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July 2019

From 150 To 500,000 Monthly Spotify Listeners Without Playlists
By Ari Herstand for Ari's Take
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Three years ago the northern Virginia conscious hip hop artist, Lucidious, was struggling to get listeners to his music. He had about 150 monthly listeners on Spotify (no I didn’t forget a zero) with merely 45 followers, about 1,500 followers on Instagram and Facebook. And was making less than $100 a month from his music.

Today, he has 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify (no my finger didn’t get stuck on the zero key), over 50,000 followers on Spotify, 245,000 Likes on Facebook, 100,000 followers on Instagram, he’s getting around 5 million streams a month, has over 100 million total streams across all platforms and is making around $20,000 a month just from his recorded music. 

image courtesy ari's take

So how did he do this?

He utilized direct marketing strategies on Facebook and Instagram to find his audience and get them into his world. Specifically, he mastered the Facebook Business and Ads Manager and ran all different kinds of video ads targeting fans of similar artists.

They came pouring into his world and eventually he was getting fans to click his ads at around $.02 per click - putting every marketing expert to shame. Spending about $10 a day, he was pulling in around 500 new fans per day. And because his music is great and his Instagram is engaging, these people who started off as passive observers turned into die hard fans.

Yes, I know that you've probably run Facebook ads in the past and you were less than thrilled with the results. Me too. I've WASTED thousands on Facebook ads. The Facebook Ad Manager, though, is not just for Facebook ads. And if you don't know how to utilize it effectively, it won't work for you. Period.

But But But...Playlists!

Ok, deep breath. Despite what you might think, you do not want to bet the horse on getting on Spotify playlists. For one, you’re fighting against every label, every distributor, every manager and every artist for coveted playlist slots. There are only so many slots and only so many playlists. We are too obsessed with the playlist game. Playlists are fickle and do not get real FANS into your world. Yes, getting on a few hot playlists can skyrocket your monthly listeners and streaming numbers overnight. But these are not your fans. These are fans of the playlist.

Streams ≠ Fans. Monthly Listeners ≠ Fans

Just because you have a million streams does not mean you have a million fans. Same goes for monthly listeners. We are living in an era where there are artists with millions of streams on Spotify who cannot draw 50 people to their local shows.

If an artist has no fans, but tons of streams and monthly listeners, it’s because they are on super popular playlists. Just click on the About section (on the Desktop version of the app), scroll all the way to the bottom and take a look. A solid ratio is 5% (Followers to Monthly Listeners). If you want real fans (not just fans of the playlists you’re on), use direct marketing. 

Utilize Direct Marketing To Grow Your Audience on Spotify and Instagram

Right now, direct marketing is the best way to find and grow your audience.  Not PR, playlists, touring or blogs. Marketing. And you don’t need to spend that much money to do it.

Ok, what is direct marketing? It's not as scary as it sounds. Direct marketing is simply finding your audience and inviting them into your world. That's it. 

Utilizing Facebook and Instagram ads are the best way to do this at this moment in time. However, you do not want to do this blind. This is not clicking the "Boost" button on Facebook or the "Promote" button on Instagram. That’s the quickest way to throw away your money. Facebook has that button because it's so damn simple to do, they make so much money on people who don't understand how to properly utilize the Business Manager and Ad Manager.

Yes, mastering the Ad Manager takes a bit of time. But anyone can do it. You can do it. You just have to hunker down and make it work. Yes it's complicated. Yes the backend Business Manager can be insanely confusing. But that's the work you gotta put in if you want to compete. Once you learn it and get it down, the hard part is over. You can then go back to making music. The beautiful thing about direct marketing is that once you set the ads, they go. Sure, you want to monitor them, but once you get an ad that's effective, you don’t really need to touch or tweak it for awhile.

Most people who are employing these methods are gaining around 100 new Instagram followers a day (real fans, not bots) and about 500 Spotify followers every week - while spending only around $5-10/day.

So, instead of posting incessantly on Instagram and Facebook begging people to share your stuff...go directly to the people who would dig what you're doing!


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