Lots of artists want their music added to playlists just for the sake of getting more Plays. Here we offer a broader picture of how independent promotion can help your career.
Some PR superpowers (e.g. Rolling Stone) have such a big following that merely getting mentioned by them can significantly help a struggling artist.
But even unknown promoters can offer you something important, which is the ability to pool together your advertising dollars with theirs – so that, for instance, you can each pay less to corporate advertisers, while both gaining more collaborative exposure.
For instance, when Heartbreak Hotel (our own small Facebook page) receives an enticing YouTube submission, we give it a $5 Boosted and Targeted Post, paid by our pooled submission fees. These promotions usually reap 100-500 clicks to from Facebook to YouTube, for each $5 investment. That number may sound small (we are not Facebook aces), but they are all organic views from music fans with enough interest to actively pursue the music, and our posts usually get a handful of Likes from potential new Fans. Adding value, after observing each post’s results, we often report back to our clients and say “Your video fared worse than others we have promoted, because FB disliked the large text in your thumbnail,” or “Next time you might want to use different thumbnail graphic…” or “Right on, look at all the Views and Likes you got!”
Popular blogs are obviously a powerful tool for growing your fanbase, but getting your work accepted can be difficult. Therefore, don’t undervalue the interim help you can receive from relatively-unknown bloggers. One example could be impressive quotes, copy-paste-able, for beefing up your fan page and presskit. Additionally, a savvy blogger might supply you with surprising insights about who you sound like, why your song is catchy, and what your genre actually is.
Social Media Shares
Organic clicks from Facebook and Instagram can quickly grow your fanbase, as well as rack up Plays. But even an ignored Share can at least slightly expand your social media “footprint” – making you a little more visible in the future – so don’t consider all penny PR that flops to be a total loss (but also look for a different promoter!)
Spotify Playlists and YouTube Channels
These forms of acceptance are typically the biggest carrot, because what could be better than getting more Plays from potential new Fans?
We totally agree! But if acceptance by a promoter gives you disappointing results, remember that merely being added is still giving you a fresh opportunity to promote your own music without seeming spammy. (Instead of telling your fans, “Remember this great song I posted five times last year?” you can say, “Check out this sick playlist that just accepted our song!”) Sharing the new link in social media groups that prohibit self-promotion can even earn you good karma for endorsing someone else’s music.
But, of course, what’s on the mind of most rising artists is desperately wanting to get paid, by getting more plays on Spotify and YouTube (even though most of these artists also expect to get underpaid). All we can tell you is…
- $4 per 1,000 streams is roughly what you can expect from publishing original music on Spotify. However, your exact payment will depend upon the nature of your streams (organic, stream team or bot) and the popularity of your genre. One good way to increase future income is by encouraging your genre’s fans to Create and Share more playlists, which teaches the advertisers who fund streaming that your music is important!
- How many plays you get from any playlist may be be dramatically affected by how well or poorly your music fits the playlist. Tracks which get few saves or replays can drop quickly in Shuffle Play, whereas anything the playlist’s audience loves will get noticed by Spotify’s algorithms and thus provide you with ongoing free promotion. Curators can’t help a dud rank high in Shuffle Play for more than a few weeks, unless perhaps they take you off the playlist and re-add you after a couple of days.
- If you end up getting a lot of organic plays (not stream-team/bot plays), but your resulting wages are disappointing, at least find pleasure in recognizing how many new listeners are enjoying your music!
Every acceptance by any curator or blogger creates a small window of opportunity in which you can start building an ongoing friendship. Don’t underestimate this opportunity. Show your appreciation by Following the blog/playlist and Streaming or Sharing it with your fans. If the promoter is a small fish, keep in mind that small fish can grow, so don’t burn any bridges. Be professional and supportive, but also remember that popular bloggers have piles of clients, so they may not want to chat with you at all, even though they appreciate your support and will probably read your messages.
One dollar’s worth of advice can easily be converted into a hundred dollars of profit. Resist the urge to crave praise. Instead, crave the kind of honesty that will help you create better music.
Self-Examination as a Form of Education
Can you learn anything from analyzing which types of promoters accepted or rejected your work? Is there something they all wanted or agreed upon? Make every penny of your submission fee count. Take this knowledge to heart, and use it to do better next time.