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Getting Started with Apple Music for Artists

September 11, 2023
3 min read

While Spotify has long been a dominant player in the streaming platform landscape, Apple Music is making impressive strides in gaining ground and solidifying its position. As of 2022, this subscription-based platform had more than 84 million paying customers. By 2025, it’s thought that Apple Music will have up to 110 million subscribers. For independent musicians keen to seize on every revenue stream, Apple Music can’t be overlooked. 

However, it’s not just an untapped market that Apple Music represents. With Apple Music for Artists, musicians have a powerful suite of tools for creating and promoting content. What’s more, user-friendly analytics mean you can better understand your audience and how they’re engaging with your music. First time using Apple Music for Artists? Read on for the complete lowdown. 

What Is Apple Music for Artists?

With Apple Music for Artists, musicians have access to invaluable data insights that can help them better connect with fans and discover new audiences. Unlike iTunes, Apple Music is a far more sophisticated streaming platform. As well as listening to music, subscribers can access a raft of on-demand features and discover more about the music they love. 

Apple isn’t alone in putting out an artist hub. Spotify unveiled its own version back in 2013, with YouTube for Artists arriving in 2015. However, many users would agree that Apple Music for Artists is far more accessible and fully loaded than its competitors. 

With Apple Music for Artists, you can see who’s listening to what. For live performers, this kind of information is incredibly useful and can be used to refine setlists and make last-minute changes to regional tours. However, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. When used effectively, Apple Music for Artists can become a key element in a larger music marketing campaign. 

Setting Up Your Artist Profile 

Before you can start using Apple Music for Artists, you’ll first need to claim your profile. To claim yours, do the following: 

  1. Go to the Apple Music for Artists page
  2. Look for the sign up icon at the bottom of the page and click it
  3. Now add your Apple ID (or create a new one)
  4. Once you’ve done this, click ‘request access’ and start searching for your existing artist page
  5. If you’re claiming a page for a band, specify your individual role
  6. Provide as much information as you can when prompted
  7. The more information you can provide, the quicker the verification process will be
  8. Most verifications should be completed within a week

Creating a Compelling Artist Profile 

Claiming your Apple Music for Artists profile is straightforward enough. However, you should really be thinking about artist profile optimization if you want to give your music the best shot possible. 

Compared to similar platforms, such as Spotify for Artists, Apple doesn’t leave users with much scope for customization. However, there’s still plenty you can do to engage existing fans and find new ones. If your profile page has existing information about you, don’t panic. Many profiles on Apple Music are populated with content produced by third parties. If information is out of date or simply incorrect, now’s your chance to fix things. 

There’s a Q&A section you can fill out to provide Apple Music editors and listeners with more detail about yourself. Responses will be reviewed, so it pays to ensure your answers are original, authentic, and accurately reflect you as an artist. Currently, Apple Music’s guidelines are pretty strict about what you can include. You can’t simply submit sections of text from a press release or promote merchandise. You’ll also need to keep your answers succinct and free of any complex characters or emojis. 

What About Artist Images? 

Once again, Apple Music for Artists is fairly rigid about the kind of images you can upload. Currently, the bare minimum size for profile photos is 800 x 800 pixels, although 2400 x 2400 pixels is preferred. Whatever you do, avoid upscaling smaller images. Low resolution photos are unlikely to be accepted. 

Thankfully, Apple Music for Artists makes editing your artist image a breeze. Once you’ve uploaded an image, a cropping window will appear so you can resize your photo to meet Apple guidelines. 

On other platforms, album artwork is always a good go-to for profile photos. However, Apple’s guidelines rule out using assets like album artwork and logos. In fact, typography of any kind isn’t allowed. The focus here should be you as an artist. A professional headshot is really the best way to go.

Don’t Forget to Link to Your Social Channels

Are you active elsewhere online? You’ll want to link your Apple Music for Artists page with your key social accounts. This way, you’ll have no trouble promoting Apple Music playlists and milestones to your followers on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere. 

Furthermore, linking your Apple Music for Artists profile to music distribution platforms is a must. With the two synched up, your distribution platform of choice can handle things like royalties collection, metadata delivery, and licensing. 

Understanding Apple Music Analytics 

If you want to nurture a growing fanbase on Apple Music, you'll need to get familiar with Analytics. Apple Music’s analytics dashboard is one of the most user-friendly around, making it simple to measure how well your music is performing.  

How To See My Apple Stats?

At the moment, Apple Music measures performance based on a few key metrics. The first is the overall number of plays. A play is registered whenever someone listens to 30 seconds or more of a track. Artists can also see how many daily listeners they’re attracting. For more detailed insights, you can monitor search listener trends by searching with a data range. 

If you’re keen to monetize your music and turn occasional listeners into paying customers, you’ll also want to take a look at the number of purchases being registered. Apple Music for Artists will record every sale of your music from the iTunes Store. 

These stats not only give you a top-down view of how well your music is doing, but also provide insights you can use to fine-tune music marketing strategies. With artist analytics tools, you can use the ‘Trends’ tab to delve into detail about who your listeners are and where they’re based. By firmly understanding listener demographics, you can adapt your marketing campaigns accordingly. 

With Apple Music for Artists, you even get insights from services like Shazam. Acquired by Apple in 2018, this music identification tool has more than 450 million active users. You can use Shazam insights to unlock even more detailed demographics can help resume your social media activities and allow you to connect with a wider audience.  

Showcasing Your Music 

Getting your tracks on Apple Music is straightforward enough for signed artists. For independent musicians, it can take a little longer. The easiest way to release your music via Apple Music is to partner with an Apple-approved distributor. 

If you’re working as an experienced distributor, there’s a good chance they’ll take care of metadata delivery. However, nobody knows your music as well as you do, so you have a role to play in ensuring that metadata is fully optimized. 

Metadata is key to building and nurturing your Apple Music audience. Without it, new and existing fans alike won’t be able to discover your music on Apple Music or the iTunes Store. First, focus on descriptive metadata. This includes artist names, release dates, song titles, track numbers, and more. 

You’ll also want to take a look at your secondary metadata. Think about attaching metadata terms tied to genre and mood. With more listeners turning to curated playlists and algorithms to discover new music, your secondary metadata can be a valuable discovery tool. 

Song and Album Descriptions 

With Apple Music for Artists, you can go above and beyond when creating album descriptions. In fact, you can add a song-by-song breakdown of every track on an album. Writing and recording an album is a labor of love, so you shouldn’t have any issues coming up with an engaging description. Keep it broad by mentioning your musical influences, or talk about the process involved in creating the tracks. 

With the album description feature, you can also provide fascinating insights into individual tracks. It’s worth highlighting each and every song you’re uploading. It can help create more of a connection with listeners, encouraging them to listen through the entire track, even if they’re undecided about it. 

Promoting Your Tracks on Apple Music

There are plenty of emerging musician strategies that can be put to use on Apple Music for Artists. Looking to connect with audiences across the globe? Use Apple Music icons and badges to compensate for any language barrier. Both elements are excellent for branding and can be embedded as links on Apple Music, or elsewhere like your artist website or social media channels. 

Keen to reach out to listeners not using Apple Music? You’re in luck. Other handy marketing tools include an embeddable player feature. Even if someone isn’t using Apple Music, they can still enjoy a 30-second teaser of one of your songs. With this preview player, they can even get a quick overview of your entire album. 

Leveraging Links 

If you’re looking to direct listeners to a new track or an entire playlist, links are always useful. These links will automatically take users to Apple Music, regardless of what type of device they’re using. You can even use links for social media or email marketing campaigns. 

The Power of Playlists 

Apple Music’s playlists are similar to what you’ll find on Spotify. If you’re a less established artist, having your music curated and added to a playlist is an easy way to secure some exposure. 

Unfortunately, you can’t connect with Apple Music curators like you can do with other platforms. However, you can still give your profile and content a fighting chance at getting cherry-picked for playlisting. 

First off, make sure your profile is fully verified. You’ll also want to focus your following on Apple Music and elsewhere. Even though you might not have a direct line to Apple’s in-house editorial team, music distributors tend to have better connections. If they do, your music has a much better chance of ending up on a playlist in the feature. 

Make Your Music Exclusive

In order to generate healthy revenues, you’ll need to be distributing your music on multiple platforms. However, it’s always worth giving separate audience segments the VIP treatment. Consider uploading exclusive tracks to Apple Music that listeners won’t find anywhere else. You can whip up interest before you share tracks by running a promotional campaign on your social media channels. 

Engaging Your Audience 

Apple Music for Artists offers you plenty of tools for building hype and maintaining momentum. However, one of the best things you can do for self-promotion is to tap into the potential of your social media networks. 

Apple Music’s subscriber count may be growing, but the average social platform lets you connect with far more would-be listeners. Twitter has more than 353 million users, while Instagram has more than 1.35 billion. Both platforms are ripe for the picking for emerging musicians looking to showcase their skills. 

Rather than simply direct your social media followers to your Apple Music page, go out of your way to engage them with rich content. You want to create a sense of community on their native platform, before nudging them to seek out your content elsewhere. 

If you’re using Instagram for music marketing, organize contests that rely on imagery or video snippets. If you want to keep things light-hearted, keep it silly with a mime challenge. If you want to take a more straight-faced route, task your followers with recording a cover of the chorus of one of your signature hits. 

As well as providing you with a rich slate of user-generated content, these contents are an easy way to nurture strong relationships with your listeners. Make sure you’re responding to your fans regularly to strengthen connections. Simply responding to a commentator by their username in a short-form social video can go a long way in raising your credibility with listeners. 

Integrating Apple Music Into Your Music Career

If you know how to check Apple Music stats, you can use these insights to shape your overall music promotion strategy. If you’re still a regular on the live performance circuit, use Apple Music analytics to find out where your music is most popular. If the top-ranking destination is a nearby city, think about scheduling a special live performance here. 

You can frame an entire social media campaign around it, counting down the days to a one-night-only gig in the hometown of your most loyal demographic. 

If you’re keen to get the most out of Apple Music for Artists, make sure you’re keeping an eye on the latest platform updates. In 2023 alone, there have been several major enhancements to Apple Music. An extended ‘Song Credits’ feature means that listeners can access an incredible amount of information about a single song. Furthermore, a long-awaited ‘Collaborative Playlists’ feature finally means that subscribers can freely edit and add tracks to other people’s playlists. 

Both of these features can prove advantageous to musicians. However, it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. If you want to stand out on Apple Music, make sure you’re among the first artists to be updating song information so your listeners can access a virtual backstage experience. If you want to reap the benefits of collaborative playlists, make sure that metadata is as complete as it can be. 

Unleash the Full Potential of Apple Music for Artists Today

It’s not easy to generate healthy revenues from streaming platforms. However, Apple Music is one platform you shouldn’t ignore. With Apple Music for Artists, you can make your content more discoverable and enhance the listening experience for your audiences. Just by making some minor tweaks to your profile and adding rich content like song and album descriptions, it’s easy to engage new and existing fans alike. 

What’s more, Apple Music analytics let you delve deep into listener demographics. You use these insights to determine whether you need to redefine your target audience and tailor your live performance strategies and marketing campaigns. By investing more time and effort into your Apple Music profile, you also increase the chances of your tracks being curated for playlists. 

Independent musicians need to explore many different revenue streams to forge a successful career. While streaming royalties aren’t as lucrative as other avenues, optimizing your musician profile and output with Apple Music for Artists tools means you can reap more rewards from this increasingly popular platform.

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