Tom Tikka's tips for success on Spotify

Tom, you have a very healthy 5,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Do you have any tips for our readers on how they can find success on Spotify?

I’m not sure if there is a clear-cut or simple answer to this question. Success on Spotify is a combination of a lot of things. I think the first realization that indie musicians must come to is that their job isn’t just to make music if they crave for any level of success, it’s actually mostly marketing! I know so many that are hellbent on writing that one magical song that’s going to be a game changer for them. They actually believe that it’s all about the song, a real firecracker you release on streaming platforms and then a few weeks after that you hit the national Top 10. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Your song won’t even be found most likely … at least not without proper marketing.

I had an artist ask me once...

"Tom, why isn’t my song getting more streams? It’s embarrassing, only my grandmother is listening."

I told him he needs to spend thousands on promoting it and before he does that, the song needs to be professionally mixed and mastered.

SPotify Infographic

You see, another problem is that thanks to all the aggregators, anyone with any level of ability or talent can release anything they want. And in my experience, very few indie artists have an accurate understanding of their ability or talent. I’ve met some who are immensely talented but I’ve met quite a few who think they are better than The Beatles and can’t really even play or sing properly! In terms of songwriting, one thing I learned during the decade I spent as a major-label songwriter is that it’s a great idea to ask for feedback and take it on board. I keep doing that, even when I don’t have to, and it has benefitted me a great deal. That’s how you find that hit record and drop the tunes that are meant to be forgotten. I write hundreds of songs and out of that bunch I usually find a few really good ones.

Anyway, if one is to get to the point where they have a great song and it’s professionally recorded and finished, after that it’s all about using the right Spotify marketing services. Some work better than others and some you shouldn’t really use at all. Any legit Spotify pitching service will cost you dearly. The ones that are cheap are usually all about bots and can result in your releases taken down from Spotify. It’s like with everything in life: if you want cheap and good, you need to buy two separate products.

Having said that, Spotify success is also about getting reviewed in influential music blogs that have their own independent playlists and a hefty readership that follows their recommendations. This is every bit as important as Spotify marketing. And this is where quality comes into play. You won’t get into the Top 100 music blogs with substandard recordings and lackluster songs­ – obviously, the same thing is true for Spotify’s editorial playlists.

And also, it’s good to keep in mind that the reputation of an artist is built on the road. I wish I could tell you that there are shortcuts but there aren’t.

But to things that you can do easily. You should start boosting your song on Spotify a few days ahead of its release. Then boost it heavily in the first few days after release. Invest about a thousand pounds to give the song a liftoff through reputable organic Spotify promotion services. This will help Spotify algorithms to discover it and if you’re lucky, the song will get picked up by an editorial playlist.

In addition, remember to activate your Spotify for Artists channel and pitch your music to Spotify’s editorial team through your artist account. This must be done prior to release. Once the song is out, the opportunity is lost, so don’t forget to do this. It costs nothing. Spotify for Artists is a useful channel and has worked for me wonderfully.



Thanks for the Guest Blog Tom, I'm looking forward to your next contrbution!

In the meantime check out this video from Tom and the Missing Hubcaps, Rainbows and Dead Flowers