It’s that time of year again. The time when a vast array of music blogs fight for your attention with their end of year lists, all vying to be the definitive voice on which music was the most influential.
If you use social media with any frequency, you may have noticed your social circle sharing their own listening habits and opinions. This week, Spotify launched their “2017 Wrapped” project, providing a variety of statistics on every user’s listening throughout the year including total listening time, top artists and top genres.
The increasing importance of streaming services within the music industry has been evident for some time now, Eamonn Ford of the Guardian claiming that “in 2017, if you’re not on them, you might as well not exist.” Despite some pushback from high profile artists such as Thom Yorke and Neil Young, it is evident that streaming sites are here to stay and getting your music on these platforms is an essential endeavour for any artist who hopes to compete.
However, the “total time listened” feature of 2017 wrapped shows just how widely used Spotify, in particular, is for music consumers. My own personal time amounted to 36,349 minutes, or around 25 days! Even at that, I’ve seen numerous friends with higher numbers and with Spotify alone having over 140 million active users,the amount of music being consumed is massive. This shows the vast potential for music to be heard on Spotify, which is particularly vital for small and unknown artists, for whom getting people to bother checking out a track can seem like a mammoth task.
The change in listening methods brought on by streaming has also seen a move away from albums and towards playlists which means single tracks are more important than ever. Being featured on influential playlists can give previously unknown artists worldwide exposure almost overnight. A recent example is former AMS apprentice Lewis Capaldi, who’s first single, “Bruises” was released in March and has now racked up over 30 Million streams on Spotify alone after generating a huge online buzz, taking him around the world playing shows.
For any musicians unsure about getting their tracks on streaming services, whether due to lack of confidence, being unsure about the process or being worried about the expense, I would highly recommend looking into it. I have listed some of the most widely-used distributors below, which offer a variety of packages and often let the artist keep 100% of royalties earned. Digital distribution is fairly inexpensive and essential to a musician’s career in the modern music landscape!