The piano-playing O’Neill Brothers are one of the Minnesota music acts played most heavily on the Spotify streaming service — joined by Prince, Trampled by Turtles, Semisonic and Soul Asylum. Here’s how they’ve been so successful.
1. Instrumental music translates worldwide. The piano-playing siblings mostly record without vocals/words, which opens them up to more streaming around the globe. As Tim O’Neill said, “One of our lullabies is as good for a baby in India as it is one in Minnesota.”
2. Finding the sweet spot for search-engine hits. Their straight-ahead song and album titles often come up in search queues, like when someone types in “romantic love songs” (they have an album with that very title). And people trying to find “Candle in the Wind” or any one of the thousands of popular songs the O’Neills have interpreted might hit on their versions.
3. Playlist pitching and behind-the-scenes marketing. Anybody can assemble a playlist on Spotify or other streaming sites, and the popular ones can provide a big boost for artists. When one of the O’Neills’ holiday songs was added to a Christmas playlist in the Philippines, it earned thousands of extra spins that season. “Just like everything in the music industry, there are ways” to get a leg up on streaming sites, Tim acknowledged.