Music Tech

3 Ways To Dramatically Improve Spotify For Artists

Spotify has become a giant of the music industry, with the platform recently expanding to offer a ‘Spotify for Artists’ feature. While a valuable asset to bands and musicians, there a number ways this portal could be dramatically improved upon.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Spotify’s importance in the music ecosystem is great, but there are several ways the streaming giant can improve their artist portal to benefit all musicians.

Analysts can and will debate the streaming royalty rates that Spotify offers musicians for as long as the service exists. We’ve written about it extensively ourselves, and we will continue to do so, but Spotify’s relationship with musicians is about more than money. The company possesses a massive amount of data, all of which is the direct result of artists sharing music on its platform. Still, only a tiny amount is made available to talent. Spotify For Artists is one of the best analytics services in the industry, and yet, there is far more that can (and should) be available to musicians.

The Spotify For Artists platform currently offers musicians the ability to submit music for playlist consideration, review play counts for their entire catalog, and learn the location of their listeners. Artists can also update their account by adding and removing photos, as well as updating their biography and concert listings. These tools are impressive, and they go a long way toward helping musicians understand and build their audience. Still, there are data points that Spotify could supply that needs to the company needs to consider for future updates.

Revenue Insights

The biggest thing lacking from Spotify For Artists today is information related to the money artists earn from the platform. Artists cannot see how much money their music has earned to date, nor can they access estimated revenue for the current day, week, or month. Aside from play counts, musicians don’t even know how much money they’ve earned from specific songs.

Spotify’s payment system is complicated. There is no flat-rate for streams. The amount a song earns per stream is a complex calculation that includes the total streams on the platform. That may contribute to the company’s decision to withhold earnings information, but it doesn’t change the fact that artists deserve to know how and why behind their payments.

Advanced Audience Insights

Musicians can currently view the cities where they are most popular, as well as the total number of fans in that area. They can also see similar insights about the audience for each song in their catalog. That’s useful, to an extent, but stops short of providing key information such as:

  • What songs are most popular in each location.
  • Average listening of those in a specific location.
  • Change in listeners in a specific area from month to month.
  • Ages and Gender information for each region.
  • What percentage of the audience from an area follows the artists versus passive listeners.
  • The lifespan of the average listener.

Bring Back The Ability To Message Followers

In the earliest versions of Spotify, artists could message their followers. The tool disappeared to help streamline the platform and prevent users from being overwhelmed by promotional messaging from their favorite artists. It’s easy to understand how that decision came to pass, but it’s time to resurrect messaging to empower artists further. Spotify is now the most popular music streaming platform in the world, and its continuing reign over the competition depends on artists promoting their service. To do that, Spotify needs to give artists something other services have not, and a direct line to their a musician’s most active fans is the perfect solution.Think about it. Spotify knows every musician’s most active listeners. They know their name, location, favorite songs, time spent listening, and more. Only a small fraction of that data is currently available to artists, in part because Spotify doesn’t want engagement happening outside its platform. Enabling a messaging platform provides a means of communication between artists and fans that occurs exclusively on Spotify and raises engagement across the board. Everyone wins.

There are more ways Spotify can improve, but these three changes would make a substantial impact on how artists use the platform and engage with their audience. By creating these updates, Spotify would be playing a role in determining future tour routings, recording efforts, release plans, and merch sales. Spotify could, in essence, become a complete music ecosystem rather than one small part of a much larger industry machine.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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