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What Spotify’s No. 1 artist can teach us about distributing your work…

Last Updated:

March 22, 2024

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Did You Know? with Gorick is the weekly newsletter by Gorick Ng, Harvard career adviser and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of The Unspoken Rules, where we deconstruct the untold paths to success — of people (or things) you know!

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Did You Know? Distribution of your work might matter more than the quality of your work

(1) A story from the past

Did you know? Puerto Rican performer Bad Bunny has been the No. 1 streamed Spotify artist in the world for 3 consecutive years—all while keeping his lyrics in Spanish.

In 2022, Bad Bunny (born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) became Spotify’s most-streamed artist of the year for the third time in a row at a total of 36 billion streams

But did you know that just six years prior, Benito was bagging groceries at a local supermarket in Puerto Rico to pay for college?

How did Benito reach such superstar heights—and as someone who “defies the conventional wisdom of American pop” with his Spanish-only lyrics? Here’s Bad Bunny’s timeline: 

Will Bad Bunny top Spotify’s charts for all of 2023? Time will tell. But, the next time you’re listening to music (or when your Spotify Wrapped comes out), remember Benito, who not only made music—but also strategically distributed his music.

Bad Bunny, the “Puerto Rican megastar” for Spotify, via Rolling Stone.

(2) A strategy for your future

Did you know? It's not about the quality of your work but the distribution of your work.

In the workplace, so many people (and no doubt many of you) do quality work… but no one knows about it! This is like a talented musical artist singing in the shower.

What does distribution look like in the workplace? Sharing what you do and what you’re capable of by…

1. Presenting your work (or at least being in the room)

  • How? Try saying, “I’d love to see how the conversation unfolds. Would you be open to me joining?” Or, “I was reflecting on your feedback about _______ (e.g., speaking up more) and would love to put it into practice. What would it take for me to do the voiceover?”

2. Being the sender of the email (or at least being on the email thread)

  • How? Try saying, “I’m happy to send it out! Would it be helpful for me to draft the email and run it by you to save you a step?”

3. Sending team status updates about your work (or at least speaking about it one-on-one)

  • How? Try saying, “I wanted to give you a heads up that on _______ (project), I just finished _______. As a next step, I will _______. Does this all work for you?”

4. Slipping in what you do into your intro when you introduce yourself

  • How? Try saying, “Hi! I’m _______ and I am a _______ on _______ team. My focus is on _______. Prior to _______, I was at _______ where I _______. Nice to meet you all!”

You may not dream of headlining Coachella, but you do deserve to have your hard work recognized—and rewarded. The problem is, this recognition can’t happen if people don't even know that your work exists.

I know it because I’ve experienced it: To this day I’m surprised by how writing is only a fraction of an author's work. The rest? Sales and marketing! I still find it uncomfortable talking about myself. So, if talking about yourself feels weird, please know that you’re not alone.

Spread the word about your hard work!


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