How Pre-Saves Can Help You Build Momentum For Your Music Before You Even Release It

2Getting a solid stream count on day one when your music drops is huge indicator for success when it comes and a pre-save, much like an amazon or iTunes pre-sale, can do a lot for helping your numbers. Here we look at how to use them to your advantage.


Guest post by Chris Robley of DIY Musician

A high stream-count on its first day can be an indicator of success for your newest song or album on Spotify, as it shows Spotify that your music might be worth sharing with their users via:

  • algorithmic playlists (such as Release Radar and Discover Weekly)
  • email notifications to your followers
  • Spotify’s official playlists
  • and more

But Spotify’s algorithm isn’t just interested in your stream count; it’s looking for a quality stream-to-engagement ratio. Meaning, of all the people that heard your song, how many of them saved it to their library, queue, or playlists? That’s the kind of activity that really gives your music muscle on the platform.

With a Spotify pre-save campaign you have the chance to demonstrate both quality and quantity, boosting your first-day stream totals AND getting fans to save your song to their queue.

While pre-saves have most notably been employed by superstars like Kendrick Lamar, Avicii, and Miley Cyrus, they’re now available for independent artists as well, thanks to CD Baby’s suite of marketing tools: Show.co.

Pre-saves for you release on Spotify can build momentum.

What is a pre-save on Spotify?

Similar to download pre-sales on iTunes and Amazona pre-save campaign on Spotify gives you a window of time where your fans can actually DO something with the music you’re promoting before its release — namely, save the song or album to their queue so they’ll hear it as soon as it becomes available on Spotify.

No sense in sharing your excitement about your upcoming release in a tweet or email if no one can click to buy, save, or hear it!

With a pre-save you can incentivize your audience on Spotify to take action during that promotional period leading up to the release by running a contest or offering access to exclusives, while also ensuring that your songs makes the biggest splash possible on Day One (which, again, is a key factor in the release’s algorithmic performance).

Just as download pre-sales are tallied as first-day sales (improving your chances of charting), the more people that pre-save your release on Spotify, the more impressive your first-day streaming activity will be.

I ran a pre-save campaign for my single “Irretrievable Beauty” last month and had a blast putting the thing together and trying to find creative ways to get the message out there. My traction on Spotify is admittedly modest, and I got a fair amount of email replies saying something like “can’t wait to hear the new song, but I’m not on Spotify,” but I will say that of all the Spotify streams the song got on its release date, a little under half of them were driven by pre-saves — so it was clearly worth doing.

[Note: I didn’t take a screenshot until after the song was released, so just image the little green button below says “Pre-Save on Spotify.” It changes automatically to “Add to My Music” on the release date.]

The pre-save campaign for "Irretrievable Beauty"

So how do you run a pre-save campaign on Spotify?

1. Set a release date and work backwards

If you’re going to make your music available for pre-save a month in advance of its release, that means you need to get things in gear with plenty of time to execute the campaign.

If all the information about your release is entered completely and accurately during the distribution signup process, CD Baby can deliver your music to Spotify lightning fast, but I would still recommend building an extra week or two into the process as a buffer.

For example, if you want your music live on Spotify on December 1st, and you want your pre-save campaign to begin on November 1st, I would suggest you sign everything up with your distributor by mid-October. You’ll see why below.

2. Distribute your music

As I mention in the step above, you need to get your music onto Spotify via a distributor (hopefully CD Baby).

During the signup process you’ll enter the target release date. Once your release has been finalized, we’ll deliver it to Spotify — and all our other download and streaming partners — and those platforms will make it available on the release date.

3. Get your Spotify URI

What is a Spotify URI?

A Spotify URI is a unique identifier for a song, album, or playlist on Spotify. This is different from a URL, which is a web address.

You can find the URI for any music that is ALREADY available on Spotify by clicking the ellipses next to the track, album, or playlist within Spotify and scrolling down. It will look something like this: spotify:album:5HsLJuoLxi83psFBAhAAe7

But how do you find the URI for music that isn’t released on Spotify yet?

You can’t. Not on your own. So ask your distributor to send you the URI, which they’ll likely be able to find through some API magic.

Again, this could take a little bit of time because Spotify has to receive your music before they can assign a URI and send it back to the distributor, so be sure to build any waiting period into your planning.

Once you have the API…

4. Figure out how you will reward fans that pre-save

Maybe being the first to hear a new song is enough for your fans. But if you’re trying to boost interest, it’s worth considering other options to get people to click “pre-save” when they arrive at your campaign page.

A t-shirt giveaway? Backstage passes? Access to private Soundcloud tracks?

Once the person clicks “pre-save,” you can lead them wherever you want to unlock a file, URL, or experience. Oh, and if you’re doing a giveaway or random drawing, you’ll have their contact info as well.

5. Create a pre-save campaign through Show.co

With Show.co’s Gold (or Platinum) package, you can have up to four campaigns live at one time, including Spotify pre-save campaigns.

To launch a pre-save campaign via Show.co:

  • Log into your Show.co account
  • Click “New Campaign”
  • Select “Social Unlock”
  • Choose “Spotify: Pre-Save” from the campaign-type dropdown
  • Enter the Spotify URI for the track or album
  • Enter the release date
  • Customize the look and messaging of your campaign

6. Find the hook

“Be the first to hear my new single” might be an enticing headline for your die-hard fans, but try to find that extra hook, something that has an emotional appeal.

A couple real-life examples that come to mind:

  • “Hear the song that got us kicked off stage.”
  • “Hear the song that made me move 500 miles from home.”

What’s the human story, the drama, the mystery related to your new music? Play that up in your Show.co campaign’s messaging.

7. Promote the pre-save

Once the Show.co campaign is created, share it through all the usual channels (email, social, etc.).  Be sure to put a link to the pre-save page any time you post anything related to your new single or album.

As you can see, a pre-save takes a little extra planning and coordination, but it’s worth doing if you want your new release to make the biggest splash on Spotify (and get noticed by Spotify’s algorithm).

I should also mention that on the official release date, your Show.co campaign will automatically switch from a pre-save campaign to a Spotify “save” campaign.

Hope all this helps, and if you launch a pre-save, I’d love to see it. Feel free to leave links in the comments below.

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