The Waterfall Strategy

Hey everyone,

Hope you had so great time with family during the Holiday Season. I'm REALLY looking forward to hearing all the stuff you have been working on since our last meeting. For you new folks, the next Mixer Mixer meets:

Tuesday, January 23, 7:30 pm at The Arts Federation, 638 North Street, Lafayette IN

We meet every fourth Tuesday of the month excepting December and June. Bring your mixes to share or just bring your ears to listen and give encouragement. And learn from each other. It's awesome!!

Upcoming Events

DIY Artist Recording and Performance Workshops: July 29 to August 22 at TAF

We're super pleased to announce that we are again hosting a DIY Artist Recording and Performance Workshop at The Arts Federation this summer. We are even more pleased to announce that Ronan Chris Murphy, Liz Redwing, and Steven Memel are returning as coaches!! Workshops will take place all week. Some of the workshops will be only 2 days. Some will be all week. Details will be announced soon. It's so awesome that we can bring world class coaching to Lafayette!!!


Cacapehon: A Recording & Songwriting Retreat: May 5 to 10, Capon Springs WV

Ronan and Liz started this retreat several years ago. Enrollment is pretty limited so I was pretty excited when Ronan and Liz asked me to invite the Lafayette music community to the event. They even offered us a discount of $100 if you use the discount code NEIL. LOL. I love them!!!

I will be there to help Ronan and Liz have the retreat run smoothly. Steven will be there too. There are also classes on building your own gear. Total attendees will probably be under 100 in an old family camp with a golf course. Really intimate and really cool! I will bring info cards to the Mixer Mixer if you're interested.


The Waterfall Release Strategy

One of the common recurring themes in our conversations at the Mixer Mixer is that many of you would like to make recurring income with your music. Not Rock Star income. But enough to pay for your gear and sustain a career doing what you love. We are fortunate that there are ways to do this as an independent musician these days. One of the big ways that independents are making money is through payment from Spotify.

Spotify pays on average around $4000 per million streams. So the goal is to release music, build up a fan base on Spotify and get those streams rolling so that your music can make you money while your music is being streamed worldwide!!

There is a method to releasing your music successfully though and I have recommended Chris Greenwood's book Spotify Profits 2.0 in the past. He details the method he uses to make $20,000 per month from Spotify so he knows of what he speaks. Here's the link to the book if you haven't bought it yet:

I decided to write about what he terms the Waterfall Release Strategy in this letter because I've seen too many artists just throw their music up to Spotify and hope for the best. They don't have a plan. Then they wonder why their single flounders.

Remember, over 120,000 singles are released to Spotify EVERY DAY. You need to have a plan. Your music needs to be present where people that like the kind of music you produce are listening or they just won't hear you. You have to think like a pro and make a plan.

Chris has found that to build a following on Spotify you have to release a new single every six to eight weeks. If that sounds daunting then you're not quite ready to build a following on Spotify (or Youtube, for that matter) and you just have to brush up on your skills, whether they be recording or songwriting. Remember, there is NO rush to get started. You need to have the skills to release every six to eight weeks BEFORE you get started. I'm also assuming that you're one of those that WANTS to make money from your music. If you don't, these rules do not apply to you. Release away and have fun with your music!!

So assuming you have the skills to produce a single every six to eight weeks, here's what you need to do.

  1. Plan a CD or EP. How many songs will be on it. Sketch it out.
  2. Release the first of the songs on the CD or EP as a single.
  3. Release the second song as a two song EP with the previously released single as the second track.
  4. Release the third song as a three song EP with the previously released songs as tracks two and three.
  5. Continue until all songs for your album or EP have been released.

If you do this correctly, all the streams from the previous releases will be carried ahead to the next releases for the album or EP. It's awesome. And by the last release you have your complete album. There are some tricks that you need to do and those are detailed in Chris' book. He has a whole chapter on it. Buy the book!!

The really cool thing with Spotify is that every time you release a song you can pitch the song to human Spotify editors. If you pitch the song correctly, there's a decent chance that your song can end up on a Spotify playlist and get thousands of streams playing to people that like your style of music. And then they may save your song to a playlist. Or like your song. And become one of your regular listeners. That's how you build a fan base on Spotify.

The great thing about using the Waterfall Release strategy is that it puts multiple songs in front of a human editor at the same time. The editor may pass on the song that you're pitching and pick one of the other songs on the EP or album. This happened to Chris recently and he talked about it in a recent email.

"I just dropped a fresh track on Spotify, but here's the twist – I've bundled it with five of my previously released tunes. This is all part of the Waterfall Strategy I cover in my Spotify Challenge. Oddly enough, my latest song didn't make it onto any Spotify playlists, which was a bit of a letdown. However, one of my older tracks surprisingly landed on three playlists! 🚀

This unexpected turn brought in a whopping 5,247 streams in just a day – that's more than ten times its usual count. 🚀

This experience just goes to show the power of regularly releasing singles and sticking to the waterfall approach."

Then Chris goes on to show the actual stats from his account. I love that about him. He has nothing to hide and shows the data from his account. Really incredible. 

So there is really something to the Waterfall Release Strategy and I suggest you get acquainted with it when you are planning your releases. Releasing singles every six to eight weeks using the Waterfall Release Strategy and then getting your music in promoted in front of people that like the kind of music through editorial playlists is really a winning long term strategy. You can also dramatically increase the chance of listeners hearing your music by taking advantage of the various paid ways that Spotify allows you to promote your music. These include Marquee, Showcase, and Discovery.

I will share some data from our Spotify artist account so you can see the effects paid promotion has had on our streams at the meeting.

All the best,



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