Some artists may boast an impressive monthly listeners count on Spotify, into the hundreds of thousands if not millions, but when it comes to the actual engagement, a lot of them display weak followers numbers.
When evaluating the bankability of an artist, it's crucial to pay close attention to the listeners to followers count: 2 to 1 is much better than 200 to 1. It's nice to have millions of Spotify plays (even if it doesn't pay much), but it's better to build a strong community around your craft.
But why do some artists get millions of plays and just hundreds of followers at best? Well, it's the "power" of playlists, the ultimate curation tool on Spotify, the most coveted piece of exposure on the Swedish platform. Hundreds of websites offer the opportunity to submit tracks to playlists, some high profile playlist curators even ask a (huge) fee to consider your track but, at the end of the day, you're just a random tune in a infinite feed of background music, played at dinners, beach parties or coffee mornings. In other words, music is essential but it's not enough, as clearly explained in this long piece on Hypebot.
Gigging, from grassroots venues to larger halls, talking to your fans both at concerts and online, being featured on blogs, sharing live videos and other forms of audiovisual content are all critical to slowly work your way up, one fan at a time, with the aim of reaching at least 1,000 true fans, widely considered as a key threshold for any type of successful venture, be it a food startup of a rock band.
So next time you see someone bragging about their '10 million streams' on Spotify, open Chartmetric and check out how many followers they have ;-) You might be surprised.