Release Guide: Promotional + Engagement Best Practices
This post comes from Spotify’s blog.
Once you’ve released your awesome music, you need to attract an audience to it—here’s how.
You’ve diligently prepared for release day and your music is out there for the world to enjoy. Go ahead and celebrate—you deserve it!—and then warm yourself up for the next stage: promotion. The awesome thing is, you have more control than you might think over getting people to turn their attention to your music. Engaging with your fans is key—here are the resources you need to simplify the process.
1. Find your audience
When we talked to music editor Sam Hockley-Smith about the key to finding your audience, he offered great insights on release strategies, and delivered some frank advice: “It’s about getting music you’re proud of in front of the people that will like it. What are you really trying to do and who is it for? That should be what you’re thinking about.” Our resources make it pretty simple to get an understanding of your audience—who and where they are.
2. Grow your followers
One of your biggest goals is to get a new listener to click that Follow button on your artist profile. Use your website and social media profiles to encourage your fans to follow you on Spotify. Once they do, they’ll see your new music on their personalized Release Radar playlist.
3. Use Spotify’s other tools
Beyond promoting to the followers you already have, there are some key ways to get your music to more ears on Spotify:
- Make sure you regularly update your Artist’s Pick: It’s at the top of your artist profile, giving you control over what song, album, or playlist people see when they land on your page. (Hint: Your new release is a great choice.) – Be sure to submit your songs for playlist consideration: At least one week before release, submit your upcoming track and any crucial information about it to our editorial team (here’s how), and they’ll determine if it’s a good fit for any of Spotify’s playlists. Like Conner Youngblood, you could find yourself on a playlist with millions of followers.
4. Understand metadata
Yep, you’re going to need to get a little geeky here, but it’ll be worth it. Music metadata is all the nuts and bolts that make up a song file: artist name, writer, producer, song title, release date, genre, etc. If any of it is incorrect, your team won’t get the credit (and income) they deserve. Read more about what metadata is, why it matters, and how to fact-check it here.
5. Stay tuned in to the landscape
As you roll out your promotional plan and start checking your numbers, it’s best to stay aware of what’s hot in your genre, region, and even around the world. What are your fans listening to? Where does your music fit in? If your tracks are landing on playlists, check out the other artists on those playlists. Think through what you have in common with them and what they’re doing that you could use to engage your audience. The more attuned you are to the current music landscape, the better you can understand your current and future listeners. You may even end up gaining fans as far-flung as Iceland—just ask Canadian singer/songwriter Katie McBride.
6. Look to other artists for inspiration
You may be inspired by one band’s sound, but another artist may grab your attention by the way they’re engaging with their fans. Take note. Some artists are creating Spotify playlists and getting their fans involved in the curation process, others are gifting merch to their followers. Use these artists as sources of inspiration for how you will engage your audience.
7. Connect with other artists
There’s no need to do this alone, and that’s exactly what Discwoman founder Christine McCharen-Tran has set out to prove. Her collective brings together DJs and producers and offers resources to help them promote their music and book shows. It’s turned into a space for support and collaboration. Her best advice: “Experiment and find like-minded creators around you and on the internet.” Creating relationships with other artists could not only be artistically fruitful but also an effective way to build your community and reach more fans.
8. Think outside the box
The beauty of digital music is that it’s not bound by any rules. You no longer need to drop a song at a predetermined time, or even release a whole album. Heck, you can even turn your album into an ever-changing playlist or experiment with virtual and augmented reality. Even the biggest artists in the world are rethinking the way they release music (hello, Beyoncé and Kanye) to draw attention to their work and keep shifting the way we enjoy music.
9. Continually educate yourself
Music and technology can be as fickle as your fans. To keep ahead of the trends, you have to understand what resources and tools are available to help you successfully share your music with the world. For more on what we have to offer, check out our original series The Game Plan and consider attending one of our Co.Lab events to learn more about finding your audience, developing release strategies, building your team or visual identity, and more.