Our Artist and Label Managers get a lot of questions on how to successfully promote a new music release. In this post, we share a few of their favorite tips and best practices for getting the word out so that your fresh sounds get the love they deserve on release day.
Before release day
Create an EPK
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to create an Electronic Press Kit, aka an “EPK”. This helps give press and promoters a little bit of an idea of who you are. It also should give them everything they need to write an article or blog post.
To create an EPK, you’ll want to assemble the basics: a few high res photos, the album artwork, a bio, a one sheet describing the release, and the music. And if you have them, you’ll also want to be sure to include your discography, quotes from any press you have had, playlist highlights, and upcoming gigs. Don’t send it all in an attachment. Instead, send a link to a Dropbox or Google Drive folder.
Submit to Spotify Playlist Editors
Once your music is ready, you’ll want to make sure your distribution partner can send it to Spotify with enough time to get it in front of the editors’ ears. Spotify says as early as two weeks, but if you want to be safe, think about submitting a month ahead of the release. Once it becomes available on Spotify, log in to your Spotify for Artists account and look at your upcoming releases. Remember, you can only submit one track per release for consideration in the official playlists. Choose wisely!
Send to Blogs and Press Publications
Whether you’re just starting as an artist or you’re well into your career, PR is always important. It helps build momentum leading to a release by exposing you and your music to new listeners and letting your current fans know it’s coming down the pike. Many blogs and magazines might include you in their own Spotify playlists. And if you’re lucky, they might premier it on their social media channels.
Be sure to get it in their inboxes with enough time to prepare. That can be six to eight weeks for print publications and two weeks before for blogs. Try to make the email concise and clear. Share the story of the release and the EPK. And if you have planned your music release strategy by releasing multiple singles as a build up to an EP or album, be sure to let the publications know.
Activate Pre-sales on stores like iTunes and ‘Save-It!’ now! pages on Spotify
Back in the days before streaming and digital releases, physical copies were in high demand. To be sure they were able to purchase a copy, some fans would queue in front of their favorite record store to get the release at midnight. For stores that didn’t open at midnight, some super fans would camp out overnight to get their hands on one of the limited copies of the release. It took a few years before the industry wisened up and decided to let fans order copies before the release came out, ensuring that they got the album (and a night of sleep) on release day.
A lot has changed since then. First off, there are no physical copies, which means no limit to how many releases can be sold on release day. And with streaming slowly becoming a preferred way to listen, there’s nothing to buy. So how does an artist build momentum and sales to their super fans before release day?
Enter pre-sales and pre-saves. A pre-sale in the digital age is exactly like it sounds. Fans can buy the release before it’s out — but they don’t get it until release day. Some stores, like iTunes and Bandcamp allow Instant Gratification Tracks, one or two tracks that are available to download or stream before release day.
For streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer, artists can run a pre-save campaign. This lets fans opt-in to have an upcoming release saved to their Spotify library on release day. For an artist, the more your track is liked, saved, playlisted, and played on release day, the better the chances are in the Spotify algorithm.
Be sure to share the links to your pre-sale and pre-save pages with your fans via email or social media as early as possible — and keep reminding them up to release day.
Create a unified brand presence on all your channels
Another way to create momentum for a release is to unify your brand presence across all your channels. That means that all of your social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud, and others should match what’s on your artist profile pages on stores and streaming platforms. One way to do this is to turn the album art into banners and profile images. Include the release day in the banner or image caption. When the release is out, change the dates to “OUT NOW!” This unified, consistent look everywhere helps get fans excited and makes you look more professional.
On Release Day
Get your fans to like, save, playlist, play, and share
Your baby is out. All your banners have been updated. You’ve got your presaves — but it ain’t over yet. On release day, it’s super important to call your fans to action and get them to like, save, playlist, play, and share your release. If you have an email list, now’s the time to blast it. If you have a large following on social media, share! If you don’t have a big following, message all your friends via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger and let them know how important this is to you.
Everyone has their favorite store or streaming platform — and if you want them to purchase or play your release, you’ll help them find your release via their preferred method. The best way to do that is with a special player or a smart link page that lets your fans choose the place they want to listen or buy. It also makes it easy for you to share once and get the maximum amount of traction on all your various channels.
Remember: The more your release is liked, saved, playlisted, and played, the more chances it has to go up the ranking with the Spotify playlist. That means more plays, more exposure, and a better chance to be featured in an official playlist with your next release.
Submit to unofficial playlist curators
If you didn’t make it into any official Spotify editorial lists, don’t give up hope. Your tracks will still be found in the Release Radar and Daily Mixes for fans who have saved you as an artist. You can also submit to unofficial playlist curators. Look for playlists similar artists are on. If they have contact information, reach out to them. You can also check out Soundplate or try any of these tactics to submit to Spotify playlists.
These are just a few tips to help have a successful release. If you are doing everything yourself, it can feel overwhelming. Take it in stride and know that after the first few releases, you’ll get the hang of it.