Spotify can be an impenetrable world sometimes. Deciphering its secrets can be key to boosting your play counts and followers, but sometimes it feels like the information you need just isn’t out there.
We’ve pulled together a few helpful hints that can help you increase your plays and followers on Spotify, and do it in the right way.
How to get on Spotify editorial playlists
First of all, make sure you read our guide to pitching tracks to Spotify’s editorial team using Spotify For Artists’ submission tool. This tells you how to go through the process of pitching, but it’s helpful to know some extra information that may help the person checking the submission to look more favourably on it.
Spotify’s editorial team operate a bit like radio programmers at major stations, in that they want to see that there is hype around the artist and the release before they consider adding it to a playlist. Broadly speaking, there are two ways to show them that your release is ‘worthy’:
1) Put effort into getting followers (more on that later), pre-saves (and this), playlist additions and streams on Spotify yourself through your fans and good old fashioned hard work and self-promotion of spreading the word and getting your music in the right places.
2) Making sure that the marketing plan section of the submission has some impressive details in it. This could be press coverage, support from DJs / radio stations, live shows / streams that will be supporting the release, or details of anything else that will show them that your release has some clout behind it.
You could also give the person checking your submission a helpful nudge by including the names of some relevant Spotify-owned playlists in the ‘Description’ section of your submission. Do your research and see which playlists are relevant to your release and ask them to consider your track for inclusion on them.
Should I release singles or EPs on Spotify?
You can read our piece on singles vs EP release strategy on Spotify, but in summary, if you want to maximise your streams for a multi-track release, it’s best to release some singles from the release in the run-up to the full EP or album. In doing so, you give yourself a chance to pitch multiple tracks to Spotify’s editorial team, and you get to promote your release to your fans over a longer period.
It’s also now common to include single #1 on the release for single #2, and #1 + #2 on the single for #3, and so on, working your way up to the full EP. It’s up to you how many singles you want to release.
Using Spotify pre-save links to boost streams
Getting people to pre-save your release not only gives a good sign to Spotify’s editorial team and algorithm that there is some excitement around your release, but it also gets you more plays. Use a service like feature.fm, presave.io or linkfire.com to create a free pre-save link once your release has been ingested into Spotify and share it with your friends, family and fans and ask them to save. You should be able to do this with your UPC, which will be available in your account once you’ve submitted your release.
Pre-saves can help your tracks to appear in people’s Discover Weekly algorithmic playlist, and most pre-save services also allow people to choose a playlist for the release to be added to, as well as to their general library.
Share your pre-save link with a teaser clip of your release on socials and go ‘door-to-door’ to your friends and family to ask them to save the release.
Boost your following on Spotify by… asking your fans to follow you!
It sounds obvious, but ever wondered how many of your social followers and email subscribers who use Spotify actually follow you on there? If they follow you, your new releases will show up in their Release Radar playlists. So, you need to work hard to convert your fans to Spotify followers.
Just ask! Post on your socials and let your fans know how helpful it is for them to follow you. Likewise, ask friends and family. Whenever you’re with a friend who has Spotify on their phone, just ask if you can follow yourself from their account.
Using follower gates to boost followers and streams on Spotify
Services like hypeddit.com and feature.fm allow you to create ‘follower gates’, which offer an exclusive free download to fans in exchange for them following you on Spotify (or for saving / pre-saving your release — or both). If you have some unreleased content sitting around, you could offer it in exchange and use it to build your following.
Why you might want to use ‘Radio’ edits of your tracks on Spotify
Some labels will tell you that you need to provide shortened radio/Spotify edits of your tracks to increase their chances of being featured in Spotify editorial playlists. While this isn’t strictly true, it does seem that doing so can increase your chances of being included on certain playlists.
If your track is no longer than 4 minutes, you don’t really need to worry about this, but if it’s longer you could consider creating a shortened version and an ‘Extended’ version. It’s better not to label the shortened version as a ‘radio edit’ or ‘edit’ — it’s better to label the longer version appropriately.
The benefits of Spotify artist playlists
Spotify’s algorithm looks for connections between artists in order to suggest related music to people. This is probably part of the reason why you can see an artist like Disclosure putting a load of Daft Punk tracks in their playlist, for example.
So it’s worth building up your own playlists and featuring other artists you want to be related to alongside your own tracks in it. Of course, it won’t make much difference if no-one’s listening to your playlist, so you do need to put effort into getting people to follow to it and update it regularly to keep people listening.
A workaround for compilations and various artist EPs
It can be frustrating that you can’t pitch tracks for editorial consideration using Spotify’s submission tool if your track is on a compilation or various artists’ EP.
A workaround for this is to release your track as a separate single in the run-up to the EP / compilation release. You can then pitch this, and then on release day you can ask for it to be removed from Spotify so that it only features on the EP / compilation. If it gets featured anywhere, the track will still be linked to the EP / compilation release via its ISRC code, so you don’t need to worry about losing out on feature coverage once the single has been removed.
How to get more plays for remixes on Spotify
Spotify’s song submission tool doesn’t allow you to pitch tracks that you have remixed — only ones that you are a featured artist on. And by the same token, remixes you create don’t appear in your followers’ algorithmic playlists like Release Radar.
You can overcome this issue by asking the original artist if they can also add you as a featured artist on your remix. So the artist name on your remix will include your name, but the release name will still be listed under the original artist. In this way, you can maximise the reach of the remix, which will benefit both you and the original artist.
How to get on Spotify user playlists
Spotify frequently changes elements of its functionality and brings in regular product updates. A good way to keep up to date with these developments is to sign up to their newsletter through the toolbar at the top of the screen here.
In the meantime, keep putting in the consistent hard work to build your Spotify following and engagement with these tips and you’ll start seeing the benefits.