Sunday, March 7, 2021

Keep It Short & Beat Spotify At Its Own Game!

In one of those weird things that happens in the digital realm, when CD Baby sent my music out to Spotify et al, the moment of silence that had been inserted between my CD's last track and the ever-present "hidden track" (sorry, it was the '90s) was uploaded as its own digital track for streaming.

Unfortunately, it got flip-flopped with one of my actual songs so one of the tracks from that album is actually just a minute of silence.

Naturally, I was a tad upset when I realized that this had occurred, but then I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to test a theory.

That theory: Short songs are the future of digital music

To test this theory, I streamed one of my actual songs, running three minutes in length, for a full hour. In that hour, the song streamed twenty times.

I then streamed the one minute of silence on repeat for one hour, during which time it streamed sixty times.

Yes, just as I had suspected, the minute of silence had streamed more times per hour than my three-minute pop song.


All kidding aside, what motivation is there for me as an artist to knock myself out writing three minute compositions when I can get paid three times as much for a song (or silence) that is only one-third the length?

In other words, playing by THEIR rules, the only logical path forward is to deliver one-minute (or shorter) pop songs with the intent of delivering everything the listener should need for a full song experience: One intro, one verse, one chorus, and maybe bridge (or saxophone solo) if you're feeing ambitious.

If the listener wants a second or third verse, they can simply stream the track again, seamlessly, and, in doing so, you, the artist, have had your track streamed multiple times instead of just once.

Those who've glanced at their analytics also know that very few listeners ever listen o an entire track ALL THE WAY THROUGH, so why not use such listening habits to your advantage?

Hilariously, this little moment of silence has become mre profitable than anything I actually wrote and that's without having to bug anybody to even listen to it. 

The Math:

One minute track x 60 minutes = 60 streams per hour.

60 streams x 24 hours in a day = 1,440 streams per day per device.

2 devices = 2,880 streams per day or 86,400 streams per month.

Naturally, you can double all of those numbers with a thirty-second track.

Now, if you're like me, you're starting to re-think you're whole approach to Spotify, Youtube, etc. and, with the popularity of playlists, a new landscape is beginning to form.

Instead of uploading one full song, one could realistically upload three separate files (Verse/Chrous 1, Verse Chorus 2, Bridge/Chorus 3, etc) that, when streamed back-to-back in a playlist, make for one seamless song.

OR you could start releasing shorter versions of full length songs to those sites that pay by the stream with the goal of driving people to your label or Bandcamp page, where the full versions can be found/purchased.

The Morality:

Is it gaming the system? Sure, but, when you really get down to brass tacks, every musician should be streaming their music from every available device 24/7 as it stands.  Why? Why not? Any money is better than no money and, by doing so, you also drive up your numbers, giving your music a sense of legitimacy to those who place importance on such things. 

You see, some people can never realize greatness unless they first recognize that a million others recognized it first. We artists need to pay close attention to these people, for they may constitute a majority of listeners.

Also, when a booking agent whose club you wish to play asks why they should book a band with only six Twitter followers, you can direct them to your impressive Spotify numbers. Congratulations, the gig is yours!

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