Artists, Please! Don’t Put Spotify Play Buttons On Your Site…

Please, just hear me out on this one.  Yes, the integrations look great, the songs just play. And this is perfect for music sites, music blogs, and publications like Digital Music News.  But when it comes to artist pages, Spotify Play Buttons are mostly good for Spotify, not you, the artist.  And after wading through months of intense debates involving Spotify’s artist compensation (or lack thereof), this one doesn’t seem that complicated.

Here are just a few reasons why.


(1) Your fan has arrived.


If you’ve gotten someone to your website, Facebook page/app, Twitter account, Tumblr blog, etc., you’re winning.  You have fans or potential fans that may want to buy your stuff, repeatedly.  So why not point them to something that pays you multiples more (ie, your own download, vinyl, or even iTunes or Amazon)?

Spotify pays fractions of a penny, which means you can ‘make’ more in other ways, even if cash isn’t directly involved.  For example, swapping a download for an email seems like a better deal than ‘sonifying’ with Spotify.  And remember: there’s only so much room ‘above the fold’…


(2) Other formats pay more – a lot more.


This is valuable real estate here.  So why not use that real estate to convince a fan to purchase a piece of vinyl – or better yet, a smartly bundled package that includes vinyl, and produces a multiple in the thousands over what Spotify is likely to pay you?

So, fan who’s digging my music, where shall I send you?  What should I endorse and prioritize?  Hmmm…




(btw, this breakdown was offered recently by Uniform Motion based on their receipts.  The ‘direct download’ was name-your-price, hence the lower payout than iTunes.)


(3) Spotify enables discovery, but this isn’t discovery anymore!


Once they’ve hit your page or app, they’ve already discovered you.  You’re not getting passed around in friend feeds or conversations; it’s not background noise anymore – the fan is now at your doorstep.  So monetize that fan, instead of giving a freebie advertisement to Spotify and Facebook – and pushing your fan to a platform that is unlikely to produce any meaningful revenue.


(4) And what happens after engagement?


Engagement is good and important; engagement in the form of buying stuff is more important.  And this is one of the best opportunities to upsell and monetize.


(5) There are other ways to embed streams (without the baggage).


You can easily integrate on-demand streams of your music into your site, without the strings and issues that Spotify presents.  This is now ‘off-the-shelf’ technology; and optimally the service itself is in the background – and encourages engagement with higher-revenue formats.

Your site should not be a pitch to subscribe to Spotify – which is what a Play Button ultimately encourages.  Getting subscribers is Spotify’s problem, not yours. And if they really want to convert your hard-earned fans, let them pay you to advertise.