There’s no way around it: Today, commercial success is measured by social media presence, popularity, and followers. It’s sad, but that’s how decisions are made – and the music industry is no different, with streaming platforms showing the number of streams, followers, and monthly listeners each artist has.
Spotify is one of the leading streaming platforms, with a library of over 80 million tracks and 4 million podcast titles. It has over 400 million listeners, of which 188m are premium subscribers. That’s an audience every artist should try to reach and a place where new creatives get discovered.
In this article, I’ll talk about everything you should know about monthly listeners: how they’re calculated, how many you should have, and more.
Let’s dive in!
What do monthly listeners on Spotify mean?
Whenever you look into an artist’s page, there are some things you will see right away: their name, banner picture, and their monthly listeners. Let’s take a look at what Spotify defines as a monthly listener.
Monthly listeners are unique users who stream your music at least once in a 28-day window.
Does this mean that playing a lot of music from an artist will help them grow their monthly listeners? That’s when the “unique” term comes into play. It doesn’t matter how often you listen to the same song, at least not for the monthly listener count.
Here’s when monthly listeners and total streams can be confusing. Streams are calculated by how many times people listen to an artist’s song; monthly listeners are how many people listen to an artist in 28 days. For example, let’s say you release a new album, and one of your fans listens to it nonstop for the following two weeks, while another fan listens to it just once. These are two monthly listeners, and while your most dedicated fan will help you increase your number of streams, they won’t impact the number of your monthly listeners more than an occasional listener.
Spotify chooses a 28-day period because it’s easier and fairer to count equal numbers of days and weeks. Users have distinct listening behaviour on different days of the week, so Spotify settled for a 28-day window to keep things easy for the artists and themselves.
You can check your monthly listeners on your artist page, as it’s updated daily. Keeping an eye on your monthly listeners can help you find how your fans respond to your music over a period of time. With this in mind, you can set goals and establish a releasing calendar to keep those numbers growing.
There’s one thing about monthly listeners you need to keep aware of: unlike the number of streams, it’s not a number that will keep growing over time. You need to work hard to prevent your monthly listeners from decreasing.
How many monthly listeners do the most famous artists have?
You’ve probably seen the impressive numbers of some artists and wondered how the most popular musicians are doing on Spotify. Do their monthly listeners keep growing? Does it work differently for them?
We may find it curious that the most streamed artist might not be the one with more monthly listeners. That’s because streams count once a listener reaches a 30 seconds mark on your song; each time they listen to the same song, it counts as a different stream. But we know that the monthly listeners’ count is different. A person playing your music nonstop only counts as one unique monthly listener. That’s why we see Bad Bunny and Drake as the most streamed artists, but not the ones with more monthly listeners.
Streams are cumulative: they gradually increase with each play, while monthly listeners can vary from month to month.
On the Spotify artist’s page, you can see their rank and the number of monthly listeners. But streams are not visible to the public. However, thanks to Spotify charts, we can find out who is the most streamed artist daily and weekly.
Additionally, other external charts generate data from the Spotify charts. These are not seen as official stats and can have variations from actual streams, but it helps to understand how it works.
The following table shows the top artist with more monthly listeners and their approximately total stream numbers, so you can see that more streams do not always mean more monthly listeners.
|Rank||Artist||Monthly listeners||Total streams|
The above table shows how Harry Styles is in fourth place with over 69 million monthly listeners and an estimated 7 million streams. Below, Dua Lipa ranks number five with over 65 million monthly listeners and 12+ million streams. Monthly listeners can fluctuate due to new releases, the artist featuring in a show or movie, collaborations, and so on. If we check these charts in the future, we will find different numbers and probably other artists on the list.
Setting your monthly listener goals
As an independent artist, settings goals can be stressful, especially if you constantly compare yourself to other artists who are more famous and see their monthly listeners growing to unreachable heights. How many monthly listeners on Spotify are good? To answer this question, you need to identify your niche, both stylistically and geographically. In a small town, an artist with 40k monthly listeners can be considered a growing artist; an indie band with 100k listeners might be doing OK; a famous singer with 500k monthly listeners might feel they’re not reaching the right audience.
Any path is different for every artist, but here are some goals you can set for your musical journey.
Focus on this before setting monthly listener goals
To get new listeners, you’ll need to regularly release songs people will want to hear: so slow down a little and think of your music first. Releasing and creating music should be your primary concern. Keeping your Spotify library fresh will have your loyal fans streaming your music and help you maximize your audience over time.
What are realistic growth targets?
Let’s talk about growth targets and how to set realistic goals and not get frustrated for not reaching them. There is no magic formula that will work for everyone. Each artist must find their own goals and how to get there. However, there are some tricks that can help you increase your fanbase.
Research the artist pool of like-minded artists
You can try to look for an artist in your genre with similar popularity. Look at what they are doing, how many times they release music, and what they do outside of Spotify to share and promote their works. Watch their monthly listeners; are they growing, decreasing, or are they stable?
Keep your real fans close
Keep an eye on your monthly listeners over time and set an average monthly listener for the next month. That way, you know where you stand with your fans and can start thinking of ways to grow those numbers.
How to increase Spotify monthly listeners
Spotify artist’s page
If you want to be on Spotify, you must be all in. Your Spotify artist page is like your Facebook profile page, which everyone goes to when they like one of your songs and want to discover your creative output. The best thing you can do is to have an updated page with all the information people might be looking for. On your artist page, you should:
- Write a bio about how and why you started making music, your milestones, and a story related to your music. If you’ve just started, keep it simple and honest: if people like your music, they’ll follow you regardless of your background.
- Upload photos: Share your professional photos from press releases, promotional material, or even casual pictures from rehearsals and shows. Just make sure they are high quality and improve your profile’s appeal.
- Create playlists: share your entire catalogue in a playlist so anyone new to your profile can hear your music. Add playlists with your favorite songs or tracks that inspired your last album to connect with your listeners.
- Link to social media profiles: having your social media links on your bio will allow new listeners to find you on their favorite platforms, where they can follow you and interact with you.
Spotify also offers many tools to promote your music within the platform, engage with fans and eventually get more followers. Most of them are available for all artists.
- Canvas: Canvas is a short looping visual to hook people with your music so they can stream, share, save and add to their favourite playlists. Spotify states that with Canvas, you get 9% more visits to your profile, a reason why you would want to have your profile in order.
- Promo Cards: These are personalized graphics you can create to share your music on social media with your fans or to promote it with ads.
- Music+Talk: With Anchor, you can now create audio shows in a podcast format where you can share more about your music. Music+Talk is ideal since it’s already on Spotify, so you can direct your listeners to your music without them leaving the platform.
Pitch to editorial playlists
Another feature in Spotify for Artists is pitching your new songs to the editors of the most popular and streamed playlists on Spotify. Before pitching to an editor, consider this:
- You can only pitch your unreleased songs.
- Compilations are not permitted.
- Editors will not receive the songs where you are a featured artist.
- Pitch your music as soon as possible, so the editor can have time to listen to it.
Pitching a song does not guarantee editors will add your music to their playlists. If your release is not picked, it’ll still be featured on your follower’s Release Radar and your “This Is” playlist if you have one.
Social media can be something a lot of artists are afraid of. They see other content creators building a solid fanbase and think they need to be there 24/7, sharing reels, TikToks, and recording themself doing funny videos to keep up with the trends.
Social media is the best way to be in touch with your fans and other musicians that are in the same place as you, looking to grow.
When building your social media presence, you should focus at least on one of those things:
- Constantly update your bio and add smart links that lead your followers to your music on Spotify.
- Engage with your fans and community regularly.
- Announce new releases and share them once they’re out.
- Follow other music creators.
- Comment on other profiles.
- Be active and present.
- Do not spam.
Don’t try to be on all social media platforms if you’re not confident. Choose one or two you already know how to use. The most recommended social media platforms for artists are TikTok and Instagram, but you can choose whichever you want. Even Reddit, Twitch, or Twitter will work if you can engage with your audience the right way.
If you have the budget, running Facebook ads will help you attract new listeners that may like your music. In this article, Facebook advises artists to use the content they are already sharing to create campaigns to drive more followers.
Final thoughts on Spotify stats
Spotify for Artists has many features and data you can use to know how your music is performing, how your listeners discovered you, and where your most engaged listeners are. It’s not just about having more numbers on your profile: it’s about understanding your audience.
There is not a given number of monthly listeners an artist should have to be successful. High numbers look thrilling, but creating music should always be your priority.
Give your fans something new to listen to regularly, and never stop evolving as an artist: in this way, your fanbase will start growing, and your music will reach more and more people.