Everyone keeps trying to ‘crack’ the Spotify algorithm. There are some great articles out there, like this one, which goes into all the elements, internal and external, that most likely affect whether a track gets put on a Spotify playlist..
But who has time to go so deep? If you are like 95% of Songtools users (which include early stage music creators to large label marketing teams), you just want to put your track out, and focus on your music.
So, in the name of simplification and efficiency, here are the three most significant and most actionable levers for you to drive traction for your music on Spotify.
1. Drive Streams… continuously
Duh, right? Obvious as it may seem, your track can be doing stellar on many other stats, but if there is no volume, it is just statistically insignificant and unlikely to trigger anything. But you don’t need to drive a million streams in one day to get moving. As a matter of fact, the best scenario is a few thousand streams over the course of a couple of weeks in a constantly increasing way. This demonstrates a trend, and algorithms looooove trends.
So how do you do it? The best and easiest levers available to you are: a) playlisting and b) tapping into your fans and social media. Getting on playlists is a surefire way of going broad and putting your music in front of hundreds of thousands of potential listeners that are already engaged. Engaging your social networks and existing fans is the most controllable tool in your hand— cajole them through heartfelt messages and align them on what it will take to help you go to the next level.
One of the most looked-over aspects of keeping steady traffic to your profiles is release cadence, i.e. how often you release singles. We suggest spreading releases out from monthly to every 3 months, max, in order to keep people interested and coming back to your profile.
2. Improve your engagement metrics
Engagement metrics are key to measuring if your song is actually being received well. They are one layer deeper than streams, so they are often overlooked, but they have a huge impact on how your song is pushed out algorithmically, and how you can determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Spotify has even put more emphasis on these metrics, with the recent release of the new Active Audience tracking tool, which allows you to see Super listeners on your profile and more. Here are some important things to work on:
Reduce Skip Rate
Getting people to start listening to your track is one thing. Getting them to listen to more than 30 seconds of it (so that it counts as a stream and not as a ‘Skip), is another. There are no official statistics on average skip rates, but according to this article, skip rates for independent artists are in the 55% range, i.e. for every 100 listeners that you get to your track, only 45 will make it past the 30 second mark.
There are two things that can help here:
a) Making those 30 first seconds kick butt, so that the listener is intrigued enough to plow through.
b) Have well-targeted promotional efforts. This stretches into playlisting, advertising, and even organic methods. You have to make sure the people you are getting in front of are the right fit. One example is to try to get your tracks on playlists that are a good fit for your music, i.e. if you have a Death Metal track, and you get placed on an EDM playlist, your skip rate will likely be 100%.
It’s important to note that skip rate is not measurable directly on Spotify for Artists and you will need to work hand-in-hand with your distributor to get the exact skip rate of your track.
Increase Save Rate
Save rate is the ratio of Total Listeners to Total Saves from your Spotify for Artists. This is an indicator of how often people like your track. We have heard from many industry execs that a decent Save Rate is 10%, i.e. for every 100 listeners 10 like the track. However, you need to this with some volume of streams— if you had only 10 listeners and 2 liked your track, it will hardly trigger anything. However, a decent save rate accompanied by decent volume is a surefire way to tell the Spotify algorithm that something special this way comes.
Increasing Save Rate for music creators is all about getting high-quality, high-intention listeners to your track. Driving Classic Jazz listeners to your Trap track is ‘no bueno’. Beyond getting your fans to engage, and getting on the most niche-aligned playlists as possible, the lever that is most easily accessible to you is running social ads for your track— featuring your music in the ad. The logic is simple— if a listener hears a preview of your track, and is intrigued enough to click on the ad, the chance that they will engage and Like your track is disproportionately high. Not familiar with ad creation or just think it’s too time consuming and hard– don’t fret.
Using Songfly, you can set up a solid, engaging ad campaign, featuring your track and artwork in less than 5 minutes, without knowing a single thing about ads.
3. Have a rich profile.
Nothing is worse than finding a new artist you really like, and their profile is empty. You need to take advantage of all of the tools Spotify has to offer; we’ll dive into some below:
Bio and Photos
Let’s start simple; Spotify for Artists allows you to Customize your Bio and Press photos— do it! This makes it easy to captivate new listeners natively on the platform.
Did you know that having a canvas for your song (according to Spotify) results in impressive stats:
- 145% more likely to get track shares
- 20% more likely to get added to playlists
- 9% more likely that fans will visit your profile
- 5% increase in streams
- 1.4% more likely fans will save your song
Canvases are a great investment in your pre-release process that can also double up as creatives for advertising campaigns you run for your song post-release.
Creating a playlist as an artist is an extremely beneficial asset that you can leverage to garner more fans and engagement for all of your future releases. You can take a few paths here. The two most popular are a “This Is” playlist, where you fill it up with all of your previous releases, or a “vibe” playlist if your catalog is not long enough, where you include songs that inspired you and create a great playlist. Both of these have great effects for your releases, especially if you invest in growing this playlist with ads, so you can include your current and future songs on it to drive more streams and super-fan growth.
What are some easy tips that have worked for you to drive traction quickly?