Good news. Music artists now have access to a revolutionary tool that can help them reach new audiences without having to invest heavily in marketing.
Spotify Discovery Mode is an innovative solution, straddling between being a great promotional opportunity and a way for the digital streaming platform itself to rake in some extra cash from aspiring musicians looking for their place on the music scene.
In this post, we'll take you through what exactly Discovery Mode does and also list out its benefits - as well as drawbacks - and provide real artist data on Spotify's discovery mode so you make an informed decision about whether it's suitable for your needs!
Table of Contents:
What is Spotify Discovery Mode?
Spotify Discovery Mode is a new tool that allows artists to expand their reach on the platform. It is accessible to artists using distributors such as DistroKid, CD Baby, Stem, Venice Music, and Vydia.
Through this tool, artists forfeit a percentage of their royalties (30%) and give Spotify a monetary incentive to boost their reach. In exchange, Spotify will promote their music to more listeners, increasing their visibility and helping them gain new fans.
Importantly, the 30% of royalties forfeited are ONLY those that are a direct result of the discovery mode campaign, which is either Autoplay mode or customized Radio playlists.
This is a win-win situation for both the artists and Spotify, as it helps artists get more exposure while also allowing Spotify to offer more diverse and interesting content to its users. But how exactly does Discovery Mode work? Let's find out.
How does Spotify Discovery Mode work?
According to Spotify, Discovery Mode generates 16 billion artist discoveries on their platform every month, with 33% of them occurring thanks to Radio and Autoplay features.
By utilizing Discovery Mode, artists can get their tracks suggested on Radio and Autoplay to listeners who are interested in music similar to theirs.
Radio is a streaming source that provides a playlist of songs based on a specific artist, album, or playlist.
Autoplay is a Spotify recommendation that plays right after an album, a playlist, or song ends. Both sources are updated regularly by the platform's algorithm, making them an effective way to reach new listeners.
The best part of Discovery Mode is that it doesn't require an upfront cost, making it an attractive option for independent distributors and artists with a low budget for promotion.
However, it's important to note that using Discovery Mode doesn't guarantee that artists will get more streams or followers, it will only recommend the song more often to users in personalized listening sessions.
Since Autoplay and Radio are both reliant on the Spotify algorithm, if listeners aren't engaging with the piece, Spotify will stop recommending it on the two algorithmic playlists.
First Month Boost
From testing discovery mode, Spotify has found that during the first month of using Discovery Mode, artists get 37% more followers, track saves increase by 50%, and songs are added to playlists 44% more often.
We can access discovery mode results for our independent artists, and can say that those numbers provided by Spotify seem to be conservative. (More on that soon.)
Now, let's take a look at how each part benefits from this new marketing tool.
Benefits of Discovery Mode for Artists
By using Discovery Mode, artists can enjoy several benefits that can help them grow their fanbase and increase their revenue.
One of the main benefits of Discovery Mode is that it allows artists to reach a wider audience by promoting their music to users who might not have otherwise discovered it. This can lead to more streams, more followers, and ultimately, more revenue for the artist; while only losing 30% of the streaming cut on the initially promoted track in Autoplay or Radio.
Additionally, Discovery Mode can help artists extend the shelf life of their songs. By using discovery mode to promote older songs to new listeners, artists can keep their music relevant and generate more revenue from songs that may have been forgotten.
This can be especially beneficial for independent artists who may not have the resources to constantly release new music.
Discovery Mode also provides artists with valuable data and insights that can help them make informed decisions about their music career. Artists can see how their music is performing, who their fans are, and where their music is being listened to. This information can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns and plan tours in cities where they have a strong fanbase.
Benefits of Discovery Mode for Spotify
Discovery Mode is not just beneficial for artists, but also for Spotify as a company. By incentivizing artists to use Discovery Mode, Spotify can increase the amount of high-quality content available on its platform. This can help the company attract new users and retain existing ones by offering a larger, more diverse catalog of music.
In addition, Discovery Mode can help Spotify identify new trends and up-and-coming artists. By analyzing the data and insights provided by Discovery Mode, the Spotify algorithm can see which songs and artists are resonating with listeners and promote them accordingly. This can help the company stay ahead of the curve and remain a leader in the music streaming industry.
Furthermore, Discovery Mode can help Spotify build better relationships with artists and their teams. By offering a tool that can help artists grow their fanbase, Spotify can position itself as a valuable partner for artists rather than just a platform for music distribution.
Lastly, of course, Spotify is "paid a promotional recording royalty rate for streams" with Discovery Mode, so they earn more money. So although an independent artist may earn less, think of it as a marketing cost for more people to hear your music.
Benefits of Discovery Mode for Listeners
Let's not forget that Discovery Mode is not just helpful for artists and Spotify, but also for listeners.
First and foremost, it helps listeners discover new artists and music that they may have otherwise never found. By giving artists a greater chance to be recommended through Radio and Autoplay, listeners are exposed to a wider range of music and genres.
Additionally, Discovery Mode can help listeners find new songs that align with their specific tastes and preferences. By allowing artists to prioritize certain tracks in the algorithm, the recommendations become more personalized and tailored to the listener's interests.
Finally, Discovery Mode can lead to a more diverse and inclusive music landscape on the platform. By providing equal opportunities for artists across genres and regions, the algorithm becomes less biased towards mainstream and established artists. This means that listeners have access to a wider range of music from artists who may not have had the same level of exposure in the past.
Downsides of the Discovery Mode Spotify Tool
While Discovery Mode can be a valuable tool for artists and Spotify, it also has its downsides.
One of the main concerns with Discovery Mode is the potential for it to take money away from artists music. Giving Spotify the power to boost certain artists' reach in exchange for a percentage of their royalties can lead to a situation where all artists eventually opt-in to this service, lessening it's power and lowering the overall earnings for all musicians. Not ideal.
Additionally, there is a risk that the focus on Discovery Mode could lead to a homogenization of music on the platform. If Spotify's algorithmics playlists incentivize artists to make more commercially successful music, there is a danger that unique and diverse genres and sounds could be left behind.
Lastly, some critics argue that Discovery Mode may take away from the experience of discovering new music organically. With the focus on boosting certain artists, there is a possibility that listeners may miss out on other great music that they would have discovered on their own.
Despite these downsides, Discovery Mode is a powerful tool that has the potential to shape the future of music promotion.
As with any new technology, it is important to carefully consider its implications and work towards finding solutions to mitigate its potential drawbacks.
The Future of Music Promotion with Discovery Mode
As we move forward in the music industry, we can expect this new way to be discovered on Spotify to have a significant impact on the way artists promote their music.
Traditionally, music promotion has been dominated by record labels with deep pockets, giving established artists an unfair advantage over up-and-coming musicians. With Discovery Mode, however, artists have the chance to invest in their own success and grow their fanbase without the backing of a record label.
With Spotify at the forefront of this movement, we can look forward to a future where talented artists from all over the world have the opportunity to share their music with a global audience.
The democratization of music promotion through Discovery Mode is an exciting development for the music industry and one that we should all look forward to with enthusiasm, if done correctly.
Exclusive Spotify Discovery Mode Results
From analyzing a few of the artists we manage, it's clear that discovery mode helped pull in more listeners by emphasizing new artist discovery. Let's look at some of the results.
Key Metric: Stream Lift
7 of the 44 songs had mediocre results
Of the 44 songs promoted with Discovery Mode in the month of April 2023, 7 received a stream lift of less than 50% from the prior month's personal playlists. (Autoplay & Radio)
7 of the 44 songs had good results
Of the 44 songs promoted with Discovery Mode in the month of April 2023, 7 received a stream lift of between 50%-100% from the prior month's Radio and Autoplay algorithmic playlists.
12 of the 44 songs had great results
Of the 44 songs promoted with Discovery Mode in the month of April 2023, 12 received a stream lift of between 100%-200% from the prior month's Radio and Autoplay algorithmic playlists.
8 of the 44 songs had incredible results
Of the 44 songs promoted with Discovery Mode in the month of April 2023, 8 received a stream lift of between 200%-500% from the prior month's Radio and Autoplay algorithmic playlists.
10 of the 44 songs had mind-boggling results
Of the 44 songs promoted with Discovery Mode in the month of April 2023, 10 received a stream lift of over 500% from the prior month's Radio and Autoplay algorithmic playlists. The highest stream lift was 5,089%.
Here's how all this data looks in a pie chart.
Another valuable metric is the intent rate, which is the percentage of listeners who saved or playlisted the track after streaming it.
Of the 44 songs promoted with Discovery Mode in the month of April 2023, the average intent rate was 0.40%, with the highest intent rate of the sample sitting at 3.85%.
Only 7 of the 44 songs had an intent rate of above 1%, but we can expect this metric to be rather low since Radio and Autoplay listeners are often consuming music passively.
Spotify's Discovery Mode is an innovative tool that benefits artists, the company, and its users. It allows artists to reach a wider audience and grow their fanbase while providing Spotify with a larger music catalog for its listeners to enjoy.
While the tool is not without its drawbacks, it is a step in the right direction for a music streaming service that strives to provide its users with the best possible listening experience.
As the music industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how other streaming services respond to this new development and if they follow suit with their own versions of Discovery Mode.
It may not seem right for all artists and labels, but if you can access Discovery Mode in Spotify for Artists, we recommend you give it a try. Worst case, you can always decide to not move forward with a Discovery Mode campaign the following month.
From what we have seen, the tool is valuable for attracting more listeners, although most do not engage with the song. Only time will tell if this is because the tool is in early stages, or if it is part of the drill.
Anyways, I hope this blog post was able to provide some valuable insight on Spotify's discovery mode tool. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Otherwise, be sure to create an account on our website (for free) to stay up-to-date with all the content we post specifically for the independent artist!
Until next time!
How to Access Discovery Mode
To access Discovery Mode Spotify for Artists has a campaigns section on the left side of the website.