How I Got 1000 Spotify Followers in 7 Days

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on this giveaway from Taylor Davis, and was blown away by what I saw:

Taylor Davis contest

With almost two days left, she racked up over 3K entries, just by giving away a few CDs! All that social media action probably cost her $100 — $50 for the CDs plus shipping, and $49 to host the competition through Gleam.

My Gleam Giveaway

I knew I had to get in on that, but I didn’t have a new CD handy, so I partnered with ROLI to give away something even better: a Seaboard Block.

It made perfect sense for my audience, as ROLI gear and the Seaboard Block in particular appear in several of my little performance videos, like this one:

After two video calls and a half dozen emails, we came up with this:

Gleam ROLI Color Theory contest

You’ll notice I opted to hide the total number of entries. I don’t have any data to back up that decision, but as Han Solo and I always say, “Never tell me the odds!”

You may be wondering how we came up with those particular entry methods, out of the insane number of choices:

entry methods

Our initial plan was to focus on Instagram, but recent API changes forced Gleam to remove follow actions for both Instagram and Facebook. Instead, ROLI opted for email signups and app downloads.

I went with Spotify follows and email signups. Spotify actions are available starting on the $49 Pro Plan, but I could’ve just as easily gone with SoundCloud for only $10:

SoundCloud options

Two other features of the $49 Pro Plan stood out to me:

  • Smart Post Entry Emails. Each entrant receives an email to confirm their entry and let them know the other ways they can enter.
  • Viral Share Action. Entrants gain extra entries by sharing a personalized contest link. It only counts when someone else actually enters.

We blasted a link to the contest out on email, our social channels, and even as a widget in the sidebar of Passive Promotion. A week and a few social media reminders later, here are the results:

contest results

The moral of the story? Put your most desired actions first! If I could do it again, I’d put the email signup options below the Spotify follow and app download.

Gleam selected the winner for me at random: Aaron Melon of Denver, Colorado. ROLI and I followed up with him by email to deliver the prizes.

After that, we emailed our new subscribers to announce the winner and to offer a discount code, since they obviously expressed an interest in the Seaboard Block and/or my albums.

And that was a wrap! Gleam made it painless. I expected to have to walk people through the entry process or even record a video demonstration, but I didn’t receive a single question or complaint.

Should you decide to give Gleam a try, please support the site by using my referral link. Don’t forget to share your results in the comments!

UPDATE 10/3/18: Gleam just posted a detailed case study on our promotion, with lots more details and plenty of advice for musicians.

UPDATE 1/31/20: After over a year and a half, 1163 of the 1693 who subscribed to my mailing list are still subscribed.

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

39 Comments

    1. They have templates!?!? That might have saved me some time. Nope, I built it from scratch. It’s such a deep platform, which is why I didn’t walk through the creation process like I usually do.

  1. I’ve got some thoughts/questions.

    Of the 1,693 new sign ups for your mailing list, how was your open rate, and did you get a lot of unsubscribes right away? I’m wondering how many people signed up because they were genuinely interested in your music, vs. how many just wanted to increase their odds of winning the Seaboard Block. You mentioned that you sent discount codes to new subscribers. Did you see any sales from that tactic?

    My main concern is the Spotify impact. I’ve looked at your stats. I have fewer followers than you, but whenever I put out new music, I get a big spike in listeners and streams on release day. I see you released a single on June 1st, but I don’t see a corresponding bump in listeners or streams that day, even though your followers had increased dramatically by this point due to the promotion. You should have been on at least 3,000 Release Radar playlists! In fact, as your follower count rises, your listener and stream counts seem to trend downward (until a little spike on June 4th). Again, I’m wondering if these new followers ended up being people who just wanted to win the Seaboard Block, but not REALLY interested in your music, or maybe not even active Spotify users.

    So the big question is this: do you think inflating your follower count with users who may not actually be fans, or even listeners, might end up hurting you in the long run, in terms of Spotify algorithms and such?

    1. Great question Jason!

      Keep in mind it’s only been three days, but so far the open rate is an impressive 35%! The CTR to my new song isn’t so impressive though, at only 6%. I flat out invited them to unsubscribe in the email, but so far only 58 have.

      I haven’t seen any sales from the discount code. Bandcamp sales are few and far between these days.

      My Spotify numbers are overshadowed by my inclusion on one large playlist and the fact that I saw a big spike from Discover Weekly the Monday before the release. The smaller spike on June 4 is again from Discover Weekly. Maybe I’ll see a bump from Release Radar today? Who knows.

      As for how it affects Spotify algorithms, your guess is as good as mine. Worst case, Release Radar played the song to a bunch of disinterested people who skipped it, and as a result Spotify pulled it from the Release Radar playlists of genuine fans.

      Right now the new song shows 426 plays to 302 listeners with 88 saves, a 29% save/listener ratio. The song on that huge playlist has 13.9K streams to 8.7K listeners with only 710 saves, an 8% ratio. So at least by that metric, the new song is performing much better. Yet the one in the playlist gets featured on Discover Weekly.

    2. This is all very interesting. But how are you viewing someone else’s Spotify stats? Chartmetric? Been trying to do this for a while, would love to know how you are figuring this out (hopefully not by simply checking every day and keeping counts yourself lol).

      1. Hey Bruce! All that stats in the comment you replied to are my own, unless I’m missing something. Chartmetric tracks a lot of that stuff though, viewable by anyone!

  2. Really interesting idea here and the results seem quite good. Might have to give this a go, once I have something to give away.

    I’ve been working on promo a lot lately and your articles have been really helpful on what to try and what to avoid. I owe you a really big thanks for that.

    I’m curious if you’ve tried streamingpromotions for spotify growth? I see you’ve tried this giveaway idea and playlist push, I’m wondering how those compared. I mostly do instrumental guitar and I wasn’t really inspired to try playlist push after exchanging a few emails with them.

    1. Happy to help!

      I haven’t tried Streaming Promotions, but their website doesn’t inspire confidence. Everything is copyright 2017 and some pages aren’t working. Their latest blog post is from October. I don’t see any pricing.

      So my spidey sense is tingling.

      1. Streaming Promotions is 2000 dollars for a campaign of 2 months, which is basically writing emails to curators that he knows and contact them via Facebook etc. I know because… some of the curators he contacted are my friends. Sorry Charles, is the truth.

  3. You added 1000 followers who wan’t to win the expensive Seaboard block.
    The difference between youre Campaign and Taylors is that she gives away her own music.
    This is crucial!I Repeat her own music so the only people who are really interested in winning that are her real fans.
    As you mentioned in you article you didn’t have a cd available so you chose for giving away the Rolis Seablock.
    With that campiain you attracted people who stroll of the internet looking for campaigns with a change to win a product with value for free.In youre case alot of value!
    So you attracted mostly a bunch of vultures.
    I dont’t understand youre decision not to show the data of total entries?That is data that very fital i would say.
    Second thing is now that youre spotify stats don’t add up , you can;t really see youre improvements or trends in spotify stats because the numbers dont’represent the facts anymore.
    Not a big issue but heaving have data statistics that represent reliable numbers is very important to compare and analyze youre trends and progression and so on.

    1. I appreciate the comment, and can connect and relate to the spirit of what you’re saying, but you’re mistaken on several points:

      1. The giveaway was for the Seaboard Block AND all 9 of my albums

      2. As I explained in my reply to Jason above, the open rate from that group is very high, and unsubscribes low

      3. The big screenshot towards the end of the article shows all the data, including total entries, actions, and users

      You are correct that my Spotify numbers aren’t showing a clear improvement from the contest. They are at an all-time high overall, but that’s mostly due to a huge playlist add and Discover Weekly.

  4. That huge playlist youre on is :”Synthwave from space” curated by AOFD3 ,this asshole charges music artist money to get on it.Wich is illegal but hey i read that some curators are asking up to 2500$ FOR A SINGLE SONG to be pLaced on a massive independed curated SPOTIFY playlist.It is what it is , the music bizz was and will allways be shady.I myself will never give a cent to anybody to promote my music.That said , what others do is not something that i can controle so i just keep doing what i love doing since 3 years.And that’s simply making music that i like and keep improving myself.I have 8 followers on spotify (my mom wont follow me, she doesn’t like the fact that i make music )and everytime i gain 1 it means the world to me.ALso the numbers stats, plays , likes etcetera are important but focusing on making the best music you can and like yourself is what it’s all about, amen.

    Oh yeah and following yourself is so not cool. :——)))))))

    Cheers!

    1. There was no charge beyond the dollar at SubmitHub, though I don’t think legality would be an issue regardless. And I’m not sure if I follow myself on Spotify or not, but I can’t imagine anyone would care. I’m curious where you get this stuff? 😉

    2. A-10 I hear your gripe but it sounds like youre in the wrong business bro ,Marketing is important sorry that even your mom wont support you thats gotta suck lol

  5. Sorry but i have to jump in here. I dont know where this A-10 kid got his information from but these are wrong.
    I never placed a song for money. I also dont take merch or any kind of candy.
    If i hear a song, i like it and fits in a playlist, i accept it. Thats it, end of the story.

  6. Hey MR Asshole AOFD3,

    you are on submithub receiving payments from music artist for the option to be placed on some youre playlist(s) .

    Receiving payments for ‘consideration’on playlist is fraud and illegal.

    iT’S the new Payola.Just like SPotlister service.
    Dont act like a child that you don’t know right from wrong.

    And the reality is that paying any amount of money for playlist inclusion — even access to the playlist curators themselves — means that other worthy artists aren’t getting included or even considered.
    Also the music artist who use these services like submithub are part of the problem beacuse they keep it going and make them bigger.
    What the fuck happend to u guys , were is youre self respect?!
    I guess ya all lost it a long time ago.

    1. Okay, no. You have no idea what you’re talking about, legally or ethically.

      Receiving payments to audition material is not fraud. Nobody is paying for playlist inclusion. That’s the key distinction you seem unable or unwilling to make.

      Look, I’ve been on both sides of this. As a curator, I was making less than $10 per hour, and felt like I had to compromise on the quality of my playlist to at least include the occasional submission. I decided it wasn’t worth it.

      Keep in mind my playlist has just over 500 followers. I can’t imagine trying to keep up with the kind of volume that someone with multiple playlists with tens of thousands of followers must receive.

      Bottom line, it’s a buck. SubmitHub gets half. Getting paid $0.50 to listen to a song is 10% of what I used to pay to Taxi for every submission, and that’s not factoring in the annual fee. Songwriting competitions are $35-50 and up to submit to, even if that means filtering out worthy artists. Even for $3 submissions, SubmitHub is a bargain.

  7. Due , youre so full of shit .
    Ask spotify or any respectfull music industry lawyer if what youre doing is legit.
    Youre quote:”Receiving payments to audition material is not fraud”.
    So you pay 1 buck to a dude and he then auditions youre material.
    What does ” auditionng material” mean , kindly explain .
    Most vague termenoligy i ever heard off.
    Does submithub not clearly state in terms of conditions what youre paying for?
    Or do they say , use our service and with premium service you get a well deserved audition of youre material!
    Who would pay for that huh?
    Dude, im not against promotion or a bit of bending of the rules .Each his own way.
    But please stop acting like you don’t know what’s up.
    Smell ya later 🙂

    1. Audition means you listen to the track and decide whether or not it’s a good fit for the playlist. Obviously.

      You’re clearly just trolling at this point. All future comments will be deleted.

  8. Amazing Articles! I tried Your tips and Let’s see if we can get interaction from users. However, I have also purchased Spotify Followers from Alwaysviral and it works out like a charm, they do provide 247 online support, however, I never needed this 247 support because their services are too good.
    I will recommend everyone to use Alwaysviral website to boost their profiles. I Purchased 2k Spotify Followers from them and got pretty good appreciation.

    1. I noticed you listed alwaysviral.com as your URL. Am I to assume it’s your company, or that you work for them? What’s your artist name so I can look you up on Spotify?

  9. Neat article, Brian, I feel always inspired to test the services myself after reading your articles. I set up a free account at Gleam, but I saw not many options without a paid subscription. But it reminded me on something I had seen on CDBaby. Now I can tell, that CD Baby has partnered with Show.co, who offer a similar service. On Show.co I could create a Spotify-campaign like yours without opting in for a paid tier. But it’s only free for CD Baby members.

    1. I use Show.co via CD Baby as well, for the embedded player you see in the sidebar of this site! You could certainly use it to unlock content, like a free download in exchange for a Spotify follow, but you’re limited to a single action, and I don’t see how you could actually run a contest.

      Plus there’s all the legal requirements to address. I definitely feel safer with Gleam in that department.

      I’ll happily pay the $49 again in the future for a month of Gleam’s Pro Plan. Sounds like the ROLI gang are up for another go, so maybe in early 2019!

  10. Wow! This was a great experiment! Glad you were able to get the results you got!

    I’ve been following your music for a while and I really appreciate your “The Majesty of Our Broken Past” Album! I still go back and listen to it over and over again. :]

  11. Thanks for the review, Brian! It sounds fun, engaging and….effective to an extent, certainly to kickstart an album release, which is what I’m looking to do.

    I’m curious if you think something like this is effective for a smaller artist? My fanbase is small but very passionate…and of course, I’d like to grow it.

    1. Glad you found it useful Brett! Be sure to also check out my post on Tunespeak.

      I think either could work for a smaller artist. It all comes down to prize selection. Maybe you’ll have to offer something with a little more general appeal to draw in newcomers, who may be less inclined to check out your music. There’s a sweet spot in there somewhere!

  12. You are a genius. Thank you a million times for this advice!!! I partnered with PineTales, who agreed to provide 5 meditation cushions to winners (they also paid for some Facebook ads to promote the contest which I did not ask them to, but thank you!!!!). It didn’t seem like people in my circles were too interested in the contest, but the amount of strangers I had was fantastic! That’s what we want, new people discovering our music!

    I’m still small on Spotify so the growth % numbers are huge for me.

    I had a similar goal to grow Spotify followers so I put that first on the list. I had 35 followers that I had gained organically over the last year and when I ended the contest I had 274!!! The %s are huge!! 😛

    My monthly play count was up 90% from last month to 2,413 total streams for the month of the contest.

    I had a single come out midway through the contest and added it to the listen to 38+ seconds for 5 entries and had 156 streams on it by the 14th day of its release on Spotify.

    I did reach my first song topping out over 1,000 listens!! Most people choose the first option to stream under stream for 38+ seconds so that song got some traction.

    Later in the contest I added a link to Apple music, because I’d just googled and found around 30% of Americans pay for Apple music. So I created a yes/no question about if you paid for Apple music when you landed back on the contest page and 40% of people paid for Apple Music (or at least pushed the yes button to the question).

    I did notice spikes when PineTales pushed for ads and at the end, that push for the end is always so big and fun! There were 7,596 total actions taken, from streaming on Spotify, visiting various social platforms, sharing with friends (that is a MUST!!!!), and following on Spotify. One of the five winners had 118 actions, mostly from inviting friends and listening daily, but that was a great push! There were 13 actions you could take total, inviting friends, connecting with those contest “influencers” and having them back for daily entries was a great way to see their work pay off.

    579 people entered from across the world, 455 from the USA, 76 from Canada, 20 from India, and 3 or less from many other countries. I already want to start another contest with either the same partner or others. What a way to grow! Thank you brilliant marketer!

    I’m going to send a follow up email with a discount code, here shorty, I’ll let you know if there are any sales from it!

    1. Wow Jenna, that sounds like quite a campaign! And at very little financial cost to you.

      So cool that PineTales ran ads, and that they apparently knew what they were doing. Those are some great numbers!

      In regard to Apple Music, I checked the numbers on my album smart link. Out of 8,763 clicks through to services, 590 were to Apple Music (7%). Granted, my ads are optimizing for Spotify clicks.

      You didn’t mention whether or not those 579 people signed up for your mailing list. I hope so! If that’s the case, be sure to tag them so you can see how many stick around, buy stuff, etc.

      Thanks so much for sharing your results here! This is an old post, but you’ve proven that the strategies are evergreen.

      1. I didn’t have an email sign up function, but I did email them all at the conclusion of the contest and once since then; 40-ish unsubscribes so far; not too bad.

        I’m on the hunt for another partner for another campaign round.

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