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Music Promotion

Spotify Promotion For A Payout Cut? 4 Artists Offer Solid Insight!

Recently Spotify published a post titled Amplifying Artist Input in Your Personalized Recommendations, announcing a new “experiment”, the gist of which means allowing artists to enjoy a boost in algorithmic playlists in exchange for a payout cut. The official post is quite vague on the details, with no mention of exactly what kind of Spotify promotion you’d be getting for how much of a payout cut. Indeed, Spotify has no shortage of criticism for their dire payouts to artists, are simultaneously the undisputed champion for music discovery. This is why I thought it would be the perfect topic to discuss with some artists and learn how they’re planning to approach the upcoming feature.

Joey Maker

“I think it’s an interesting idea that I’m tentatively quite hopeful about, but I’m reserving my final judgment until we understand all the details and see how it works in practice. Compared to some of the other social media platforms, I do like two key aspects:
  1. Listener satisfaction is still said to be Spotify’s top priority and they will pull promoted content that doesn’t perform, meaning hopefully we don’t see a huge uptick in junk songs.
  2. Because the “budget” for the Spotify promotion is linked to an ongoing piece of your royalty rate and not to an upfront campaign payment, it feels like a fairer playing field that doesn’t lock out newer artists or artists with smaller budgets.
 Things that I feel they have to get right:
  1.  Being very, very discerning about how and where these recommendations creep into the listener experience. I currently have a lot of trust for Spotify as a listener, and I don’t want to see it become something like the wasteland of promoted content that Facebook has shifted into. If it can be done in the right way – subtly mixing in promoted content where it would naturally fit amongst existing recommendations – I can see it working out.
  2. Not making artists feel like they are being punished/falling behind if they choose not to engage with this service. Imagine if things like Release Radar, Discover Weekly, etc start being penalized if you don’t pay-to-play – not good. Again, Facebook is the prime example of a model to avoid: every artist has felt the pain of their organic reach on FB dropping down to almost zero. I also think ensuring complete separation of this feature from other curated aspects of Spotify (such as editorial playlists) is really important and should be well highlighted. It should be another way to get your music heard, and not a new barrier to entry for existing avenues.
artist joey maker

Joey Maker is a hip-hop artist from Sydney, Australia. Check out Joey Maker on Spotify.

I’ll definitely try it out. As someone whose primary revenue stream is not music, I am fortunate enough that I can take a look at this without hurting my bank account, so it’s something I will explore early and monitor to see how the results fare. I’m curious to see how this plays out for major artists. Given that this impacts them to a higher degree based on the number of streams, will they stay away from the feature? I think a lot of it ultimately comes back to how Spotify incorporates it to ensure a fair playing field.

Please Spotify, don’t be evil. I believe in you”

Alan Dreezer

“The algorithmic playlist feature on Spotify is of course an individual choice. For me, it’s something I would seriously consider as reaching a wider audience is my priority, not necessarily financial gain. We all know 40,000 songs per day are uploaded to Spotify and regardless of the quality of songwriting and production standing out from the crowd is getting more and more difficult. I think it’s something that if done strategically could work in building a following but I also think the priority for the streaming services should be paying a better flat rate to everyone rather than finding another way to make more for themselves.”

alan dreezer spotify

Alan Dreezer is a synth-pop singer-songwriter originally from Essex, UK, currently living and making music in Spain. You can check out more of his work on

Cesar F Parker

“To be honest, I wonder how the major companies still survive in the business. And in fact, continue to rule the music business. We see how independent artists get signed as soon as they make it big. In my opinion, that’s because they make things a lot easier for the artist.

We’ve all watched how our “jobs” got progressively multidisciplinary. Today, it’s no longer enough to be singing, writing, or mixing. You need the whole pack to be successful. Not to mention photos, videos, and of course music & Spotify promotion.

Major record labels have basically turned into music promotion machines. Yet they continue functioning more or less in good financial health. Therefore, after Spotify dominated the music distribution market, offering a Spotify promotion deal to artists similar to how labels work was the next logical step for them to own a bigger share of the cake.

artist cesar parker

I don’t see this move as anything revolutionary. For me, music has already been damaged from every angle.  Songs are no longer part of larger concepts. Now it’s all about individual singles and videos. If your goal is getting bigger in this game, it can definitely help. But keep in mind that this is “The New Game”, where income is mainly from other sources & activities. When numbers are everything, exposure is king. So I think it can help. Get big playing their game, then look to sign a more favorable deal. More or less… As it always has been.”

Cesar is a singer-songwriter from Madrid, Spain. Find out more about him on

Brett Schieber

“I feel like it’s really hard to get above all the other noise out there & obviously getting more plays on Spotify would be a great help. Despite feeling as if I’m screaming into a void, I don’t feel it’s right to give Spotify a cut from the minuscule royalties I’d get anyway. So, there’s a bit of conflict of interest, so I just can’t see myself doing it.”

Brett Schieber is a multi-instrumentalist behind numerous musical projects. Among some of them are his band called Arcanum and a learning program he has for kids called Mark D Pencil.

brett scheiber spotify

Spotify Promotion for Payout Cut: Conclusions

Despite the details of the new feature not being clear, most artists I spoke to seem to be eager to at least give it a try. At a time when it’s easier than ever to produce and publish your own music, the rate of new music being released is unprecedented. Some artists have even resorted to Facebook Ads for music promotion. And with Spotify acting as the gatekeepers of popular music, it’s understandable why Spotify Promotion is invaluable to artists, despite the cost.

If you’re looking to promote your music without giving up on any revenue, there are a few features you can try today. Check out my guide on Spotify Canvas, where I discuss how to create and publish your first canvas.


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