STEP ONE: GET YOUR MUSIC ONTO THE PLATFORM
It may seem obvious, but artists can’t reap the benefits of the streaming explosion without showing up in the first place. Unlike SoundCloud, YouTube, and Bandcamp, subscription services like Spotify don’t let you hit an “upload” button and share tracks for free. In most cases, the artist’s record label handles distribution, but for independent, unsigned acts, a third-party service like TuneCore, CDBaby or DistroKid will be required to get songs and albums onto Spotify (as well as Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal, and a long list of other streaming services).
TuneCore and CDBaby both charge $50 per album (TuneCore is $30 for the first year), but TuneCore charges an annual renewal fee. DistroKid starts at $20 per year for unlimited uploads, so that’s probably the best route to go for newer, unproven artists. Each of these services has their own perks and service tiers, so it’s worth reading up on each of their pricing models before committing. From there, it’s as simple as uploading lossless, high-quality audio files (an MP3 won’t cut it), album art, and some simple meta data to publish each release across the internet’s various digital music services and stores.
Of course, Spotify and other music services contain a massive sea of tens of millions of tracks and hitting the upload button simply adds another droplet to that ocean. Getting your music heard requires a bit more work.