New research from looks at the cost for artists as Spotify becomes the latest platform to reward promotional videos.

  • 91% of artists promote their releases independently.
  • 75% of musicians who spend money on promoting their releases don’t make their money back.
  • 56% of music creators will make visuals for their next release.
  • 54% of musicians use social media for self-promotion above socialising, 56% use social media every single day.
  • 51% of artists have taken a social media detox at least once.

Pirate recently asked over 1,000 live musicians, producers, rappers and MCs from the UK and US how they promote their music. This research comes as Spotify becomes the latest platform to reward promotional videos. 91% of artists surveyed promote their music independently, without the support of a label or manager. 75% of musicians who spend money on promoting their releases, spend more than they make from streams, sales, syncs and other music revenue streams combined. Still, asked whether they would create visuals to support their next release, 56% of artists said they would, 76% of which planned to make a traditional music video.

“As an artist doing your own promo, it’s both harder and easier in the social media age. Platforms reward a constant stream of content which takes a lot of work, the payoff is that you can build your own audience rather than just trying to break through gatekeepers”. – Dan Davis, Head Of Community,

54% of music creators surveyed use their main social media accounts for self-promotion above socialising, which has led to 51% of artists taking a social media detox at some point in their career. The channel favoured by musicians was Instagram – 88% of respondents had an account. The second most popular was YouTube (69%), followed by Facebook (58%) and TikTok (42%).

“Seeing artists take time off social media is a really positive sign that more creators are prioritising their mental health. For a lot of musicians in our studios, music is on top of full-time or part-time jobs; it’s important to take breaks from work, music and everything else that comes with being a musician”. Dan Davis, Head Of Community,

As Spotify’s latest update is so new, most artists (36%) were understandably unsure about whether they would add a 30-second clip for their next release. 32% of artists said they would use the feature, only 16% said they wouldn’t. 13% of artists surveyed didn’t release music on Spotify.

“Making music in the social media age means constantly jumping on new promotional trends. However, making content is rarely free and new revenue sources for artists aren’t emerging at the same rate as new trends”. – Dan Davis, Head Of Community

The rise of TikTok and the TikTokification of other apps like Spotify, comes at a time when streaming has already obliterated artists’ chances of making money from music; an ever-increasing appetite for additional content is now making the investment required to reach a small reward even greater.

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