Potentially Boost Your Spotify Stream Numbers With This New Feature

I’m writing today because – and I may be late to the party – but Spotify finally enabled Canvas for all artists via the Artist Dashboard. What’s Canvas? Well, you know those short, neat little videos that play during a Spotify stream on a loop on your screen? That’s a Canvas video. For the longest time, you had to ‘apply’ to have it added to your profile, but it always felt like it went into a black hole (which, considering now that it’s enabled for everyone, might have been the case 🤦‍♀️.

So, I’ve circulated the update to my clients and we are editing selected tracks and enabling this feature for all future releases.

Here’s what you need to know if you are looking to add it to your tracks, too.

Where to enable Canvas:

  1. First, you need to be sure you’ve claimed your artist profile at artists.spotify.com. If you haven’t and you’re on the platform, for shame! Jump on it right away. Not only can you do this new Canvas trick, but you can also control your profile picture, biography, links, and look at listener stats as well as pitch your new music to Spotify playlists.
  2. Once enabled and logged in, click on the Music Tab.
  3. If you want to add Canvas to an upcoming release, click on ‘Upcoming’ on the Music tab.
  4. There, you’ll see your upcoming release, with the playlist pitch and the Canvas options enabled. Click on ‘Manage’ under Canvas: Enhance Your Release
  5. Once prompted, click Add by the track you want to add your video to.
  6. Drag and drop your file in and hit save!

What are the required specs?

Below are the overview file requirements:

  1. 9:16 ratio
  2. At least 720px tall
  3. An MP4 or JPEG file
  4. 3s to 8s long (MP4 only)
     

The full details – as well as some great inspiration – can be found on Spotify’s website here: https://canvas.spotify.com/en-us along with a handy video on how to add as well here.

I’m really curious to analyze the stats on tracks with Canvas videos vs ones that don’t for my clients – I’d like to see if it makes a difference. Spotify claims “when listeners see a Canvas, they are more likely to keep streaming (+5% on average vs. control group), share the track (+145%), add to their playlists (+20%), save the track (+1.4%), and visit your profile page (+9%)”. What’s also great is your followers can share the canvas video on socials, like their Instagram story, and it really becomes content for the release.  And personally, a lot of these Canvas videos that have caught my eye led me to check out the official music video – which I hope to accomplish for my clients!
So, give it a go – even a simple loop video could make all the difference – and get creative with your tracks on Spotify!

5 Cool Tools to Try Today 🛠️

Lately, I've been diving into summits, podcasts and I've also signed up to go to CD Baby's DIY Musician Conference (let me know if you'll be there). I am trying to take the rest of the month for research, education and learning what is new out there, what works and what doesn't. I'm not going to lie, it's overload, but it's also exciting to get a spark back in how I can help my clients. On that note, I thought I'd share some recent tools I've found that I know you could use today. Here are five cool tools I'm using now, and I encourage you to check them out!

1. Connecting Twitter + Instagram. If you use Instagram and Twitter on the regular, you need to grab this. One of the setbacks with these two platforms is that they don't talk to each other. If you post on Instagram and then share on Twitter, Twitter doesn't show the photo, rather a link which looks pretty awful. Ideally, you want to share the image, not a link to the image. This nifty applet fixes that and will post an Instagram photo to your Twitter feed as a native photo. Grab it here. Sign up on their website to get updates on all the neat applets rolling out on a regular basis.

2. EditFrame. The developer of this site personally reached out to me and asked me checked it out. As someone who despises opening up iMovie for simple video edit, this site is a great tool if you make a lot of videos - specifically image/audio videos. It's very basic now but the developer is keen on making it bigger and useful tool for musicians as a video editor, and I'm confident more features will start to roll out. Check it out here and if you do use it, definitely let me know your thoughts on it!

3. Metablocks Widgets for Music. I've been looking for access to a widget like this for months, and I'm so excited to have finally found one that I can use. You've probably seen lots of musicians share links to their new album or single, and it's a landing page to link everywhere it is distributed - iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Google, and more. For the longest time, the one widget that was out there (that I knew of) was stuck in the invite-only mode. So, I jumped on the opportunity to request access to Metablocks version. I recommend using this for your next release so that you have one link to share where your music is - much better than having to manage several links. Access it here.

4. Website Grader. This site is a completely free online tool that grades your site against key metrics like performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security. It's a great way to do a quick checkup on how your website is doing, and even tells you what you can do to improve your grade. Grade your site in seconds.

5. Online Signature. I'm still at a loss why anybody still does not use online signing tools to lock down contracts and agreements. Stop the goose-chase and get your contracts online! It is a lot easier to get signatures where you need them if someone can access it online. I personally use SignNow.com, but I found Online Signature and suggest that because if you do less than 5 contracts a month, it stays free. Check it out here.

That's it (for now)! Please - let me know if you use these tools and if you love them as much as I do (or not)! And a few months from now, I'll definitely share any new tools I find that are useful and make your day easier.

📱 Get App-y! 📱

I’m all giddy typing right now because I know what I’m about to share is going to make your life improve in a snap – and for free! Seriously! I’ve been doing what I’m about to share with you for a few weeks now, and I already feel like life is just…easier.

Finally, the many websites you use as a musician are wising up and getting in the App store. Here are the newest and then some of my favorites that you should download now.

1. Spotify for Artists

Separate from the Spotify music app that you know, you can now access your artist profile directly through your phone. This is great if you want to quickly update your Artist Pick Of The Day based on your mood, or new release, or update your photo, or quickly check your stats. Learn more about Spotify for Artists in my blog post here.

2. Bandinstown Manager

Another brand spankin’ new app for musicians. I think this app is WAY overdue! Now you can mark shows as sold out while on the road, or quickly make any last minute changes to your touring calendar. I’ve used it and have had no issues – they’ve done a great job rolling this one out.

3. BandCamp

This one is beautiful y’all. I logged in and was welcomed with stats, one click away from messaging fans and quickly able to see how my client’s album sales were doing. This app is no joke. In addition to what I just mentioned, you can edit your profile, add new merch, check orders, mark them as shipped and most importantly, message your subscribers. If you’re active on BandCamp, this app will make it easier for you while on the road.

4. MailChimp

Now, this will only apply to you if you are using MailChimp for your newsletter (highly recommended, it’s the most affordable & most reliable one out there – trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them). They’ve had an app for a while now, but because you couldn’t edit the newsletters, I thought it was pretty useless. I never had a situation where I had to urgently pull up a report or check if an email was on the list. But, I have been on the road, and a word needs to be changed in the draft, and the email has to get sent out in 5 minutes. I would either rush and scramble to get to my computer, or I’d have to, unfortunately, let it wait until I could get to a computer (NOT preferred)! So, now that you can edit the emails on your phone and catch those minor mistakes before they go out? I’m all in.

5. Dropbox

Having Dropbox on my phone has been a lifesaver more than once. A venue needs a hi-res photo of the band so they can announce ticket sales that day, the band needs to hear the new track before rehearsal this afternoon, you need to send a link to your poster to print out at Staples…this has ALL happened to me! Dropbox’s app is very organized, clean and easy to find the files I need. So much better than searching through emails and sending attachments. I prefer it over Google Drive – for some reason, load times have been horrendous for me with Drive, but Dropbox – it’s been easy-peasy every single time.

Now, there are MANY more apps out there for musicians that focus on the production/recording end [see here, and here], but I wanted to share with you apps that I’ve used to improve time management, organization, and maintain ease of everyday tasks that I handle for my clients that WORK.

I hope you take the time to check these apps out, and if there are apps that YOU use daily to keep your career in line, let me know! I always want to know what works :).

Positive changes with Spotify for Musicians

Spotify is slowly rolling out new features for artists that I’m very happy about.

Before, you had no control as to what photo was used, what bio was used, heck, what tour dates were used for your artist (I’ve seen managers complain Spotify confusing their artist’s tour dates with another artist’s name). It was really messy.

Now, it’s really easy to start managing your own profile, and more importantly understanding your audience on Spotify.

Let’s break it down on what you can do, shall we?

1. Verification is easy as 1-2-3. You no longer need 250 followers to get a checkmark by your artist profile [insert sigh of relief]. As long as you can connect your Twitter account with your Spotify artist account and provide your links (think: website, socials, etc.), you’ll be connected to your artist account and instantly verified. This tells people this is your artist profile & allows your music to be considered for Spotify playlists.

2. Share you profile with your team. TWO great things about this. I’ve heard horror stories of management taking over artist profiles, only to have parted ways and now the artist cannot get to their profile. Now, a profile can have many team members so don’t fear not being able to access your profile and make edits. I highly recommend having your own account linked to your own profile, rather than the other way around. It’s always best to be in control of your profile as an artist, and then add your team members from there. What’s the second best thing? You no longer have to share your login info to access your artist profile and risk exposing your musical taste when no one’s watching…

3. Update your bio. Before a couple weeks ago, Spotify didn’t have your bio, or normally would pull an outdated one. Now you can update your bio within minutes for a new single release or special promotion. Plus, if you have a wikipedia page, you can link that too. Pro tip: Spotify bio’s must be kept under 1500 characters and you can link it to songs, playlists or albums on Spotify that you want to feature.

4. Concert Calendar. Now it’s not perfect yet, but improved. Before, you had to have your concert dates on Songkick for it to sync to your Spotify page. Now, any events on Ticketmaster, AXS, Eventbrite, and Songkick will show on your page! My fingers are crossed for a partnership with Bandsintown – can we push that through?

5. More thorough stats. With access to your artist page, you can now view number of listens, who is listening and where they are listening from. Valuable information that before you couldn’t get anywhere else. I typically get my artist’s stats from Next Big Sound, but unfortunately they haven’t worked out a deal with Spotify to show their numbers, so I’m relieved to find Spotify is stepping it up with their reports. PLUS – you can now see how many listens you have, even if it’s less than 1,000.

So if you’re on Spotify, it’s definitely worth your time to log in and check on your artist site and make sure your profile is up to date. With 50 million paid subscribers, you want to look good.

Did you know about this setting on Facebook?

Today’s message is a short one but I think you’ll find it super helpful. I found something out about Facebook I didn’t know before.

Our news feed on Facebook can seem random, unpredictable,and just plain mysterious, and you probably feel like your page just doesn’t reach to your followers. Well, now there’s a feature that can help your followers see your updates.

It’s called the ‘See First’ button.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Facebook doesn’t want you to know about it because I’m surprised I haven’t learned about it yet!

What it does is show selected pages in your news feed first, making sure your true followers never miss an update.

Here’s how to set it up:
1. Click “Follow” near the cover photo of a page
2. Hover over “Following” or “Liked” near their cover photo
3. Select “See First”

That’s it!

Now, it’s up to you to tell your fans how they can keep up with your music. Post and share to your social media profiles and mailing list!  Make it even more fun with a phone or video on your wall – video is usually best – instructing your followers on how to see your updates first! Boost it to your followers for a few dollars to make sure everyone sees it.

This blog post is interrupted by…[Social Media updates]

I was ready to share with you all about a task I’ve been tackling for my clients especially this year, but two new updates for all of our social media profiles happened this week that I wanted to make sure you knew about!

 

What were they? Can you guess? Okay, I’ll tell you!

 

1) Twitter Verification is now open to everyone. That little blue badge let’s followers know that your account of public interest is authentic.

 

You’ll need to confirm your email, phone, and make sure all the details are there. In addition, you will have to send them 2-5 links, plus a paragraph on why you should be verified.

 

Click here to get started on the verification process and join the blue badge club! It’s about time, Twitter!

 

2) Facebook Pages got a new look. Have you noticed? Here’s a shot of my favorite musician’s page with the new layout:

 

What to notice? First off, the banner image is no longer (unnecessarily) covered up by the profile picture. Second, the call to action button is shining through in Facebook blue and larger on the page. Overall, things have shifted around on the page, giving us something new to get used to.

 

What this means for you? You can get more creative with your branding on Facebook with the more visible banner. With the larger call to action button, that gives you more leverage to whatever you need to promote – mailing list, album, video, etc. so make sure it’s set to something you want your followers to be aware of.

 

I for one am enjoying this update and I think everyone else will too.

6 Ways to Amp Up Your YouTube Channel

photo-1466150036782-869a824aeb25

YouTube is one of the most important social media platforms you could have as an artist – almost 5 billion videos are watched every single day, so you know you can’t miss out on your fanbase there!

 

While we all know to update our channel banners, utilize ads for your videos and include YouTube cards to promote your album, there are even more things you can do to make sure your YouTube channel is to the max in its ability to be found by your fans and shared with the world. Let’s get to it!

 

1) Make a channel trailer (2 min or less):
This can either be a direct call to action for new users to subscribe to your channel or a compilation of videos from your channel. Most artists starting out do the direct call to action asking viewers to subscribe to their channel. Once you make a channel trailer you’ll be able to effectively use the channel ad feature! This can automatically play whenever anyone who hasn’t already subscribed to your channel goes to your channel, and you can also make it eligible for free advertising from YouTube!

 

Example 1 and Example 2

 

It can take some time to make a really effective channel trailer, so in the meantime you can apply the “other five”…

 

2) Channel Keywords – utilize and really think about what keywords you want to describe your channel. Include similar artists and/or interests that you followers are into.

 

3) Branding Watermark – you can make sure every video has your logo. Get your logo with white and transparent background, and upload it as your watermark. Voila! Every video is branded – don’t worry, it’s subtle!

 

4) Associated Website – link your website to your channel! If you have a website you’d like to use for cards and annotations, this will also help your legitimacy in search results both on Google and YouTube.

 

5) Connected Accounts – right under your banner, you may notice small icons to your other accounts like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Make sure all the important links are there, including where people can buy your music!

 

6) Subscribe to other channels – yes, you must give to receive. Add similar artist’s channels to your featured artist channels. With users spending on average 40 minutes on YouTube, they could use that time to find your channel through a similar artist!

 

That’s it! See, I told you they were small…yet very important in order to utilize your YouTube channel as best you can, especially if you are heavy on promoting your music there. I hope you use them and be on your way to see your channel grow!

Turn views into sales with Youtube cards

Festivities are in full swing here in Florida – everyone is headed to the beach or pool parties to grill all day, and tonight will be one of the largest fireworks display in Southwest Florida – I’m excited to celebrate with family and friends! Not only am I celebrating the holiday, but also celebrating the fact that these past few weeks I’ve been featured as a guest blogger on three sites!
 
Check out my posts that you get first, featured on GrowthGroup (a site dedicated to accounting for musicians and music businesses, highly recommended!), HypeBot and CD Baby. It is such a great accomplishment for me to be featured on blogs that I myself use as resources for my business and clients.
 
This past week, I took on a project for a client who was interested in exploring the uses for Youtube Cards, the advanced annotations, as a call of action on her most viewed videos.
 
This feature is a great way to enhance your videos, add a sense of classy professionalism and create a call of action – whether it be for building your mailing list or promoting your latest album – to your Youtube viewers.
 
Here’s what you need to know to build your very own!
 
 
Start out by going to one of your videos to edit, click the Cards icon, and let’s walk through it together.
 
1. First thing to know – You can’t just share any link you desire. There are rules!
 
Here are the four approved links for Youtube Cards:
 
1. Associated website (Feature your website) – This means you can share your homepage so fans can sign up for your newsletter list, or maybe a blog post to get votes for a contest.
Pro Tip – Make sure your website is associated with you Youtube Account otherwise this will not work. Go to Advanced Settings under Channel Settings to set that up.
 
2. Fundraising (Encourage viewers to contribute to your projects on supported fundraising sites) – This includes Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, Pledgemusic! Link away.
 
3. Merchandise (Feature a product on supported merchandise sites – iTunes, etc.) – Most commonly used to feature latest album, single or EP.
 
4. Video or Playlist (Promote a video or playlist) – If you are trying to get views up on a certain video or playlist, link it on a Youtube Card to your viewers. This could be useful if you have a Album Press Video and in the card, you can link to your playlist of the album’s music videos or single.
 
 
2. Now it’s time to craft a beautiful card
With a Youtube Card, you have four components:
 
URL – link to what you want people to go to when they click on your card.
Description – brief description of what you are sharing. 50 Character MAX.
Call to Action Text – the text that links to your URL, shown below the description. 30 Character MAX.
Teaser Text – the text that pops up that will entice people to click on your card. 30 Character MAX. Most important in my opinion!
 
Here are some snapshots so you can see exactly how it shows after you enter the information.
 
51d70ead-93e9-4024-98b2-08d823076ab5
Download This Song! (Teaser Text)

 
fac4328a-c4d0-4be0-908d-c383dcb245bd
In this video (generated by Youtube, you cannot edit this text)
Album Cover / Image (Generated from URL via iTunes)
New Album – Now Ain’t a Time for Tears (Description Text)
Buy Now (Call to Action Text)
 
3. Place your card in the video
 
Consider what you are promoting when timing your Youtube Card placement in your video.
 
If you are promoting a fundraising site, wait until you mention it in the video.
 
For promoting a new album or single, wait 15-30 seconds into the video. With the short attention span in today’s world, if a viewer watches 15-30 seconds into your video, good chances they will click to learn more about you and your music!
 
An important thing to note also is that the Youtube Cards can’t be edited to show for a certain number of minutes or seconds. Unlike annotations where you can make them pop up for a minute or even the full video, the Cards Teaser Text shows for approximately 5-6 seconds before going away to hide behind the icon.
 
Pro tip: You can place up to five cards in a video, but be careful with this, especially if you are placing the same card five times throughout the video. If the viewer clicks on the teaser text, all of your cards will show at the same time, feeling very spammy!
 
I love the way Youtube Cards look on videos and I cannot wait to use them more for promoting merch, newsletter sign ups and projects to generate fans and exposure. People respond well to easy-to-use call to actions so it will be exciting to watch how this will help build support for musicians. Start building followers, customers and most importantly fans with a Youtube Card today!
 
Cheers and Happy Fourth of July!
fionazsig

Are you verified? Easy to follow instructions on how to get verified today.

Happy May! Can you believe it we’re already 5 months into 2015? Just..wow! I hope it has been fruitful and rewarding year for you this far. I never thought I’d be where I am today and I’m truly thankful for every opportunity and move I’ve taken. So here’s to keeping that momentum going!

 

Being a musician, you are essentially a public figure putting yourself, your story and your name out in the world, including on the internet and social media profiles. Protecting your name should be important to you – no public figure is immune to the possibility of someone posing as them, in person or online. While maybe you don’t feel that this won’t happen to you when you have a handful of followers, there is a reason they are following you and you mean something to them, as they should mean something to you!

 

A good start to protecting your name and brand is to authenticate and verify your social media profiles online. Some sites have to grace you with verification (Twitter, Instagram) while others you can put in a request (Facebook, Youtube).

 



Here’s the breakdown on how verification on the top social media outlets work

 

FACEBOOK
There are a couple steps to verifying your Facebook page.
1) Link your Facebook page or profile to your official website, and vice versa.
2) Complete your About section of your profile accurately. And I mean, complete it. Don’t skip sections that you can fill out.
3) Once those two steps are completed, click  here to request a verified badge. You will need a photo of your ID.

 

TWITTER
Unfortunately, you cannot request verification for your account. It seems that Twitter is the most difficult to be verified on. According to their site, they simply “encourage you to continue using Twitter in a meaningful way, and you may be verified in the future. Please note that follower count is not a factor in determining whether an account meets our criteria for verification.”

What you can do to show your account is authentic is linking your Twitter profile from your official website by including Twitter’s follow button on your website.

 

YOUTUBE
Good news. Youtube is very easy to verify your account, it takes one simply step. This video tutorial on how to verify your account shows clearly how.

 

PINTEREST
To get that pretty little checkmark by your website on your Pinterest account, you need to be able to edit your website’s HTML code. There are two ways to verify: with a meta tag or by uploading an HTML file.

Pinterest shares a step-by-step post on how to do this, plus instructions on how to edit your website HTML based on providers, including WordPress, Tumblr, etc. Click here to view and learn how.

 

INSTAGRAM
Similar to Twitter, right now only some public figures, celebrities and brands have verified badges. It currently is not possible to request a verified badge. Like Twitter, you can let people know your authentic by linking your Instagram profile from your official website (and vise versa) as well as Facebook page and Twitter account.Overall, it’s the best idea to link your social media sites every time to your website, and link your social media accounts directly on your website.

 

SPOTIFY
For Spotify, you will need 250 followers in order to verify your account, so if you don’t have that, definitely ask friends and fans to start following you. Once you have 250 followers, click here to complete the verification form. They also provide instructions on their site here to help you become verified.

 

The time you take to authenticate and verify your accounts will be a step in the right direction to protect your name and brand. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Cheers to authenticating!

Eye-opening video about Facebook ads and likes.

Today, I’m bringing to you an interesting video about Facebook ads and the mystery of how to get those thousands of likes and engagement on your page, like it used to be when Facebook first started. However, this video tells me that it might not be as attainable as it may seem, and also may have you asking, is Facebook even a social platform anymore?

Please watch, process and let me know your thoughts by hitting reply of commenting below.

 

Have a wonderful rest of your day,