Instrumental guitarist Lance Allen has been consistently able to make his mortgage payments every month with the money he's earning off Spotify streaming revenue. Here Chris Robley of CD Baby looks at what this DIY artist is doing right, and the five ways in which he's been able to drive streams.
By Chris Robley of CD Baby from the DIY Musician bog
Lance Allen, the instrumental guitarist who’s paying off his mortgage every month with the money he earns from Spotify, is obviously doing something right. He’s doing quite a few things right, in fact.
This August Lance will be leading a session at CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference all about how to get traction for your music on Spotify. I’m eager to hear what HE thinks the keys to his success are, but you don’t have to wait until August to hear what I think they are.
Five ways to drive streams on Spotify.
Let’s take it as a given: He’s a great guitar player and his recordings sound pro. So what else is working?
1. Frequent releases
Lance doesn’t wait until his streaming activity dips before he releases his next single. He’s put out a string of recordings, one after another, that keep his audience engaged and growing.
He’s able to stay prolific because of the low overhead of home recording, combined with stripped-down acoustic arrangements that don’t require lots of musicians and lots of recording time.
2. A steady mix of covers and originals
The originals earn him publishing royalties. The cover songs draw in new listeners.
Having a catalog of both originals and covers broadens his possibilities for playlist placement.
Lance partners up on the regular with other instrumentalists. When they release a piece of music they’ve created together, it shows up on BOTH artists’ Spotify profiles, and has the potential of reaching both artists’ followings via algorithmic playlists and Spotify’s email notifications.
In short, the same song hits two audiences.
4. Hard work and smart work
Lance put a ton of upfront effort into building connections with playlisters.
He did the research, found the contacts, and made the pitch. Then he built on those relationships with the string of steady releases I mentioned above; he didn’t just call it a day when he got that first placement.
5. Composing TO the playlist
Since Lance is now in contact with a bunch of curators, he can ask them what their needs are and then write, arrange, and record a new track specifically geared towards that playlist. That greatly increased the odds of it being placed not just in that playlist, but similar genre or mood playlists as well.