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The question of how to get your music on Spotify used to be one that mystified countless underground acts, but these days, it’s no longer a huge unknown.

In fact, it’s never been easier to not only place your latest release onto the most popular streaming platform on the planet but to make the site work for you. Getting your music on Spotify is just the first step, but there’s so much more Spotify For Artists, the brand’s must-know system, has to offer, with playlisting becoming the new focus for millions of acts.

Why You Want Your Music on Spotify

Whether you like it or not, Spotify is an absolute must these days. Failing to upload your music to the global streaming platform is a sure sign that millions of potential fans (and possibly many of those who already like your music) are missing your work. The world has changed, and now streaming platforms are the way most people access music, both old and new, as sales of songs and albums have been decimated.

You want your music on Spotify for…every reason. Because if you don’t adhere to how the music industry works these days, you’re sure to miss out on fans, revenue, and, likely a career.

Who Can Use Spotify for Artists

Anyone! Everyone! If you’re an artist on Spotify, you can use Spotify for Artists. Not only can you use it, but you really should use the platform, because unless you have a whole team around you bolstering you and taking care of the day-to-day tasks of being a Recording Artist, you’re going to need to do it all yourself.

The biggest names in the industry rely on relationships with the people at Spotify, but it may surprise you how many of them also use Spotify for Artists. So, if it’s good enough for the chart-toppers who dominate every playlist, why shouldn’t you get in on the action?

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What Does Spotify for Artists Do?

Simply put, Spotify for Artists is a back-end look at the world’s largest streaming site for the musicians who make it what it is. The platform lets every artist control their profile by claiming it, filling out their bio, choosing their images, uploading new music, picking which titles should be focused on, accessing important data regarding what people are listening to (and how), adding merchandise and concert dates, and, perhaps most importantly (at least when considering this article), choosing songs to submit for consideration for various playlists compiled by the company.

How to Use Spotify for Artists

Submitting your music to those who run the playlists at Spotify may seem like a terribly complicated process, but actually, it’s not that bad! It only takes a few minutes if you know what you’re doing, so here’s a quick step-by-step you can follow. Cross your fingers!

Step 1

Distribute your music to Spotify. This may sound obvious, but you have to make sure you give the process enough time. No tracks will be considered that are set to be released in fewer than seven days, so think ahead!

Step 2

Choose your song. You may love every single track on your upcoming album, but Spotify is only going to consider one, so choose a “single” and let them know what your best option is.

Step 3

Sign up for Spotify for Artists. Yes, you have to have an account all set up before you begin any playlisting promotion.

Step 4

Begin! Now you’re actually ready to start applying to be featured on a playlist. Log into your Spotify for Artists account (only on a desktop, by the way!) and choose the one song you want to submit. Again, make sure it’s already queued up to be released in a week (or more, ideally) and you’re only sending them one tune.

Step 5

Give them the deets! What may take the longest is giving Spotify all the detailed information about your song that you can. The Spotify for Artists program will ask for genre, mood, song style, and even what instruments are used on the track. Then you’ll have to declare whether it’s a cover, an instrumental, a remix, and so on.

The company will want to know what languages are featured and where the artist(s) are from. Then you’ll be allowed to include an actual description that you can write yourself. Don’t skip any of this, as they all will help connect you to various playlists that may be based on things like style, culture, covers, and even geographic location.

The entire process shouldn’t take very long, though you will want to plan ahead and think deeply about things like what mood your track conveys and how you’d like to describe it to someone who’s never heard it.

Pitch Your Music to Playlist Companies

If you don’t think going through Spotify will be enough to get your music featured, you may be right. Tens of thousands of songs are uploaded to the platform every day, and while the vast majority of those won’t even attempt to be included on a playlist, it’s still incredibly competitive, and those listening through the submissions only have so much time to try names they don’t know.

You may want to consider working with another firm, as a number of agencies have popped up in the streaming era claiming they can help get your art placed on playlists on the most popular sites. Working with one of these companies is a risk, but it’s just like hiring a PR professional to promote your latest CD or single.

These people do this for a living, and some of them have relationships with curators and those at places like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and the like…but they can’t guarantee you anything. They may have an edge, but they’re still running the same race as everyone else.

If you’re up for spending some extra cash to have a better shot at seeing your latest single rise the ranks on some Spotify playlist, look at companies like YouGrow, DaimoonMedia, Pitch Playlist, and Band Express, to name just a few. There are others out there, but these all came up as ones to look at first.

Pitch Your Music to Independent Playlist Creators

This is a tougher route, but one that can pay off…and one that might not cost you a dime. There are thousands of playlists on Spotify that aren’t actually run by the Swedish streamer. Instead, they’re ruled by individual, independent curators who select what goes on their lists themselves. Some of these playlists have tens of thousands of followers, and earning a placement on just one could be the first step in going viral.

I wish there was some magic answer I could share with you regarding how to reach out to all of them at once, but that’s not how it works. First, you need to find the playlist you want. Be smart about this! Where could you realistically hear your music being featured? That won’t necessarily be the biggest and most popular of the bunch, but the ones that are sonically in your lane.

Then, do your research! Look on Google and social media to find if the curators have websites, social pages, or emails where they accept submissions. Many do! There are some lists that have been compiled, but you’ll still have to do quite a bit of the grunt work yourself.

Companies That Can Upload for You!

Back in the day, it was incredibly difficult to get a distributor to put your CDs into a store, especially as a lesser-known band or Singer. Then, when digital storefronts like Amazon and iTunes took over, it became easier to be included, though sales for many acts still didn’t pick up as most had hoped.

Now, getting your music on streaming platforms like Spotify and countless others only takes a few minutes and a couple of dollars, and there are plenty of companies that will happily do the work for you. In fact, it looks like brands like Spotify prefer to accept music from these distributors, as a seamless pipeline has been created between them.

For now, let’s focus on two of the biggest companies working in this space today: Tunecore and CDBaby. Both are great, and depending on how far you want to go with your latest release, you may want to dig deep into the differences between them before signing up.

The biggest difference between the two that you’ll want to note is that Tunecore charges a certain amount annually, but takes zero from any royalties you make with your music. CDBaby will only charge you a flat rate once to upload your tunes, but the firm does claim 9% of your digital revenue connected to the music you upload with them.

Both Tunecore and CDBaby charge just under $10 for a single and about $30 for an album (though that price rises to $50 per year after the first year with Tunecore).

CDBaby also has an option to pay more upfront for their “pro” option (for either a single or an album), and that comes with additional features. On top of distributing the music, the company will also collect all publishing royalties worldwide, register your music with collection agencies, affiliate your art with performing rights organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or SOCAN and help you in many other ways.

What Makes Sense for You?

As is the case with everything connected to your music career, you’ll have to think long and hard about what works for you before taking any big steps.

Do you have the money to pay companies to do all the pitching for you? Are you really ready to be featured on the biggest playlists out there? Do you have enough lead time to even make a go for a Spotify placement?

Nobody but you can answer these questions (and so many more), and you may discover the answers only after trying and failing (or succeeding), but know that finding yourself on a major playlist can be a huge moment for you, and it may be just the break you’ve been hoping for.

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