January 29, 2024

Decoding Spotify's Discovery Mode

Wondering how to promote your song on Spotify? Discovery Mode is designed to help you find new listeners when it matters to you most.

Decoding Spotify's Discovery Mode

Artists are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to amplify their reach without draining their wallets. Enter Spotify Discovery Mode, a tool that holds promise for emerging musicians but has sparked debates about its true nature and impact.

At its core, Discovery Mode is Spotify's response to artists seeking a say in how their music is introduced to new listeners. The tool claims to generate a staggering 16 billion+ artist discoveries monthly, with a significant chunk driven by the Radio and Autoplay features.

For independent distributors and artists navigating a tight budget, Discovery Mode seems like a beacon of hope. It allows you to influence the Spotify algorithm without an upfront cost.

You select the tracks, and Spotify does the rest by suggesting your music on Radio and Autoplay to listeners who might just become your newest fans.

However, the catch lies in the revenue stream.

While the absence of an upfront cost is enticing, the songs streamed through Discovery Mode won't fill your coffers in the same way as other streams on the platform. It's a trade-off – potentially sacrificing regular revenues for increased exposure. More on this later.

Spotify claims that during the first month of using Discovery Mode, artists experienced a notable uptick – 37% more followers, a 50% surge in track saves, and a 44% increase in songs added to playlists.

How does it work?

Artists can turn the tool on or off for eligible songs, influencing the algorithm's recommendations based on factors like genre, time of day, language, and even artist preferences.

But the real game-changer is the artist's newfound role in the algorithm's decision-making. While Spotify has always placed songs in playlists based on its algorithm, Discovery Mode empowers artists to push their music more frequently into Radio playlists and Autoplay.

Here's the kicker – engagement is key. Discovery Mode doesn't guarantee more streams or followers; it merely increases the likelihood of your song being recommended. If users aren't vibing with your music, Spotify won't keep pushing it.

The question of cost

Or rather, the lack of an apparent cost. Discovery Mode collects its due not through upfront payments but by shaving a portion off your royalties. It's a gamble, as some managers report an average 30% reduction in royalties from Discovery Mode.

You’re basically running campaigns for 30% of your royalties. It's a potential boon for those on a tight budget. However, the tool is not a guaranteed success and should be seen as one component of a broader marketing strategy, including social media and playlist pitching.

​​The final verdict? That's up to you, the artist.