A common concern that we receive from Labels, Artists, and more is that they may lose their Spotify streams and/or playlisting that they've earned. This article aims to help educate on how we'd need to receive the back catalogue to ensure that this issue doesn't happen.
Because of audio fingerprinting and metadata, Spotify uses a method called "Track-linking" in order to match previously delivered tracks from one distributor to tracks delivered by us.
Track linking is specifically designed to provide a better user experience by removing duplicate tracks from the charts section, popular tracks section, and avoiding gaps in playlists due to territorial availability. Tracks that are linked will subsequently share a play count.
Track-linking is never 100% guaranteed, but you can give it the best chance of happening if you match these areas. When attempting to track link two versions of a recording, the metadata should be as identical as possible (i.e. duration, title, version, artist, ISRC), and the audio used should be the exact same. Chances of track linking are decreased with each differing piece of metadata between the two recordings. New audio fingerprints create new Spotify recording groups, which have a unique play count. This is calculated for each different recording of a composition.
You'll be able to tell on the Spotify software and mobile app if track-linking was successful by hovering over the popularity bar (to the rest of the duration of a track). If the plays from the new version are the same as the plays from the original version, that means track-linking was successful. Here's some more information regarding track-linking:
In order to retain playcounts, when submitting your catalogue to us, please make sure your versions of these tracks have the same exact same:
- artist names and roles
- track names
- Delivered at least 5 business days in advance of the earliest live date.
So to summarize, your catalogue must be delivered exactly the same as the initial delivery in regards to track audio, duration, title, version, artists, and ISRC to encourage track linking.
To minimize disruption in user experience.
Please wait until both releases are live in the client, and see if they have linked by comparing the play counts prior to removing the old content.
Alternatively, if you wish to remove the old content at the same time the new content goes live, please make sure the old content has an end date which matches the live date of the new content, or a takedown to take effect the same day as the new content goes live.
Last but not least...
Please note that during this period of transition there may be some fluctuation in the popular tracks section of your artist page, this is normal and you should find that popular tracks normalize within 72 hours of the new content being live on the client.