November 30, 2023

Is Spotify Making it Impossible For Indie Artists to Promote Their Music?

Is Spotify Making it Impossible For Indie Artists to Promote Their Music?

Welcome to the 3 strikes nightmare, a punishment for non-label artists trying to get their music to the next level.

Image created by Author (Fer Rivero)

Let’s be fully honest: Spotify is awesome (if you’re not an artist).
As of the third quarter of 2023, Spotify had 226 million premium subscribers worldwide, up from 195 million in the corresponding quarter of 2022. Spotify’s subscriber base has increased dramatically in the last few years and has more than doubled since early 2019.

Considering their price increase worldwide and that they generated a revenue of over 11.7 billion euros in 2022, yet they’re still paying less and less to artists every year, we can confidently see how Spotify is ruled by the big labels and their signed artists.

Here is how much they pay per song (numbers change based on the listener’s country and time listening to the song).

Introducing “The 3 Strikes Ban”

In the past weeks, Spotify silently introduced a new way to stop artists from using Bots, the 3 Strikes.

For all those Independent artists using Distrokid, they might receive a new notification upon login, telling them certain tracks (those that are more viral) have been flagged due to the use of Bots. Here comes the fun part, many artists with their songs being promoted by Spotify playlists have also been flagged, proving that Spotify itself is full of bots and the problem never began with artists, but with their sign-up process.

Any person seeking to promote their music and reach new audiences is simply doomed since paying to be put on playlists is illegal, paying to be listened to is illegal, and even those few lucky ones getting chosen to be in a playlist can be flagged for things out of their control.

The “good news” is, if you get 3 strikes, your song will be taken out and you can pay a 10$ fine to get it back (almost the same price as a month of subscription to recover your song…)

Then, how can you promote your music?

Ultimately, all these “ways” Spotify keeps finding to stop bots in their platform are leading to labels being the only ones capable of reaching new audiences through direct cooperation with Spotify and massive amounts of investment in their artist.

This leads you to the only way possible, pursue growing your Fandom outside of Spotify and hope they’ll find the time and passion to go and support you in their ocean of 35.000 new songs being uploaded every day to their platform, cutting the possibilities for new and smaller artists without big budgets.

In the end, Spotify wants external users to subscribe and pay, forcing artists to convince users to subscribe to Spotify Premium and listen to you over and over (but not on repeat, since that’s also considered as Bots) :P

Our professional Advice

Find a small team or a good marketer who will help you build your audience and don’t seek “fast ways”. Community building takes time, and you need years of combined to make people love you.
If you have 12 people listening to you monthly, celebrate it. Once it goes to 15, celebrate it as well!
Our team has many years of experience in the music industry, go ahead and send me a DM via IG to @ferriveromusic so we can start seeing how to help you!

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