While newer than its rival Spotify — Trent Reznor and Zane Lowe helped launch it in the summer of 2015 — Apple Music’s ties to original digital music store iTunes makes it one of the music industry’s most deeply entrenched Digital Service Providers (DSPs). Making it easy for new and old fans to engage with your work there is essential for this reason: because it’s bound to generate more downloads and streams among a growing number of Apple Music users (around 72 million as of 2020).
Here are some tips for tapping new markets and taking advantage of Apple Music For Artists, the landing page for learning about “your music’s impact across Apple Music and iTunes.” Songwriters, producers, and session musicians should also keep their eyes on Behind the Songs, a new hub for playlists, videos, and radio shows related to how timeless music gets made.
Help Your Audience Find You
Fans who saw you play live may not know you have music available to stream and download. Apple Music’s suite of marketing tools includes custom badge and link assets you can add to any website, newsletter, or social media platform where new and old listeners access your music, as well as share any Apple Music playlists featuring your tracks.
Create Compelling Cover Art
Think of your cover art as a calling card that tells listeners a little bit about you before they click the “play” button. Many online tutorials and tip sheets can help you design something that’ll stand out among a seemingly endless scroll of nondescript bands and artists. The expert advice and related link roundups on Dribble, Sonicbids, Icon Collective, Shutterstock, and Canva are perfect starting points.
Get the 411 On Fans
Knowing who is streaming your music and how they found you can be an invaluable tool for understanding listener trends and potential entry points for new fans. Start by searching for, and sharing, well-curated playlists that were created with your songs. Apple Music for Artists provides a healthy dose of analytics that can help you understand who is listening to your music and where they are based.
Songwriters can also see how many spins their songs are getting on Apple Music radio stations, and a world map illustrates where listeners discovered your music. This “Places” feature includes a demographic breakdown of top listeners from the 167 countries where Apple Music is available.
Oh, and if you’re a Shazam fan, we’ve got some good news for you: Apple acquired it in 2018 for $400 million. This means that Shazam data is now widely available for Apple Music artists, from country-specific charts to emerging “On Fire”, “On the Rise”, or “Reacting” trends. Find out how you can track your Apple Music and Shazam numbers through weekly emails, and take a look at the latest Apple Music for Artists updates here.
Remember — it’s not enough to simply finish a song and distribute it to streaming platforms. You’ve got to be your own advocate and marketing department to get the word out about your work. Treat your streaming account like a business and do whatever you can to boost your streams.
The more streams, the more royalties you can earn. Make sure you’ve got all your bases covered with publishing too; if not, register for a Songtrust account today to make sure you’re not leaving any money on the table.