How to encourage people to pre-save your song on Spotify.

23rd Hour
23rd Hour
Oct 18 · 5 min read

I recently was complimented by other artists about a post I made on facebook for our upcoming release’ pre-save campaign because it made them actually want to click that link. One asked me if she could copy what I wrote.

I realized during that conversation that many musicians don’t actually know why pre-save campaigns exist and why people should care about it.

Below is the post I made on facebook. You can copy it for your own campaign if you like. You don’t have to give us credit, but adding a song of ours to your playlist would be amazing. Further down, I explain the whole algorithm thing and why pre-saves and pre-orders help indie artists.

What I wrote (go ahead and copy it)

In this “algo-driven” world, every pre-save and pre-order counts.

That’s because on release day, you’ll get the download or it will be added to your library.

This tells “the algorithms” that the song might be worth showing to more people via their playlists.

Maybe we’ll get a cup of coffee’s worth of royalties.

So please click below? :-)

Why it works

Most people don’t know how streaming works, and how user behavior drives the algorithms that ultimately decide how many new listeners will be shown your song in their customized playlists. Just telling them to pre-save often annoys them more than anything because… Why should they pre-save it when they won’t be able to hear it until it’s out anyway?

What you really want to do is give them context as to why it’s important to you, and how a small action that is of little cost to them, could make a huge difference for the artists they like, especially indie ones like you.

What’s the fuss about algorithms anyway?

Imagine you’re designing Spotify. Your goal is to suggest songs for your listeners that they will enjoy to keep them listening. If you suggest songs that are too different from their taste, they’ll think you’re an idiot and move to Apple Music or another competitor! No pressure…

To complicate things, your platform is receiving 1000 new songs per hour from indie artists and majors. That’s 168,000 new songs a week on top of the existing catalog of almost all songs ever recorded! How do you decide what goes on Spotify’s curated playlists, what goes into various users’ “Discover Weekly” or “Release Radar”, and what doesn’t go anywhere?

You can rely on humans to curate playlists to certain extent. All streaming services have staff playlist curators who tend to their high profile playlists. But humans are slow. There’s only so many songs they could go through before the next #NewMusicFriday and there’s no way you can have enough of staff to listen to 168,000 new songs in a week and classify them into the right playlists. You need a better strategy that will both be easier on your staff and more rewarding for your listener.

This is where “the algorithms” come in. If you collect some data about each listener, you can create a profile for that particular listener’s taste, take note of the songs they skip, songs they like, songs they put on repeat, and then make an educated guess as to what new music you can present them that they will love. So if the algorithm notices that I have a healthy number of Mauritian artists on heavy rotation, it might put a new release by another local artist on my radar. Makes sense right? They help me discover my new favorite artist, and I happily keep paying them $9.99 a month.

The problem with indie music is that there is often not enough listener data for the algorithms to know where your music would fit best. I suspect that eventually they will get better at analyzing the music itself and rely less on heuristics like “listeners who like this artist also like artist X, so let’s show this song to artist X’s fans too”. I’m over-simplifying here, but you get the idea.

Another way they use data is to gauge popularity of a song. If a growing number of people are listening to a song and not skipping it, there’s a pretty good chance that song is very catchy and will keep listeners engaged. It’s in Spotify’s best interest to serve that to people who like that kind of music and keep them listening on Spotify.

Especially if you have a small following, it would benefit you to use pre-save/pre-order campaigns. Here’s why.

Let’s say you run a pre-order campaign and you get 100 friends to pre-order it. This actually means that the minute your song actually goes live, you’ve already sold 100 copies.

In contrast, let’s say you didn’t have the pre-order campaign but instead just told your friends that the song is coming out on a certain day. Assuming the same 100 friends intend to buy your song, there’s a good chance some of them will get it on release day, and some of them will get around to it the next day, week, month or year.

Now for the basic math. What would give an impression of more momentum: 100 downloads in 1 day or 100 in 100 days? You can bet the algorithm is more impressed with 100 downloads on day one.

The same concept applies for pre-saves. If 100 people have pre-saved your song, it will be added to their library on release day, and increase the chances of them listening to 30s of it. Not only does that get you a streaming royalty, but it also tells the algorithm that people care about the song you just released and that it might be worth showing to more listeners. That is why you need to use pre-save/pre-order campaigns

Here is my template once again:

In this “algo-driven” world, every pre-save and pre-order counts.

That’s because on release day, you’ll get the download or it will be added to your library.

This tells “the algorithms” that the song might be worth showing to more people via their playlists.

Maybe we’ll get a cup of coffee’s worth of royalties.

So please click below? :-) http://bit.ly/32nM6wF

You can use it as a guide to write your own, or you can just copy my exact words if you like. I hope you found this helpful.

Oh and if you did, do us a solid and pre-save/pre-order? It would mean the world if you could click below and add “Sidelines Aren’t for You” to your library.

Thank you!

SmartMusicianGuide

Strategies for success in the new music business

23rd Hour

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23rd Hour

On the 23rd Hour, two perfect strangers shared a magical moment writing a song. Here we write about music, creative businesses, the Bay Area scene, wine & more.

SmartMusicianGuide

Strategies for success in the new music business

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