Today, listening to music online is a privilege and also a great opportunity for independent artists to become known, as long as you master the art of music promotion– especially on streaming platforms. Why? Because you are promoting your tracks to active listeners who are in the perfect position to make musical discoveries.
Are there still people who listen to streaming platforms without an unlimited subscription? Yes, there are! For example, Spotify has 155 million paying users out of 345 million! There’s an important target to reach and potential fans that take advantage of the free version of streaming platforms in exchange for a few ads.
1. How to promote your music on streaming platforms?
To start, you can’t run ad campaigns on just any streaming platform. Here are the different interfaces at your disposal:
- For Spotify, you need to access Ad Studio and let the music platform guide you
- For Deezer, Spotify’s competitor, you have to use Deezer Brand Partnership
- For Youtube, go through Youtube Ads
The power of music streaming is that it represents a market full of people. The more people there are, the more data there is to exploit. Targeting will be easier and this is the main tool that is used in sponsored advertising. For example, if you’re trying to promote rap music, target fans of Ninho, or the “Fresh Rap” playlist on Spotify– which to this day remains the leading platform for audio streaming. On the Deezer app and on Youtube, it’s the same: targeting is key- we’ll talk more about targeting later.
💡 It’s impossible to advertise on Tidal, Apple Music or Qobuz. These on-demand music services do not yet have a free listening option. You can only listen to music on these platforms if you have a paid subscription, letting you listen unlimited and offline whenever you want.
Of all the music services, the best platform to advertise your music is on Spotify! The system is well established and the possibilities are numerous.
2. The different advertising formats
There are different ad formats on streaming platforms, and any music you want to promote can be promoted in various ways:
- Audio Ads
To get your music heard by listeners who could be interested, you can opt for audio ads. You can choose to share a “sample of my music”, record a voice message to introduce it, and that’s it. On Spotify, you can even get help with the voice message. It’s very intuitive. The audio ads are similar to what you usually hear on various radio stations.
- Video Ads
Getting people to listen to music may be less obvious with videos, but not impossible. These ads attract listeners who are into musical content visuals. You can display an excerpt of your music video on the home screen of the mobile application for example. Video ads are an opportunity to highlight your artistic direction and clips.
- Podcast Ads
Podcasts are also popular on streaming services and you can set up a musical promotion to play before the one you have targeted.
- Custom Ads
To make new listeners discover your music on streaming platforms, you can choose to use custom ads. This means setting up a global campaign that combines all the formats listed above.
The most important thing to keep in mind when preparing your ads is the music you choose. Think about the songs you want to promote, but also about the ones you are sure will appeal to the greatest number of people. Above all, make sure that your track is of the highest sound quality- no bad quality MP3s please! Use FLAC or WAV files.
3. Is it worth it to pay for promoting your music on streaming platforms?
It depends, but one thing is for sure: if your music has attracted listeners via the paid ad plans you have in place, there will certainly be more to come. As a general rule, paid promotion helps you as an indie artist to multiply your fanbase and get your music out there. Today, it can be difficult to break through as a new artist and so many indie tracks unfortunately go unnoticed.
Professionals in the music industry, record companies and labels do not look at the number of streams of a single song. Record labels will look at all of the elements at their disposal to see if there is a real evolution of an artist and if the whole is coherent.
The algorithm of streaming platforms is also very selective. A well placed promo can help the algorithm understand how to boost your track. It will gather data about how many times listeners added the track to their playlists after hearing it on the ad. We all know that getting into playlists is the Holy Grail in terms of streams, and it’s a positive data point for the platform as well as for the pros.
Youtube Music, Spotify Premium, and Deezer Premium offer music on demand for a few euros per month. But as we said above, a large part of music streaming is consumed for free- without a premium subscription. This is an opportunity to give your music a boost in visibility thanks to ads and to stand out among the millions of tracks available online. Overall, it will never be unproductive to advertise.
4. The disadvantages of promoting your music on streaming platforms
It’s true that promoting your music can bring a lot of subscribers to your artist profile. But is it really interesting in the long run? The risk is that the listeners won’t necessarily go and listen to the rest of your music catalog, or when they do, they might not like the other tracks available online. Why is that? It’s not easy to fully capture the essence of an artist from just one song; you can like one and not like the rest. It’s not a big deal in itself, but the platform’s algorithm will see that listeners don’t like the rest of your music library and interpret that as negative data.
Make your music heard as much as you can but be careful with targeting: if it’s not done properly, it could lead to problems in the future. Paid advertising helps to increase the visibility of your musical project, but your goal as an emerging musician is not to be heard by a large audience, but to gain loyal fans. Reaching people who are not going to be interested in your music will not help you much.
Another disadvantage that comes from promoting your music on streaming platforms is the budget. Yes, it costs money. The more you feed the algorithm, the more efficient it is. But it’s either that, or riding your bike with a bluetooth speaker blasting your music, hoping that passers-by will pull out their Shazam and discover your music on Youtube. This sounds like fun, but we’re not sure it’s efficient.
Not ready to pay for advertisements on streaming platforms?
Connect directly with playlists, media and music industry professionals through Groover!
5. How does targeting work?
We’ve been talking about targeting since the beginning of the article, so it’s time to expand on the subject a bit. Ask yourself: who will like my music? Well, what kind of music do you make? Classical music? Maybe people who listen to Mozart and Bach will be interested. Do you do indie electro? Myd fans should listen to you. Are you a folk artist? Target recurring listeners of the “Essential Folk” playlist on Spotify. Are you more into Taylor Swift-style pop? Your future fans might be in her fanbase. Are you into rap and hip-hop? Identify the musicians who are most like you and add their fans to your targets.
We know that getting your music out there is a long process, but follow our advice: make good music and you’ll see, tomorrow when you turn on the radio, you could hear your songs. Everyone started somewhere, even Jay Z. Distribute your music on the Internet, be smart with your communication strategies, and you may just end up signing a record deal.
6. Some additional tips to follow
No matter what kind of music you make, there will always be a way to reach the millions of users on streaming platforms who are eager to discover new music. In the beginning, you may have to invest a lot of energy, then word of mouth will take over. When people discover an unknown and talented new artist, they almost certainly want to share the project with others. Word of mouth is very often how artists become popular.
Don’t be afraid of annoying people with your ads. Those who hear your ads have not signed up for any subscriptions to enjoy unlimited music, so they know what they are up against with free listening. You can control the frequency at which a listener comes across your ad. When one of your ads comes up in someone’s music stream, it will interest some people and annoy others- that’s life. The goal in promoting your music on streaming platforms is to go fishing for new fans and you can get started with just one song.