Spotify Analytics: All You Need to Know

It’s increasingly important for independent artists to understand the numbers behind their music - but on first glance they can be a bit of a minefield. A simple analysis of your Spotify statistics can completely change the way you do things, from learning which tracks are performing the best online, which cities listen to your music the most to how well you’re retaining new listeners. Here’s a guide to Spotify analytics and how to look beyond the numbers.


Music

If you’ve already claimed your Spotify profile (if not, here’s how to do it) then you’ll initially see a few ‘overview’ Spotify stats - listening now, trending songs and your numbers over the last 7 days. These are useful for a quick look of how your music is doing at the moment, but for some more detail navigate your way to ‘Music’ from the navigation bar at the top of the page.

Spotify Statistics

Before we get going, it’s worth drawing a distinction between streams and listeners. The figure you see for streams is reasonably self-explanatory - it’s simply the number of streams that track or album has received over your selected timeframe (remember that to count a stream, a song must have been listened to for at least 30 seconds). Listeners is a little bit different in that it is the number of unique users that have heard the track or album over your selected timeframe. For example, your tune might have 10 listeners and 100 streams - that would mean 10 different people have listened to it and contributed a total of 100 streams between them.

Songs & Releases

The first thing you’ll see in this section is a complete list of all your tracks. You can filter them by timeframe: last 24 hours, last 7 days, last 28 days, since 2015 or all-time. It’s a useful way to easily learn which songs of yours are the most popular on Spotify both since you started making music and what your fans are listening to right now. If you would like to see a specific timeframe that doesn’t appear in the dropdown list, your best best is to select ‘All time’ and then click the small arrow to the right to export all of the data to a spreadsheet. You can also sort your songs by name, streams and the date they were added to Spotify by clicking the relevant column header.

If you would prefer to view your Spotify stats by release instead, click the relevant link just underneath the big ‘Music’ heading where you’ll be able to see how many times each of your albums, EPs or singles have been streamed, along with a breakdown of the numbers from each track of that release.

How do I interpret these numbers?

This section of Spotify’s analytics is reasonably simple to analyse. You can easily see which of your tracks are most popular right now and your most popular songs of all-time at the click of a button. It can also be useful to figure out which album tracks have been most popular with fans and which ones have been skipped the most often. Having this knowledge could shape your future songwriting, but also the way you order albums.

Spotify Playlist Analytics

Playlists

The next tab along is ‘Playlists’, which is where the Spotify statistics begin to get a little bit more complicated. As you’ll see, and as I’ve previously gone into detail on my guide to Spotify promotion, playlists come in three different categories: Algorithmic, Editorial and Listener (you’ll be able to read more about how each one of them works both in the linked guide and an upcoming blog on that specific topic). This is the place where you’ll be able to judge the impact that your playlisting efforts are having on your numbers, given that you can view which playlists on the platform have contributed the most towards your streams. That is to say, if you see a figure of 1,000 listeners next to Discover Weekly for example, that means 1,000 unique users have listened to your music via that playlist over the selected timeframe. The final tab you’ll see, ‘Upcoming’, is a list of upcoming releases that have been logged into the system. It’s also where you’ll be able to pitch your music for playlist consideration to Spotify’s editors.

How do I interpret these numbers?

If you’re an independent artist then it’s likely that Release Radar, Discover Weekly and Your Daily Mix are the playlists that are making up most of your streams in this section. If the numbers here are high then it suggests that your music is performing well in Spotify’s algorithm by not being skipped very often, being played all the way through and being shared onto different platforms. Having a high proportion of playlist streams originating from listener playlists is also a good sign, as it means your fanbase are including your music on their own playlists - which in turn boosts your chances of featuring on Discover Weekly or Release Radar. It’s all a big cycle!

(Playlisting) is a long-term process which like anything in music can take time, effort and a bit of luck - but there is logic behind it all and the process isn’t random.

Getting a lot of streams from algorithmic and listener playlists might eventually lead to getting your music onto Spotify’s big-hitting editorial playlists, some of which have millions of followers and can boost your streams by tens of thousands. But don’t just expect to release a song and Spotify to fall in love with it and add it to ‘Rap Caviar’ or ‘Indie Hits’. It’s a long-term process which like anything in music can take time, effort and a bit of luck - but there is logic behind it all and the process isn’t random.


Audience

Because of the analytics that Spotify now provides, you’re able to get so much more insight about your music. Which songs are really resonating with people? Where are people listening to my music from? How old are my fans? In turn, the answers to these questions could help you make informed decisions about where to tour, what to play live and even what type of musical approach to take to your songwriting. And the ‘Audience’ section of your Spotify for Artists is absolutely packed with tidbits of information that will help you answer these questions and many more.

Listeners, Streams & Followers

First up, you can view a handy little graph of your listeners, streams and followers which you can easily compare to up to two other artists on Spotify by typing their names in the box below.

Spotify Analytics Comparison Other Artists

How do I interpret these numbers?

According to Chartmetric, a Listeners to Followers ratio of >5 suggests a high number of streams with fewer followers whilst <1 suggests more followers with fewer actual streams. So somewhere in between 1 and 5 is the sweet spot

You can draw some interesting parallels between listeners, streams and followers that can help you understand how engaged your fanbase is. The music analytics service Chartmetric, which also has a free version, provides artists with a Listeners to Followers Ratio. This is basically your number of monthly listeners divided by your follower count. According to Chartmetric, a Listeners to Followers ratio of >5 suggests a high number of streams with fewer followers whilst <1 suggests more followers with fewer actual streams. So somewhere in between 1 and 5 is the sweet spot; it would suggest you have a good number of engaged fans who regularly listen to your music. A high ratio might mean that your monthly listeners aren’t being converted into fans by following you, whilst a low ratio may mean the followers you have aren’t regularly listening to your music.

You can also divide your monthly streams by monthly listeners to get an idea of how much your fans are listening to your music. So if last month you had 1,000 monthly listeners and 5,000 monthly streams, that’s going at a ratio of around 5 streams per unique user. If this increases month-on-month then it’s definitely a good sign.

Where your streams come from

Scroll down a little further and you’ll see a breakdown of where your streams come from. Here are the categories:

  • Your profile and catalog. Users initiating streams directly from your artist profile.

  • Listener’s own playlists and library. Users streaming your songs from their own playlists or library.

  • Other listener’s playlists. Streams that come from listeners playing other listener’s playlists.

  • Spotify algorithmic playlists. Streams from the likes of Release Radar and Discover Weekly.

  • Spotify editorial playlists. Streams from the likes of Rap Caviar and Who We Be - put together by Spotify staff.

  • Other. Streams that come from sources such as the Spotify’s embeddable web player, smart speakers, TVs or wearables.

How do I interpret these numbers?

As we’ve already mentioned in this article, as a smaller independent artist you would expect a larger share of plays to come from your profile above anything else. Playlist streams are more likely to initially be algorithmic and listener-created, with streams from editorial playlists typically being the result of plays from other sources. Aside from that, this section of Spotify analytics is quite interesting but there isn’t a great deal to take away unless you see a sudden spike or fall in any of the numbers, in which case its wise to investigate. Try visiting The Spotify Community where people who know much more than I do will be sure to help you out.

Age, Gender & Location

The final section covers the age, gender, cities and countries of your Spotify listeners. You’re provided with a graph that displays the most prevalent age bracket of your fans as well as the percentage of male, female and non-binary fans of your music. Just below that you’ll find a breakdown of where your fans are located, broken down into both country and city.

How do I interpret these numbers?

I would say these numbers are more likely to confirm ideas you already had about the demographics of your fans rather than provide you with any major surprises (like that you’re absolutely massive in Mongolia and never knew about it). However, the detail of the numbers in terms of which cities & countries you’re most popular in could provide you with better information on where to tour in future.


Summary

There’s a lot to be learnt from digging a little bit into your Spotify analytics. Although most artists will likely keep track of their streams, listeners and followers, understanding the difference between these terms and then drawing parallels between them - like in the case of your Listener to Follower Ratio - can give you a much better insight into your fans’ listening habits without the need to be an expert. If you have any queries about any of the points in this blog then feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below.