Whenever you want to grow your presence on a social media platform, understanding how the algorithm works is crucial. The same applies to getting your music heard on sites like Spotify and Apple Music. In this article we're going to talk about how the Apple Music algorithm works, and how you could potentially take advantage of it to get more streams.
To save you time, here's a summary of how the Apple Music algorithm works:
Apple Music uses an algorithm that looks at your listening history, music you've added to your library and/or downloaded, songs you've 'Loved', and songs you've added to your playlist. It uses this information to recommend music you're likely to enjoy.
An easy way to think about this is by comparing your listening habits to a friend that has similar tastes as you. Let's say both of you love the same 5 bands, but you regularly listen to 2 additional bands your friend has never heard of before. Its pretty likely that your friend may like those 2 bands as well.
Apple, and also Spotify and many other websites, use this approach on a massive scale. If you look at the overlap of artists thousands of people listen to you're going to find commonalities. If a new listener loves a particular band Apple can look at the other bands their bulk of fans listen to and make that recommendation in the 'For You' page.
The exact ratio that listening habits, 'Loved' tracks, playlist additions and more have in influencing this recommendation system is publicly known. But spend a few days engaging on Apple Music and it becomes quite apparent that these metrics are important.
How Can Artists Use This Information?
At a high level there is an obvious answer: get your fans to stream your music, add it to their library and playlists, and 'Love' your tracks as much as possible. However there are some specific tactics you can take to make this happen.
All of the tactics listed below apply to both organic traffic and paid traffic. If you're in my Spotify Growth Machine course you could apply these techniques to your Facebook ad campaigns.
Pre-Save or Pre-Add Promotion
Many people know about Spotify pre-save links, but Apple has their own version of that. Now in truth, pre-saves and pre-adds don't actually exist and neither platform has any knowledge of pre-saves or pre-adds at any point, but we won't go into that.
When you get your fans to pre-add your song on Apple Music, the service you use to host that pre-add link will add the song to their library automatically on release day. You can use a service like Hypeddit or FeatureFM to host pre-save or pre-add links.
I want to point out that pre-save / pre-add campaigns are very expensive if you're using Facebook ads for them. So i'd try to reserve this strategy for organic promotion unless you have a way to utilize the email leads from the campaign.
Send People To An Apple Music Playlist
You have to have a paid Apple Music account to do this, or at least have a friend with one. But you can make a 'This is ....' playlist that will function just like a greatest hits album of your music. Put your newest song at the top and then follow it up with songs people are likely to love as well.
Instead of driving people to your specific song, send them to this playlist. On Spotify I wouldn't recommend this technique most of the time because it hurts your save rate and follow rate, but on Apple Music there are no follow buttons and the save rate doesn't seem to play as big of an impact as Spotify.
The strategy with this is that people will on average listen to several songs in a row. Then during the following few days or even weeks, Apple Music is going to be recommending more of your music to them because they listened to several songs in a row.
Ask Fans To Engage
This one may seem obvious but I see so many artists not doing it I have to bring it up. Just ask your fans to add your music to their libraries, playlists and 'Love' the music when they get there. It might sound silly but a lot of people might not realize that they can interact with music in this way.
Think of it how on YouTube creators are always asking for likes. comments, subscriptions, etc. When you bring something up, even briefly, a certain percentage of people that want to support your content will take the action.
Just don't be annoying or desperate when asking, and don't hound people to do it.
How To Market Your Music on Apple Music
I use Facebook ads to market my music, and even though I focus on Spotify a lot of the time i've gotten over 100,000 streams on Apple Music. On Spotify its about 2.5 million streams for my solo music alone. I have a course called Spotify Growth Machine where I break down my entire process step-by-step to show you how I do it. The cool thing about my course Spotify Growth Machine is everything applies directly for Apple Music as well!
Check out Spotify Growth Machine.