedktsson

Email sign-up for a comprehensive guide on music production to start work on your demos.



That’s it for our FREE Christmas gift series! We hope you’ve enjoyed our free tools and stay tuned for more from the Spinnup blog in 2018! 

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music = life

The 12 best FREE promotional tools

Last week we gifted you with the 12 Best Free VST Pluins, and this week the season of giving continues with the 12 best FREE promotional tools to get you and your music heard by as many people as possible! Alright, let’s get these goodies inside and unpack one by one…


1. Canva 

You know the saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover”? Well people do, and they will judge your artwork. You don’t need to be a professional designer, just use this online graphic design tool to create bespoke and professional looking artwork

2. Pexels

Copyright free stock images – this means you have permission to use them for anything!

3. Mailchimp

An easy-to-use email client to send good-looking and engaging emails to your users. Read this guide for email marketing to make sure you’re up to scratch on the ins and outs of email marketing. If you have collected any fan email addresses, put them to good use and start connecting with your fans directly to their inbo


A presskit tool “designed responsively, so they look great on any device”

5. Noisetrade 

Offer your song as a free download to build your fan base

6. HootSuite

Schedule all of your social media in advance to make the most of your content

7. StageIt

Host a free virtual show and give your audience the option to donate to you! This is a great way to host warm up gigs before listing your bigger gigs on BandsinTown

8. Nextbigsound

Track your social media growth and analyse what content and days/times work best for posting

9. Dizzyjam

Create a Dizzyjam store & sell your merchandise for free

10. Woobox 

Create social media competitions and campaigns (such as fangates) for free

11. FanDistro

Create online campaigns, which you can then invite other artists to share to help grow your campaign in their own networks. Get your community of artists together and get going!

12. Club Flyers

A cool trick is to order several hundred of these with a custom design that includes a URL to download your music!

That’s it for this week! Stay tuned next week for the third in our Christmas gift series of the best free things for you to use to amplify your music!

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