We look back on the year in product updates, and how they’ve impacted the artist community on Spotify.
This year in music was full of hot topics and meteoric rises. From the K-Pop explosion to the much needed focus on mental health, a debate around shorter songs, a big step in socially conscious curation, and the emergence of some brand new subgenres, 2018 definitely delivered the goods. Here at Spotify for Artists we spent the year working hard to make it easier for artists around the world to express themselves, attract new fans, and grow their careers using this space. In case you missed it, here’s a list of all the features (and a couple of original video series too) that we introduced this year.
A simple way to upload your music directly to Spotify was the most frequent request we received in 2018. And in response to it, we began rolling out a new feature in the Spotify for Artists app that allows users to upload their music with directly. As of this writing, the feature is invite-only, but you can sign up to receive future updates on it here.
Another request we encountered was for the ability to get your song considered for inclusion on one of Spotify’s thousands of playlists. We made fulfilling this request a top priority and unveiled a way to do so back in October. Now all artists have to do is either log into their Spotify for Artists account (or head over to Spotify Analytics) and select one unreleased song to submit to the editorial team. But when you do, be sure to include all the details about the track—what genre it belongs to, what mood it pairs with, etc.—so that our editors have all the information they need to decide where your song fits best. We even made a couple videos to show you how it works!
3). Photo Galleries
One of our main goals with the Spotify for Artists app is to allow artists to be in complete control of their presence on Spotify. That’s why, back in March, we made it possible for you to upload your own images to a personal photo gallery. They can be photos from your latest gig or behind-the-scenes shots of your life on tour. Whatever they are, you you can add up to 125 of them and edit the order however you like.
It's a truism that being a social media wiz can help your visibility and thus your career (check out our do's and don'ts of social media here), so we set up a brand new integration with Instagram and Facebook to allow easy sharing between the two platforms. Fans and artists can now share Spotify albums, tracks, artists, and playlists directly to Instagram stories, complete with deeplinks that’ll drive followers back into the Spotify app to listen to music.
As a savvy artist who likes to stay informed on industry trends, you probably already know there are two main ways a music fan can listen to Spotify: as a premium subscriber and as a free user. This summer, we rolled out a new free version of Spotify, with a bunch of new features, and one of the key differences in the new free app is an easier way for fans to discover their next favorite song. Free users now experience better personalized playlists, designed to introduce them to new music, week in and week out. They can listen to songs on demand in playlists like Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Daily Mixes, as well as in select editorial playlists, ranging from RapCaviar and ¡Viva Latino!, to Ultimate Indie and Alternative R&B, and more, depending on their tastes. There are more than 90 million people using the free version of Spotify. That’s a massive audience of potential new fans.
6). The Game Plan
The Game Plan is one of our original video series designed to educate artists on the most important aspects of using Spotify to manage and grow their career. It features interviews with dozens of experts, including Spotify employees, industry veterans, and a bunch of big-name artists, such as the Teflon Don himself, Rick Ross (plus Little Dragon, Mike Posner, Vérité, Sheryl Crow, and more). This is the community of committed music lovers who are helping to shape and build Spotify, and the topics we’re tackling are integral to that: playlisting, royalties, stream share, how to read your data, and so much more.
7). Best Advice
If you’re gonna get sound career advice, we figured you'd better hear it from savvy artists with a wealth of experience and knowledge to pull from, so we launched our second video series, Best Advice, where artists like Christina Aguilera (above), Kamasi Washington, Rick Ross, and Mary J. Blige give some great tips on everything from how to hone your craft, deal with critics, harness your emotions, and everything in between.
8). Co.Lab Events
As an artist, you’re part of a vast community, and in 2018, we set out to facilitate a way for you to tap further into that by offering a series of in-person, on-site events in NYC and LA. We brought together artists and industry vets to talk shop about Touring, Merch, Release Strategies, Revenue Streams and networking, giving those who could join the chance to learn strategies for their careers, gain some useful resources——through presentations and one-on-one workshops—meet other artists (and, you know, have a couple drinks or have some photo opps). For those of you who couldn't make it to the event, don't worry—we're publishing interviews and plenty of tips and tricks from music supervisors, label reps, brand experts, tour directors, and our many other panelists over the course of the next few months, so watch this space. And of course, there will be more events to come. Here's to 2019!