April 5


How to Upload Your Music to Spotify in 2020


We’re living in arguably the most exciting time in history when it comes to creating and sharing music.

A couple of decades ago, if you wanted to get your music in front of an audience, you’d need to invest a huge amount of money to make it happen. Recording music typically had to be done in conventional studios, which charged by the hour.

And if you wanted your songs to be sold in record shops and chain stores, you’d have to fork over thousands for CD duplication or share your potential earnings with a record label––if your music was marketable enough to be released by a label in the first place, that is.

Today’s music industry is a whole different ball game. Affordable DIY technology and digital music distributors like TuneCore are allowing musicians of every age, locale, and experience level to create studio-grade music and share it with the masses. There’s a lot to complain about making music in 2020––abysmal streaming payouts, musical saturation, the album’s decline as a listening format––but the fact that music creation and distribution are now available to everyone is a remarkable change for the better.

For musicians set on sharing their music with as many listeners as they can, Spotify is mandatory in terms of reach, exposure, and opportunities. The Swedish music streaming company might be one of the biggest in the industry, but small and unestablished artists frequently find audiences by making their music available on its platform. And, believe it or not, it’s actually not all that difficult or expensive for artists to put their music on Spotify.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to put your music on Spotify using the digital music distribution service TuneCore. We’ll guide you step-by-step through the process and give you helpful hints to make everything go as smoothly as possible.

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Why TuneCore?

Great question. There are tons of other distributors out there, after all.

TuneCore is one of the most respected digital music distributors in the industry, and they’ve been at it far longer than most of their competitors.

Many of the new startup distributors out there are sleekly designed, but operate on questionable and unproven business models. Founded in 2005, TuneCore is reliable because putting artists’ music on platforms like Spotify is all they do. If you want to put your music on Spotify cheaply and feel confident for it staying there as long as you want it to, TuneCore is a great way to go.

How to prepare your music to upload to Spotify

Putting your music on Spotify through TuneCore’s distribution service is easy, but to get the most out of your releases, your songs need to be prepared a certain way.

We should note that while not doing some of these things listed below probably won’t keep your music from being featured on Spotify’s platform, focusing on getting your music sounding its best and uploading the correct metadata associated with it will make your life easier in lots of ways.

Music that sounds professionally mixed and recorded has a much better chance of being picked up for Spotify’s big editorially curated playlists and music discovery features. Incorrect metadata details can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in streaming revenue if your music takes off. So while some of the following advice isn’t mandatory for having your stuff sent to Spotify, it’s pretty important.

Make sure your music sounds professionally recorded, mixed, and mastered

Do you need to record in a fancy studio to get your stuff on Spotify? Of course not!

But the better your work sounds, the more likely you’ll be to succeed in finding an audience. Even if you create lo-fi indie or rap music, your songs need to sound intentionally engineered to perform their best on Spotify. If you have no idea how to record like a professional, there are plenty of online tutorials out there to help.

Mixing and mastering are two crucial elements of music production that can mean the difference of whether your music finds fans on Spotify or not. Mixing is the process of designating volume levels of individual tracks and adding effects like reverbs, delays, and EQs to your songs. Mastering is the process of finalizing your mixes and optimizing them for playback.

More and more musicians are taking on mixing and mastering duties themselves, but just because you can write songs doesn’t mean these will be skills you can or should take on. If you believe in your music, present it in its best possible form with solid mixing and mastering.

Choose the correct music format

To put your music on streaming platforms, here’s one of TuneCore’s requirements you need to pay special attention to.

As far as format goes for your audio files, TuneCore only accepts 16 bits (sample size), 44.1 kHz (sample rate), and 1411 kbps (bit rate) stereo WAV files. If the songs you want to upload currently don’t fit the bill, the good news is that it’s not hard to convert them to specification. Videos like this one can help you get it done quickly and easily.

Be 100% confident of your metadata details before uploading

Metadata might be an incredibly boring topic, but messing it up can keep you from being credited and paid for your music. Metadata ensures that your music is discoverable and identifiable. Back in the days of CDs and Tape Cassettes, all we needed to do to identify things like artist names and album titles was to look at the artwork.

Today, we rely on metadata for that. Be prepared with information like who composed the music, names of collaborators, who owns the master recording, and who’s publishing the music. If you’re unsure how to answer these questions, you’re not ready to upload music to TuneCore and need to do more research.

Get clear, properly sized cover art ready to upload

If you’re about to upload music through TuneCore that eventually makes its way to Spotify, it’s safe to assume you have some cover art ready to send as well. If this isn’t the case, create some cover art before you keep reading. You’ll need it to get your music on Spotify.

TuneCore has image requirements posted on its website. For size, 3000 x 3000 pixel images are recommended. That’s 10 x 10 in inches, by the way. You’ll need at least a resolution of 72 dpi, but shoot for 300 if you can. The image needs to be a perfect square, and no blurry or pixelated images are accepted.

Sure, these rules can seem sort of restrictive, but they’re aimed at helping the visual aspects of your music perform well on Spotify. Getting your cover art right the first time will save you time and frustration later.

Ready to upload?

Once you’ve got mixed and mastered music in the right format with the correct cover art to share, you’re ready to roll. Let’s put your tracks on Spotify!

Tips for navigating TuneCore’s uploading process

Depending on the speed of your internet service and the number of songs you’re uploading, it’s safe to give yourself anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour on average during this process.

Once you’ve created a TuneCore account, you can initiate the uploading process by clicking the “Music” link on the dashboard:

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Album or single?

The menu will give you the option to upload either a single or an album. By the way, TuneCore defines an “album” as two or more songs, so artists can upload EPs through the Album tab. Singles are required to be shorter than ten minutes. Songs longer than that are considered albums.

Make sure your metadata details are 100% correct

To make things easy, we’ll take you through the process of uploading a single. Remember the importance of metadata we talked about earlier in this guide? The Single Upload page is where you’ll need to start putting your knowledge to use.

Here, you’ll need to not only put in the correct details behind your song, but also the correct spellings. Incorrect spelling can cause delays in getting your music posted and embarrassing public issues like misspelled song titles. To make sure you get these metadata details 100% correct, we recommend reading through slowly three separate times.

ISRC and UPC/EAN Codes

Aren’t sure what these codes are? Don’t worry, most musicians don’t, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. Through this code, your song will be identifiable online. TuneCore lets you add your own if you already have it, and will automatically generate a new one for you if you don’t.

UPC and EAN codes are similar to ISRCs, and are essentially barcodes. If you don’t have UPC/EAN codes lined up for your songs, TuneCore can generate those for you as well during this process. Just leave that part of the form blank, and they’ll do the rest.

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Once your metadata details are correctly added, you’ll be taken to the page where you’ll upload your music, add your cover art, and add song credits such as the legal name of the songwriter. Under the “Store” tab, make sure to click the box by the Spotify icon to send them your music. Clicking the “Deliver to all current digital stores” box will also do this.

Designate roles

This is also the time when you’ll let TuneCore know who did what on the song being uploaded. Under the “Role” form, you can add other artists and designate exactly how they contributed to the track.

This is important not only for crediting yourself and the musicians you work with properly, but also in ensuring everyone is paid their fair share. TuneCore has a handy list of performer definitions if you need help here.

tunecore metadata

Upload your track

Once you’ve selected stores to send your music to, added your cover art, and designated credits for who did what on your song, it’s time to upload the track. Depending on factors like the length of your song and speed of your internet connection, the uploading process can take anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes on average.

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Once your music is uploaded to TuneCore

Congrats on uploading your music on TuneCore! Soon, it will be sent to Spotify where millions of listeners worldwide will have a chance to hear it. For singles, TuneCore charges $9.99 USD per-year. For albums, you’ll pay $29.99 USD up front, and $49.99 every following year your music stays up on Spotify and other platforms.

When will my music show up on Spotify?

If you’ve scheduled your music to show up on digital platforms on a specific date, your music will show up on Spotify at that time. However, it should be noted that you’ll need at least two weeks of lead time to make this happen. Spotify and TuneCore work a lot quicker than you probably think.

For artists who upload music and want to have it show up on Spotify as soon as possible, TuneCore’s vetting system usually takes a business day, and Spotify’s takes five. This means your tracks will most likely show up on Spotify within 1-2 weeks. TuneCore recommends the hundreds of stores they send music to four weeks of lead time in order to be properly reviewed.

Promoting your music once it’s on Spotify

The truth is that artists should have a smart promotion plan in place for their music long before it shows up on Spotify. Everything from PR campaigns to DIY radio reach-out efforts can help the tracks you upload through TuneCore find an audience on Spotify, but planning for this has to begin a couple of months before you officially share your music.

However, one area of promotion you can’t do until your music is in the process of being shared to Spotify is submitting your songs to their editorial playlists. A huge thing here to keep in mind is that the more time you give Spotify’s editors to check out your music, the better chance you’ll have of being considered. Spotify needs two weeks at minimum to check out new music, but in reality, you should shoot for two months or more.

Also keep in mind that official Spotify playlists aren’t the only players in the game. There are thousands of playlists with huge followings you should consider pitching your music to, but it takes time and research to make this happen.

If Spotify’s algorithms detect your music is consistently finding an audience, your tracks will show up in their music discovery tools like Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and other huge initiatives that can help audiences find you.

And that’s that. It’s never been easier to share your music with the world through TuneCore and Spotify, so get out there and put your music online!

👉 Click here to Learn More about Tunecore and Get -25% OFF!


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