Guest post by Chris Robley on DIY Musician
12 steps to acquiring 250+ followers on the world’s most popular streaming platform.
Here’s something I’m ashamed to admit: I’m just now getting into Spotify.
I signed up for a free account when Spotify first came to the United States about a billion years ago (in tech terms) but I never really used it. Then a year or two later I verified my “Chris Robley & the Fear of Heights” profile, just to — ya know — check it off the list. (This was before the days when you needed at least 250 followers on Spotify to become a verified artist). And there that profile sat, mostly neglected for a couple more years.
But a few things happened this year that got me hooked. For one, I put out a new album. It was my first record in five years, and those years away from releasing new music happened to coincide with the rise of Spotify, so I had some catching up to do!
Second, I fell in love with playlisting (yes, I’m late to the game there too) for the very practical reason that I could compile all my daughter’s favorite songs in one place and then have an easy way for other people in the family to access them as well.
Third, I attended Charles Alexander’s talk at this year’s DIY Musician Conference about the power of Spotify playlisting as a tool for indie artists to build a fanbase and drive revenue while bypassing the traditional means of gaining traction in the industry. He preached, and I was converted.
As a recent convert, I realized that step one would be to get my OTHER artist profile (my solo “Chris Robley” profile) verified too, because that little blue check-mark on a Spotify discography page is more important than I knew!
Why get verified?
Spotify artist verification is important for a few reasons. Perhaps the most important has to do with playlisting.
It’s possible, of course, to get your music onto playlists without being a verified artist on Spotify, but verification can really help you in your efforts to be taken seriously on the platform, get the attention of Spotify’s algorithm, and also get noticed by Spotify playlist curators.
In addition, once you’re verified on Spotify, you can:
- Merge your artist discography page with your user profile
- Share playlists directly with your fans
- Add custom art and descriptions to playlists (including links)
- Update your artist profile image directly from the Fan Insights interface
- Access analytics with Fan Insights
- And more.
But as I mentioned above, in order to be verified, you now need at least 250 followers of your artist discography page (NOT your personal Spotify account). So I figured I’d list the steps I plan to take on this little adventure of building a following on Spotify.
Working your way towards Spotify artist verification
Set a verification goal
What’s your timeline for acquiring 250 followers? Two weeks? Three months? It’ll be different for every artist, but it’s worth setting a goal for yourself so you’ll know how and when to focus your promotion energies on building your Spotify following, as opposed to any of the other messaging that you need to send about tours, videos, or other platforms. You don’t want different messages competing for your fans’ attention, so setting a goal can help you prioritize.
Prepare your website
1. Embed the Spotify Follow Button on your website’s homepage so visitors can follow you on Spotify without having to leave the page they’re on, like this…
2. Integrate a Spotify Play Button into your site as well to encourage visitors to start engaging with your music right away (again, without having to leave your website).
3. Create a Spotify-centric page on your website — like THIS — where you’ve embedded a Spotify player (for your latest album, single, or playlist) AND a Spotify Follow Button. To do so, click the ellipses next to any song, album, or playlist on Spotify and select “copy embed code.” Paste that code into any HTML page.
Ask your fans to follow you on Spotify
Perhaps it goes without saying, but the most important thing you can do to get more people to follow your music on Spotify is…ask people to follow your music on Spotify!
Watch: I’m going to do it right here…
If you listen to music on Spotify, there’s a small thing you can do that will be a big help to me: FOLLOW me there!
Once I get to 250 followers, Spotify will “verify” my account, which opens up some cool possibilities for my music, and I’ll also be able to keep you updated whenever I release new songs or playlists.
If you have a second, please click “follow” below. It really will be a huge help and I’ll send an immediate psychic hug in return. Thanks!
[Did it work? Did you follow me? Hopefully! ; )]
Be sure to put this kind of request in your own voice, of course, when you reach out to your fans. Once you have an idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to ask:
4. Message your fans on social media and ask them to follow you on Spotify. Send them to the Spotify page you created on your website. This page will have everything they need to take action and engage with your music on Spotify, while you still control the experience from YOUR website.
Be sure to explain why it’s important that you reach that 250-follower threshold, and how a “Follow” on Spotify is one of the best ways to show support for the artists they love on that platform.
Consider creating a special image just for this purpose (you can use it on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as an email header, and more). Here’s mine:
5. Send an email newsletter with a call-to-action asking fans to follow you on Spotify. Again, be sure to tell them why it’s important, and then link them to the Spotify page on your website.
6. Link to the Spotify-centric page on your website (at least for the duration of your campaign to get to 250 followers) from your:
- YouTube video descriptions,
- Twitter bio,
- the “about” section of your band’s Facebook page,
- Instagram bio,
- and more.
7. Tell your fans at shows to get out their phones and follow you on Spotify. If they can show you on their phone that they’ve followed you, merch discount!
8. Consider digital advertising via Facebook, YouTube, or Google to attract additional followers.
Remember, if you run a Facebook ad, they don’t love text on the image! So the example I posted above would need to be edited to omit some or all of the text in order to have maximum effect when promoted through Facebook.
9. Let your fans know whenever your music is placed on someone else’s playlist. You can see a list of Spotify playlists that include your music within your CD Baby account’s Trending Reports section. Proud of a placement? Let the world know, and ask them to follow you on Spotify!
10. Encourage your fans to share those playlists containing your music with their friends, or to create a new playlist of their own that contains your music.
11. Encourage followers of your personal profile to also follow your artist discography page.
12. Keep putting out new music and creating new playlists of your own. Every time you have a new release or a new playlist, it’s another chance for you to spread the word about your music AND ask for listeners to follow you on Spotify.
Here’s just a short list of the kinds of playlists you can create:
- greatest hits
- set lists
- moods and themes
- your local music scene
- songs that feature a particular instrument
- behind-the-scenes (where you distribute commentary tracks under a related artist name, such as “Chris Robley Radio,” that talk about the stories behind the songs, and then create a playlist that intersperses those spoken elements with the studio recordings)
- what you’re listening to in the tour van
(For playlists that mostly feature other artists’ music, be sure to include one of your songs in there!)
Verify your Spotify account!
Once you have 250 followers, go to https://www.spotifyartists.com/verification/ to merge your user profile with your artist discography page.
As mentioned above, once you’re verified, your discography page will get that little blue check-mark, you’ll be able to change your artist image, and you’ll be able to brand your playlists with custom art and descriptions, plus share those playlists and your listening habits with your fans. Perhaps most importantly, there’ll be an automatic notification sent to your followers whenever you release new music on Spotify.
Alright, that’s my game plan for getting to 250 followers on Spotify. Got any tips or tricks to add? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try implement them in time!