How to Release Songs on Spotify

Reach a larger audience and make money with the music streaming giant

Using Spotify music streaming service


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Online music streaming services are the wave of the future, and despite some really great contenders — Pandora and Apple Music retain their own devoted fan bases — Spotify seems to have captured the hearts and ears of just about everyone who's tried it.

The experience for music consumers differs, in important ways, from the experience for music creators.

Spotify for Artists

Spotify maintains a separate website focused on artists. This site offers dashboards to assess individual track performance as well as aggregate streams and related metadata. With this tool, artists can track their music and see what's resonating (or not!) with the listening public.

Application Fees

Artists cannot submit their material directly to Spotify. Instead, they must work with a label or a distributor. Even independent artists must work with a distribution partner. Each label or distributor features different costs, revenue sharing, and licensing arrangements. In other words, there's no one way, and no one price point, to get your work on Spotify.

However, podcasters — although they're encouraged to use an aggregator — are welcome to independently submit their shows.

Expected Revenues

Spotify pays artists through a stream-share model. Each month the service sets aside a pile of money allocated to pay license fees to the content providers. Spotify calculates your share of the pie — how many streams were yours, out of all the streams offered that month — then pays either your label, your distributor, or you personally, depending on your contract.

Spotify returns 70 percent of its revenue to royalty and licensing payouts. Contemporary data about per-stream compensation isn't published widely anymore, but in 2014 rates varied between $0.006 and $0.008 per stream.