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How this artist grew to 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify without playlists


Published by The Supreme Team on June 25, 2020

This is an excerpt from Ari Herstand’s book How to Make It in the New Music Business (second edition).

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. 

Fast forward to today, three years later, he now has over 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify (no my finger didn’t get stuck on the zero key), over 50,000 followers on Spotify, over 200,000 Likes on Facebook, over 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. 

Success on Spotify without playlists

Oh, and he’s got no label, no manager, no publicist, no agent and is on zero official Spotify playlists

I’ll pause as you pick your jaw up from the floor.

These are real fans. Not bots. Human beings.

He showed me his Instagram inbox which is flooded with fans telling him how his music saved their lives. His music focuses on mental health awareness.


So how did he do this?

He utilized direct SoundCloud 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 SoundCloud 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 (i.e. he is very active on there – responding to comments and messages), these people who started off as passive observers turned into die hard fans.

I tested out his strategies with my project and a bunch of friends’ projects in various genres and it SoundCloud reposts across the board. 

This is not a fluke and this is not because of the kind of music he makes. 

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 SoundCloud reposts for you. Period. 

So don’t come at me with “Facebook ads don’t SoundCloud reposts!” You’re both right and wrong. And, to be honest, this strategy is not about running ads on Facebook anymore. That was so 2018! 

He did this all on his own, without the help from the industry. And he’s been largely ignored by the industry. And he’s A OK with that because he’s making a solid living and has 0% commission to pay out to anyone. 

His fans know he exists. And that’s all that matters.

But But But, Playlists!

Ok, deep breath. Despite what you might think, you do not want Soundcloud promotion real 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.

These artists are making a solid living off of their Spotify streams, but don’t have any real fans. I’ve heard of artists who were able to quit their day jobs because they got included on a few hot playlists which earned them millions of streams a month (thousands of dollars a month), only to get dropped from those playlists and have to go beg for their job back when their streams dropped to virtually zero.

It’s time to break away from the obsessive playlist mentality!

One of my favorite games to play is to guess the monthly listeners to followers ratio on an artist just by looking at their Spotify profile. Spotify, of course, displays the monthly listeners number loud and proud right there on the artist’s profile. And the number of streams for the top 10 songs. But the actual followers number is quite hidden.

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).

Real fans on Spotify

As you can see, Lucidious has nearly a 10% follower / monthly listener ratio. 

Take a few minutes (when you’re at your desktop) and check out some of your favorite artists’ ratios. Now look at some small-mid level artist ratios. And especially your friends who got included on hot playlists who you’ve been jealous of. Don’t be. Be happy for them! But also remember, monthly listeners DO NOT equal fans. And streams DO NOT equal fans.

If you want Soundcloud promotion real real fans (not just fans of the playlists you’re on), you have to utilize direct SoundCloud.

Utilizing Direct Marketing To Grow Your Audience on Spotify and Instagram

The best way to find and grow your audience is now through direct SoundCloud. Not PR. Not playlists. Not touring. Not blogs. Marketing. And you don’t need to spend that much money to do it. 

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

So how do you find where your audience is?

Utilizing Facebook and Instagram ads is the best way to do this at this moment in time. However, you do not want Soundcloud promotion real 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 SoundCloud reposts. Yes it’s complicated. Yes the backend Business Manager can be insanely confusing. But that’s the SoundCloud reposts you gotta put in if you want Soundcloud promotion real 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 SoundCloud is that once you set the ads, they go. Sure, you want Soundcloud promotion real 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. 

It’s a very exciting time to be an independent musician.

If you’d like to learn more about Facebook Advertising, Facebook has put together an introduction to advertising for musicians here.

The post How this artist grew to 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify without playlists appeared first on DIY Musician Blog.

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  • How do Reposts Work?
    1. Your song is distributed to our network of SoundCloud Influencers.
    2. Our Influencers have between 10k – 500k followers each.
    3. Influencers repost your song to their followers.
    4. Followers may (or may not) choose to play, like, comment, or repost your track.
    5. The better the track, the better it will perform.
    6. You can monitor your engagements in SoundCloud Pulse or Notifications.
    7. Reposts stay active for 48 hours.
    8. To see an example of a repost schedule click here.
  • What are you going to do for me?
    We give your release a boost by getting it in front of a real audience. We provide you with a "first wave" of engagement that you may not be able to get otherwise. What happens next is up to you and your music.
  • How long do reposts last?
    Reposts stay active for 48 hours. After the first 48 hours, your reposts are too far down the stream to be noticed. Removing them keeps an influencer's channel from being over-used and outdated.
  • Will I go VIRAL from one organic soundcloud promotion?
    The truth is, probably not. Unless you have the next “The Box” in your pocket, you are probably not going to blow up from one promotion. We are not going to bullshit our clients and make false promises. Think “Brand Building” not “Overnight Sensation.”
  • Will I get noticed by labels?
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  • How many is a million?
    The number represents the total amount of followers your song is shared with. It doesn’t mean that your track will be reposted by a million influencers.
  • Can I split an order between multiple songs?
    We require a minimum of 1 million reposts per song when splitting an order. The minimum order you can split between two songs is 2 million reposts.
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    If we can't get anyone to repost your track, we will refund all of your money.
  • Are the organic SoundCloud followers real people who will become fans?
    They are fully organic, real, living people who have downloaded other music from our fangates and given the option to follow you. Once they are following you they will receive your music in their streams and it's up to you if you connect with them and build your community. This is how to turn them into "Superfans."
  • Will they immediately like my music?
    New followers are not automatic "fans" and will probably not engage your tracks right away. You have to engage them by streaming good music, following them back, comment on their stuff, and chatting with them.  Build your community.
  • How Long does it take to gain 1000?
    Once the campaign has started, you can expect 1 week per-1000.
  • How can I track the progress of a campaign?
    Watch your organic Soundcloud followers grow on the Pulse app or in Notifications on the website.
  • Can I change the link to my profile after I order?
    No. Unfortunately, the promotions can't be forwarded. It is okay to change the title or other meta-data, just not anything that affects the link.
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