To make the most out of your music, you need to have a solid release strategy that takes you from the announcement of the release through to the release day itself through to pushing it in the weeks that follow. If you can create a checklist to go through for every release, you’ll ensure that no stone is left unturned.
Once you’ve decided on your release date, you should start teasing details out to your fans. If you’ve scheduled your release, you should already have your artwork, which is usually what artists use to announce an upcoming release. You could also share a short teaser video with a snippet of the track. Make sure to do multiple pre-release posts to remind your fans and listeners and to also build up the hype.
Once you’ve announced the news to your fans, your next port of call is letting press and radio know it’s coming. You’ll probably want to include a private streaming or download link of your track, and don’t forget to specify the release date so that they could premiere it the day of!
It’s also helpful to also give them your press kit which we covered in our previous blog post to give a better understanding about you as an artist as well as your new single.
Now is the time to decide whether you want to give anyone a first play premiere of your track. Typically you could have two or three different premieres: one on radio and one or two online (SoundCloud, YouTube, Discord, etc.).
The benefit of premieres is that your music will be pushed to these platforms’ audiences in exchange for the exclusive content. For online premieres, always ask for a pre-order link to be included in the copy. It’s best to create this with a link shortening service like bit.ly so you can see how effective it’s been.
Creating some visuals to go with your music is always a good idea, even if it’s something simple and lo-fi. Maybe you have a friend with a camera who could help you create something. Maybe you just get creative with your phone and some free editing apps and make something simple but effective. Or maybe you have enough to invest into creating something that really fits with your vision for the track. Just remember not to break the bank! Whatever it is, it’s crucial to have a video format of your track, even if it’s as simple as the track playing with the artwork.
In terms of releasing the video, many artists choose to put it out after the track has been released. Take your time with it and use the video to give yourself a second spike in promotion later on.
You’ll need to find a variety of interesting ways to keep up the engagement about your upcoming track on your channels in the run-up to the release date. Here are some ideas for a start:
It’s also vital to create a pre-save (Spotify) / pre-add (Apple Music) link that allows your fans to automatically have your release saved to their library on Spotify or Apple Music as soon as it’s available to stream. There are a number of free tools available online such as feature.fm.
These pre-save mechanics are important as they give the streaming platforms an early indication about how popular a release is. The more popular it looks to them, the more likely they’ll be to add it to their playlists. Both their (human!) editorial team and their algorithms look for these early signals of success when deciding which tracks to promote in playlists.
Getting placed in these playlists can generate thousands of additional plays. They are looking both for high first-day streaming numbers, and for high stream-to-save ratios — that is, what percentage of people saved your music to their library after hearing it. If you haven’t heard of Spotify’s playlist pitching tool to feature your tracks on their major playlists such as Fresh Finds SG & MY or New Music Friday, this is a great start.
Promote your pre-save link alongside video teasers or audio clips of your release or the artwork itself and make it an integral part of your campaign. You can also combine the links under one master URL for easy sharing, using Smarturl, Linkfire or similar to group these links with pre-order links to buy the download or physical version (if you are releasing one). Remember to edit the links in this master URL on release day so that you have the live Spotify and Apple Music links in it instead of the pre-save links.
On release day, make a Linkfire or similar landing page and plug the various streaming platforms into it so you can share one link. Your fans can then choose which service they want to listen through. Post it with a video clip of the track inviting people to click on to listen in full.
Make sure you post on all your key social networks, update your biographies / profile sections with the listen link and update your cover photos with the new artwork if you haven’t already.
If you’re big on e-mails, send out an email newsletter to your fanbase driving them to listen to the new track.
Get your friends and family to listen to your track on their preferred streaming service and to save it to their collection or a playlist. If you’re feeling extra cheeky, you could ask them to share your post on social media. We also know that our local indie artists here are tight with one another, so you could do fun social post swaps with other artists you know to cross-promote each other’s release. Sharing goes a long way!
Live stream events are also popular these days to premiere music. You could host a listening party through a live stream event - YouTube, Discord, Instagram, Zoom are popular choices - or even do a fun on-ground little listening party at your preferred venues. Either way, it makes for an even more intimate and personal experience for you and your fans.
Promotion shouldn’t stop after your release date. You have to keep the ball rolling if you want your new track to do well. Keep your fans updated with any news about it — reviews, radio plays, remixes, playlist inclusions, awards, live show announcements (if COVID-19 restrictions permit!) and so on. Keep the promotional wagon rolling by all means.
You made it this far, so we’ve got a cheat sheet as a treat! Download our interactive PDF checklist to use for each release and make sure you’re ticking all the right boxes. You can add the title of your release at the top, and then check off all the things we recommend artists do to get their release out and hype it as much as possible.