Gaining followers on most social media platforms can be a challenge, but not as challenging as gaining followers on a streaming site like Spotify.
I've been browsing through follower numbers of peers in the music industry like myself, who are relatively unknown and successful at the same time, and my research is a bit depressing.
A large majority of the most talented independent musicians I know have less than 100 followers on Spotify. But their other profiles on sites like Instagram and Twitter have thousands of followers in comparison!
The first step to growing your Spotify followers is to realize how much of a challenge you are truly going up against so that you can keep your expectations realistic.
If you're expecting to be able to grow from 50 to 5000 followers, you have to know that that's going to take a ton of effort or money (more likely both). If you recognize the challenges and become motivated by them, then you'll be more likely to have success!
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People aren't as picky about following others on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They can consume all types of quick content without worrying too much about if all of it aligns with their interests.
Their friends may post some stupid stuff, but they won't unfollow them for it. Their family may send them annoying chain mails, but they won't delete them from their list.
Spotify, on the other hand, allows music fans to follow their favorite artists and musicians. This type of following structure means that they will take more time to consider if they really want to hit follow or not on an artist.
They may enjoy some work from an artist but not want to follow them because they don't want notifications about all of their new releases.
Music fans are especially picky when it comes to independent and lesser-known artists. It's easy to fall into stan culture and follow big-named celebrities on a platform like Spotify even if you don't like all of their work. That brings me to my next point!
Big-named artists have big money machines (AKA music labels) that put their brands any and everywhere thanks to the large budgets they have.
If a new artist on a big label is breaking into the scene, a label can easily put $50,000 into promoting their Spotify profile with organic promotion.
Independent artists like you and I, on the other hand, get bothered by small companies offering fake followers and plays with way more affordable price tags that won't do us any good.
In fact, buying fake followers can actually get your Spotify account ghosted, so don't do that even if you're tempted!
Spotify isn't the same type of platform as social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even though they have follower options, people just aren't as inclined to follow people over there as they are since the social aspect isn't really there.
I talk to a lot of people who regularly use Spotify but don't follow anyone at all. They don't even follow their favorite artists.
Many people use Spotify in tons of different ways; some aren't even aware that you can follow artists, some prefer not to, and some just aren't thinking about it.
So now that you have a good feel for why this task is such a challenge, let's discuss some ways you can fight back!
Some of the methods I mention below will require a budget, but most of my ideas will just require your time and a bit of creativity.
I recommend working on all of these methods little by little if you think that the tasks are just too much for a one-time deal.
It's always a good idea to get your friends and family to follow all your profiles. They can't say no, even if your music isn't that good yet.
More likely, they'll forget to follow you. But to stop that from being a problem, take some action and borrow their phone to follow your profile with their permission. That way, there is no excuse!
It may seem tedious to do, but adding your Spotify profile link to your bios on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Youtube can help you get a few more visits and follows if you have a decent amount of fans.
Don't skip opportunities to cross-promote with all of your profiles!
A great excuse to post your Spotify links to all your news feeds is when you have a new song released. You'll notice as a musician that the bulk of followers and plays you receive are around the times of your music releases.
You'll naturally share your Spotify more effectively when you have a brand new song to showcase. Try to go for a distributor like Distrokid that will allow you to upload an unlimited amount of songs to streaming platforms for one small fee.
Playlist promotion on Spotify is a huge deal. You can send your songs straight to Spotify's playlist editors for a chance at hundreds of thousands of plays and tons of new followers, but do note that it is really rare to get the editors to publish your song to these playlists.
You have to be really good and have a strong music brand.
You can submit to genre-specific and mood-specific playlists curated by popular Spotify users and brands that have a large playlist following.
Some popular playlist sites that accept submissions include Soundplate and IndieMono. It is much easier to land a placement on a playlist like this to get a good amount of new plays and maybe even gain some followers.
If you're good at curating music content that people will be attracted to, consider creating and promoting playlists. Surprisingly enough, playlists can attract followers more easily than artist profiles can.
The trick is to add a relevant song of your own to the playlist once it gains some traction and gains its own following.
Sites like Hypeddit allow musicians to upload their music that is initially locked and exclusive only to users that complete some type of action.
For example, you can require people to sign up for a mailing list, require them to like a track, or require them to follow you on a profile like Spotify before they can play or download the song they are trying to get to.
Be warned, this type of thing only works when your music is really good, and you have a fanbase that actually likes you a lot.
Keeping up with your fans via social media is cool and all, but keeping up with them via making an email list is even better.
You get a direct line to each of your fans where you can regularly remind them of things like following you on Spotify without it seeming too aggressive since they are subscribed to you.
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Who would know the struggle of growing a Spotify profile as you would? A fellow musician who is also trying to grow their Spotify profile would know it.
An easy way to grow your followers is to help other musicians grow theirs in turn. This works especially well if both parties really enjoy each other's music and actually play new releases.
Spotify will often encourage you to fill in your profile with elements like a bio, merch, cover art and photos, and canvas videos to help attract more followers.
While it may seem like it doesn't help much, it really does work to encourage people who are browsing your profile and considering giving you a follow. If they are thinking about following you but see that your profile is bare, it may turn them away.
Try paid advertising if you have the budget for it. Send potential fans to your Spotify directly, or try getting traffic to your social media profile or website, then message your leads encouraging them to also check out your Spotify music.
Try to direct people to your distribution links like Distrokid, or your website.
The most effective ad platforms include Facebook Ads and Youtube Ads through Google. I often hear Tik Tok ads aren't bad for musicians either!
Do you have a loyal fanbase that comes to see you perform? Don't forget the power you yield when it comes to having an audience that truly supports you.
A simple and consistent mention of your Spotify profile is one of the most powerful forms of word-of-mouth that there is. Don't be afraid to tell your audience to follow you for updates!
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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