Spotify is an amazing tool for listening to the classic albums of your favorite artists and meeting new artists and music that don’t appear in traditional media.
Officially launched in late 2008, Spotify is now the biggest music streaming service in the world.
And a great way for new or independent musicians to publicize their own work AND earn money from it. With a very low investment cost, your music can be made available to millions of listeners around the world.
It is a fact that streaming platforms have revolutionized the music market. Nowadays it is essential that musicians and bands have their work published on the main digital platforms. But contrary to what many people think, this process may not be so simple.
It’s not as easy as just releasing a video on YouTube for example.
And a big reason for this difficulty comes from the fact that finding information regarding it can be difficult or confusing.
Whether you’re an upcoming musician or an experienced artist with years of experience that wants to get into the digital market, here’s your complete guide of how to release music on Spotify!
Choose a Distributor/Aggregator
The first step in making your music available on Spotify is to look for a distributor or aggregator, which works as the intermediary between the artist and Spotify (or other streaming platforms, such as YouTube, Deezer, and Tidal).
It is through the distributor that you can start receiving money from your work.
Spotify itself recommends some specific distributors, such as:
· CD Baby
Before you learn how to put your band on Spotify and share the link of your highly esteemed album to everyone, you need to know exactly what music aggregators are.
Music aggregators (or digital aggregators) are services that distribute music in digital stores.
As previously mentioned, it is the bridge between the applicant and you, your brand, or your label, and the music selling platforms, such as Spotify.
Aggregators generally charge a fee to start distributing your music. And different companies have different deals for the artists, so make sure to properly research the ins and outs of each different aggregator to choose the one that better fits your needs.
Meet the Guidelines Required to Put Your Song on Spotify
You must own all the copyright to the track before uploading it to Spotify. If it does not respect the Spotify’s guidelines, the submission will be blocked and you will have to contact the service support.
It is worth noting that any music on Spotify that violates copyright guidelines will be permanently removed from the platform.
So, make sure you’re not infringing on any rules or publishing prohibited content.
You can check out their list of prohibited content right here.
Upload Your Music to the Distributor
After choosing your distributor, enter the distributor’s website, register, and choose whether you’re going to be releasing an album or a single.
Enter the name of the album and the artist (or artists), genre, composers, release date, and any other requested information.
If you don’t have a barcode, the distributor itself can create one for your work.
Please remember: most streaming platforms prohibit commercial use of music that is not entirely yours.
After that, it’s time to upload the file. It is important that the music is in WAV format, since formats such as MP3 or lower quality is generally not accepted.
You will also need a cover art for your release, which must have at least 72 DPI (Dots per inch). Not only that, but very heavy images are unlikely to load properly, and in some cases, might be unacceptable. So make sure to insert image files that are as light as possible.
Select Streaming Platforms
Is your album or single ready and associated with the distributor?
Then it’s time to select the platforms that will share your music.
The aforementioned distributors will have the option to publish your music on Spotify, but many will also offer the choice to place your music on different platforms, such as Youtube and Deezer. Some distributors will do it for free, some will require a more expensive plan to do it.
After submitting your music, you must wait a period of time, between 7 and 30 days on average, for it to be available on the chosen platform(s).
After the release, you and everyone else will be able to listen to your music in the app and share it with fans, friends, and family.
Naturally, before putting a song on Spotify it is necessary that the track fulfills some technical requirements. Some of them are:
· The file must be WAV, WAVE (which must be PCM), or FLAC (16 or 2 bits, with a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz or higher). Like previously mentioned, lower-quality files like mp3 will not be accepted.
· The cover art of the song or album must be square, with at least 1600X1600 dimensions, and be in PNG or JPEG format. In addition, you must have the right to use it and submit it to Spotify’s copyright policy.
· Before placing a song on Spotify, you must also include the names of your collaborators, including featured artists, composers, and producers.
If your track meets all of the above requirements, you can start uploading your music. Before finishing the upload, the website will show a preview of how each of them will be displayed in the app for listeners.
How to Monetize on Spotify?
As soon as your music is played on the platform, you start making a profit.
Spotify may pay less than some of its competitors, but the number of users is considerably higher, making it more than worth it.
And it is also important to note that the amount of money you make isn’t dependent just on the number of times your music is listened to.
It is also dependent on the listener’s plan (free vs paid).
And, of course, it’s dependent on the distributor of your choice, as many distributors will take a slice out of your gains.
How much the percentage of gains is divided between you and the distributor will vary a lot depending on the chosen distributor.
However, as the music industry has changed and gotten more competitive, you’ll generally find a generous revenue/royalty split and will be able to earn a good income with Spotify.
Some companies even offer 100% of the revenue to be kept by the artist!
An interesting story regarding Spotify’s monetization is that of Perrin Lamb, a musician who generated $56.000 with just one hit song, called “Everyone’s Got Something” on Spotify. After streaming fees plus a distribution fee of 9%, he kept $40.000 of that money for himself!
A rare case, but by no means impossible to achieve.
Royalty Payments on Spotify
When placing a song on Spotify, you can start receiving royalty payments, which is made to the rights holders, as long as they are obtained through a copyright society.
Even if you are the songwriter, the payment will not be paid directly if you have not registered your art with an appropriate society.
Therefore, before making any upload on the platform, make sure that your name will take credit for the lyrics, melody, or both.
If the song was sent to Spotify through a label of a record company responsible for the distribution, the payment of royalties must be agreed with the company itself.
What About Spotify for Artists?
In 2018, Spotify announced that it would allow independent artists to upload their music on the platform and monetize it without the need for a distributor or aggregator working as an intermediary.
The new application was called Spotify for Artists and had invited a small number of American musicians to it.
Through Spotify for Artists, you could upload for free and receive all the revenue.
So, you might’ve heard of Spotify for Artists before and thought “That sounds great! Why not use it?”
And the answer is simple: the application was re-structured in 2019.
You can no longer upload your work for free through Spotify for Artists, and you still need a distributor.
However, the app is still available. Just in a different form.
It is now useful for artists to get a better understanding of their audience, such as by understanding your listener’s profile (age group, gender, region, etc).
It also provides a lot of other data that can be used to better understand your music and audience, such as the playlists your songs are added to, what people who listen to your music like, and much more.
With this information, it becomes easier to create targeting strategies and optimizing your music. It just doesn’t help with actually releasing your music on the platform.
What are the Advantages of Spotify for Independent Artists?
As mentioned earlier, the digital music sharing service allows its music to be disseminated and heard by millions of people in several countries.
And it’s not an exaggeration: Spotify, which is second only to YouTube as the most popular streaming platform, has 299 million active users spread across 92 markets (you can check some of their numbers here.)
And not only is the investment necessary to release music on Spotify low, but the independent artist does not need to deal with oppressive pay cuts to distributors. Meaning it’s cheap and fairly easy to get your work out there.
There is also the advantage that there are always users looking for new or independent musicians, which can make your sound very popular in this niche.
Entire fan bases are created for Spotify musicians.
And many artists would not be known today if it weren’t for the distribution of music via Spotify.
Even if you’re a well-established artist, Spotify can still help take you to the next level, and create a digital presence for your work.
And now, with a clear understanding of how to release music on Spotify, you’ve got no excuses to not digitally publish your songs!