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How much do I earn per stream on Spotify?

We have collected and analyzed a huge amount of data to show you how much Spotify pays per stream. Spoiler: the differences are massive.

August 18, 2020

In the past, it was quite easy to calculate how much you earn from a sale. It was pretty clear how much you get per sold CD or vinyl record you sold and also with the downloads it was predictable what you earn per song. But in the streaming age the whole story has become much more complicated. Even though there are various figures on the web about how much Spotify pays per stream, there is no such thing as one fixed amount.

Therefore it’ s not surprising that we receive many questions from artists, why there are fluctuations in their streaming revenues. We have collected and analyzed a huge amount of data to give you a detailed insight into how Spotify pays you. Important: we only analyzed the numbers of Spotify. The other streaming providers work with different calculation models.

As mentioned, there is not one single amount Spotify pays per stream, but countless different ones. This depends on many factors, but mainly on which country the stream comes from and whether the listener has a free or premium subscription.

If we compare 18 of the world’s 20 most important music markets according to IFPI (China and South Korea are not on the list because Spotify is not available there), we see that the values vary enormously. The payout for one million streams ranges from 850 USD in Argentina to 5,479 USD in Norway. On average, you get 3,222 USD for one million streams in the 18 most important music markets.

The major music markets in comparison

All figures in USD / Status July 2020
CountryPay Per StreamPer Million StreamsCosts Premium Subscription
Norway0.0054792732625479.2712.01
Denmark0.0051592087275159.2115.65
UK0.0049124388194912.4412.88
Switzerland0.0047359074684735.9114.12
Sweden0.0044407951574440.8011.33
Australia0.0039648163653964.828.58
Netherlands0.0036270019993627.0011.75
Japan0.0035491378693549.1389.32
USA0.0035266485423526.659.99
Germany0.0033673939103367.3911.75
France0.0031651561403165.1611.75
Canada0.0027386487342738.657.49
Spain0.0023512949302351.2911.75
Italy0.0019935180491993.5211.75
Mexico0.0014411365761441.144.49
India0.0014083414551408.341.60
Brazil0.0012946135941294.613.26
Argentina0.000850040231850.041.94

What causes the fluctuations in streaming payouts?

One of the most important factors is the subscription price. In India, for example, a Spotify Premium subscription costs only a fraction of what you pay in Denmark. While a premium subscription in Denmark costs the equivalent of 15.65 USD, a premium user in India only has to pay 1.60 USD per month.

Also, the advertising revenues vary between markets and of course they also vary from month to month in each individual market. At the same time, the number of premium subscriptions and the number of streams generated by the listeners changes every month. In short, the numbers are in constant change and so is the payout to the artists.

This means that it doesn’t only depend on the changes in your personal streaming numbers, but also how the “market” changes in general. If the number of your streams decreases but also the total number of all streams drops equally, you still earn the same amount. Overstated, you earn the same amount for 5,000 streams at a PPS (Pay Per Stream) of 0.001 as for a single stream at a PPS of 5 USD. It’ also possible that you generate more streams, but the PPS decreases and you still don’t earn more.

Here are the most important factors that influence how much you get per stream:

  • Subscription price
  • Subscription type (Free / Paid)
  • Origin of the stream (country)
  • Advertising revenue generated in the respective market
  • Number of subscriptions
  • Number of streams generated per month

How much does Spotify pay per stream?

Spotify keeps 30% of all revenues generated. Of the remaining 70%, a part is paid for the songwriters and composers and the rest goes via label or distribution to the rights holders of the song.

From the remaining share it’s calculated how many streams there were in total and how high the share of each artist is. Assuming there were one million streams per month and you have achieved 1,000 streams, you will receive 0.01%.

So far, so good. But it’ s not that there is only one cake, there are dozens of them. So there’s one cake for every market, every subscription level, and so on. This is where the (big) differences start.

We have analyzed our extensive data material and calculated how much you earn per stream in the different countries where Spotify is available. Not yet included are the Balkans, as Spotify was only recently launched there.

79 countries in comparison (click on the graphic for full view)

In the table (at the bottom of the blog) you can see for 79 different countries how much is paid per stream and extrapolated to one million streams. As already mentioned, there can always be fluctuations, but these figures give you a good guideline.

You can see, for example, that for one million streams in Iceland you get almost nine times what is paid for the same number of streams in Morocco, Tunisia or Algeria. Assuming you had the same number of streams in each of the 79 countries, this would give you a PPS of 0.00203111. So for one million streams you would get 2,389.58 USD, which is about the same as in Uruguay or Spain. Many European countries such as Italy, Greece, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland are below this average, in some cases even significantly.

But even in the English-speaking countries the figures vary considerably. While you get 4,912 USD per million streams in the UK or even 4,977 USD in New Zealand, the figure is 3,964 USD in Australia, only about 3,525 USD in the USA and even only 2,738 USD in Canada.

Summary

The evaluation clearly shows that it’ s not only important how many streams you generate, but also in which countries. For example, Iceland is by far the country with the best payoff, but with its less than 400,000 inhabitants the island state is still only moderately interesting. Countries with a large population like India or Mexico are of course attractive because of their size, but you have to generate multiple times as many streams as for example in the UK. If you consider not only the payout per stream but also the number of inhabitants, the most interesting markets are the UK, Australia, Japan, USA, Germany and France. This is no surprise, but our analysis also shows that the Scandinavian markets should not be forgotten and countries such as the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and Austria should not be ignored. On the other hand, if you have your core audience in Turkey, the North African states or even the Latin American countries, you have to make a double or triple effort.

Streaming payout per country

All figures in USD / Status July 2020
CountryPay Per StreamPer Million StreamsCosts Premium Subsription
Iceland0.0061828998796182.9011.75
Norway0.0054792732625479.2712.01
Monaco0.0052151332595215.1311.75
Denmark0.0051592087275159.2115.65
New Zealand0.0049778476514977.8510.04
UK0.0049124388194912.4412.88
Switzerland0.0047359074684735.9114.12
Liechtenstein0.0047237243634723.7214.12
Ireland0.0045719743364571.9711.75
Finland0.0044450581214445.0611.75
Sweden0.0044407951574440.8011.33
Austria0.0044177019594417.7011.75
Luxembourg0.0041595109724159.5111.75
Australia0.0039648163653964.828.58
Netherlands0.0036270019993627.0011.75
Andorra0.0035948970303594.9011.75
Japan0.0035491378693549.149.32
USA0.0035266485413526.659.99
Germany0.0033673931103367.4011.75
Israel0.0032829402623282.945.84
Belgium0.0032447120783244.7111.75
France0.0031651561403165.1611.75
Cyprus0.0030403859603040.398.22
Singapore0.0029166499312916.657.20
Panama0.0029051838392905.185.99
Malta0.0027627234322762.728.22
Hong Kong0.0027434112462743.417.51
Canada0.0027386487342738.657.49
Estonia0.0026883658402688.378.22
UAE0.0025270966532527.105.46
Uruguay0.0024888292142488.837.99
Average of all countries0.0023895806032389.587.32
Spain0.0023512949302351.2911.75
Czech Republic0.0021065810802106.587.05
Lithuania0.0020696686152069.678.22
Lebanon0.0020311342012031.134.99
Italy0.0019935180491993.5211.75
Costa Rica0.0019758419241975.845.99
Slovakia0.0019289218951928.927.05
Hungary0.0019043520821904.355.87
Dominican Republic0.0018901295571890.135.99
Oman0.0018569867701856.994.99
Latvia0.0017733649921773.368.22
Greece0.0017696889681769.698.22
Bahrain0.0017677118431767.714.99
Honduras0.0017205843821720.585.99
Ecuador0.0016394852031639.495.99
Vietnam0.0016327757501632.782.55
Portugal0.0016259452941625.958.22
Bulgaria0.0015996165011599.625.87
South Africa0.0015689612931568.963.65
Malaysia0.0015531425231553.143.52
Paraguay0.0015383428621538.345.99
Taiwan0.0015159174791515.925.09
Romania0.0015152893771515.295.87
El Salvador0.0014688492401468.855.99
Peru0.0014613354941461.345.35
Qatar0.0014537850191453.794.99
Kuwait0.0014479295501447.934.99
Mexico0.0014411365761441.144.49
India0.0014083414551408.341.60
Poland0.0014051937411405.195.34
Brazil0.0012946135941294.613.26
Chile0.0012619576471261.964.53
Nicaragua0.0012257637371225.765.99
Guatemala0.0011706950151170.705.99
Thailand0.0011620234781162.024.11
Colombia0.0010497307971049.734.05
Saudi Arabia0.0010290265901029.035.34
Bolivia0.000994451986994.455.99
Jordan0.000993879631993.884.99
Palestine0.000977329294977.334.99
Egypt0.000969265739969.273.13
Indonesia0.000963832186963.833.44
Argentina0.000850040231850.041.94
Turkey0.000841734325841.732.62
Philippines0.000814010469814.012.62
Morocco0.000800311538800.314.99
Algeria0.000704575968704.584.99
Tunisia0.000702533348702.534.99

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Playlist algorithms: This is how you push your songs!

April 18, 2019

Streaming will undoubtedly continue to dominate the music market in 2019 and continue its steep rise (whether it will be equally steep remains open).

Since streaming is becoming more and more important, the relevance of playlists is of course also increasing. They are said to have replaced everything possible from radio to music journalism. This discussion can be held elsewhere, but what is certain is that playlists have become an integral part of the everyday life of musicians and especially of consumers.

So let’s take a closer look at the topic again and how playlisting works:

Curated playlists

On the subject of curated playlists, we have already dealt with here in detail.

The most important thing here is that you don’t just go for the playlists created by the streaming services themselves (which of course are the biggest, but also difficult to crack), but also pitch user-generated playlists.

Algorithm Playlists

Besides the countless curated playlists there are also playlists compiled by algorithms whose importance should not be underestimated. These playlists make sure that your fans won’t miss your new release and introduce your music to new potential fans, media or even labels. Last but not least, the algorithm-based playlists even provide more streams than the curated playlists. The Release Radar alone is said to generate more streams than any of Spotify’s curated playlists.

What do the algorithms pay attention to?

Of course, the algorithm does not care about the quality of the music. It only sees the numbers: How many people streamed the song, how many times it was saved, how often it was added to playlists and how many followers the artist has. These are some of the factors that play a role (how exactly the algorithms work is not disclosed by the streaming services).

What exactly are algorithm playlists?

As an example we take three playlists, which at least every Spotify user should know:

Discover Weekly

Every Monday, Spotify provides each user with a customized list of songs. The selection is based on the songs heard (or skipped) and the songs listened to by listeners with similar musical tastes. When an artist appears in this list, the main hope is that the listener will save the songs.

Release Radar

Every Friday the Release Radar offers up to two hours of new music compiled by the algorithm. In contrast to the mix of the week, the focus here is less on discovering new artists and more on the new releases of the week. Here the listener finds the new releases of the artists he follows or has heard in the past, mixed with some recommendations. So from an artist’s point of view it is important that as many people as possible follow you, because then the new release will show up in the release radar.

Mixtape

The mixtape is mainly based on genres and again on what the listener has heard in the past. If a listener has a very differentiated taste in music, Spotify can present up to six different mixtapes. The more regularly the user listens to this mix, the more often it is updated. So from a musician’s point of view it is important to establish oneself in his genre. Of course, the chance of landing in a mixtape in niche genres is higher than if you make pop music.

So music becomes pure data which the algorithm uses to calculate, and at least if you listen to a lot of music (and thus provide a lot of data), this works frighteningly well. As a musician, the goal must therefore be to feed the data monster with a lot of input as well.

How can I influence the algorithm?

The times where you release an album every 2 or 3 years and have no musical output in between are over. You don’t have to shoot out new singles every week, but a regular output certainly helps to keep the data machine happy.

Of course, even the biggest ouput is useless if the songs are not heard. So you have to build up a fanbase and then make sure that the fanbase stays active on the streaming services. The algorithms react, as already mentioned, to how often a song is saved to the library, liked or added to playlists.

It is therefore important to use its channels to encourage the fan community not only to listen to the songs, but also to save and share them. For this reason it is essential to always spread the streaming links via social media.

Especially you should encourage the fans to follow you (more on this below). The more followers you have, the more people learn about a new release and therefore there are more streams, saves and likes.

The algorithm always notices when your song is added to a playlist, whether it has millions of followers or just a few. The more playlists your song has been added to, the greater the chance to get into one of the algorithm playlists. It’s not only the size of the playlist that counts, but much more how well your song performs in the playlist. So if your song is in a large playlist but doesn’t fit in there and is therefore often skipped, it’s less useful than if it’s in a small playlist but fits perfectly there and is therefore heard.

As mentioned above: try to get into as many relevant playlists as possible and don’t focus only on the big playlists. Sometimes the playlist with a few hundred followers helps if your song is really heard there. So it’s also worth asking your own fans to add your song to their playlists. To underline this with a number: 20% of all streams generated on Spotify come from playlists, no matter if big or small.

If you pitch your song at least one week before the release, it will automatically be shown to your followers in the Release Radar. So don’t be late!

Do not expect miracles: it takes time to appear on the radar (pun intended) of the algorithm. But if you follow the above tips and implement them consistently, it will pay off eventually. You don’t have to generate millions of streams to do so, the threshold for “Your Mix of the Week” is supposed to be at 20,000 streams.

Personalized Editorial Playlists

Recently Spotify started testing so-called “Personalized Editorial Playlists”. These are a mixture of curated and algorithmic playlists and therefore, like the algorithm playlists, unique for each user. In concrete terms, this means that Spotify’s editorial team creates the playlist and the algorithm then adds songs for each user based on their listening behavior.

This is of course a great thing for the listeners, but how can an artist be sure that his song, when added to the playlist, will be shown to every fan? Spotify has found a pretty elegant solution:

In Spotify for Artists you can already see to which playlists a song has been added. The personalized playlists are now marked with a blue button (“Personalized”).

Every artist can now find a personalized link to this playlist, which he can share. This link appears 7 days from the moment the song is added to the playlist.

If a fan clicks on this link, your song will appear at the top of the playlist. As soon as the link is clicked, the song will be shown at the first position for 24 hours, after that it will slide to its actual position or disappear completely from the playlist.

Why playlists are important but not everything

There are artists who have broken the million mark in terms of monthly listeners, but only have around 1000 followers. The case is clear: the streams here come largely from playlist placements.

On the other hand, there are artists who have millions of streams, tens of thousands of followers and yet are never found in a big playlist. Again, the case is clear: the streams come from the loyal fanbase they have built up.

Which shows us that playlists are a short-term affair. If you are in a popular playlist, this is quickly shown by the monthly listeners who, depending on the playlist, literally skyrocket. However, it often goes in the opposite direction as soon as the song is no longer in the playlist.

It is extremely difficult to gain fans through playlists, because people listen to the playlist because it suits their taste, but often they don’t really care who actually made the songs. So it can happen that you make thousands of Euros for a few months just because of Spotify playlists and when you are out of the playlist you have exaggeratedly said again only the tip you had before the playlist placement.

So it’s relatively simple: by placement in large playlists you can generate many streams and earn good money, at least in the short term. But in the long run, a high number of followers is much more important than the volatile number of monthly listeners. One million monthly listeners or one million streams unfortunately does not mean one million fans.

Of course you still have to try to place your songs in the playlists, one doesn’t exclude the other. But you shouldn’t invest all your energy in playlists, because you have to be aware that every label, every distributor, every artist and your mother also tries to get their songs into the playlists. So the competition is huge.

What is a reasonable ratio between followers and monthly listeners?

Roughly speaking, the followers should be about 5% of the monthly listeners – or even better, more. So if you have a million monthly listeners, your followers shouldn’t be bogged down in the low thousand range, but certainly 50’000 or more.

You can make quite a science out of the analysis of streaming and follower numbers, as this article by Sam Chennault (Chartmetric) shows, who analyzes the impact of playlist placements on follower numbers and also what influence the media presence of the artist has.

In the end, it can be summed up quite simply: You need both streams and playlist placements to generate sales, but above all you need followers to make your income sustainable. These fans are the ones who come to your concerts and buy your merchandise.

Streaming outshines CDs and downloads

If anyone still doubts that streaming has long since overtaken the other forms of music consumption, there are some figures from 2018 to round off the story.

Worldwide, streaming now accounts for 46.8% of the music market’s revenues, significantly outpacing physical sales (25%) and especially downloads (12%). Of the 19.1 billion that were generated worldwide, a whopping 8.9 billion are thus attributable to streaming.

Germany is known as a late bloomer in terms of streaming and indeed almost half of the turnover is still generated with physical products (mainly CDs with 36.4%), but even here streaming is already responsible for 46.4% of the turnover. Completely irrelevant is the digital download which with 7.8% is only slightly ahead of vinyl (4.4%).

In Switzerland, streaming already contributes a substantial 58% to the music industry’s rising profits, while physical sales (24%) and downloads (18%) are steadily declining.

Also in Austria, streaming has overtaken the CD and is now at 51.6%, while the CD is holding its own at 43.6%. Here too, downloads (10.9%) are only just ahead of vinyl (7.8%).

Do you have any questions about playlists?

Then contact our support at support@igroovemusic.com or write us in the chat.

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How do I put my podcasts on Spotify and iTunes?

April 8, 2019

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular. From companies to media, influencers (and those who would like to be), bloggers, comedians and musicians who want to promote their releases, all are getting involved in the ever-growing podcast game.

There are various providers on which you can distribute your podcasts, among the most important are iTunes and recently also Spotify.

There are some important differences compared to uploading music:

No distributor is needed for the upload of podcasts

Both Spotify and iTunes allow you to upload your podcasts on your own, so you don’t have to rely on a distributor. Therefore it is not possible to send your podcasts to the shops via iGroove.

This is how you bring your podcasts to the stores:

Spotify:

Go to https://podcasters.spotify.com and follow the instructions. All you need is a Spotify account and a working RSS feed.

These are the requirements that should be met:

  • MP3 in good quality (bit rate between 96 and 320 kbps)
  • An episode can have a maximum size of 200 MB, which corresponds to 83 minutes at 320 kbps or over 200 minutes at 128 kbps.
  • The artwork must be square, in the highest possible resolution and uploaded either as JPG or PNG.
  • The title of the episode should not be longer than 20 characters to make it look good in all formats.

It takes between a few hours and a maximum of five days until your podcast is online. Spotify will not send you any information when your podcast is online, so you have to check back regularly yourself.

Similar to the release of music (Spotify for Artists), Spotify also provide you daily statistics on how often and by whom your podcasts have been heard.

By the way: Even though Spotify hasn’t been in the podcast game too long, they have already risen to number two.

It’s all pretty simple, really. Still too complicated? Then Spotify recommends several services here where you can upload your podcasts to Spotify.

 

iTunes / Apple Podcast:

Most podcasts are consumed via iTunes. Being present here is therefore a must. It’s also very easy. In addition to an Apple ID, you also need an RSS feed as well as a square image (image size at least 1,400 x 1,4000 pixels) and a title not yet assigned for a podcast

That’s what you have to do:

  • Sign in to iTunes Podcasts Connect with your Apple ID
  • Insert your RSS feed and click on “Check”
  • Check the preview, if everything is displayed correctly (description, categories etc.)
  • If everything is correct, click on “Publish

Apple checks all podcasts and therefore it can take up to ten days until it is effectively online (but usually it takes much less time).

Once your podcast is approved, you will receive a confirmation to the email address you use as Apple ID.

By the way: Apple has launched a beta version of “Podcast Analytics”, which gives you more information about the performance of your podcasts.

More detailed information about Apple Podcast can be found here

There is no payment for the streams

Unlike music, you don’t get paid for the streams you create with your podcasts. However, you are allowed to add advertising to the podcasts (e.g. this podcast is presented by XY).

Podcasts are not there to offer music.

With podcasts, you can prove your good taste in music by talking about it, but it’s not the idea to upload your sound. Especially mixes are not allowed and will be removed immediately. There are platforms for this such as mixcloud.com (which is also suitable for podcasts).

How do I host my podcasts?

Here’s an informative blog that introduces various hosting platforms, which also create the RSS feed you need to publish on Spotify and iTunes.

Do you have any questions about podcasts?

Then contact our support at support@igroovemusic.com or write us in the chat.

 

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My release never again in the wrong Spotify profile

March 4, 2019

It’s annoying: You’ve been looking forward to the release of the new single for a long time and when it comes out you notice that it ended up in the wrong Spotify profile.

So far our hands were tied and all we could do was write to Spotify and ask them to correct it. Now we have found a solution with Spotify so that from now on no release will end up in the wrong profile.

It works quite easily: you deposit the ID of your profile in our system and from now on your release will always be assigned to the correct Artist profile.

There are two ways to store your Spotify ID as well as the Apple Music ID:

When you record your release:

As soon as you enter the name of the artist or feature, the following pop-up will appear:

You can now search for the artist name

If you want to be on the safe side, you can also search for the link at Spotify or Apple Music and enter it manually.

This works as follows:

Spotify:

Go to your profile, choose the symbol with the three dots (more), go to Share and finally click on Copy artist link.

Now insert this link in the field “Specify Spotify Profile”.

Apple:

Search for your profile at Apple Music, click on the symbol with the three dots, choose “Share artist” and then “Copy link”.

On iTunes, the icon looks a little different, but the principle is the same.

Insert this link under “Specify Apple Music Profile”.

Add to “My Artists”

The second solution for capturing the links can also be found in your iGroove account. Select the menu item “My Profile” and go to the tab “Artist IDs”.

Here you can find a list of all artists who were involved in the releases on your account. Now select “edit” for the corresponding artist.

Here you can enter the Spotify ID as well as the ID for Apple Music / iTunes.

As soon as you have entered all links for yourself and your features, you will never see a release in the wrong profile again.

It’s my first release, what can I do?

In this case you have to wait until your first release is released and Spotify respectively Apple Music have created a profile for you. Do you want to be on the safe side? Contact us about a week before the release and we will check for you in Spotify’s system if they have really created a new profile for you or if you will end up with another artist.

Once your release is released and you have a profile, you can add the links to your iGroove account. It is also important to verify your profiles with both Spotify and Apple Music.

If you have any questions you can contact us at support@igroovenext.com at any time melden.

Falsches Spotify-Profil
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Advances: Career boost or debt trap?

September 13, 2018

The word advance is a common phrase in the music world and sometimes horrendous sums are passed around. Many musicians dream of a deal with a big advance – but is this really the hoped-for opportunity or is it more of a risk for the artist? We want to investigate these questions a bit more closely here.

Probably the most important and supposedly most logical thing first: an advance is not a gift. Labels don’t make gifts – why should they? As the name suggests, the money is only advanced and you could simply call it a loan. So be aware: every cent you get as an advance has to be paid back or brought in again under normal circumstances.

Are there any advances these days?

Short answer: Yes
Longer answer: Yes but they have become rarer and lower. The reason is relatively simple: The labels, especially the smaller ones, simply don’t have as much money available as they used to. Another reason is the production costs, which have become considerably cheaper, especially in the field of electronic music. In addition, it has also become more difficult for the labels to forecast sales in the streaming age. However, as streaming becomes more and more the norm, this is likely to change in the foreseeable future and may also have a positive impact on the level of advances. We can already observe a trend that major labels in particular are once again offering large advances for distribution deals more quickly. By the way, advances are not only granted by labels, but also by distributors.

What does it depend on if I get an advance?

A label will only sign an artist if it expects to earn money with him. They will calculate how much they have to spend on marketing and promotion and how much they think they can earn with your release. Based on these figures, a label will calculate if there is an advance and how much it will be. Despite these calculations, labels can make mistakes and as an insider told us, it happens more often than you would think that a release doesn’t recoup its costs. What this means for the artist, you can find out below.

What is the approximate amount of the advance?

It is almost impossible to give concrete figures, as there are many factors involved. This starts with the financial possibilities of your label or distribution, also depends on the type of contract and last but not least of course on your popularity, your previous sales and of course also a little bit of your negotiating skills. Roughly speaking, this begins with amounts in the low four-figure range and can also be in the six to seven-figure range for the top acts in the German-speaking world.

Why it is sometimes better to take a smaller advance or not to take it at all

Especially smaller labels don’t have enough money left for the promotion that would benefit your release after paying a big advance. So if you are offered a large advance, make sure that this is not at the expense of marketing and promotion. So sometimes it’s better if you don’t get an advance, but the label invests in you otherwise. It is important to think long term and not just to see the fast money. You should also always calculate whether it’s really worth signing with a label – whether you get an advance or not – or whether you’re not better advised as an independent artist. Large advances can also tempt you to spend your money faster or take more risks. For many artists, it feels like they don’t spend their own money, but at the end of the day they do. As I said, advances are not gifts!

When will I receive my advance payment?

If a label or distributor has decided to give you an advance, this is comparable to a loan. This is usually not paid all at once, but in tranches. For example 50% when signing the contract and 50% when the demos of the songs are finished and the studio work is coming up. If it’s a large amount, it can also be paid out in three or even more tranches.

A distinction must be made between two different types of advance:

  • Production cost grants: As the name suggests, these are earmarked and serve to pay for the costs of production (studio, mix, mastering etc.). Here it is recommended to keep the receipts so that you can show them and prove the expenses.
  • Advances on royalty payments: In most cases, the label is not telling you what the advances are used for and the money is therefore not earmarked.

What should I use my advance for?

The question should probably rather be what it should not be used for. Probably the least reasonable thing you can do with the money is to buy a big car or other consumer goods that have no connection to your music career. A large advance can of course be used to cover your living expenses and to pay the rent, so that you can fully dedicate yourself to music. The advance payment is intended primarily to cover studio costs, shoot videos or pay fellow musicians. But a healthy sense of proportion is also important. Just because the label or the distributor has advanced you the money, you don’t have to shoot a completely oversized video or rent the most expensive studio, which you actually wouldn’t need.

How do I pay back my advance?

Once your release is out, you will receive regular settlements from your label or distributor. There you will see your earnings, but with the remark that you will not get them paid out because the advance payment has to be recouped first. So you will only see some of the income of your release once the advance payment has been refunded. According to figures from IFPI, an advance used to be reimbursed within 18 months on average. Again, streaming has changed a lot and now it takes even longer than those one and a half years in most cases. So you have to be prepared for a long period of time without, or rather with significantly lower revenues.

This is especially true because cross-collateralizing has become the standard these days. In simple terms, this means that the advance payment is recouped with all the income the label participates in. So it’s possible that your advance is recouped with publishing rights, concert fees or merchandise (but usually not all of it). Two owners of an independent label explain this as follows: “In the meantime, the market has changed in such a way that it is hardly worthwhile to plan only according to the income from sales and streams. A contemporary artist is also much more comprehensive than the amount of his sales. We believe that sales no longer need to be the main point of revenue, but rather interact with live performances, merchandising and sponsorship.”

What many artists are also unaware of is that the advance payment is not recouped with the total income, but only through the artist’s share. Let’s assume that you have negotiated a 50:50 deal with a label and received an advance of 10.000 Euro. Until you have recouped the advance, you have to generate 20.000 sales to be able to refund the 10.000. So the lower your share of the revenue, the longer it will take until you have recouped the advance.

As an artist you should try to get a deal where only the income of the music is recouped. This way you don’t earn anything on sales and streams for a while, but at least money still flows regularly through concerts, merch etc.. However, such a deal without cross-collateralizing is anything but easy to negotiate, at least for artist contracts where the label bears practically the entire risk. The situation is often different with master recording agreement or distribution deals.

 

Here is a brief explanation of the three most common types of contract:

Master recording agreement: In this case the artist delivers the finished production (the master tape, therefore the name) to the label. With the master recording agreement, you transfer the rights to your product to the label for a pre-defined period of time and for clearly defined territories. In return you receive either a flat-rate amount, a share of the sales or a mixture of both. Often there is an option for one or more further releases. Who is responsible for further costs such as promotion and marketing is regulated separately.

Distribution agreement: This is usually signed over one album only, sometimes with the option of one or two additional albums. This often also without exclusive binding. These are concluded either with a distribution or a label. It is similar to the master recording agreement but with considerably less rights and obligations for the label / distributor. Therefore the artist share is by far the highest.

Artist’s agreement: This is where the closest bond between label and artist exists. Usually the label pays most of the costs of a release (incl. marketing and promotion) and thus also bears the financial risk. Accordingly, the artist’s share of the revenues is also lower than in the case of a master recording agreement.

In practice, there are more and more hybrid forms of these three types of contract. Especially because these three contracts are so different, it is not possible to define clearly what a fair artist’s share is. In some cases it may be justified if the artist only receives 15% of the income because the label bears all the costs and the risk. But in other cases 15% is also pure rip-off. A lot of things are simply a matter of negotiation. A music lawyer stated it to iGroove as follows: “Due to the developments of the last few years, it is indeed the case today that record companies are also participating in further money flows. Whether this is fair or not must be judged on a case-by-case basis. For certain productions, the recording companies themselves take great risks, so that a participation in further revenues or offsetting against them is not necessarily unreasonable. One really has to keep the big picture in mind: Who contributes what services, who invests how much, how big are the revenues to be made?”

What you should not forget in your calculation: If you have signed with a label, you get a much smaller share of sales and streams than if you distribute your album yourself via an aggregator. Let’s take as an example a song that is sold via iTunes for 0.99 Euro. With iGroove, the artist receives 0.69 Euro in this case (iTunes takes just under 30%, iGroove 8%). Depending on the deal, you may have to give a significant amount of money and time to your label as they invest time and money in your career, marketing and promotion. So if you calculate how much you have to sell until you recouped an advance, you should not start from the numbers you generated as an independent artist.

What happens if the income is lower than the advance?

This is probably the most fundamental question and therefore it is important to negotiate well from the beginning. The standard is that an advance is non-refundable. That means, if you don’t reimburse the advance, the remaining amount doesn’t have to be paid, so the label bears the economic risk. Contracts where the advance has to be paid back under all circumstances and therefore the artist bears the whole risk are not recommended. As already mentioned above, there are quite a few releases that do not recover their production and marketing costs. So you have to be very careful!

Record contracts often run over several albums and often there is a clause in the contract with “minimum fund” and “maximum fund”. If an advance was not recouped with the first album, the “Minimum Fund” applies to the next album. That means: the advance will be smaller (or even 0). If the advance was recouped with the first album, the “Maximum Fund”, i.e. the negotiated maximum amount, applies. The amount of your advance on the first album and its success can have a significant impact on your next release.

In most cases the minus of the first album has to be recouped with the second album. For example, if you have signed a deal for an album with an option for a second one, the contract will already state that the second album will also be recouped. In addition, it is often already stipulated in the contract that the advance payment for the second album will be renegotiated after the option has been exercised. One label representative explained to iGroove that the uncertain market situation makes it impossible to fix advance payments far in advance.

Here is a calculation example:
Let’s assume that you have received 20,000 advance payments for your first album, but you have only recouped 10,000 of them. But the label still believes in you and redeems the option for a second album, but with a lower advance of 10.000. That means with the second album you have to recoupe 20.000 again (10k from the first album and 10k from the second).

At this point a short digression on the subject of options: The basic problem with options is, of course, that the further course of an artist’s career cannot be predicted. As a newcomer, one is usually in a rather weak negotiating position. So if a newcomer signs a contract for an album with the option for a second one and then goes through the roof with the first record, he is sitting on a contract whose conditions are worse than those of an established artist. So he will also earn on the follow-up productions at the conditions of the first album. However, most of the labels will probably be willing to talk to you and improve the conditions, for example in connection with an additional option. It is also worth mentioning that in the 80s and 90s contracts were still being signed for five or even seven albums. Today this happens at most in absolutely isolated cases. Current contracts are mostly for one album, with the option of one or two additional albums. If at all: sometimes it’s even only about singles, until an album becomes an option at all.

But if you haven’t recouped your first album, there is of course the risk that you are quickly left without a record deal again because the option is not taken.

Get professional advice!

Negotiations with a label or distributor involve many financial and legal details, so it is advisable to consult a professional (e.g. a lawyer specialising in music). There are several reasons for this: He will prevent you from being ripped off if you are offered a much too small advance or the conditions are generally bad. But he can also advise you if the advance payment is too high, but there is hardly any budget left for the promotion of the release besides the advance payment. In general, you have someone at your side who can read the numbers the label gives you (or asks for the numbers if they don’t) and can advise you accordingly. He will help you to put the contracts, which are often written in legalese that is incomprehensible to ordinary people, into a comprehensible form. So have these contracts checked, because as an artist you often commit yourself for several years, so there are long-term consequences if you sign a bad deal!

It is also advisable to get support for the tax and social security situation, for example through a trustee. If you ignore these issues for a long time and muddle through somehow, you will be in for a nasty surprise at some point. It is therefore better to seek competent advice from the very beginning.

Advances from iGroove

As mentioned above, not only record companies but also distributors grant advances. So does iGroove. Our goal is to make the process as transparent as possible and offer fair conditions to the artists. As soon as the advance is recouped, 82% go to artists and 18% remain with the distributor. Furthermore, there is no fixed contract period – the contract can be terminated at any time as soon as the advance payment is recouped or after a maximum of two years. This means that an artist can also buy out of the current contract at any time, should he or she receive a better offer. He then simply has to pay the remaining amount of the advance.

You can easily request an advance in your iGroove account.

Conclusion

Of course it sounds good if you have the possibility to get a nice amount of money for your release and in many cases of course it is. But it’s important not to be blinded by the ” fast money” and to check the offer carefully and consider if it’s really beneficial for your own career, especially in the long run. As already explained in detail, expert support is highly recommended.

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How to get your songs to the playlist of the streaming services

July 11, 2018

Several hundred million people worldwide have meanwhile signed up with the leading streaming providers such as Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer and of course especially Spotify. There are hardly any artists left who refuse streaming and the selection of music on the streaming platforms is correspondingly huge. To stand out from this unbelievable mass is accordingly anything but easy and the question “how do I actually get into these playlists?” is probably the most frequently asked one at present.

Why are playlists so important anyway?

Why are playlists so important anyway? If you make it into a playlist with a large audience reach, you automatically reach a wide audience, which often has never heard of your music and otherwise might never have come across it. If the playlist enjoys a good reputation, the listeners trust the makers and check out the songs, if they like it they will listen to more of your music and eventually they will become fans.

In the past, people wanted to be on the radio (of course, that doesn’t hurt today either!), today playlists are supposed to give their career a real boost. To underpin this with numbers: If you made it for example in one of the official Spotify playlists, the streams usually increase by 50-100%. Even if you are no longer in this playlist, the streams increase by about 20% in the following months.

What playlists are there on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer?

There are three different types of playlists:

  • Playlists created by the streaming providers themselves and curated by employees. These playlist editors or curators decide themselves which music they want to include in the genre or mood-based playlists
  • Playlists also created by the streaming providers but with an algorithm that decides which songs make it into the playlist.
  • Playlists created by users. These can be music magazines, labels, artists, bloggers, radio stations or simply music lovers. There are over 2 billion such playlists on Spotify alone.

For your music to make it into these playlists, it takes several steps and a good portion of patience.

Step 1: Digital music distribution

The first step is relatively simple: make good music and make sure that it is available on all streaming providers.

Step 2: Verify your accounts

Step two also requires little effort: Verify your profiles. How this works for Spotify and Apple Music we have already described in previous blog posts. A verification does not only make a more serious impression, the algorithms also prefer verified accounts.

Of course, verification alone is not enough: the profile must also be maintained, fed with information and kept up-to-date at all times. Think of the profile as your business card that shows the streaming providers that you understand what you are doing and that it is important to you how you present yourself on their platform.

Just like all of us, the curators are of course constantly on the move on social media searching for new music. Should they find their way onto your profile during this search, it should also be up-to-date and well maintained.

So keep your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts and your website up to date, these too are a business card. So make sure that your style runs through all your profiles.

Step 3: Increase the number of your followers

Get your fans to follow you on the streaming platforms. Also in the world of streaming it is not only about good music, no curator will put your music on a playlist if you have 2 followers and 13 monthly listeners.

Keep posting the links of your streaming profiles and ask your fans to support and follow you via social media, in your newsletter or at concerts.

Step 4: Create your own playlists at Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer

Create your own playlists. For example, you can make a playlist with all your songs (making sure that the latest single is on top). Another possibility is to create a playlist with your favorite songs. Let the bands know that you have included them in your playlist via social media.

Once the songs are available on the streaming platforms, all channels are up to date and the first playlists have been created, you can really get started.

Step 5: Playlist pitching

Curated Playlists

Pitch your songs to the curators of the streaming services. You can find more information about our service here.

Getting into the User Playlists

The greatest chance to land on a playlist of your own accord is offered by playlists created by users. As mentioned above, there are billions of these, most of which are not really of interest due to minimal listener numbers. It is therefore necessary to find the few relevant needles in this huge haystack.

That means it takes a lot of research to find the playlists that have enough reach and also fit the style of your music. Let common sense and realism prevail: as an English-speaking rapper from Austria with 16 Spotify-Followers you don’t have to ask for the US rap playlist with millions of listeners, that’s wasted time.

It is better to invest this time in searching the streaming platforms intensively for suitable playlists. You can also simply let yourself drift from playlist to playlist and note the matching ones. It certainly also makes sense to look in which playlists similar bands are in. If you have found some suitable playlists, follow them and contact the curators.

Many curators willingly give their contact details to the playlist, otherwise you can find the contact via Google. Another option to get contacts of curators are services like Chartmetric, but they are not cheap either. It is also advisable to follow the curators on the social media platforms.

In addition to playlists created by blogs, DJs or music websites, it is also worth looking for lists of “normal” users who have a wide reach. Contact to these users can be easily established via Facebook or Twitter. It is worth following the playlists for some time to see what songs are uploaded and how often they update their list.

Ready for Take Off?

Now you have a list of potential playlists and the corresponding contacts? Well, now is the time to present your music to the curators. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Send all important information and links in a clearly arranged form. This includes artist and song name, the link to the song, information about promotion, previous successes etc., if necessary a link to press photos
  • But at the same time do not get too detailed. These curators receive a lot of input and are not interested in your complete life story. What is important to them is the music, the most important key data and above all you have to be able to show them why you should be relevant for them or their playlist.
  • Do not expect to receive an answer at any time. Asking questions is of course allowed, bombing them with mails but rather counterproductive. If you want to prove your persistence, you can do so by releasing new songs and pitching them continuously, but not by asking for the same song dozens of times.

If you managed to get into some of these user playlists, the chance to make it into one of the official playlists increases.

Algorithms

Algorithm-generated playlists – most prominent examples are Release Radar or Discover Weekly – generate even more streams than man-made playlists. But of course you can’t pitch here, they are computers. To be included in such a playlist is only possible if you already generate enough streams by other means to appear on the radar of the algorithms or if you fit perfectly into a niche.

Playlist Pluggers

Another option to get into playlists are so-called playlist pluggers. Just like PR companies try to get their clients into the media, they want to put you in playlists and promise additional streams.

However, you should be very careful here, because not all offers you find on the net are really serious. Because you pay these companies for their attempt and not for the result, a lot of money can be gone pretty quickly without making it into a playlist.

Step 6: Establish a long-term relationship with the curators and editors

You made it into one or even better several playlists? Congratulations, but the work is not quite finished yet. Now it’s time to share the link to this playlist through your channels, on the one hand to show that you made it into the playlists with your music, but on the other hand also to give a small service in return to the curators.

It is important to establish a long-term relationship with the curators. In most cases you won’t end up directly in the playlists at the first requests, you have to build up a fanbase, increase the streaming numbers continuously and last but not least you have to build up a good relationship with the curators.

If you have these long-term contacts and also the corresponding number of streams, you will soon become a regular in the important playlists.

Do you have questions about playlist pitching?

Then contact our support at support@igroovemusic.com or write us in the chat.

Streaminganbieter für Musik
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7 tips for your music promotion on Instagram

May 16, 2018

Whether you like it or not, social media are part of the everyday life of musicians today. Probably the most important platform at the moment is one that had the reputation of not being particularly relevant to musicians for a long time: Instagram.

Instagram: Only for narcissists?

For many, Insta is no more than a place for self-promotion and trivial videos.

That may even be true, but then it is simply a reflection of our time. But the fact is, Instagram has very active users, is growing constantly and fast and is especially popular with younger users who are turning their backs on Facebook more and more.

This has to be accepted and you have to try to use Insta for your purposes and not just as a social media tool, but as a marketing instrument.

Instagram for musicians: One tool among many

Instagram is ultimately a tool for musicians to build a personal and emotional relationship with their fans by letting them participate in (artist) life through photos and videos.

Even though Instagram is very simple and limited in its functions, there are still many things to consider and optimize.

How to use Instagram properly as a musician

We’ve put together some tips to help you use Instagram more effectively and expand your fanbase…

Set links in Instagram correctly

Instagram helps musicians to tie the fanbase and also to gain new listeners. But of course Insta is also supposed to help to move sales and streams upwards. But especially here Instagram does not make it easy for musicians, because the use of links is enormously limited.

Where can you even use links?

  • In the Bio exactly one link can be inserted.
  • You can also add URLs to posts, but then they are not linked.
  • By means of buying ads, which costs money even though Instagram is basically even cheaper than the parent company Facebook or Adwords.

It is therefore important to always adapt the link in the Bio to the current events. Is the new album released? Then insert the Link Site! Did the new video go online? Then post the YouTube link!

Of course you can also insert URLs in the posts, but probably only few people will take the trouble to copy the URL and paste it in a new window.

We’ve done a lot of research, but we still found some ways for musicians to use and promote their music on Instagram Links.

Setting Spotify Links in Instagram Stories

Since May 2018 it is possible to provide Instagram Stories with a Spotify link. For this you need the Instragram app and the one from Spotify. There you can search for the song you want to share. Then you choose “Share” and then “Instagram Stories”. Now you can add lyrics, emojis or filters. Finally you choose “Your Story” and the story appears including a “Play on Spotify” link.

A very smart way to work around the link problem is to post the logos of the shops as a story and finally mark them as highlights so that they appear directly below the bio. You can find out how to put stories as highlights under the bio here.

But now comes the problem: At the moment it is not possible for everyone to add links to his stories. Either you have to have a verified account or you have to have a large number of followers (estimated 10,000, but Instagram does not name exact numbers). Currently, however, Instagram only verifies accounts of persons or companies (indicated by the blue check mark next to their name) that are at high risk of being copied. However, it certainly can’t hurt to ask Instagram support if you can verify your account.

If you have managed to verify your account, the disadvantage remains that the “Learn more” button is used very discreetly and probably overlooked by many. So here a hint to the link can’t hurt.

Another option is the link tool developed by Metricool: https://metricool.com/instagram-links/

Learn from the best: Look at other artists on Instagram

It is always worth learning from other artists.
So check out the accounts of your favorite bands and find out how they keep their fans engaged.

What content do they post, what hashtags are used and what special features do they use? It’s the same as with music: copying is forbidden, but inspiring is always desired.

Using hashtags on Instagram as musicians

Hashtags are much more important on Instagram than on Facebook and are not only used as a conversation method. Instagram users regularly use hashtags to find new people to follow. Instagram’s search function is also based on the hashtags that are used most often. So you should give some thought to the hashtags you use.

As a general rule, you should not set too many hashtags (up to 30 are possible per post), but at least two per post. To get as many new followers as possible using hashtags, they should be relevant and up-to-date.

Here you can find out which hashtags are trendy at the moment. To find out which of your used hashtags worked well, there are various analysis tools, but more about that in the next point.

Use analysis tools for Instagram

If you invest a lot of time in your social media platforms, you want to know which of the measures you have taken are successful and what you can avoid. Various analysis tools help to further optimize the appearance on social media.

With these tools you can find out which posts are particularly well received, which hashtags work or where the fans have interacted particularly well. Of course you can also find out a lot about your followers and there are also valuable hints how to increase the number of followers.

Further, many of these tools help you to find out exactly when it is best to post something. Both the day and the time of day can have a big impact on how many of your fans actually notice the post.

In addition, there is the possibility of scheduling. Especially if you have a clear plan, but do not have the possibility to go online at any time, such a tool can make life easier.

List of recommended analysis tools on Instagram

Some examples of such analysis tools are:

https://pro.iconosquare.com/
https://hootsuite.com
https://sproutsocial.com/
https://squarelovin.com

Not enough? Here are some more links.

Of course, most of these tools are not free, but in most cases you can test them for free before you pay anything.

Make a gift to your fans on Instagram

Who doesn’t like to win something! Instagram is also a great place to raffle off albums, downloads, t-shirts or concert tickets. Of course, ideally such a contest should also provide a good buzz or generate new followers. Therefore, it is also important to think carefully about which hashtags you want to use.

Further it needs a good, expressive picture and of course the price should also be worth something. Finally, it should be made as easy as possible for the fans to participate in the competition. Tools that help with the execution of contests are among others:

https://www.wishpond.com/hashtag-contest/
https://woobox.com/photocontests
https://gleam.io/instagram

Sync or not?

Of course it is convenient to synchronize Instagram directly with Facebook and Twitter. But if your fans follow you on all platforms, it can soon get on their nerves to see exactly the same content everywhere. So you should only post selected posts on all platforms and have a different strategy and direction for each page.

Use all possibilities as a musician on Instagram

As mentioned in the beginning, Instagram for musicians doesn’t offer dozens of features. However, those that have been added in recent years should be used occasionally. Besides photos and videos (up to 60 seconds), these are also Instagram Stories, where you can pack several photos and videos into one story. They disappear again after 24 hours. As mentioned above, under certain circumstances you can link or highlight them, so that they are not immediately gone again. Within the stories you can also insert polls (click on the smiley and then select “Poll”). So you can find out the opinion of fans about a certain topic.

A relatively new feature is Instagram Live. Here you can go live on air for up to an hour. Unlike on Facebook, this live recording is not saved in your profile afterwards. Nevertheless, this is a good tool to get in touch with the fans directly. They can also comment live and you can get in touch directly.

Again, it is important to have at least a rough plan of what you want to use this live connection for and to include a “Call to Action”.

Use Instagram Live for exclusive content, announce breaking news or alert your followers to special promotions. As mentioned before, it’s also a way to get direct feedback from your fans.

Do you have questions about Instagram for musicians?

Then contact our support at support@igroovemusic.com or write us in the chat.

Musik-Promotion auf Instagram
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Release planning – the checklist for musicians

January 8, 2018

At iGroove, we want to help our customers get the most out of every release. In order to do this, there is no way around good release planning and patience. Once you’ve finished recording your album, you would like to have it on sale immediately.

A music release needs to be well planned

However, solid planning can take anywhere from six months to a year, but the chances that your release will get the attention it deserves increase. Promotion must also be well-considered, because if you’re not an artist of the calibre of Beyoncé, you won’t be able to just throw your album on the market without notice.

For the sake of simplicity, we are assuming an album release including some singles and video singles for the release planning.

Release planning during production

Unless you’re trying to create a very mysterious image, it’s important to involve the fans in every step of the process to make them feel part of the whole. So release planning actually starts during the production.

Promote your music release in advance

Keep your fans up to date with pictures from the studio, small videos, first sound bites or whatever else comes to your mind. You shouldn’t concentrate on just one channel, but use the whole range.

Plan the release carefully

When the end of the production process is approaching, it is advisable to start with concrete release planning and to fix an (approximate) release date. As mentioned above, release planning does not start a few months before the release, on the contrary!

This 6-12 months lead time not only gives you security in planning, but also allows you to concentrate on the essentials in the decisive months before the release: to promote the release in the best possible way. Don’t forget to allow some time for unforeseen events, because they will definitely occur.

Also the targeted release date must be well thought out. January and February are recommended for independent releases. Concerning the festival season, the spring months are very popular and the competition on the market is accordingly big. June to August are considered to be the summer break – the only advantage of these months is that less competition releases.

Do not release at peak times

From September on, the releases increase significantly again and especially big names release their albums. The lucrative Christmas season is then fully major label time. You should also watch out for holidays and releases of acts that are similar to you. Of course this is only a rough guide and a rather general summary. If you are an artist who puts his priority on live activities, you should primarily plan your releases according to the tour schedule and not the season.

Our checklist for your release planning

The following checklist for your release planning should now show you which tasks should be tackled in which time frame. Again, this should be seen as a guide without general validity!

6-12 months before release

  • Create tentative budget / clarify financing
  • Apply for funding and note input data
  • Set up a detailed marketing plan (exact procedure of promotion in social networks and also outside the Internet)
  • Collect promotion contacts and compile media list
  • Update your biography
  • Writing press releases (even in times of social media, press work should not be neglected!)
  • Wherever you need help, get partners on board, for example for booking, PR, maybe even looking for a label (but then 6-12 months will be short again)
  • Tour planning / Organize record release party
  • If not yet online, set up your own website
  • Be present on all networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok etc.
  • Collect all contacts of your fans and create a list with the email addresses for your newsletter
  • Decide whether to release only digitally or also physically
  • If there should be CD, Vinyl or Tape, find the appropriate manufacturer
  • Should there be merchandise? Then have it designed, find a manufacturer and a distributor for your merchandise
  • You also have to find a distributor for your release (digital and physical). Our neutral tip for both: iGroove ;).
  • Have album covers, single covers and all graphics related to the release (e.g. banners, social media headers, flyers) created. Don’t save money here, because the artwork says almost as much about you as your music
  • Take professional photos
  • Where do I have my songs mixed and mastered? Again, it’s better to take too much time, because you might not be satisfied with the first mix.
  • Which songs are good as singles and when will they be released?
  • To which songs should videos be shot (and how many can you afford)?
  • Who do I work with for the video clips and do I already have an idea for the content?
  • Produce additional video content for promotion
  • If you have checked all the above points, you can now set a final release date and create the actual budget

3-5 Monate vor dem Release

  • Do you have all the necessary codes (ISRC / EAN / possibly label code)?
  • Shooting videos
  • Once you have the master and the artwork is finished, there is no reason to wait. Especially the vinyl manufactorers are extremely busy at the moment, which can lead to long delivery times.
  • Are there important magazines that have a long lead time (deadline)? Address them now, that you are in the issue close to the release!
  • Are the tour dates set? Then you can publish them now and start with the advance sale
  • Slowly but surely it’ s getting serious! Why not announce the release date of your album right now and upload the album to your distributor?
  • If the release is uploaded at the distribution, the songs for Instant Gratification must also be specified. Don’t forget: all pre-sales count for the first important chart week! So a long pre-sales phase has many advantages!
  • Send a newsletter to your fans and inform them about the upcoming release
  • If you also advertise in physical form (flyers, posters etc.), it is advisable to set up a Street Team.
  • Is it time for the first single, maybe even the first clip? Or do you want to heat up the fans’ anticipation with a free song ?
  • When the first single or clip is released, it’s time for the first media release (we generally recommend sending at least three media releases)

6-11 weeks before the release

  • At the latest in this period it is time for the first single
  • If you got the chance to release more than one video, now is the time for the first clip!
  • To generate additional income, you can monetize the clip.
  • To reach as many people as possible and to gain new fans, you should boost the video. Pre-roll advertising on YouTube is also possible.
  • Meanwhile the release date should be announced. Therefore the homepage has to be updated and tailored for the upcoming release. Maybe even install a countdown on the website!
  • In addition to website and social media, the profiles on Spotify, Apple Music etc. should not be forgotten. Post news here regularly as well!
  • Now that you hopefully got a hype for your release, this must be exploited. With re-marketing, you can reach the interested parties in a targeted manner and without large scattering losses. Try to collect as much data of your fans as possible in order to reach them in a targeted way.
  • Now produce the physical advertising material like flyers, stickers or posters.
  • Your fan community knows that the new album is coming. So now is the time to start the pre sale.
  • Inform your fans with a newsletter that the album can now be pre-ordered.
  • To avoid posting dozens of links, make sure you create a link site.

1-5 weeks before release

  • The release is coming closer, so now it is time to as much promotion as possible. Facebook advertising, re-marketing, banners etc. etc.!
  • In general, new content such as audio snippets, video teasers and other exclusive material must be added regularly.
  • If there is also physical promotion, it is now time to bring the flyers, posters or stickers to the people.
  • Now it is important to involve the fans. The one or other competition is certainly not wrong (Meet & Greet etc.)
  • By now at the latest, all your social media profiles and your website must be ready and in sync.
  • A few weeks before release the time has come for a new single and / or video. If necessary, put the video online the day before the single release, usually a Thursday.
  • Approach the media a second time with the single or video output
  • Another press release must be issued in the release week. At the latest then, the media should also be provided with samples of your music, so they know what they are writing about.
  • Besides the traditional media (radios, newspapers, magazines, television) don’t forget the blogs and depending on your music style it is also important to sample the DJ’s with your music, that they play it at parties, on the radio or their online sets.

On release day

  • The big day has arrived and everyone who visits one of your social media sites should notice this immediately!
  • Share your joy with your fans with a new newsletter with which you can also thank them for all pre-orders!
  • You still have money left? Well, invest it in targeted advertising, like a Facebook campaign
  • Did you have the opportunity to shoot more than two videos? Then save one for the release day to generate additional hype
  • Get drunk

After the release

  • Was your album a success? Then let everyone know! Post it on social media, send a thank you newsletter and a press release!
  • To stay in the limelight, it’s worth releasing another video a few weeks after the release
  • Always release a trailer to your videos, so you have more material for posts.
  • Did some songs not make it onto the album, but they still meet your quality standards? Then it is a good idea to release them a few weeks or months after the album. Either as a free gift to the fans, as a bonus EP or even as a deluxe edition of the album with additional songs. (Of course this has to be planned long in advance)
  • Another idea is to release remixes of some of your songs
  • Stay generally active on all channels and don’t rest, because in the fast moving music business this no longer exists!

How iGroove helps you with your release

There are many things iGroove can help you with on this checklist. We are also happy to actively support you with your release planning. Please contact us early enough (as we have seen over half a year before the planned release)!

Do you have questions about your release planning?

Then contact our support at support@igroovemusic.com or write us in the chat.

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Verify your Spotify account!

October 9, 2017

Becoming a verified artist at Spotify has never been easier! Until now you had to have 250 followers but now the offer is open to all artists and labels.

Verification of your Spotify account is easy

It’s easy to get yourself verified.

Go to the following link and answer the questions that will ensure that you are authorized to access. A few days later you are a verified artist. You can tell by the small blue check mark on your profile.

Why do I have to be a verified artist?

There are several reasons for this. Probably the most important ones are the playlists. Basically you can also be included in playlists as a non-verified artist, but the chance is much smaller. If you are verified, you will be taken more seriously, rather taken up by algorithms or even selected by the spotify curators.

Use Verified Artist Features

As a verified artist you can also make use of various features.

Insert profile picture and bio

For example, you have the possibility to insert an artist profile picture or your biography. You can also add your tour dates and even your merchandise.

Share playlists

You can also share playlists directly with your fans. You have the possibility to place songs, albums or playlists on top of your profile (Artist’s Pick).

Evaluate song analyses

Particularly valuable are the detailed analyses of your Top 1000 songs, with which you can find out exactly who is listening to your music.

More information can be found here.

Start your artist profile at Spotify

Even if you don’t need 250 followers anymore, it’s still worth motivating people to follow you on Spotify. Therefore, integrate your Spotify profile wherever you can, whether on your website, in the description of your videos or on social media.

Do you have questions about the Spotify Artist profile?

Just send us an email to support@igroovemusic.com or sign up here for a phone call and we’ll call you back.

Verified Artist Profil Spotify
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A good music cover – why it is important

September 13, 2017

Who has already delivered some releases to the shops via iGroove may have already received a message from us regarding the music cover quality. Even if one or the other might have felt so: No, we don’t do this for fun or for sadistic or other dark motives. The reason why we regularly have to reject cover images is simple: the shops have defined rules that we have to follow.

Cover up: Streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify are picky

One of these rules says that the music cover image must be delivered in the size 3000 x 3000 (see iTunes under point 17, similar to Spotify). Especially because of this admittedly quite opulent size many of the submitted music covers fail as they are pixelated.

Our tips for a good cover image

Here are some tips from our in-house graphic designer on how to avoid this:

  • It makes no sense to artificially extrapolate the images. Even the starting material must have the right size and quality.
  • Take care not to distort the album or single images (e.g. to turn a 4000×2000 image into a 3000×3000 image).
  • If an image is to be blurred as a stylistic device, make sure that all other elements (typography, logos, etc.) are sharp.
  • Many problems start with the image material. Take the pictures with a good camera and in optimal quality.
  • If you scan these images then also in the highest possible resolution / quality.
  • Note that cover images can be compressed when sent (e.g. via Skype), so there is a loss of quality.
  • In programs as for example Photoshop use the colour mode RGB (for screen) and not CMYK (for print).
  • Save the cover image in jpg format.

Album cover as an art form

That was all a bit regulatory and technical, because actually a cover is (or at least could be) one thing above all: art. A nice album cover is part of the whole artwork and ideally completes your music. Unfortunately, in our daily work we also encounter many lovelessly designed cover images. These artists seem to forget that in most cases a consumer – whether in a record store, at Spotify or iTunes – first sees the cover of your work before checking out the music.

I don’t know about you but I’ve already listened to many releases just because I liked the cover although I’ve never heard of the artist before. The opposite can also be the case; an ugly album cover or one that doesn’t fit with the music can keep many people from giving your songs a chance in the first place.        

Artwork als Teil des Releases
Artwork als Teil des Releases

An artwork is part of the release

As mentioned above, it can be that your release doesn’t even make it so far that consumers can decide whether to listen to it or not. Specifically, when the shops (or we as a stopover to them) reject the artwork.

As said before, many cover images fail because of the quality. But there are also some other points you have to consider:

  • The information on the cover must match the information you provide to us in the system. If you enter “Cats On The Street” as album title, the cover should not say “Cats”.
  • If you release a single, you may not simply use the album cover again. Each release needs a separate cover image.
  • All the information about the artists and features must match. If there is a feature on the cover, this must also be specified in the metadata.
  • If you cover the Beatles (basically covers are a tricky topic – but let’s talk about that later) you can’t simply put the faces of Paul, John, Ringo and whatever the fourth one was called on the cover of your work.
  • Anything you don’t own the rights to has no place on the album or single cover. This is especially true for logos of brands. You’re the proud owner of a Gucci purse or Yeezy sneakers – we’re happy for you, but it doesn’t belong on the cover. The borrowed Bentley doesn’t belong on the cover either nor does your beloved Hennessy bottle and just because you claim to have founded the Wu-Tang-Chapter of Plymouth doesn’t give you the right to plant the Wu logo on your artwork. If you are unsure, ask us first if it is possible (in most cases the answer is: No).
  • It is important that you also mark the explicit songs as such in the metadata, but the “Parental Advisory” note on the cover image is not mandatory. It can of course only be used if at least one song of the release is marked as “explicit”.
  • Contact information has nothing to do on the cover picture. You can store these in your artist profiles.
  • Advertising messages belong on banners but not on covers. So don’t post messages like “buy my album now” or messages like “available now”.
  • Also the product format must not be mentioned, e.g. CD, vinyl or digital.
  • Exept your own and your label’s, logos don’t belong on the cover. Especially not those of shops like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon etc.. It must also not be mentioned in the text (e.g. Now available at Spotify).
  • Barcodes: These belong on the back of a physical product and not on the cover of a digital release.
  • It’s also not allowed to put the price of the release on the cover picture (now only 1 Euro). Also forbidden are references like “Free”.
  • Pornographic images and other obscenities will also be rejected.
  • Right-wing extremist artworks will not only be rejected, the artist will also be banned for life at iGroove.

After these many prohibitions now some things you may do, to loosen up the situation:

  • There are also various rules for album and song titles (e.g. not everything may be written in capital letters). “But Kendrick is allowed to do that too! – You are not Kendrick”). The good news is: On the cover you can write everything as you like.
  • As mentioned above, each release needs a separate cover. However, it is allowed to use the same image several times as long as the text change (e.g. for singles).
  • It is also possible to upload a cover without any text. This image must not be used a second time unless text is added.
  • Under certain conditions it’s allowed to put the name of the artist you cover (the cover topic is tricky but we already had that…) on the cover if: :
    – It’s a tribute release and not just a one-off cover
    – Your artist name is noted larger than the one you cover
    – The note “Tribute to” is larger written than the name of the covered artist
  • If you want to release a karaoke release (our tip: don’t do it) you have to add following to the cover: “Originally performed by ….”.

Our last tip: Don’t just tinker something on any programs yourself but get a professional! Not only for creative reasons it is worth working with a graphic designer, but also to avoid unnecessary delays due to poor quality of the artwork.

You don’t have a graphic designer in your circle of acquaintances? No problem: iGroove also offers to create your artwork.

Do you have questions about the music cover picture?

Just send us an email to support@igroovemusic.com or sign up here for a phone call and we’ll call you back.

Musikcover
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