The surprising reason that Spotify Pre-Save Campaigns are so important

Asking fans to pre-save your music on Spotify is a popular promotional strategy, but what do these campaigns really accomplish? James Shotwell of Haulix offers a surprising answer.

by James Shotwell of Haulix

Spotify Pre-Save Campaigns

Pre-save campaigns are genius in theory. With so much going on in the world, fans need a way to guarantee they hear the next release from their favorite artists. Musicians, in turn, need to know fans are seeing their content and getting excited about their next record. 

But many engaged in pre-save campaigns often tell us they deliver mixed results. Fans that expect to be notified when a new release becomes available, for example, often report receiving no such message. If they do, the message usually arrives days or weeks after release. 

Meanwhile, artists, who sometimes believe a successful pre-save campaign will lead to editorial playlisting and other opportunities at a DSP, are disappointed when the campaign they spent weeks promoting doesn’t immediately result in a boom of new listenership.

Commit this to memory: Spotify pre-saves are artificial tools created by third-party developers that have little-to-no direct relationship with the streaming giant or its playlist curators.

Pre-save campaigns are not native to Spotify. In other words, no function on Spotify allows people to pre-save a song or album before its release. 

As our friends at Habit Music report, Spotify and other DSPs do not have access to the information gathered by third-party app developers, so the performance of your campaign does not affect whether or not your music is considered for playlists. There is a small chance that, in theory, a successful pre-save campaign could generate a large enough growth in streams to attract algorithmic playlists, but I wouldn’t recommend putting your hopes in dreams in that basket.

If pre-save campaigns don’t matter to Spotify, what value do they offer artists?

Spotify may not have access to your pre-save campaign data, but you do, and that can help you navigate fan relationships. The data you gather from your campaign will tell you who enjoys your music, wants to know about your latest news, and—depending on the service you choose—how to reach them. You can add those individuals to your mailing list, send them personalized thank you notes, offer early access to your next tour on sale, etc. From there, the possibilities for community building are virtually endless. 

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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