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How to Rise Through the Spotify Charts


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Caleb J. Murphy
Caleb J. Murphy
Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter/producer based in Austin, Tx. His music has been on NBC, NPR, and licensed by hundreds of indie creators.
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Is it realistic to think you can climb up the Spotify Charts? It’s definitely possible. But should you even care? Do the Spotify Charts actually matter?

Are Spotify Charts Really That Important?

As of February 2021, Spotify revealed they had 345 million monthly active listeners and is projected to have 427 million monthly active users by year’s end. Spotify is the most powerful streaming platform in the Western world. 

So as a music discovery tool, Spotify is the place to be. I shouldn’t have to say this, but your music needs to be on Spotify if it isn’t yet.

+How This Artist Got 100 Million Spotify Streams Without Playlists?

Now, Spotify has its own Charts. It’s kind of the same idea as the Billboard Hot 100, but the way it ranks their charts is solely based on traction on Spotify (Billboard Hot 100 tracks multiple streaming, airplay, and sales reports for its chart). And Spotify is the dominant streaming platform, its Charts are an accurate way to see what music is hot today.

As you can guess, the top 100-200 artists on Spotify Charts are often seen on the Billboard Hot 100, like Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, etc. But there’s also a Viral 50 tab you can view that lists several artists you may not have heard of. 

So if your new track starts to take off, this Viral 50 is where you could end up. 

Spotify Viral Formula

But how does Spotify figure out whose songs are “viral” enough to get listed on this chart? Well, it’s not clear.

“These numbers are generated using a formula that protects against any artificial inflation of chart positions,” Spotify says. And that’s about all they say on this.

They do note that the formula could lead to data looking “different from other reported stream numbers we share (e.g. in Spotify for Artists, the desktop app, and other custom usage reports).”

But we know this: lots of song streams, playlist adds, and saves makes the algorithm show it to more people, which then leads to more streams. 

+Spotify Removed Your Music, Now What

Now, the songs on Viral 50 have millions of streams. So if one of your songs gets enough traction to make it on Viral 50, showing up on this chart won’t really make or break your career. You’ve already got a ton of people listening to your music. 

But getting on this chart can get the attention of some more industry people, which could lead to more opportunities. And of course, this gives you bragging rights. Put “Listed on Spotify’s Viral 50 Charts” on your EPK.

So instead of trying to game the Spotify Charts, it’s better if you focus on growing your Spotify following and getting your music in front of as many people as possible. And if you end up on Spotify Charts, then great.

Tips and Tricks for Growing Your Spotify Presence

When Spotify first launched in the United States, the metrics were meh. Fortunately, they’ve gotten better, and that’s good news for us musicians. 

They launched Spotify for Artists, which is where you can see a bunch of your stats, like streams, saves, and what playlists your songs have been added to. And these stats are important to pay attention to because they tell you how people are finding your music and which songs resonate with most people.

Spotify for Artists Product Manager Emily White summed it up nicely:

“Access to this information enables you to make data-informed decisions about how you market your songs, who you collaborate with, and where in the world to tour and promote your music,” she said.

So let’s talk about how to use these metrics to improve your following and streams on Spotify.

Organic Growth on Spotify Charts

The most rewarding (and effective) way to garner buzz on Spotify is organically. 

So here are a few non-paid ways to increase your presence on Spotify…

The first and most obvious way is to ask your fans to listen, save, and share your new track. Post on social media. Email your subscribers. You have to let them know you have music out!. Some fans just want to know how exactly they can support you, so tell them.

One of the best methods that helps you start off strong with a new release is using pre-saves. This is when your fans save your song to their library or playlist before it comes out. 

Then on release day, Spotify will see your song already has a bunch of saves and is on some listener playlists. That triggers the algorithm to show it to more people initially.

This can then lead to Spotify playlist editors taking notice and adding your song to Spotify editorial playlists, like Discover Weekly, Your Daily Mix, and Release Radar. (Just know, in order to get on these editorial playlists, you have to distribute your song at least four weeks before the release date). 

Collaborate with Other Musicians

Not only is it fun to create music with other people, but it’s also a way to cross-promote each other. 

Find an artist whose music and artistry you respect and who has a similar-sized Spotify following. Then hit them up. DM them on social media or find their email address on their website. And pitch the idea of co-writing/co-producing a song and split everything 50/50.

Now, if you can team up with a musician who has a bigger Spotify audience than you, then that’s great for you. But working with an artist on your level is more likely and will still expose your music to their fans (and vice versa).

When you release this collab, if you’re both headline artists (both of your names are listed as the “Artist”) then it will appear on both of your Spotify profiles and notify all of your Followers in their Release Radar playlist.

Paid Growth on Spotify

Whenever you pay to grow your Spotify audience, you need to be very careful. 

There are scammers out there who promise listeners, but in reality, they just get bots to stream your music. And not only is that unethical, but you also can’t rely on paid bots to grow a sustainable music career. 

+Spotify Playlist Pitching Review of Playlist Push

One of the most effective strategies to grow your Spotify following and stream count is to use Facebook ads. Lucidious used this method and got 100 million streams without any Editorial playlists.

+Learn How to Use Ads To Grow Your Following in Ari’s Take Academy’s Streaming and Instagram Growth

How he did this (and how you can too) is by learning all about Facebook Business and Ads Manager. Then he ran video ads targeting fans of similar artists. 

But wait, wouldn’t you just end up spending more money on Facebook ads than you would earn in streaming payouts? Well, initially, yeah. 

But, for example, Lucidious was spending about $10 a day and earning about 500 new fans a day. And fans don’t just stream one of your songs once and say “bye.” They stream many (or even all) of your songs multiple times, buy your merch, subscribe to your email list, and buy concert tickets. 

This method grows your Spotify following, which can lead to you hitting the Spotify Charts. But more importantly, it helps you build your fanbase, moving you toward a career in music.

It was not easy for Lucidious to get to 100 million streams. But he did it, and so can you. 

Pay to Submit Your Songs to Spotify Playlisters

Another way to spend a little money to substantially grow your Spotify following is to pay to submit your songs to Spotify playlisters.

But why would you pay playlisters just to listen to your new song when you could contact playlisters directly for free?

First of all, it’s time-consuming to find playlisters that would like your music, then find their contact info, then submit your music. So paying to access these playlisters could be worth it.

Plus, some playlisters only accept submissions through pay-to-submit platforms like SubmitHub. (Before you use SubmitHub, however, make sure you read Ari’s in-depth review).

Overall, if you want to get on the Spotify Charts, just focus on growing your Spotify following (with humans, not bots). Getting on Spotify Charts probably isn’t going to make or break your career because, by the time you have enough streams to get there (millions), you’ll be set already.

So if you do want to get on Spotify Charts, it won’t be easy. To move in that direction though, you first and foremost need great music. Then use the methods in this post and see which ones work best for you.

About The Author

Caleb J. Murphy
Caleb J. Murphy
Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter/producer based in Austin, Tx. His music has been on NBC, NPR, and licensed by hundreds of indie creators.

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