Hey guys, I’m Young Coconut I have been writing and recording my own music for about 20 years now, and just recently I have joined the Spotify For Artists community, just this past week. Whoo-hoo! Good for me! Right?
I just wanted to share my journey in signing up for Spotify For Artists and what I think about the platform so far. It’s funny, I guess, to be talking about Spotify right now in May 2018 when the Spotify platform has been around for years (since 2008 apparently), and everyone is already so familiar with it, streaming all the time like fiends, vibing to sick tunes all day every day. But Spotify For Artists is a different beast than regular Spotify, and that’s what I’m going to get into right now.
First off, I may as well talk about why I never bothered with Spotify until now, since I’ve had my actual Spotify account for less than a month, and my Spotify For Artists account was only verified a few days ago. Personally, I’ve never liked streaming services, despite them making a lot of sense in many ways to most people, who presumably walk down the street playing their favourite tunes from some purchased pre-made playlist. I myself am very possessive of my own personal music collection, and I need to have ultimate control over it, perhaps due to my OCD, or I’m just an old-fashioned control freak like that.
Be that as it may, I’ve had that music collection of mine for almost 20 years now with my 100’s of albums and discographies that I’ve painstakingly assembled, and they’re mine mine MINE. It has all been moved to various external hard drives, and it has grown a lot over the years, and shrunk too matter of fact, as I’ve disposed of some of the music I no longer care for, or music that I never cared for but was on there anyway. Here’s a picture of my two old drives which hold most of that music. <tear>
Wait, whoops, that’s my two twin Tascams. What can I say? Some people like to show pictures of their ugly babies, I like to share pictures of my relatively ancient LaCie drive, and that other drive that you can’t see because it’s underneath my Tascam interface, which is next to my other Tascam Eric gave me. Not a great pic – sorry, blame Apple!
Anyway, that LaCie drive with its lovely orange glowing light has all my music stuff on it, that I’ve saved over the years, including my music I’ve made myself, plus all my personal collections of favourite obscure bands, high school poetry, nudes, etc., which I refuse to get rid. You think I’m getting rid of all my albums I’ve literally committed crimes for just so I can pay someone to stream it? No dice, Satchmo!
Streaming has always bothered me in that way, because it means I don’t have ultimate control over it, as I said, and which I apparently need to sleep at night. It’s the same reason when I watch contemporary Youtube ads of people doing fun things, I just see black, empty holes where peoples heads are and the sound of cars crashing and an eagle crying. Nothing or no one I can relate to, as hard as they (the advertisers) try to make me relate to it.
Heyyyyy. I know Spotify has been used by lots of people over the past five years, and it has been all the rage, but I never wanted anything to do with it. To me it went along with smart phones as a type of technology that I found to be somewhat obnoxious, although it is simply trying to provide me with convenience for my busy lifestyle, apparently. Have you looked at people lately? These people are “busy”? Come on.
Spotify For Artists
My experience with Spotify For Artists started about a month ago when my friend Kenny showed me this course that this guy was offering called Spotify Profits Course offered by Smart Music Business. See, as a musician, and someone who writes and records their own songs, I’ve always considered music to be a hobby in the sense that it pays very little, and takes up a lot of time and energy. It’s like frisbee. You throw it, you catch it. Call it a passion, call it what you will, no one’s paying you to do that.
I have a lot of musician friends, who still do the grind and play bars and go on tours, and release albums to minimal fanfare. Lately, I’ve gotten tired of all that, as I’ve been doing it for what seems like ever, and I just figured making a living off of music in that regard (making, selling indie music) was nigh impossible.
But, after watching a few videos from Spotify Profits, I started to ponder this a little more. Was this guy on to something? I’ve been duped before, but I’ve also been lead to the promised land before, which is where I now reside, petting lambs and drinking hibiscus tea while watching the clouds slowly drift by. One thing that the course talks about is that streaming is the new way for musicians to make money, with lucrative financial rewards if you could figure out streaming services like Spotify.
Being the marketer I am, I was at least interested in this concept, since I have music I’ve slaved over, late at night, for no apparent reason at all, and I still would like more people to hear it, and buy it in some way, if possible. I still have boxes of old CD’s from old bands that are probably never going to sell for a number of reasons, which of course is annoying but it’s just too depressing to toss 100’s of brand new CD’s in the garbage, especially since they’re still shrink wrapped and I actually like some of the music on those albums…like this one. Aww, little buddy!
But anyway, pushing that image of destroying my old CD’s aside for a moment just because they’re effectively useless despite being pristinely new, I figured I’d give Spotify For Artists a shot, since that’s what this guy was suggesting I use to get somewhere in this whole streaming thing.
This is, of course, where the complications began, from the get-go. Now, either I’m just too behind the times to catch up to why Spotify is actually easy to use, or perhaps Spotify is just NOT easy to use, but overall I found this process very not easy to execute. That being, joining the Spotify For Artists community. It literally took me a month to join. Why, God, why? I’m sure there are many, many people who would say that I’m just just out of touch, but, dammit, I work online for a living, and deal with online issues every day that are mind-numbing and skull-crushing, so you might think I’d know at least enough to sign up for this program in less than a month. Here’s a pic of me at my computer though.
In any case, hear me out, if you will. When I was watching these Spotify Profits videos, of course the guy logs in as himself and as a verified Spotify For Artists artist. That’s square one, and it’s from there where you begin your journey to getting millions of screaming fans to listen to you. The problem is, I wasn’t signed up with Spotify For Artists. I wasn’t even signed up for Spotify. So, I go onto Spotify and look at the deals. “Premium”, I figured, would allow me to sign up for this Spotify For Artists program, since I couldn’t seem to do much without paying for something. This might be where my stupidity comes in, because I think you can get a free Spotify account and then use it for stuff, but I signed up anyway, and then looked to see about the Spotify For Artists account, but at that point it was too late – I realized that Spotify and Spotify For Artists are not related and you don’t need a Spotify account to get on Spotify For Artists. Great…now I have a Spotify account that I didn’t really want in the first place. But at the same time, I didn’t know what you needed to do to get a Spotify For Artists account since when you go to that page, it asks you to hook your account up to …your account, so I was like, what account? My Spotify account? No, not THAT account. Your other account, dumbass.
That’s phase one of when I realized that I needed to actually get my stuff on Spotify, which I hadn’t done. My problem was that I was approaching Spotify as the listener, not the artist. So I started to pursue that goal of being an artist ON Spotify, which meant choosing a company – namely Tunecore in this case – to distribute my music to Spotify, via their services.
You can’t just upload anything to Spotify, of course. Tunecore, or CD Baby, or whatever services that does such things has to do that for you, and THEN you can claim your Spotify For Artists account. Ok, then. So I go join Tunecore, and that’s when I realized that I was going to have to spend some money, because Tunecore wasn’t going to schlep my music over to Spotify and the other 20 music streaming platforms for nothing. It was going to cost me about $30 USD to do that. Something like that, anyway. So I then began uploading an album of mine to Tunecore.
This wasn’t too tough, the uploading, but I had to make sure that all the files were WAV, which makes sense, because streaming services don’t want to offer up lower quality audio formats to people – ie. crap. There was a bit of fussing to do with the size of the album art, and how clear the image on the album art actually is, but they seemed to accept my offerings. I purchased the deal that allowed me to share the album with a bunch of different platforms, including Spotify, which was my initial aim. At that point, I was sitting there waiting for the album to be sent off to these platforms, when I realized that that wasn’t happening. A day or so later, I noticed something was missing, so I contacted Tunecore, who told me I had to buy some additional $10 thing that would allow the online distribution to take place. All I’d bought was the license, not the actual thing that sent the album off to all the platforms. So, once I did that, the album was in limbo for a while while it zipped over the internet lines to the various platforms to be received by those organizations.
After about 5 days, I was notified in my Tunecore account that my album was live, and it could be found on Spotify. Obviously, I rushed over to see it and then realized something else that I somehow missed, which was that although I’d paid for Spotify, I didn’t actually HAVE Spotify, as in, the application.
It was easy enough to download, but I didn’t do it on my phone because I hate my phone, and would prefer to use it less. Therefore, I got the laptop version of Spotify and began looking at that.
Alright, great! So now I’m actually ON Spotify, the app, as a listener with an account that worked. This looked like what the Spotify Profits guy was using – the app, except he was an Artist. I started to play around on the app, since I did have that Premium account I sort of convinced myself I needed.
Of course, this Spotify app was simply registered to me, Dave, not Young Coconut, my Artist name. Hmmm…so, I had purchased Spotify under my actual name, and so now the app is under my name. Makes sense, right? Meanwhile, I had purchased a license as Young Coconut and then the ability to send my material with that license over to Spotify to be featured on Spotify, so that anyone could find it (even though I couldn’t yet find it), as Young Coconut. Great! Now I was both a listener and and an Artist who could be found (theoretically, at some point) on Spotify. Is this not called progress? Except what was I to do next?
Clearly, the next thing to do would be to “claim” my artist account, since that’s what some guy on Youtube said to do. So I go to do that, and…nothing happened. Why? Because, although I was able to now see myself on Spotify as Young Coconut, I wasn’t able to log into anything as Young Coconut, because I had no Spotify For Artists Account. When you go to that menu in Spotify for Artists, it says something like, “Ok, find your account to claim it”, so I tried to do that, and basically it either didn’t know who I (Young Coconut) was, or it found some other band that had the same name as me. Because, when I went to my album that was on Spotify, although it was there under my name, that account wasn’t yet verified and so you can’t claim your artist account with an unverified account, which is the type of account you will have if you join Spotify For Artists to begin with. So, I couldn’t do anything. Shock! Horror! I was stunned.
This is when I emailed Spotify artist support to see if they could help, mentioning that I didn’t know what to do to verify my artist account when in order to do that, I needed what seemed to be a verified artist account. They got back to me a week later…
They seem like nice folks, but that’s when they started to talk about Twitter and Instagram, both of which I have no personal artist page on either of those platforms. So I started sending them to what I do have, which is THIS WEBSITE, and some other accounts like Facebook, Soundcloud.
Guess what? My Facebook page didn’t do it for them, so they suggested I point them to a personal website, since this website is clearly not me. They wanted my email displayed on the site too, which I went ahead and did, even though I don’t really want my personal email on the site, which is what I had to do, although it didn’t work.
So what DID I do? I went ahead and made a whole new website, under my name, to prove that YES, I AM YOUNG COCONUT.
Of course, I hadn’t planned to do this nor did I really feel like it but I really wanted to claim my Spotify For Artists account and this seemed to be my last resort. Luckily, they were cool with that and allowed me to verify the account, FINALLY. So now I’m verified. Yay! On the downside, I had forgotten that my first website ever was called youngcoconutmusic and so it was the account name on my current account on my current hosting where all my shit is. And I had to delete that account in order to re-install wordpress, which almost had me deleting everything I’ve ever made, but I digress. Not so relevant to this story, except to say that this whole situation was causing major disturbances in the psychic field for me as I spent hours contending with this lame problem that came out of nowhere. The poor hosting people, they’ve logged so much time with me now. But dammit, Spotify finally verified me so we’re all good.
There was only one small problem. The other band that was apparently named the same as me is also in my Spotify For Artists account, so we’ve merged into a sort of siamese twin version of Young Coconut. I can see their stats, and their albums and track listings, as if I am them. I can’t edit their albums, because that is on the distribution side of things, but currently I am posing as them and myself, which was never my intention. So now at some point I probably should contact those guys and say “Hey guys, I control the name, and I can see your stats as well.” But I feel like if I tell Spotify artist support about it, they may just un-verify me, so I won’t do that just yet. I’ll just keep an eye on things.
Now, back over on my Spotify application, I notice that the Spotify Profits course seems to teach a lot about making playlists and such, except for the fact that my Spotify account was under my real name, and so it wasn’t really linked to my artist account in any way. Therefore, if I make a playlist, it’ll just say that I did it, not Young Coconut, perhaps defeating the purpose of making playlists at all for the purpose mentioned in the course (make $$). So I had to contact artist support again, and submit even more proof of my account, which prompted them to change the name on my app to Young Coconut, and hence solving all of my problems up until this point. Because now I can make playlists as Young Coconut, and I can also log into my Spotify For Artists as Young Coconut. It only took me an entire month to do it, but now I’m good to go!
I think that’s probably a good a point as any to cut this blog off, because I feel like I have reached a plateau, and now it is time to begin the next climb, with whatever challenges that presents in the world of being a Spotify Artist. Surely it will involve following the previously mentioned Spotify Profits course, watching Youtube “how to’s” on Spotify, and avoiding getting myself into trouble on the platform. Sometimes you find trouble, and sometimes it finds you, so we’ll see what happens first. I don’t really know if my brain is just wired wrong, or this process for signing up to Spotify Profits is unnecessarily complicated. I’d like to speak with other Spotify artists to hear their stories, as I’m not ruling out that I have some kind of brain tumour and can’t understand simple things like this. I would also like to add that this article is not to say that Spotify the app is bad, or that the Spotify For Artists service is less than stellar. I just haven’t had a chance to use them, but I shall, and report back to whoever might be listening in PART 2. Ciao!