Tag Archives: unsigned artists

Spotify and Playlists: Changing The Music Industry

In an ever evolving music industry, the team at Quite Great music PR are always thinking of new ways that we can gain coverage for our artists. Obviously, there are the standard media platforms which we approach, for example, press, radio and online, but with the way we listen to music having changed so much in recent years,  the needs of musicians are changing and this is something we have to take into account as a music PR business.

Of course, artists are always happy to hear that their music has been played on a radio station or been given coverage in a relevant publication, but the new generation tend to read their news on their phones and listen to their music via streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify. Radio is by no means dead, but things have moved on a bit and as a result, musicians want to as well.

More and more often, artists come to us looking for PR and when we ask what targets they have for their music, many of them reply that they want to be featured on playlists, most commonly on Spotify.

Evidently, we want to follow the wishes of our clients and so we have begun to adapt methods of getting the artist’s music onto relevant playlists. Possibly the best thing about playlists is that no matter how many songs there are on it, the majority of listeners will simply click shuffle and this means that there is as strong a chance as any other that our artist’s song will be played. Not only this, but a well-themed playlist with the right title has the ability to be popular all over the world. If you get the keywords right in the playlist name, for example, ‘Concentration and Study music’, it’s likely that you’ll get a fair amount of subscribers. However, part of this is simply being the first to identify the niche!

If you’re an avid Spotify user, then you’re sure to be aware of the comprehensive playlists created by Spotify themselves. Clearly, there is a great deal of expertise behind these playlists, featuring wide ranges of artists and some of the best tracks around – as a streaming service, you’d expect them to have the know-how! But as mentioned, if you get the naming of your playlist right, along with some quality tracks, it will probably come up just below the Spotify curated ones. These are the playlists that we aim to get our artists’ music featured on. They might not be the biggest playlists for the genre or mood, but they can still reach a lot of people.

For example, our artist Edward Abela, a neo-classical pianist and composer, was featured on a ‘Studying with Classical Music’ playlist which has around 2,400 followers. (https://open.spotify.com/user/22okckb76eiyuca3mbb4g3nli/playlist/6bIPKM2dI0Wy9XZT60erug)

Also, our dance-pop sensation from Italy, Ginny Vee, has recently released her get-up-and-groove anthem ‘Give Me Dynamite’ which has been featured on a ‘House Party/EDM 2017’ playlist with around 1,100 subscribers. (https://open.spotify.com/user/geetzlaf/playlist/6oZNSVOv0GCAstCSauaO39)

Whilst some may dismiss these as just user generated playlists, they are arguably more effective than local radio plays or online blog features. Many people listening to the radio are likely to be having the music on simply as background noise, in the car or in the kitchen for example, whereas those who seek out playlists of a specific genre are actually engaged with the music as they want to discover new material. Playlists really are the way forward.

However, this is something you can try out as an artist yourself. Start small and work bigger, obviously, but find the sort of playlists you’d like your music to be featured on and do a bit of research. Find the curators of those playlists and see if you can find an email or a facebook link. Drop them an email or a message and see what they think, but remember to make your music as accessible as possible to them by providing them with the right links. At the end of the day, they can only say no and you’ll have to find another playlist. However, if you do manage to get featured on one, make sure to share it across your social media and credit the curator just to keep them happy, you never know, they might be inclined to share more of your music in the future.

Another thing you can do to increase your hit rate is get your profile verified. Once you have 250 followers, you can apply to have artist verification and this will greatly improve your chances of getting on playlists; you’ll appear more professional to curators, even if they haven’t heard of you before.

Arguably, having one of your songs played 2000 times on Spotify is better than getting the same amount of views on Youtube. This is because the Spotify hits are more likely to be people genuinely listening and searching for music, whereas the Youtube views could well just be those aimlessly browsing and not engaging with what’s actually playing.

Spotify has truly turned the way we listen to music on its head and it has come a long way since its inception over ten years ago. Yes, vinyl is having a resurgent revolution with music aficionados returning to the shops to find their new music, but Spotify has changed this without a doubt. Their features such as Spotify Radio and the ‘Discover Weekly’ playlists that each premium user gets have altered the way we discover music and broaden our horizons. It has become so easy to come across a fairly unknown artist whose music you love via ‘related artists’, who you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered in a CD or record store. The old-skoolers will argue about the ‘process’ of physically going out and browsing through albums, but you can’t deny the practicality and ease that Spotify has brought to the game.

So, if you’re an artist and you’re not on Spotify yet, what have you been doing? Get on that right now! But if you are and you want a bit of help with it, why not contact us at Quite Great?

 

How to survive without being signed

The music industry has long been described as a harsh mistress, and for good reason. For any artist trying to make their way towards some recognition, there are numerous pitfalls to avoid. A good dose of stoicism and perspicacity go a long way. However, even the most seasoned professional can fall short and succumb to the pressures the music industry puts every artist under.

Many new artists on the scene are choosing to bypass the industry altogether, instead concentrating on fan interaction and the traditional gig scene, where it’s often just a matter of bartering with the venue manager for your performance fee. It’s these unique, individual ways artists make their mark that is keeping the industry fresh.

Today, we’re seeing a lot of bands and musicians look at major record labels as goliaths of unfairness, existing simply to chew up talent and then unceremoniously spit it out, leaving artists far worse off than if they’d never signed up to a label in the first place.

Furthermore, in the age of digital downloads, musicians feel that major label aren’t doing enough to protect their artists’ interests when it comes to illegal distribution of their music. In an article titled ‘The Three Biggest Ways Musicians Get Ripped Off’ (for Lateral Action) Russell Brennan wrote of ways artists can succeed without being courted by the major labels, especially reaching that much desired outcome of having fans buy your music. “It’s a big leap to go from hearing a song once to buying an entire album from a band you’ve never heard of. So instead of simply trying to get listeners to buy first time, encourage them to visit your website, get to know you and your music better, and sign up for your mailing list. Getting permission to stay in touch with your fans via email gives you a better chance of selling new releases and filling gigs than any amount of free plays on someone else’s website.”

GuitaristGetting Closer to Your Fans

Two artists who have pushed this notion even further by actively avoiding the industry are Kye and Ryan, members of the upcoming hardcore punk outfit Worthy Victims. “99.9% of labels are greasy corporate shafters, waiting to bend the artist over.” Says Kye, “As far as I’ve seen it through friends and bands that disseminate the attitude of the industry (especially “Major” labels) they are just there to make a quick buck on your art and throw you under the bus when you don’t make back what they gave you. Unfortunately the radio chart toppers have saturated and diminished the value of music as an art form into a mere commodity. Thanks, Jay-Zed!”

Kye and Ryan are in it for the music, the pleasure of creating and playing live are what keep these two fueled. After realising that monetary wealth is very hard to come by, and often a double edged sword, they understood that the greatest success comes through fan interaction and building a solid community. “Our advice to others,” Ryan says, “is to make sure you’re doing it for the love ‘cos there certainly ain’t any money in it. Arrange gig swaps with other bands to build up a network of like minds. Never do a ‘pay-to-play’ gig.”

For their gigs, Kye and Ryan found that putting an effort into creating more unusual promotional materials greatly endeared them to fans. “We gave out some free Worthy Victims bookmarks at our last gig,” explains Ryan. “They went down really well just ‘cos it was something different, and that’s what people want from their bands I think – that extra effort.”

With each passing year, the music industry is transforming, and artists mindsets are transforming along with it. For some, it’s getting harder to understand, but for many, like Kye and Ryan, the artist is becoming more free to choose his or her own path in the industry, finding greater happiness and creative fulfillment when ignoring the allure to sign to major labels.

Images by FreeImages.com/Piotr Ciuchta and Freeimages.com/motulz anto