Musicians deserve to be heard and to find a way of reaching listeners who can appreciate their talents.
There’s almost no better place for artists to share their work with potential fans than Spotify, but the process of getting music onto Spotify may be more complicated than you think.
In this article, we take a look at how hard it really is to get your music on Spotify.
Here’s What you Need to Know About Getting your Music on Spotify:
All music must be loaded to Spotify via a music distributor. The tracks must meet the distributor’s requirements. Distributors charge fees for the service and some will take a commission on the royalties from the number of streams. Spotify has a list of ‘preferred and recommended distributors.
Can Anyone get their Music on Spotify?
Spotify’s gigantic library has been ever-evolving due to the influx of new musicians bringing their latest and greatest tracks to the platform.
If it weren’t for emerging artists and musicians producing new tracks, there would be no way to push musical genres forward and deliver exciting experiences to listeners.
For these reasons, Spotify allows new music to be uploaded to the platform. Moreover, the fact that anyone with a decent track can get their music onto Spotify allows the entire Spotify library to keep expanding and growing richer for it.
However, although it can be said that theoretically, anyone can get their songs on Spotify, the reality is slightly more complicated.
For example, you may be surprised to learn that uploading your own songs to Spotify is not done with the tap of a button or a click of the mouse. All artists are only able to get their music on Spotify through their record label or distributor.
Can you Upload your Music to Spotify Yourself?
Many users believe that there is a hidden feature that allows them to upload any track to the Spotify library, however, this is not the case.
It is possible to upload tracks that you have stored on your device and upload them to your personal library, but you will not have the ability to increase the size of Spotify’s overall collection.
Remember, uploading files from your computer onto Spotify merely allows you to access your local files for personal use and in combination with your Spotify music.
This feature ensures that if Spotify does not yet have the rights to a song that you happen to own, you can still listen to it and add it to playlists you made on Spotify.
However, this track that you uploaded will not be available for anyone else or even be found in any searches.
For musicians, this poses a problem. If you’ve created a track, or have music that you want to share with the Spotify community, you’ll find no inbuilt feature in the app to upload it to Spotify. Spotify for Artists does not offer this.
It’s for this reason that so many users are confused about how new music appears in the Spotify library.
However, Spotify is not the same as the likes of SoundCloud, in which you can get your music onto the web in a few clicks. Instead, users will need to contact a DSP.
DSP stands for ‘Digital Service Provider’ and these are companies that aggregate and ‘distribute’ music to music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, to name but a few.
Distributors are essential in order to upload music to Spotify and unless you are already signed with a music label, it will be up to the individual to deal with them directly.
Distributors have almost always been a major facet of getting music out into the world of listeners and, in the past, this was done via CDs, vinyl, and music shops. But,
“(…) the vast majority of new music is listened to via streaming services, and so digital distributors still carry out the same basic task of getting your music out there, but now their job is to place your music onto streaming platforms such as Spotify.”
The inability to upload music directly to Spotify may seem disappointing to many users.
However, by simply using a DPS, countless unsigned musicians are now able to get their tracks out to listeners on platforms that have a huge user base.
Moreover, a distributor will usually upload and distribute your music to a vast array of music streaming platforms in one go, increasing the potential of new fans and appreciation for the tracks you’ve created.
Remember, distributors will:
- Upload your music to music streaming services on your behalf.
- They will handle all licensing for the tracks that you produce.
- They will pay royalties (if applicable) to you for your songs that are streamed.
What does Spotify’s Vetting Process Look Like?
Spotify provides support pages on its website that help guide artists on their journey to upload music and improve the odds of engaging with an audience who will love their songs.
Spotify makes clear that in order for songs to be uploaded onto their platform, a distributor will be required.
Thankfully, they provide a list of verified and preferred distributors that users can pick from.
When it comes to whether or not Spotify will accept a song for upload to its platform, the decision will be determined by the distributor.
If a distributor accepts your track and deems it good enough for them to distribute it, then it will be uploaded to Spotify.
Remember, Spotify itself does not vet the music users want to upload; instead, as they state, you need to:
“Work with a distributor to get music on Spotify. These distributors meet our highest standards for quality metadata and anti-infringement measures.”
Using a distributor that Spotify recommends is evidently a prudent course of action in order for your music to be uploaded onto the platform. Their recommendations for distributors are as follows:
- CD Baby
- Record Union
What are the Hardest Parts of Getting Music on Spotify?
As you have probably realized, getting music on Spotify involves more than you might first think.
There are major factors to consider and processes that need to be carried out before your music will appear in Spotify’s library.
One of the most difficult decisions is picking which distributor to use in order to upload your music to Spotify.
Each distributor will offer different options, perks, costs, and fees. Researching the distributors that Spotify recommends is highly advised and will help you make the right choice for you.
For example, DistroKid allows users to retain all of the royalties they receive from listeners streaming their music.
However, you may find a distributor who offers more support in regards to helping you reach larger audiences.
The research that you put in to decide who to pick as your distributor may be the biggest decision that you make since creating your song, and it can very much dictate how successful your track becomes.
Once you’ve chosen your distributor you’ll need to check exactly what criteria you need to meet in order for them to accept your track.
Remember, distributors will have precise information on how your song needs to be uploaded, including file type. Nevertheless, it is essential that you upload your tracks in the highest possible quality.
Users who wish to have their music distributed to music streaming platforms will need to complete an application form and will have to wait to see if their songs are accepted or denied.
If you find that your application is unsuccessful, try to ascertain where you have failed to meet the criteria that the distributor has set out, then incorporate the changes you need to make, and then try resubmitting. Alternatively, you could contact a different distributor that has an easier application process.
Finally, you’ll need to produce cover art for your music. Again, distributors will have specific requirements for the artwork that accompanies your music and you will need to adhere to these in order for your upload to be accepted.
Thankfully, there are free online tools, such as Canva, that can aid you in creating artwork that will be suitable. It’s worth pointing out that the distributor you choose may have more stringent rules than Spotify on what accompanying artwork is deemed acceptable.
Does it Cost Money to Get your Music on Spotify?
Unfortunately, getting your music onto Spotify will usually cost you something. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t necessarily make that money back.
Most distributors have a fee for their services and this is why it is so important to ensure that you choose a distributor who offers the type of support or perks that work best for you and your budget.
Distributors vary in pricing and the packages they provide. For example:
LANDR requires monthly or yearly payments that allow you to upload an unlimited amount of tracks. However, there are different price brackets depending on the sound quality that you want your music to be released in.
At $4.00 a month, you can upload an unlimited amount of tracks in low-quality, compressed, MP3 format. Whereas, with $25.00 a month, you can upload an unlimited number of tracks as HD WAV files.
If you wanted to simply upload one track, then you could use a distributor such as TuneCore. They’ll charge you $9.99 per track or $29.99 for multiple songs. You’ll need to pay this fee again each year if you wish to renew your tracks, however, you’ll receive a range of perks such as:
- Distribution to all the major music streaming services.
- Retain the rights to the music you made.
- Retain 100% of your royalties.
- Sales reports on your music each month and more.
You’ll find that some distributors will not only charge you a fee, but they will also take a cut of your royalties. Remember, royalties are an artist’s way of making a profit on the songs they create, and this increases each time they are listened to.
Balancing the cost of distribution fees, the percentage the distributor wants to take from the royalties you earn, and how many listens your tracks will receive, is an essential facet of making your track a financial success.
How Long does it take to Get Music on Spotify?
If you’ve created an amazing piece of music, then you’ll want to get it out on Spotify as soon as you possibly can. However, due to the fact that it cannot be uploaded to Spotify directly, this takes time.
The length of time it takes for your music to get on Spotify will depend on the distribution company and this can vary. As a general rule of thumb, expect to wait roughly 2 weeks after you submitted your tracks to your chosen distributor before they are on Spotify.
Release dates are crucial when it comes to promoting your songs and therefore understanding the time from submission to upload on Spotify is something to keep in mind.
As Dk-Mba.com points out:
“On most distros, you can also select a further-in-the-future date in order to schedule your release with more time to promote and pitch your music to Spotify playlists.”