Streaming & Instagram Growth
A step-by-step guide to creating real fans online with Ari Herstand.
Featuring guest instructor & independent Hip-Hop artist: Lucidious.
Your fans exist online.
You need to find them.
It’s no surprise that music discovery is happening on Spotify and the other streaming services. Yes, playlists are a driving force. And when an artist’s song gets included on a popular playlist, their streams can skyrocket overnight.
I’ve heard of artists who were able to quit their day jobs because they got included on a few hot playlists which earned them millions of streams a month (thousands of dollars a month), only to get dropped from those playlists and have to go beg for their job back when their streams dropped to virtually zero.
Because that’s the thing. Getting included on hot playlists may bring in a lot of streams (from many listeners) in a short amount of time.
But these are not your fans.
They could be. But they’re not right now. They are fans of the playlist that your song got included on. And when your song gets removed, those listeners aren’t following through to your profiles to stay in touch with you.
We are living in an era where there are artists with millions of streams on Spotify who cannot draw 50 people to their local shows.
We’ve become too obsessed with playlists. Depending on playlists for revenue is incredibly unstable. You don’t just want streams. You don’t just want monthly listeners. You want fans. Who stick with you for life - no matter the platform that’s hot at the moment.
Of course we know that Instagram is one of the best engagement tools that artists have at their disposal right now. And it’s most fans’ favorite way to keep up with (and interact) with their favorite artists. It’s hot right now. Will it be just as hot in 2 year? Who knows. But right now, it’s one of the best tools artists have to grow and cultivate their fanbase.
And it has become one of the best ways to find where your fans exist and get them into your world.
Finding your fans online is not about getting on playlists
...and hoping that people who are passively listening like the song enough to follow you.
This rarely happens.
So how do you find real fans online?
He's on zero official Spotify playlists:
This was all done through direct marketing.
We have tested Lucidious’ strategies with a bunch of artists...
and it works with everyone. Will this kind of growth happen overnight? Of course not. It took Lucidious three years and lots of trial and error. But if you’re in music for the long haul, then you should implement these strategies.
Brassroots District went from 1,000 monthly listeners to 14,000 monthly listeners and from 150 followers on Spotify to 5,000 followers on Spotify in 8 weeks spending around $10/day on ads.
Similarly, Brassroots District went from 600 followers on Instagram to 4,500 in 8 weeks with an engagement rate of 7%.
Stop waiting around for a label to come along and sign you. If you have no true fans, labels aren’t interested. Period.
You have to build your movement on your own first.
Then when you have die hard fans following everything you do, labels, managers and agents will beg to work with you. And then you can decide if you want to sign with them or continue on your own. But at that point, you have the power. You don’t need them. They need you.
This is what you’re working towards.
The labels haven’t implemented these strategies.
Yet. They will. But what Lucidious has done is so flexible and nuanced that labels aren’t able to keep up or move quick enough to capitalize on the tools available today.
Managers are starting to take notice. And the best ones are utilizing these strategies to rapidly excel their clients’ growth.
It’s time to make it happen.
Get started now!
The Ari of Ari's Take
"The poster child of DIY Music" - Forbes
Los Angeles based Ari Herstand (pronounced Ar*ee Her*stand), is the author of the best-selling book How To Make It in the New Music Business. It remains at the top of the Amazon charts and has been widely adopted by music business schools worldwide.
His music business advice blog, Ari's Take, has become the go-to resource for independent musicians on how to run a successful music career in the NEW music industry. Herstand's well-researched, relatable, no BS approach is why so many musicians continue to trust him for advice. He offers encouragement without condescension and maintains a "we're all in it together" attitude not found elsewhere in the space.
Ari Herstand is an independent musician who has played over 700 shows around the country (nearly all self-booked), has opened for or toured with Ben Folds, Cake, Matt Nathanson, The Milk Carton Kids and Ron Pope, has performed on Ellen, and has had his music featured in countless TV shows, commercials and films. He currently leads the 1973 funk project Brassroots District.
Herstand has written for many of the top musician trade magazines and websites including Music Connection Magazine, American Songwriter, Digital Music News, Playback Magazine, CD Baby, Tunecore, Reverbnation, Roland, Discmakers, ASCAP, Hypebot and others. He has been a featured speaker at SXSW, BBC One's Amplify, ASCAP Music Expo, SF MusicTech, CD Baby's DIY Musician Conference and Berklee College of Music.
Independent Hip Hop Artist
Lucidious is an entrepreneur and hip-hop artist from outside the Washington, D.C. area. Currently located in Los Angeles, he has built a fanbase in the hundreds of thousands, and has totaled over 100 million streams across all available platforms. He has built his fanbase and streaming growth with zero label investment, zero playlist placement, and zero outside marketing influence.
Songs by Lucidious are streamed an average of 4-5 million times each month by listeners around the world. His music takes a strong stand on mental health awareness, personal struggles, and the pressure that many people face in our fast-paced, tech-driven society.
Lucidious’ third album, ‘Enough,’ is set to release in mid-2019. Despite his focus on running an indie label, Lucidious Music, he has spent years mastering social media marketing and entered into the world of artist development. From artists of all genres and sizes, he has seen massive growth and profitability come to each artist who is willing to learn and invest.
I always felt like if I could just get in front of people that they would connect with my artistry. Ari and Lucidious’ course confirmed this for me, and I know that it will do that for so many other artists in the near future. Taking what I learned from Ari’s Take, I have been running ads for Instagram and Spotify, and in only two weeks have increased my Spotify followers from 426 to 973 (over double what I had accumulated in one year), and my Instagram followers from 6,652 to 8,068 (consistently 100 followers per day). And the engagement rate has actually increased! This is about putting what you are already doing in front of people who wouldn’t have found it otherwise, and when you find the audience that resonates, you will see results. Period.
- Beck Pete
It's been around 2 1/2 month since I've implemented Ari and Lucidious's marketing course and I've seen a huge different with the amount of followers and streams I've gained. The course itself is easy to follow along with and quick to implement. Before starting the course I was gaining around 400 - 500 new Spotify followers a month and now i consistently receive 1200-1500 new followers each month. I've also consistently stayed about 200K monthly listeners on Spotify and increase my Apple Music monthly streams from 72K to 86K. Even if you only have a small budget I highly recommend this course.I has taught me important techniques I can use not only on my current music but for upcoming releases, merch and music videos.
Between March 2017 and September 2019 Stefan Eli got 330 followers. In October 2019 he had 1,000 followers, and in November he had 2,000 followers.
The playlists along with the results from Ari’s course caused all metrics by Spotify to increase by 999% in 2019.
With Instagram it is basically the same story. In September 2019 Stefan Eli had a little over 1,000 followers. In the beginning of December 2019 he has 4,300 followers. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. His new Instagram followers from all over the world are engaging much more than before. His posts and stories are receiving way more comments and love than before and almost every post receives a comment like “I love you,” or “Your songs are amazing” and many more of that nature.
We are of course very happy with these results. We realize we have a long way to go, but one thing is for sure. Buying this course was our best business decision of 2019, and we look forward to reaping the rewards of it for many years to come.
Thank you Ari and Lucidious.
- Haukur Palmason
This course is monumental! I've always been way too intimidated to take a deep dive into setting up ads through Facebook on my own. I think I can speak for so many independent musicians on that. This course really lays it out and walks you through each step, highlighting the most important tools within the Facebook Ads Manager system. And the growth has been incredible! In 10 days I saw a 1,200 follower spike on Instagram. My engagement skyrocketed on posts and within stories. The new followers I gained have been commenting and messaging and tagging me, so I know they're going to be easy to convert into lifelong fans over time. I highly recommend this course to anyone looking to take social media marketing into their own hands. If you have a marketing budget, this course needs to be included in it!
- vōx @itsmevox
In the world of artist development there are few things more important than building a solid foundation of fans to support you along the way so that you have a viable and solid career. Ari’s and Lucidious’ Streaming & Growth program has been an integral tool in that process for my artists. In one instance we doubled our client’s Instagram following over the coveted 10K mark and tripled her Spotify Followers into the thousands in just 4 weeks. Along the way we’ve learned so much about who and where her fans are, providing crucial guidance to inform our strategy in the best way.
- Phillip Bailey (Co-Founder, Artist Advocates)
If you are a DIY kind of person this strategy is for you. The numbers don’t lie, and the marketing strategy makes sense. Lucidious opens up his formula for organic streams and most importantly follower reach. I never would have expected such great return, and actual active fans/ listeners. I highly recommend.
- Jake Knox
After years of struggling to successfully promote my music and grow my fanbase, Ari and Lucidious's course breathed new life into my career. When I signed up, I had 43 Spotify followers and didn't have a single song with over 1000 streams. Just 6 months later, I had amassed over 2,000 followers and tens of thousands of streams from listeners all over the world. New fans started messaging me daily and posting Instagram stories saying they discovered me on Spotify and that they loved my music. Don't waste any more time and money on ineffective promotional strategies; this course is the best investment you can make for growing your Spotify presence (and more).
- Corey Lewin
There is a great divide between what the young musician thinks being a rock star is and what actually working as a musician entails. Ari fills in the blanks with his light hearted yet blunt demeanor.
He's the informed older brother most of us never got in this crazy, confusing industry.
- Andy Grammer
My followers have quadrupled on Spotify, and the number of streams from real fans that love my music is surpassing the passive listeners i was getting from bogus playlist placements. Just to note, my song was only up on one 'popular' playlist for 2 1/2 months and it was useless. i wasn't receiving any new subs/follows on YouTube or IG. This course has given me 100+ subscribers on YouTube, and 600+ on IG. Thank you Ari and Lucidious, it's been life changing to see real progress.
- Zack Freitas
This course was a total game changer. It opened up doors that I never knew existed, and gave me so many tools to improve my music as a business. I put my trust (and money) in Ari Herstand when I signed up, and I'm so damn glad that I did.
- Casey Wickstrom
Ari is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to, well, basically everything music business related. Talk about someone with a passion for information, tips, tricks, data, and experience. He’s got it.
Not only is he prolific in his knowledge, he's just a great, down to earth guy who will help you out no matter what your situation. If you have a music business conundrum, he knows how to help you figure it out, or at least where to point you to find the right answers.
Overall, just having access to Ari has been helpful. 5 Stars. 2 Thumbs Up, 100% recommended.
- Bronwyn W. Higgins
Man, where do I even start?! As an independent artist who was fairly new to the music business game, I can't express how much Ari's book, blog and course have helped me. Taking his course was one of the best things I have done for my career so far. To have someone who is so experienced, knowledgable and well-connected in the industry share such detailed information and insight, answer questions (from big-picture to nitty-gritty), and be so present (showing up sometimes for hours at a time to chat online!) was truly an invaluable experience. I am still constantly referring back to notes I made throughout the course and finding helpful answers! More than that, Ari was such great teacher, always encouraging us and empowering us to embrace the new music business and all the possible ways of "making it" as an artist. Thank you Ari!
- Andria Piperni
To date I’ve only created ads for Spotify growth at the minimum $5 a day, but the results have been encouraging! In just three months my Spotify followers have quadrupled from 1,000 to 4,000, and my monthly listeners and streams are all up. I’ve seen a bump in royalties and I’ve even been added to an official Spotify playlist! Bumping to $10 a day for the fall!
I’m also super encouraged by the results I didn’t expect! Just by running these Spotify ads my Instagram following has doubled, and my YouTube subscribers have quadrupled as people seek out the videos I used for my ads! I’ve got new fans reaching out asking when I’m planning to release new music! I’m stoked!
- Matt Moore
"I can't speak highly enough to the effectiveness of this course. In less than four weeks, my Instagram following grew from 545 to 1,500, and my Spotify followers from 94 to 600. Aside from that, I have gotten over 10K streams on my record since beginning my campaign, all for $5 / day. This course is relevant, practical and I believe critical to setting up a sustainable influx of fans and income as an independent musician. After feeling like I had failed over and over to reach an audience, I now feel empowered and motivated to press ahead with my career because I see a future for my music in the hands of listeners around the world who WANT to be my fans."
This course has helped my band so much and I feel like we're just scratching the surface because I've only done it for 6 months. Our music has reached audiences and followers that we never would've reached at this rate! Being part of the ATA community is also extremely helpful and motivating. People have tons of ideas that can help you in a world where things are constantly evolving. Thanks Ari & Lucidious!!
- Joe Mende
This class is so empowering! It encourages you to use your own creativity to find and cultivate your audience. It’s a remarkable thing to discover how many active and engaged listeners want what you make. Even if your genre is niche (mine is ambient classical), there are people out there looking for you and this class will help you find them. The numbers don’t lie. Best money I spent all year, thank you Ari and Lucid!
- Kyle Preston
I started this program about 14 months ago, and just this week I started making about $5/day off Spotify. I've spent ~$6k on ads and probably made about $1,200 of that back on royalties.
I started being profitable only when I reduced my daily spend to $5/day only on Spotify ads. I recently was at ~$60/day as I was promoting and retargeting a new single.
I've built up an audience over the past year or so (currently 4,650 Spotify followers & 33,000 monthly listeners). I recently got on an official Spotify playlist with 50k followers, and my Spotify For Artists tells me I'm on 4,900 other playlists (I've worked pretty hard reaching out to 3rd party playlists and I've got some that are giving me around 600-1,800 streams per week).
I'm still making money and am continuing to grow. I haven't increased my ad budget of $5/day, either.
- Josh Tangeny
Hey Ari! Thank you soooo much for having me in two of your incredible courses! The Instagram & Spotify course has been huge for my original song "Fly Away"! People are absolutely loving it, and it's gaining new fans on Instagram & YouTube as well as Spotify of course. The song has reached 33,000 streams in just the time that I started your class, even though it was stuck at around 700 for over a year. Thank you for helping me give that song the attention it deserves!
I am very grateful for this course. I released my first single in February 2019. I spent about $600 on Playlist Push which earned me about 10,000 streams and 23 followers on Spotify--this all in the first few weeks, after which, my growth (and exposure) came to a halt.
But then I took my 23 Spotify followers and began Ari and Lucid’s course in May 2019. With a modest investment, my growth was slow, but it has been steady--by July 2020, I broke 5K followers on Spotify, and I had over 150K streams across platforms. Most importantly, this course has helped to refute the unhappy picture brought on by my initial foray into the streaming game. As the streams came in, so did the comments and messages from people across the world telling me how much they liked my music. I am a self-doubter and a pessimist, and these messages stood as proof that many people do care about my art. This is the true gold of this course. It is not a way to trick folks into streaming your tunes--no, it is a method by which the regular-dude, indie artist can penetrate the stupefying din of internet ads and connect with real people who become real fans with a real passion for your music.
- Connie Danger
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Frequently Asked Questions
By enrolling in this course you are gaining full access to this course material for as long as we keep it available (at least until December 2021). You can either pay a lump sum up front or you can do the payment plan. If you opt for the installment plan, you are committing to paying off your balance. It is NOT a monthly membership fee. There is no "cancellation."