As artists, the quest isn't just to be heard, but to resonate through the noise of today’s music industry. While digital platforms are now teeming with new tunes, for artists, the magic of effectively growing lies in identifying the listeners who move beyond listening – into fan conversion.

Here are the top 3 ways you can tell that you are growing real fans vs. listeners: 

1. Save Rates on Song Releases and Followers on DSPs like Spotify:

When a fan streams your song and subsequently adds it to their personal playlist or library, it's termed as a "save." This metric offers an excellent measure of a song's genuine appeal. While many listeners might encounter your music passively through various playlists, it's crucial to identify those who actively seek out and save your compositions. Spotify, one of the leading Digital Service Providers (DSP), classifies listeners into three distinct categories: Active, Previously Active, and Programmed Active.

i) Active Audience: 
  • These individuals have intentionally streamed your music from sources like your artist profile, album and release pages, or their personal library and playlists within the past 28 days.
  • Delving deeper, Spotify allows you to divide this audience further into super listeners and light listeners. Notably, the active audience is instrumental in driving your music's profitability, given that they account for a whopping 80% of merch sales on Spotify.
  • Pro Tip: While Spotify doesn't offer historical metrics, maintaining a personal record of these figures monthly can help you track trends and assess the effectiveness of your promotional activities.
ii) Previously Active Audience:

These are individuals who once belonged to your active audience but haven't streamed your music intentionally for at least 28 days. However, they might still listen to your tracks from programmed sources.

iii) Programmed Audience:

These are listeners who only streamed your music from programmed sources like editorial playlists, Discover Weekly, Radio, Autoplay, or playlists by other listeners at least once in the last 2 years.

While Spotify offers comprehensive insights into these listener categories, platforms like Apple Music provide their own unique metrics, such as Daily Listeners, Shazams, and Song Purchases.

An additional layer of insight can be obtained from music distributor dashboards. Distrokid, as an instance, offers detailed statistics on song completion rates, skips, and streams by source for Apple Music.

And even streams by source:

Both of the above are for Apple Music on Distrokid – so you can get the full picture by pairing up your Apple Music for Artists and distribution dashboard. Please note most distributors also offer these metrics, not exclusively Distrokid. 

If you have low save rates, we suggest using our SongFly campaigns to give them a boost. When engaged in a greater Funnel marketing setup, these campaigns almost always grow your save rate – and luckily SongTools automates this for you. 

2. Engagement Rates on Social Media

The sheer volume of followers can often be a deceptive metric. While a large follower count might suggest popularity at a glance, it's the depth and quality of engagement that truly determines the strength of an artist's connection with their audience. Make sure to dive deeper, factors such as shares, mentions, saved posts, and the duration for which a story or video is viewed offer nuanced insights into how your music is truly impacting listeners. You can view these insights directly on social media dashboards, especially if you have a business account on Meta. 

Engagement rates, at their core, represent the percentage of your audience that interacts with your content. It takes into account actions such as likes, comments, shares, and saves in relation to the total number of followers or viewers. For instance, if a post receives 200 interactions from a total of 1,000 followers, the engagement rate would be 20%. This metric is pivotal because it provides a clear lens into how compelling and relatable your content is to your audience. 

A high engagement rate indicates that your content is resonating, leading to active participation and interest from your followers. On the other hand, a low rate might suggest that while you have viewers or followers, they aren't deeply connected or compelled by what you're sharing. In the realm of music, this could translate to the difference between passive listeners and genuine fans who actively support and promote your work.

Tools like SocialBlade are invaluable in this context, offering artists a comprehensive view of their engagement metrics across various platforms. By leveraging such tools, artists can obtain a granular understanding of which content resonates most, and the impact their promotions are actually having when it comes to fanbase growth.

3. Growth Rate of your Email & SMS Lists

Arguably, one of the most potent indicators of genuine interest in your music and fanbase growth is the expansion of your email and SMS list. While SMS boasts an impressive 90% open rate, ensuring immediate attention and real-time engagement, email marketing stands tall with its own strengths. With average open rates hovering around 20%, email provides a platform for richer, more detailed content, allowing artists to share stories, exclusive previews, and deeper insights. The combined power of SMS for instant touchpoints and email for comprehensive engagement offers a dual-channel approach that ensures your messages not only reach but also resonate with a significant portion of your fanbase, forging stronger, more meaningful connections.
One of the easiest ways to build out an email list is with SongPage, our one-click landing page builder. Our intuitive landing page builder not only simplifies the process but enhances it. With just a single click, integrate the 'Email List' option on your landing page. Start not just building, but truly owning and nurturing your relationship with your fans. Dive into SongPage and transform every click into a lasting connection.

Concluding thoughts: By leveraging these three tips, artists can foster genuine connections, ensuring that their music doesn't merely become background noise but remains a cherished part of their fans' lives. Remember, in the realm of music, quality of engagement often trumps sheer quantity. Embrace these insights, and watch your genuine fanbase flourish.

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