How to Get Your Unsigned Band onto Spotify - dummies

How to Get Your Unsigned Band onto Spotify

By Kim Gilmour

What about actually submitting your music to Spotify and letting others listen to it? Spotify has agreements with record labels to get their artists onto the service, but what if you’re an unsigned band? Well, you can still get your music heard on Spotify, thanks to its agreements with a number of music aggregators that distribute tracks to the service on your behalf.

These aggregators have agreements with dozens of other music download sites, too, including Amazon Music, 7Digital, and iTunes. They make your music available to these places as part of the distribution package.

Potentially, you could reach millions of listeners, but be realistic: The average band can’t make a fortune through royalty rates based on streaming alone, even if you receive tens of thousands of plays.

So, why bother if the returns are so low? For most unsigned bands, putting their music on to Spotify isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, it’s just one part of their promotional arsenal. It exposes people to their music and encourages concertgoers to head to one of their gigs.

Because you can link directly to Spotify tracks from any website, Twitter feed, or Facebook page, visitors can automatically check out your band’s music. Spotify’s download store also encourages people to purchase your track, and you get a greater return from that.

The biggest artist aggregators include CD Baby, TuneCore, and Ditto Music. A full list of the artist aggregators Spotify works with is available. The main way each aggregator operates varies, but you sign up via the site and upload your high-quality music files to the service.

In terms of pricing, some aggregators let you sign up for free but take a commission (CD Baby takes 9 percent of net earnings), and others let you keep all the royalties but charge an annual fee (TuneCore charges $9.99 per year to submit a single and $49.99 per year for an album).

It’s up to you whether you think you can amass enough digital downloads and music streams to justify one or the other. (And if you’re into old-school physical media, CD Baby also lets you sell actual CDs and vinyl through its site.)