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Spotify Has Sunk to a New Low, and So Will Royalties for ‘Less-Popular’ Artists

Spotify Royalties

Despite the pleas from musician unions, campaigns spearheaded by the likes of Broken Record and the UK government calling for a total reset on the streaming royalties model, there is a rumour buzzing around the music industry mill that Spotify is going to make one of its most unpopular moves to date by demonetising less-popular artists.

While it is little more than hearsay and conjecture at this point, there are swathes of viable sources indicating that a major shake-up is set to arrive in 2024. Also, it is incredibly unlikely that Spotify would decide to needlessly taint its already besmirched reputation amongst independent artists and champions of grassroots music.

Which Shake-Ups Set to Rattle the Coins from the Pockets of Independent Artists?

Earlier this week, Spotify garnered even more disdain after it was leaked that the streaming giant is poised to shake up its streaming royalty framework, potentially skewing payouts away from lesser-known artists.

Rumblings suggest that Spotify intends to establish a threshold for song streams before artists are compensated for their creativity. In potentially one of the platform’s most inequitable and discriminatory moves in its recent history, artists are being warned that if they previously received less than 0.5% of Spotify’s royalty pool, they could be totally excluded from receiving their meagre royalty payouts.

According to Billboard, this is set to affect up-and-coming artists and creators of white noise or ambient nature tracks. While it makes some degree of sense to punish the ‘artists’ who are oversaturating the streaming platform with quite literal white noise, the reprimand that will undoubtedly make independent artists think “What is the fucking point?” is totally unjustifiable. Especially as it appears that a large part of the incentive behind this move is to funnel more funds towards the more mainstream artists.

Spotify’s official stance, as voiced to Mixmag, hints at their continuous efforts to refine the platform for artists, though specifics are under wraps. Trade unions and musician groups, including the United Musicians and Allied Workers, have aired their grievances, opining that such reforms might further pad the pockets of music moguls, but that should never come at the expense of side-lining grassroots artists. Furthermore, the Future of Music Coalition observes Spotify’s growing drift from its original promise: a democratised platform treating all tracks equally.

It comes as no surprise that oligarchs like Universal Music Group (UMG) are warming up to this shift, leading to rife speculation over a budding pact between UMG and Spotify, touted to champion ‘genuine artists’ with devout fan followings. This revamped royalties blueprint is slated to see the light of day come next year.

Until then, the United Musicians Union and Allied Workers Union aren’t letting sleeping capitalist dogs lie. Their reaction iterated that artists have solutions to fix the issues surrounding streaming loyalties, but Spotify has tuned out of the conversation before chastising the proposed changes which will make the music industry even more of a pyramid scheme. Resistance isn’t futile. Make your opinions on these new manifestings of late-stage capitalist malificence known.

Which Streaming Platforms Pay Fairer Royalties to ‘Less-Popular Artists?

Spotify may hold the monopoly on the music streaming industry in the UK, but it isn’t the be-all-end-all for musicians who fall shy of the streaming stats of mainstream trailblazers.

It is worth bearing in mind that a platform with a smaller user base, but a higher stream rate might not necessarily be more lucrative for an artist than a platform with a vast user base but a lower per-stream rate. Furthermore, when it comes to discoverability and features, there are few which can outshine Spotify. We have written countless articles on how Spotify as a music marketing tool can provide independent artists with value beyond the streaming revenue, which we still stand by, regardless of its CEO’s determination to become the music industry’s most nefarious figure.

Considering the above, here are some platforms and models that were touted as being “fairer” to less-popular artists:

  1. Bandcamp: This platform allows artists to set their own prices on digital and physical releases, and often gives a higher percentage of sales directly to the artists compared to other platforms.
  2. SoundCloud: Known for its direct engagement between artists and fans, SoundCloud provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work and grow their audience. It operates on both a streaming royalties model and a direct purchase model.
  3. Resonate: This is a co-op-based streaming platform that uses a “stream-to-own” model. After a certain number of streams, the user owns the track. The idea is to provide a more equitable distribution of revenue.
  4. Tidal: Founded by Jay-Z and other artists, Tidal claims to pay a higher per-stream rate than royalties from competitors. However, its smaller user base compared to Spotify or Apple Music can affect total revenue potential.
  5. Direct fan funding and tipping: Platforms like Twitch and even Spotify have introduced or considered features where fans can directly tip or fund their favourite artists, providing another revenue stream beyond just streaming.

Furthermore, it is crucial for artists to consider multiple revenue streams (live performances, merchandise sales, licensing deals, etc.) in addition to streaming revenues.

There may come a day when the dynamic streaming landscape starts to fairly pay artists their dues, but if you do have a dog in the fight, align yourself with advocacy groups and movements pushing for fairer pay and more transparency in the streaming industry.

For more advice on how to monetize your music career and ensure your music career has some degree of sustainability, keep following our blog, or get in touch and enquire about our artist development services.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

How Musicians Should Prepare for Spotify Wrapped 2023

Spotify Wrapped 2023

Instead of Spotify Wrapped catching you off guard this year, gear up for the 2023 launch by creating content to share across your social media platforms, restocking your Spotify merch page and preparing a short video which will be presented to your top fans to make the most out of the momentum of the annual event.

Spotify Wrapped has been knocking around since 2016, but in 2022 Spotify took the event one step further by giving the artists the opportunity to share reels and take advantage of other features in a bid to help fans get closer to their favourite artists.

To maximise the momentum and monetization, Spotify for Artists has produced a guide for artists to prepare for the biggest fan moment of the year. If you are wondering if it is worth the effort, a Spotify article revealed that fans wanting merch from their top wrapped artists led to the biggest ever week of artist merch sales on the platform!

Every year Spotify Wrapped rolls around, there are swathes of cynics bemoaning the value of Spotify royalties and fans; yes, one t-shirt is the equivalent of thousands of streams, but no guns are forced to the foreheads of music fans forcing them to choose between buying a band tee and paying for a monthly Spotify subscription. Leave the pessimists to their lament; hundreds of millions of listeners around the world come together for Wrapped, focus on them and how you can thank your fans for their support.

British Band Makes a T-Shirt Inspired by Abysmal Spotify Royalties

When Will Spotify Wrapped Streaming Data Be Released in 2023?

Spotify will cease collecting streaming data on the 31st of October; currently, it is rumoured that the data will be released a few weeks later; however, Spotify is keeping the Wrapped release date under wraps for now, aside from the advice that artists should get a video ready by the 15th of November.

Your Spotify Wrapped 2023 Check List

  1. Record a Wrapped Video Message

Your Wrapped video message will appear in your top fans’ Wrapped experience; it should be 30-second or less address to the fans elucidating what their support means to you. You can also tease what you have lingering in the pipeline to add some hype around your future releases or plans! Shoot the video virtually, come up with a catchy caption, and leave your music on your Spotify page and out of the audio.

  1. Give Your Top Fans Access to Discounted Merch

Adding discounts to merch for only your most devout fans is a brand-new feature for Spotify Wrapped 2023. Unfortunately, this feature is currently only available to artists in the US and Canada. If you want to give your top fans a discount, ensure your discount rewards are set up by the 15th of November by heading to your Spotify for Artists page, hitting the merch tab and creating the discount.

  1. Create or Refresh Your Spotify Merch Stall

If you are outside the US or Canada, you can still maximise your merch sales by adding exclusive and new merch to your Spotify merch shop. There’s no harm in attempting to clear old stock either! Just make sure the items you want to sell are the five recently added items and your merch will be promoted to your top fans via their wrapped experience and email. For more info on how to sell merch via Spotify, read the Shopify merch guide.

  1. Promote Your Upcoming Shows

If your tour dates are listed on any of Spotify’s partner sites, your top fans will be informed where you are playing and tempted into buying tickets. To name a few, ticket partner sites include DICE, Eventbrite, See Tickets, Songkick and Ticketmaster.

  1. Prepare Your Spotify for Artist Profile

  • Even though it is likely that your top fans are already following you on your social media pages, double-check check all your social handles are added and up to date.
  • Playlist your top 2023 picks via your personal account on the Spotify app to highlight your top 2023 releases and the tracks that inspired you throughout the year. It is a great opportunity to help give other bands some recognition!
  • Set up a Fan Support link. If asking for virtual donations or ‘end of year tips’ makes you feel uncomfortable (it shouldn’t), you can always ask for donations for a charitable cause you feel strongly about which will help fans to understand you on a deeper level and raise funds for a worthy organisation.

For more advice on how to increase your Spotify streams and boost your monthly follower count, learn more about our artist development and consultancy services.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

Streaming is King: Here’s How to Conquer the Domain in 2023

Music Streaming

As streaming platforms, such as Spotify, which continues to reign supreme in 2023 with a dominant market share, reached saturation point a long time ago, independent artists have a seemingly impossible task ahead of them if they want to hit the ground running with their new releases and become popular playlist staples.

Perceptibly, battling it out on the streaming platforms themselves has become futile. New uploads are just a drop in the ocean, and it is enough to make the era of indie landfill in the 2000s and 2010s seem like a euphonic utopia of opportunity. It is no surprise that given that we thought music was derivative then, we are positively dejected by the prospect of an industry where millions of banal hits pile onto the airwaves each year.

So, what’s the remedy?

It may be the case that streaming platforms are proliferated by hack hobby musicians, and there isn’t a lot that can be done to prevent their access to streaming platforms. But for professional musicians worth their salt, there is everything left to gain in the industry. Well, relatively. New up-and-coming artists who have any true staying power in the charts have become sonic unicorns. Especially with the disappearing phenomenon of the mainstream music industry, but great music, which is marketed as masterfully as it was made, still has a fighting chance. Especially for artists willing to harness fan power.

Marketing your music outside of streaming platforms has become crucial to making an impression. Or at least achieving streaming stats and monthly listening figures that don’t want to make you throw the towel in. If you’re searching for the average number of followers, monthly listeners, or streams you need to be regarded as a success in the industry, you might as well be looking for the average length of a piece of string. There is no fixed number that you can achieve that will signify that you’re a success – unless you’re Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift, Drake, or the Weeknd, that is.

Streaming stats boil down to several factors. From whether your genre or style thrives on streaming platforms to how much money you throw at a pre-release campaign. It isn’t always a case of the best artists being the ones to send their streaming stats through the roof. Therefore, streaming stats aren’t yardsticks you should use to determine your worth as an artist.

This article will highlight up-to-date streaming platform stats to show you what you are up against as an independent artist, before suggesting some of the ways you can ensure your new releases rack up the streams and garner fans who will support you away from streaming platforms – which is where the real revenue streams will start to flow.

2023 Music Streaming Stats

To conquer your enemy, it pays (in this instance, $0.003 – $0.005 per stream on average) to know them. To understand the music streaming market in 2023, we have collated a list of streaming platform stats:

  • 10,000 – 50,000 monthly listeners will help you earn $100 – $600 each month.
  • The Weeknd and Taylor Swift are the only artists to break the 100 million monthly listeners mark on Spotify with 106.89 and 100.91 monthly listeners, respectively.
  • Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande are the most followed artists on Spotify with 115.03 and 93.76 followers, respectively.
  • As of September 2023, Spotify holds music from 11 million artists; their music is listened to by 551 million active monthly listeners.
  • The rate of Spotify uploads continues to soar in 2023, with an average upload rate of 120,000 per day.
  • You would need 625 million subscription streams or 1.875 billion free streams to achieve gold certification on streaming platforms alone. Which is infinitely higher than the 500,000 album or single sales you would need away from streaming platforms.

How to Increase Streams on Independent Releases

When it comes to streaming platform stats, remember that everything is relative; your milestones should always be set based on your current standing in the music industry and what is possible based on your marketing budget. By setting attainable instead of lofty and ‘in a perfect world’ goals, you will have something to push for and celebrate to achieve.

Here are some of the best ways to maximise the success of your singles, EPs, and albums across streaming platforms:

  1. Value user-generated playlists as much as Spotify-curated playlists. Read our guide to getting playlisted here.
  2. Start marketing your new releases and pushing your pre-save links across all your social media accounts six weeks ahead of the release date and create unique content to make the countdown interesting.
  3. Collaborate with artists who already have a strong presence on streaming platforms or partner up by curating your own playlists.
  4. If you have a strong enough social media presence, consider paid advertisements on Facebook and Instagram.
  5. Link up with pluggers, and promoters who have a track record in maximising streams.

For more inside views into the music industry and tips on how to take your music marketing campaigns to the next level, keep following our blog, or get in touch for one-to-one sessions with our award-winning A&R team.

Of course, you can always boost your streaming stats by submitting your demo to our top 10 UK music blog, which is heavily frequented by staunch music fans and industry figureheads, who are always scouting for fresh talent.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

Spotify has jumped on the TikTokification bandwagon with Discovery Mode

Discovery Mode

The TikTokification of apps has been impossible to ignore with the prolific prevalence of cringe reels filmed in vain hope for an attention-driven shot of dopamine cropping up on Instagram and Facebook. Now Spotify has jumped on the immediate gratification bandwagon with Discovery Mode.

As with any innovation, there are some advantages, but once again, those perks don’t throw the underdogs a bone. Understandably, not everyone is happy about this new move that has stoked fears about what this means for the music industry.

The streaming era of music has already changed the way some artists write songs. Extended intros and quiescent interludes have been forsaken for the allure of earwormy instant hooks; every skip on a track is negative data for Spotify’s algorithm. Who can blame artists for playing the game?

In recent years, more and more music fans have started to utilise TikTok to discover new artists. In 2021, 75% of users said they discovered artists on the app. 67% of users surveyed stating they seek out artists outside the platform after being exposed to them via TikTok videos. It hardly comes as a surprise that so many users discover music on the app, given that users spend an average of 1.5 glued to it each day.  This can also be taken as a good sign that TikTok users don’t actually think of the Oh No TikTok Remix as the height of sonic pleasure.

What is Spotify Discovery Mode?

Spotify Discovery Mode was launched to garner more algorithmic exposure through auto-play and Spotify Radio. Although, it comes at a cost. The increased exposure is in exchange for a lower royalty rate. Yes, lower than the current rate of $0.003 – $0.005 a stream.

Of course, there is the argument that Spotify is best utilised as a music discovery platform; the exposure gained via Spotify can increase the flow of revenue streams elsewhere and widen your audience. Yet, it seems unfair that the CEO, Daniel EK, has added this royalty cut caveat to the new tool, which he announced on March 8th during a Stream On event.

When artists create Discovery Mode campaigns, their music will be added to TikTok-ESQUE discovery feeds, which allows users to vertically scroll through tracks and take advantage of the Smart Shuffle feature. The rollout won’t happen all at once. The availability of features will hit some markets before others.

For music fans, this Spotify revamp is an attempt to make the app just as interactive and lively for its subscribed members as TikTok. The revamp also strives to take the clutter away from the homepage, which is currently a messy mash of recently streamed artists, new releases, daily mixes, discover weekly playlists and release radar playlists.

How Valuable Can the Spotify Discovery Tool Be?

Even though the Spotify Discovery Mode has only just been made available to all artists, before the mass launch of the tool, it has been tested with a select number of artists; apparently, the results speak for themselves.

The stats showed, on average, Spotify users utilising the Discovery Mode are twice as likely to save songs, 44% more likely to playlist the artists, and 37% more likely to follow that artist.

While those figures are pretty impressive, the reduced royalties, which are 30% less than standard royalties, are still a slap in the face for the artists that are providing all the content; Spotify is still standing by its convictions, maintaining that it will provide invaluable opportunities to connect with new listeners.

In a recently published blog post, Spotify sold the discovery mode by iterating that it requires no upfront investment – unlike many forms of promotion. Yet, that has done little to quash the rallying cries against the lower rates, which are speaking out against preying on independent artists looking for a way to break through in the oversaturated industry.

All musicians can enter their tracks into Discovery Mode via Spotify for Artists if their distributors participate in the program. The head of artist partnerships and audience at Spotify, Joe Hadley, was rife with optimism for the new possibilities the tool can offer independent artists.

Those sentiments certainly aren’t shared across the board; even members of congress have dubbed Discover Mode as a digital form of Payola. For anyone not in the know, the term Payola was coined to refer to the music industry middlemen that pay for radio play. One of the biggest causes for concern is the dam that the lower royalty rates will create in the flow of cash from Spotify to songwriters.

Members of congress are also starting to question if the new tool goes against the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission under the subsection that covers transparency over disclosures of paid content.

How Discovery Mode Works in Practice

If you don’t mind taking a royalty rate cut, you can create a Discovery Mode campaign by logging into Spotify for Artists, heading to the campaigns page and hitting Discovery Mode.

From there, you can set up a month-long campaign; new campaigns must be created from the 11th to the last day of the month. Select the tracks you would like to be part of the campaign and submit them.

If you don’t see the track you would like to select for a campaign, there are a few items in the eligibility criteria you need to take into account. Your track must be distributed via a participating licensor (CD Baby, DistroKid, Venice Music, Stem, and Vydia), has been streamed on Auto Play in the last seven days and has been on Spotify for at least 30 days.

Note that Discovery Mode is a way for artists to let Spotify know which tracks are a promotional priority. This will add a signal to the Spotify algorithms, which are tasked with personalising listening sessions for premium subscribers.

By creating a Discovery Mode campaign, you will increase the likelihood of selected tracks being recommended, it is NOT a guarantee that your streaming stats will skyrocket.


Article by Amelia Vandergast

What Will Replace Spotify?


Every year when Spotify Wrapped rolls around, the social media posts highlighting the exploitation and unfair revenue for artists are quick to follow. This year, the laments came early after many Spotify users posted their Instafest line-up posters, generated by a third-party app from data based on users’ recent Spotify history.

While many people within the music industry are quick to tear into the streaming service, there is a distinct lack of voices pushing the conversation further and suggesting how we can move beyond the exploitative practices of the platform.


Every decade, there has been a reformation in how we consume music. In the 70s, vinyl records were the popular music formats; in the 80s, cassettes increased in popularity; in the 90s, CDs resolved the issues from the previous two formats; in the 00s, mp3s started to digitalise music before streaming platforms became the most popular way to consume music.

In this decade, it is becoming increasingly less likely that we will see the introduction of a new superior format – regardless of how many artistic voices join the chorus on how the streaming format is obliterating their chances of financial stability and security. The lack of drive for innovation mostly boils down to the convenience and accessibility of music for music fans. For just £9.99 a month, Spotify users have access to most of the music recorded since the 60s.

Of course, the fact that the major labels and publishers are still getting a massive slice of the streaming royalty pie is yet another monolithic factor in the stagnation of progression.

Are Alternative Streaming Platforms the Solution?

Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, Tidal and YouTube are all often hailed as alternatives to Spotify, but the highest paying, Tidal, still only pays around $0.013 per stream. Furthermore, the platform only has 5 million registered users, compared to the 195 million premium subscribers and the 422 million monthly users on Spotify.

New streaming platforms will not resolve the issue that Spotify is presenting to artists in the music industry. In 2021, Spotify paid $7 billion in royalties; the real issue is that the bulk of that cash doesn’t end up in the pockets of artists, because, despite popular conception, Spotify doesn’t pay its artists directly.

Spotify Royalty Split

The money goes to the rights holders, publishers, and distributors before artists sniff the cash. So, in 2021, *only* 52,600 artists generated $10,000 or more via the platform. It is easy to blame Spotify for the current state of affairs. However, that is letting the major record labels and publishers still profiteering off the back of musicians off the hook.

Spotify is Reigning Supreme, But Other Revenue Streams Are Still Flowing

At this point, crying about Spotify not being able to pay the rent for all of the 11 million artists on Spotify is like shedding tears over the fact that you can’t get blood from a stone. Furthermore, it is misleading to suggest that streaming platforms are the only source of revenue for artists in 2022 or that streaming has completely replaced album sales.

It isn’t my intention to insinuate that every musician has the chance to rake in as much as the Rolling Stones by operating as an independent artist. What I’m alluding to is the fact that Spotify isn’t the only means of generating income in 2022. If recording an album and whacking it up on Spotify is the extent of your effort to create a viable income through your music, you’re not going to get far.

As the pandemic proved, most artists without a day job can only support themselves by heading out on tour, selling their merch and gaining new fans that will be happy to further invest in their careers. Even if you are the next big thing since the Beatles, fame and fortune aren’t just going to land on your doorstep; if you want it, you have to work for it. Only industry plants blow up overnight, don’t use the success of Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish as a measuring stick!

The music industry is incredibly oversaturated due to its accessibility in this era. Now, it is impossibly easy to create a lo-fi recording at home, stick it up on streaming platforms, call yourself an artist and expect the royalties to come streaming in. It is in no way realistic to expect that every artist contributing to the music industry will be balling from their artistry.

Everything may be a commodity in our era of late-stage capitalism but there has never been an industry which gives everyone the equal opportunity to bankroll themselves based on their passions.

This unrealistic and mercenary view is abstracting the beauty of 21st-century technology, which gives every artist the chance to express themselves and share their art with the world. That isn’t to say the population will be falling over themselves to hear it; what it does mean is that more artists have the chance to make a cultural impact with their art than ever before. And as we have seen that there is no easy way out of the digital era of music; it is vital to maximise income revenues away from platforms such as Spotify.

Create merch your fans will want to part with their hard-earned cash for. Push for physical sales on Bandcamp Fridays. Promote your music online. Be willing to tour with your music. And if that doesn’t yield any results, get inventive and check out this list of 42 ways to finance your career as an artist!


Article by Amelia Vandergast

How Do I Find Spotify Listeners to Promote My Music To?

Spotify Playlists

Spotify has become the best way for new independent artists to get discovered in the digital age of music. But driving up those streaming stats takes plenty more than just uploading your music to the platform. Even if you have released the next best thing since the Beatles’ White Album, Spotify listeners won’t just happen across it without you putting in the music marketing work first.

Given the recent trends in music consumption and discovery, investing time and money in ensuring that your music thrives on streaming platforms is a far better use of your promotional budget than traditional publicity. Influencers and playlist curators hold plenty of the power that used to belong to label managers, now that streaming is far more popular than purchasing physical music. The balance first tipped in favour of digital music in 2019 when streaming accounted for 56.1% of recorded music revenue globally.

In this article, we will cover some of the best tried and tested methods to increasing your Spotify fanbase, including contacting playlisters, reaching out to bloggers and growing your fanbase on social media before you herd them to your Spotify profile.

How to Find Spotify Listeners to Promote Music To

1. Reach Out to The Editorial Team & Shoot for the Editorial Playlists

As of August 2022, Spotify has over 182 million premium subscribers worldwide, which by any measure is significant, but considering that there are 11 million creators and artists on the platform, standing out and reaching them is no easy feat. Spotify playlists are one of the most effective ways to find new fans.

Spotify’s Editorial team currently run over 3,000 editorial playlists, the competition for these is incredibly tough, but if you succeed and land a placement on one of them, you will easily start clocking up 25,000 streams a day. To pitch to these playlists, you will need a Spotify for Artists profile, which will give you a direct line to the editors to send your pitches.

Pitch all new music three to four weeks in advance and explain in your pitch why your music is worth playlisting, here you can explain to the editors how you will bring users to the platform and impress the editors with details of any press, radio play, or dropping in big names such as collaborating artists and producers.

2. Don’t Dismiss Independent Playlists

If your pitches to the editorial team at Spotify have been successful, don’t overlook the powers of the independent playlists, which are curated by influencers who aren’t on the payroll at Spotify. While some independent playlist curators do it for the love of the music, be aware that some playlist curators charge a fee for a place. To make sure that a placement is worth a chunk of your promotional budget, set aside ample time for research before you embark on self-PR.

There are some great tools out there which help artists submit to the right independent Spotify playlists, including:

Playlist Supply – a search engine that allows independent artists to find the best playlists for their music before revealing the contact information for the curators. Playlist Supply gives artists a full view of the number of playlist subscribers and the number of tracks included on each playlist.

SubmitHub – a music submission site which connects artists and curators. With just one click (submission), you could contact over 900+ playlist curators. The $1 – $3 submission fee is infinitely cheaper than what PR companies charge for a music marketing campaign.

Groover – while SubmitHub works better on a global scale, Groover is better for artists wanting to make an impact in the European market. The platform was set up by an ex-SubmitHub employee, and while it hasn’t grown to the same scale as SubmitHub, yet, it is becoming increasingly popular with artists, playlist curators, record labels and radio stations.

PlaylistPush – this submission service takes the hard work out of distinguishing which playlists you should target with your submission pitches. The campaigns on PlaylistPush last for two weeks; during this time, curators will review your music and place them on Spotify playlists as they see fit. The platform also has an automatic notification system which pings you every time your song has been placed on a playlist.

3. Submit Music to Blogs

As we mentioned earlier, your success in landing a place on official Spotify playlists can boil down to your previous successes and accolades given to you by the press. One of the main reasons independent artists submit to blogs is to gain credibility in the industry, which will open doors further along the road.

Even if new fans won’t be heading to your Spotify profile in droves after a flattering review, what you do with those quotes and soundbites can make the world of difference in your music career. For example, if a blogger lauds your new album as the album of the year, music fans are far more likely to prick up their ears and give you the time of day, as will independent playlist curators.

4. Develop a Fanbase on Social Media First

Building a fanbase from scratch won’t happen overnight, but as a figure in the music industry, I can attest to how easy it is to make connections on platforms such as Facebook. Once I was connected to a few artists and other key industry figures, the friend requests came in droves from music fans, independent artists, promoters, and other music journalists. Regardless of your music genre, there are sure to be niche groups to make your mark in and find potential fans in. It is important to promote your music and Spotify links on your personal pages and your official band and artist pages and stay active instead of just popping up when you have new music to promote.

When you are growing your fanbase, don’t take any of your fans for granted; always take the time to respond to comments; the difference could be between a casual fan and someone who will support your every move! Once you’ve amassed a fanbase, always push your Spotify pre-saves to your followers. This will feed the Spotify algorithm positive data, which proves your music has a place on algorithmic playlists, such as the Discover Weekly playlists.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

Have Gen Z Killed the 3-Minute Pop Track?

3 minute pop song

Following the 3-minute formula used to give artists the best chance at creating a chart-topping hit, but in 2022, it is official, hit songs are getting shorter. The rise in micro-media platforms and the abstract idea of the limited 8-second attention spans of Gen Z are often said to be the main driver behind the durations of songs getting briefer. As much as older generations love to moan about the youth of today and their technology, which reportedly disintegrates popular culture, there is a bigger factor at play.

Much of the cause behind the inclination to condense singles into shorter packages can also be attributed to how we all discover and consume music: on streaming platforms.

The History of the Three-Minute Pop Track

Traditionally, pop tracks were kept to three and a half minutes and under so they could comfortably squeeze onto one side of a 7-inch record in high fidelity. Shorter pop tracks would also get the best chance of being spun on the radio. Radio stations have always been wary of losing the listener’s attention, often sacrilegiously using the intros and the outros to talk over them. Today, radio is much less of a music discovery medium, with streaming platforms and social media being a much bigger part of the music culture picture.

There are also fascinating urban legends of the mafia owning jukeboxes in the 40s and 50s. It was in their best interest to litter the jukeboxes with shorter records to maximise their income. Fast forward 70 years and not much has changed from the mobster’s reign. The cigar-toting mobsters have been replaced with the likes of Danie Ek, the CEO of Spotify, who now earns infinitely more than the most powerful mobsters in history and gets a fraction of the respect for his mercenary desecration of the industry.

The Influence of Streaming Platforms on Song Durations and the Rise of the Earworm

To immediately capture the interest of attention-deprived music fans who are all about instant aural gratification, independent artists and label-signed artists alike are becoming increasingly wary of how they construct their music. Heaven forbid artists let the tension build through inventive interludes; in modern pop culture, it is less about the artform and more about the capacity to endlessly entertain the listener.

More and more artists are cutting the intros to their songs and starting with hooks or choruses to prevent listeners from bouncing to another track on streaming platforms out of boredom.

For songs played for less than 30 seconds on Spotify, no royalties are paid to the artist. That may only be a loss of $0.004, but the detriment doesn’t stop there. The Spotify algorithm notes each song skip as a signal of dissatisfaction. Enough skips could lead to the artist and their music getting put in front of fewer fans. Regardless of at which point the song is skipped. Meaning, that if you opt to use an extended outro or an ambient middle eight that your listeners get bored of, your track has a far greater chance of being skipped and underperforming on streaming platforms and in the charts.

Furthermore, the royalties for a 31-second song are the same as a 3-minute song and the longest song on Spotify, which spans 48 hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds. So, it literally pays for artists to monetarily maximise their listeners’ time by creating shorter tracks.

The St Albans rock band, The Pocket Gods, released an album of 1,000 30-second songs to protest Spotify’s unfair royalty rates in 2022. They didn’t exactly end up on the Forbes rich list via this PR stunt, but their protest was an inventive retaliation to how streaming services, such as Spotify, are altering the industry with the unfairness of their royalties. But once again, Gen Z is taking the fall for using the technology they have grown up with.

Are Music Consumers’ Attention Spans Getting Shorter?

Reportedly, in 2022, the collective average consumer attention span is just eight seconds; and people said millennials had short attention spans in 2000 when their attention spans stretched over just 12 seconds. However, it is worth keeping in mind that this eight-second duration is the length of time it takes to win a music fan over – it is not the maximum length of time that we can now focus on a particular medium.

So, to answer my titular question, the 3-minute pop track is not dwindling in duration solely because of Gen Z and their preferred social media platform. In fact, TikTok has come to be one of the best social media platforms for music discovery, consumption and promotion, compared to the graveyard of a boomer favourite, Facebook.

Micro-media is king on platforms such as TikTok and Twitter, but that does not mean that Gen Z is incapable of sitting through longer songs or appreciating classic song structures. Take the popularity of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill as the perfect example. It has a duration of 4:58-minutes, and according to the official charts, it was the most popular song in the summer of 2022. Once you have captured interest, you have a captive audience to impress with your music.

The dwindling attention span is one of the most common misconceptions of our modern age. The main reason for the comparisons between Gen Z and a goldfish is because of the vast selection of stimuli available to the younger generations. Gen Z consumers, like all consumers, have more content vying for their attention.

To conclude, for independent artists releasing music in 2022, it is worth considering omitting needlessly extended intros, pre-choruses and fades to prevent Spotify’s algorithm from demoting your music after too many skips, but don’t doubt music consumer’s ability to appreciate traditional song structures.

The appetite for high-quality music is still there; if anything, the draconian rule of Spotify and other streaming platforms is one of the biggest drivers in ensuring that the music that gets promoted is worthy of consumers’ attention.

Amelia Vandergast


How to Market Genre-less Music


In 2022, more than ever, it is less about the genre and more about the mood for music artists and consumers. The loss of arbitrary and constricting labels isn’t exactly something to mourn. Yet, it can make the industry a minefield for independent artists that have obliterated genre constraints with their music – if they are approaching their PR with a traditional mindset and approach.

In this article, we will cover how that shift happened and the best way for artists to move along with the tides and market music to younger generations of music fans, considering that 78% claim that their music tastes can’t be defined by genre, as recently shown in a Vice Magazine survey.

How Music Became Genre-less

Unlike everything else in 2022, music is becoming less partisan; the days of music tribalism are numbered. It is getting rarer to see hip hop and rock fans refusing to believe they have anything in common as boundaries between genres disintegrate, enabling the ascent of the genre-less fan. That doesn’t just boil down to how artists, such as the music-culture-unifying Lil Nas X, curate their songs; it has plenty to do with the trend of psychological playlists on streaming platforms.

The modes of music discovery have taken tectonic shifts in the past few decades. No longer do you head to the part of the record store that houses crates of your preferred genre, pick up a genre-specific magazine, watch music TV (RIP MTV), or rely on the radio. As cringey as the phrase is, it is all about the vibe and how music fits into people’s lives to become a soundtrack. Just been dumped? There’s a playlist for that. Playlists to chill out cats? Yeah, that too. Playlists for when you see a goose, yep!

cherie on Twitter: "i was wondering whether *every* Spotify user would get  the "You were genre-fluid" slide on their Wrapped recap, even if their music  listening habits were rather homogenous... and then

In 2022, almost 524 million people currently use streaming services to discover new artists, and for many, the best means of discovery is by listening to playlists curated by mood. That isn’t great news for artists releasing EPs and LPs. Especially considering that many people listen to artists they can’t remember the name of, and the majority of them would need the Clockwork Orange treatment to actually sit through a whole album, let alone memorise all the lyrics to one.

Somewhere in this century, there was the death knell of the die-hard music fans. Again, this isn’t exactly a bad thing. If you’re only in the industry to amass a ragtag band of sycophants, you’re everything that is wrong in the industry; take your vanity elsewhere. For everyone else, take this new shift as a sign you need to switch up your self-promotion tactics.

How to Promote Genre-Fluid Music

Coming up with a niche genre to describe your music might feel clever, but it is time to think far beyond genre-defined niches. In our oversaturated market, a new sub-genre may as well be born every minute, and there is certainly not enough of an appetite for them all. Seriously, no one wants to listen to your psychedelic pirate jazz; or whatever it is you’ve come up with.

Know Your Place Beyond Genre on Streaming Platforms

Genre isn’t the only way that music is categorised on streaming platforms. Geographical locations, instrumentation styles, moods, and song styles should also factor into indie music promotion.

Love them, or loathe them, Spotify knows how to market to the new generation of music fans that are indifferent to music genres, as long as the music matches their mood or music styles. Soundcloud and Bandcamp have also started enabling artists to use mood tags. Just like record collectors liked to deep-dive into crates, digital music consumers also head into music tag rabbit holes to find more music to suit their mood.

From sad to sexy, ballads to beats, study playlists to morning commute playlists, there are tags and playlists for everything, and more often than not, there’s plenty of range between the featured artists on any given playlist. It is all about the emotional connotation and the energy of your music.

If the mood and style of your music away from the genre isn’t immediately evident, look at similar artists and pay particular attention to their music tags and the playlists they feature on. Once you know your place, submit your music to the relevant playlist curators and allocate the appropriate tags.

Submit Your Genre-Fluid Music to Bloggers Covering All Music Styles

Take the fall of genre-focused print magazines as a major clue to how much the music industry has changed. A&R Factory has always welcomed talented independent artists who have struggled to garner press and critical acclaim from other sources due to the narrowness of the pigeonholes.

A&R Factory has been ahead of the genre-obsession game for a decade. Knowing that independent artists that paint across the sonic spectrum with little mind to using the same strokes as the artists that came before them are some of the most talented. Just as there are genre-inclusive blogs, indiscriminative record labels are springing up at a rapid rate.

Create An Aesthetic

With the popularity of social media rising in line with the tendency for humans to see themselves as a ‘brand’ while they are online, sadly, and surreally, any chance of an independent artist succeeding rests on their ability to create an aesthetic and appeal to a niche.

From the album artwork to press photos to your stage outfits to your music video, each visual is an opportunity to appeal to your intended fan base by sharing the personality of your music after mapping out the colours, imagery and tone.

If your skills are lacking in the visual art arena, use building your visual brand as an opportunity to collaborate with visual artists; you will also benefit from sharing a fan base with your collaborator.

In conclusion, even while we are in this transitional phase where artists are ditching genre and much of the PR world still relies on categorization, not all hope is lost. Especially for artists willing to put their differences with certain music streaming platforms and social media apps aside.

A little self-promotional creativity will go a long way for artists already thinking constraint-less ways with their sound. Other blogs, labels, radio stations, event promotors and magazines may take their time to get in line with the rapid changes in the industry. However, that doesn’t mean you need to sell your creative souls to appease the archaic dinosaurs, too stubborn to loosen their capitalist and commercial grip on the industry.

Roman. & Ella Shreiner brought the intensity out in each other in the HipHop/EDM Pop mash-up ‘Mortality’.

In the most momentous hip hop & EDM pop mash-up of the year Roman. and Ella Shreiner brought a brand-new intensity out in each other. ‘Mortality’ is just one of the tracks to feature on Roman.’s debut album, Own World (20 Pages); icons have ended up on the hip hop map for far less.

After an immediate introduction to the soul in Shreiner’s vocal timbre, the single picks up even more gravity when Roman.’s realism-soaked bars kick in. Instead of launching scathing attacks on the usual insidious aspects of our existence, the up-and-coming rapper kept it resonant by highlighting the flaws in the hoop-jumping music industry, in turn, he gave the promise that he will always keep it real.

Check out the alchemic collab for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

European rap luminary, Jay Creti stamped down his domineeringly dark sound with ‘Ich Liebe Dich’

European hip hop artist, Jay Creti is a product of the modern multicultural world, as his music, especially his latest domineeringly dark track, Ich Liebe Dich, which merges German and Italian rap bars over caustic industrial hip hop layers, chilling choral effects and the steady bassy rattle of the 808s.

Jay Creti may mix up his sound between releases, but whichever genres that he is leaning into, you can count on an archetype-smashing aural ensemble. There really is no understating the atmosphere behind Ich Liebe Dich with the cinematic production, harsh stylistic discord and pure unbridled vocal energy.

Ich Liebe Dich is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast