Guide to making Spotify Canvas videos (on any budget!)
While Spotify’s expansion of Spotify Canvas to all artists has been good news for those bands and musicians looking to more deeply engage fans, there has been little guidance provided on exactly how to make them. Here, we help rectify that.
Guest post by Graham Robinson of the ReverbNation Blog
Late last year, Spotify expanded access to Spotify Canvas—a feature that lets artists visually brand their tracks with short looping videos. This was great news for every artist who’s keen to increase streaming time and draw listeners in deeper, but you may have noticed that there hasn’t been a whole lot of advice available on HOW to make them.
So let’s fix that! Here are the three main methods available to every artist:
Use your mobile
Free is every independent artist’s favorite price, right? So using your mobile’s camera is the cheapest way to create a Spotify Canvas. It sounds simple on the surface: just point and shoot. And if you just want a quick lofi Canvas, it definitely can be.
But I say if you’re going to do it, do it right. After all, these are important seconds we’re talking about. It’s a chance to make an impression, hook your listener, and give them a visual that’s as compelling and polished as your track in order to be memorable and reflect well on you as an artist. So here are some tips:
- Plan what you want to shoot, and why. Make it relevant to your track, you as an artist, or tie it in with your artwork.
- Try different angles to see what looks most interesting.
- Don’t use clips of you singing or rapping. It won’t be in sync when your track plays, and that will be pretty distracting for your listener.
- Limit your number of clips. One or two will do the job.
- Leave out your artist name and track title. This isn’t a promo video, and that information will already be visible in the player.
- Don’t forget to set your camera’s setting to HD. Canvases must be at least 720 pixels tall. Anything less will be too short and will be rejected by Spotify’s uploader.
- Keep your most important visuals/action in the top ¾ of your screen, because Spotify’s player controls will appear over the bottom area of your video.
- Make sure your final video is BETWEEN three and eight seconds long, not exactly eight seconds long. We’ve found that when you upload an eight second video, the uploader rejects it, whereas 7.9 seconds goes through just fine.
Make Spotify Canvas videos using Rotor Videos
Rotor Videos lets artists make pro-quality videos without needing any software skills (like music, lyric, teaser and promo videos). You can quickly make three different kinds of Spotify Canvases: hard cuts (standard looping videos), rebound videos, and continuous loops (where the loop is seamless).
The app keeps everything really simple, and with a few clicks, you can create sleek Canvases. Just:
- Upload your track.
- Choose which editing effects style you want to apply.
- Select ‘vertical’ for your video shape.
- Pick the video or animation clip you want to use. (Choose one from Rotor’s clip library or upload your own).
Then relax and let the app automatically edit everything together to create your Spotify Canvas. If you follow the steps above, every Canvas you make in Rotor will be compatible with Spotify.
Hire a designer
When Spotify launched Canvas, they also added a Canvas Designer Marketplace on SoundBetter—to make it easy for musicians to connect with visual designers. This is a great option if:
- you want a highly-customized Canvas that you can’t easily create yourself (for example bespoke and original illustrations, animations, and 3D graphics); and
- you’re willing to invest more budget into your Canvases.
Prices range from $100–$500 per track, and like all commissioned work, a Canvas can cost more than the price listed on a designer’s profile if your project is complex. To find the right designer for you at the right price, you’ll want to shop around, look through recent examples of their work, read those customer reviews, and double check details like turnaround times and any extra costs for changes.
Adding your videos to Spotify Canvas
To add your video to Spotify just:
- Log in to the Spotify Artist portal.
- Select the track that you want to pair your Canvas with.
- Click “Add Canvas” in the top right of your screen.
I hope this makes it a lot easier to create Canvas videos for all your tracks—and even change them up from time to time. Be creative, have fun, and be memorable.
Graham Robinson is Head of Content at Rotor Videos. He has also built live streaming platforms, and designed and performed live visuals at major events worldwide. For more information about Canvas videos and Rotor, visit the Rotor Videos website.