Hi. My name’s Monica Moser and I like to write about the year’s most important films, notable moments in pop culture, and, Billie Eilish.
But among my many hats, one of them is an employed member of the music industry in a very important, timely niche: streaming promotions.
In fact, the company I work for is literally called Streaming Promotions. We love being on the nose.
We get a lot of FAQs from our community and so I decided to embody one of these inquiring folks and ask our CEO Michael Sloane (or simply Sloane, as his pals call him) some of the most important questions an artist can ask themselves and the company they want to work with in the streaming space.
Sloane cut his teeth with echomusic (later acquired by Ticketmaster) and later Live Nation Artists, seeing the digital revolution unfold for artist such as The Rolling Stones, Kanye West, John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, and Brooks & Dunn.
He later focused on digital strategy and ecommerce optimization with Taylor Swift (13 Management) and was most recently the Director of Interactive for Big Machine Label Group (Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, etc.) As the release of projects began to change from album purchase to consumption, Sloane sought out a better vehicle for artists to maximize the exposure for their releases. It was during this transition that he left BMLG and started Streaming Promotions.
So…he knows what he’s talking about. Let’s dig in.
Monica: How do I know if a streaming company is legit or not?
Sloane: Anything that is “guaranteed” is usually a pretty good sign. If a company says they can guarantee 100k streams it’s likely that these are “botted” or not legitimate streams, guaranteed playlist adds is usually either adds to lists that are owned by the company (and sometimes also botted) or they are paying for placement on playsts.
Monica: How do I know if your streams (and audience engagement) are real or fake?
Sloane: The best way is to look at the artists full catalog. If the top track has tens / hundreds of thousands of streams, but the rest of the catalog has minimal engagement, it is likely that the top track was botted. I also look at the location of the audience. If a US based artist has South Asia, Brazil or India as a top market and the music doesn’t sound like something that would be listened to in those areas, I assume something is amiss.
Monica: How do I get on playlists and/or contact curators?
Sloane: There’s nothing magical about what we do at Streaming Promotions. We research playlists that are gaining traction and cross reference the playlist curator with social media, etc. and reach out to tell them about us and what we do. Hopefully that begins a conversation and ultimately a relationship with our promotion team where they are willing to listen to our client’s music.
Monica: How should I release my music to get the most life out of it on Spotify?
Sloane: The life cycle of spotify is 3–4 months on any given release. That’s how long your music will be viable within the algorithms and be considered for editorial playlists. It’s always best to have a wide strategy on any release. What is happening with PR, partnerships, touring, etc. A rising tide lifts all boats, and Spotify should be one element of a release strategy.
Monica: How do I get on editorial lists?
Sloane: Submitting your music through the artist portal 10 days to 2 weeks prior to the release will get the music over to editorial. Growing your audience and monthly listeners will help drive the algorithms (Streaming Promotions hopes to help with that.)
Monica: How do I maintain steady growth and engagement on Spotify?
Sloane: The best strategy for steady growth and engagement is to continually release music. I would advise a minimum of 3 releases per year at most 4 months apart. This continues to “feed the beast” and give your fans time to engage with your music and look forward to more (without forgetting about you)
Monica: What are algorithmic playlists and how do I trigger them?
Sloane: I definitely wish the algorithms were published so we knew all the factors that go into them. The biggest indicator we have found is an increase (or sustained) monthly listener number. We also know that independent playlist adds, associated artists, and release date all play a factor in Release Radar, Discover Weekly, Daily Mood, etc.
Monica: What else should I be doing outside of playlisting? / What PR strategies should I be implementing alongside a streaming campaign?
Sloane: A “traditional” release strategy should still be applied to any release. Press / blogs, appearances, partnerships, social media campaigns, touring, etc. The goal of any release is to gain and grow audience, hoping to convert fans along the way that will follow you throughout your career. Casting a wide net where fans are is the best way to do that. Streaming platforms are a great place to do that as well, but it’s not the only place. Think about where else music discovery can happen and map a campaign around those places.
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