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On Spotify, A Follow Is More Powerful Than A Pre-Save

1There are many options to promote music on Spotify, and while they all have their pros and cons, some strategies are more effective than others. CD Baby's Chris Robley illustrates why artists should focus on follows rather than pre-saves.


By Chris Robley of CD Baby from their DIY Musician blog

There are many ways to skin a cat, as they say.

(Who are they, and why are they skinning cats? I have no idea.)

When it comes to promoting your music on Spotify, you have several cool options within, the suite of major label music marketing tools that CD Baby offers to our clients for FREE (and others can pay to use.)

You can create online campaigns to:

  • grow your following on Spotify
  • get fans to pre-save a new release on Spotify
  • get fans to save music already released on Spotify to their song queue or playlist
  • boost streams with a “stream to unlock” campaign (where gated content or rewards are unlocked after someone listens to a song for at least 30 seconds)

If you’re not sure where to start, focus on FOLLOWS!

Pre-saves have been the talk of the industry over the past year or so, but growing your Spotify following can be even more important.

Here’s why.

Everyone’s obsessed with getting the attention of Spotify’s algorithm — because Spotify is on record as saying that algorithmic playlists drive more streams than curated playlists.

There are a few obvious things you can do to increase your visibility:

  • get a bunch of people to save a song
  • grow your following
  • show up on tons of independently-curated playlists

But when you grow your following you’re guaranteeing that every single one of your followers ALSO gets your new music (or at least the lead single) added to their customized Release Radar playlist on the Friday that your music is released.

2It’s “guaranteed”— assuming you ALSO use Spotify’s direct-submission portal for suggesting new music for playlist consideration at least 7 days prior to the release.

So with a little advance planning, you can get two wins for the price of one. Whenever someone follows you, they’ll automatically have your new song waiting in one of their algorithmic playlists (which is a little bit like a pre-save).

Not only that, but looking ahead they’ll always have your new singles or featured tracks show up in their Release Radar playlist, as long as you take the steps listed HERE for each new release.

So yeah, that’s the power of a follow on Spotify.

But pre-saves are great too, and with you don’t really have to choose. You can select a campaign type that allows your fans to follow AND pre-save with one click.

To promote your music distributed by CD Baby on Spotify today:

  1. Log into your CD Baby dashboard
  2. Click the sidebar link that says ‘Free Marketing Tools with’
  3. Create a “social unlock” campaign and choose your campaign type (Spotify follow, pre-save, stream, etc.) — it only takes a few minutes

See these case studies and best-practices for more details

Chris Robley is the Editor of CD Baby's DIY Musician Blog. I write Beatlesque indie-pop songs that've been praised by No Depression, KCRW, The LA Times, & others. My poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, The Poetry Review, & more. I live in Maine and like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a little too much.