Is Promotion on Spotify Worth it for Independent Artists?

Music DistributionMusic Promotion
Is Promotion on Spotify Worth it for Independent Artists?

Music promotion is maybe one of the most challenging parts of being an independent artist today. You’ve put your heart and soul into your music, but how will find an audience and build a fan base?

One option that’s crossed the minds of many independent artists is whether it’s worth paying for promotion on Spotify—whether through visual banner ads or through audio advertisements.

So, is Spotify promotion worth it?

In this article, we’ll look at the economics behind a Spotify promotion campaign and how you can deliver the best campaign if you choose to do one.

Spotify’s promotion options fit into two buckets—organic promotion and paid promotion.

We’ll also look at a handful of ways to promote your music outside of paid Spotify promotion too.

How to promote your music on Spotify

Out of all the streaming platforms, Spotify is easily the best for offering promotion tools to its artists.

Spotify’s promotion options fit into two buckets—organic promotion and paid promotion.

Organic promotion is free, it relies on you to leverage Spotify’s tools to help you build your audience with follows, likes and playlisting.

Paid promotion is a bit different—it involves paying Spotify to push your music to its listeners.

Before we look at organic Spotify promotion tactics, let’s look at paid Spotify promotion.

How paid Spotify promotion works

Spotify offers two specific paid advertisement options—its marquee banner that lives on the home page of every Spotify user and the audio and video ads that play to free users between streams.

Here’s what you need to know about each of these advertising options.

Spotify Marquee promotion

This is easily the most valuable (and most expensive) paid advertising option available on Spotify.

If you buy a Marquee placement, your music will get a prominently featured full-page ad that’s seen directly on the home page of Spotify users—free and paid.

If the user sees your ad and clicks it, they’re taken to the music you’re promoting.

Marquee is only available to artists with more than 2,500 followers or more than 15,000 streams in the past 28 days.

So you need to have some kind of following to use the feature. You also need to belong to a US-based team since billing is US only.

You’ll need to have a budget of at least 250$ if you want to run marquee ads—and the budget is taken up on a cost-per-click basis, meaning you only pay if someone clicks the marquee.

Spotify Marquee comes with a handful of digital marketing segmentation options that’ll help you hone ad targeting and ensure you only serve Marquee placements to the right audience.

For independent artists, the Marquee is clearly the better option.

Spotify Ad Studio

The other option to advertise on Spotify is through its Ad Studio which gives artists and brands the option to promote with audio and video ads that play between streams for free users.

To deliver an ad to Ad Studio you’ll have to login through its Ad Studio site—which gives access to its audio and video advertising options.

You can either deliver your own audio, which will be vetted by Spotify for approval. Or, you can work with Spotify to create an ad of your own.

This option is more about reach than it is about getting engagement from a specific audience—you’ll pay instead for impressions since you won’t be generating clicks with your ad.

Is paid Spotify promotion worth it for independent artists?

There’s a few ways to answer a question like this.

It’s really only worth it if you’re making a big move with a new release that’s gaining traction.

My opinion is that audio ads are probably not the best option for new music—Spotify has catered this advertising tool towards brands pushing products and services.

It’s not really meant for artists pushing new music. I’d be surprised if these ads were very effective for independent artists.

For an established artist with a brand new release, they’d likely be more effective since these advertising placements are intended for the mass market and only play to free users.

For independent artists, the Marquee is clearly the better option.

But be careful about investing in this kind of ad placement—it’s really only worth it if you’re making a big move with a new release that’s gaining traction.

If you’re not well positioned for a break-out, dollars spent on a Marquee ad probably will go further elsewhere.

Remember that this kind of advertising strategy works best if you’re taking a wide promotion approach for a brand new release.

For example, if you’ve got a label backing you and you’re going big with a huge tour and a lot of advertising across many mediums like subway ads and billboards, definitely get a marquee placement.

But if you’re hedging all your bets on a random, one-off marquee placement—you might not get the results you expect.

5 organic Spotify Promotion ideas

Organic promotion on Spotify is different because it’s free and it relies more on the artist’s ability to build and engage with their audience on their own.

There’s a handful of tactics you employ to effectively promote your music on Spotify for free.

There’s a handful of tactics you employ to effectively promote your music on Spotify for free.

Here’s five organic Spotify promotion ideas to try out.

1. Ask fans to like and follow your page

If you have a social media following, definitely keep your fans updated with what’s happening on your Spotify page.

And let them know that you’d appreciate them for saving, liking and following your page and your tracks.

This kind of fan engagement sends a huge signal to Spotify’s algorithm that your music is liked and important to a group of people.

And, that other people who are similar to those who like your music might enjoy your tracks if they were recommended by the algorithm.

2. Claim your Spotify for Artists profile

To get your music on streaming services you need to work with a music distribution service.

LANDR Distribution is a great option for getting your music on Spotify and it makes it super it super easy to claim your Spotify for artists profile once your music is up.

If you haven’t claimed your Spotify for Artists profile, you really should.

Getting access to Spotify for Artists gives you the ability to change your profile art and bio, create a custom playlist that lives on your profile and track data about who’s streaming your tracks.

Adding a custom touch to your profile makes you look serious and makes it an interesting place for fans to keep coming back.

And, having a well-written artist bio with links to your social media fans helps new listeners learn more about who you are and where to follow you.

3. Submit upcoming releases for playlisting

Spotify is the only streaming service that accepts submissions for playlisting on its many playlists.

While playlisting and paid playlist placements are controversial topics—submitting your music directly to Spotify is an excellent idea.

So, if you have an upcoming release, login to your Spotify for Artists profile and submit your music for playlisting.

This tried and true Spotify promotion tactic is easily the best way to find new ears and attract new fans.

4. Run a pre-save campaign

Another great idea to try if you have an upcoming release is to run a pre-save campaign.

In a pre-save campaign, you encourage your followers to pre-save your track ahead of its release, so they’ll be notified the day it drops and have it automatically added to their library.

Building a ton of interest on the day of your release is super important for letting Spotify’s algorithm know that your music is receiving attention and that it’s worth adding to playlist cues.

Starting a pre-save campaign is easy, you just need a promolink that goes to pre-save campaign landing page from your social media account.

We’ve written about it in past articles if you’re interested in running campaign of your own.

Hot tip: If you distribute your music with LANDR Distribution, creating a promolink is super easy. Just find the promotion section and create a link of your own and you’ll be ready to go!

5. Add lyrics to your tracks

One more way to keep your fans engaged and interested in your music is by adding lyrics that display when your tracks get played.

Adding your lyrics to Spotify is super easy, you just need to sign up with Muixmatch and add your lyrics.

This is will deliver your lyrics to Spotify and all other streaming platforms.

We’ve written about adding your lyrics to Spotify before if you want to learn more.

So is Spotify promotion worth it?

The short answer is, yes!

But you need to take stock of which tactics make sense for you based on where you’re at in your music career.

If you’re breaking out, making big career moves and gaining serious traction in the music world paying for things like Marquee and hiring a publicist to get you on major playlists is a good idea.

But, if you’re just getting started—there’s plenty of free options that will help you leverage your follow and promote your music on Spotify.

Music promotion is hard, but the truth is that if you authentically create good music that people like, your tracks will eventually catch on and you’ll start growing your fan base.

Focus on the music, making good art and the streams will come.

Good luck with your upcoming release!

Alex Lavoie

Alex Lavoie is a drummer, music producer, songwriter and marketing professional living in Montreal, Quebec. He works as a staff writer at LANDR by day and writes indie post-punk tunes in his band UTILS while moonlighting as drummer for folk-rock outfit The Painters. Connect with Alex Lavoie on LANDR Network!

@Alex Lavoie

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