Be ready for your song release
Updated: Aug 8
There is so much excitement in releasing a new song, so once the track is mixed and mastered it is common to want to get it streaming quickly. You’ve worked hard to finish the song, so many question if it is a good decision to add the song to Spotify right away. The response is "no", for if you want to experience success on your track, you need a well-organized plan which takes time to develop. It is important to have a plan on what you need to do pre-release and post- release to have the most success on your track. It is recommended you build an action plan and timeline for the release. Rushing through the process will not help you get streams and followers. Before releasing a song, make sure you know what your objectives are… Do you want to have your song streaming numbers week 1?, Do you want to get over 100,000 streams?, Do you want to get the attention of the Spotify algorithm? Do you want to get on Spotify editorial playlists?
Quality-quality-quality is mega important if your track is going to be accepted to playlists and get streams. Make sure the engineering is solid and the song meets key criteria for engagement. Some areas to focus on as you are writing and releasing new music follows:
Minimize long instrumental introductions and breaks
Have the song 4 minutes or less
Have the chorus and song hook early in the song (first minute)
Make sure the listener will perceive it to have a quality production
Make sure the song isn’t annoying and too repetitive
Make sure you can hear the vocals clearly
Make sure the dynamics are well-balanced
Send the track or better yet a demo track to other industry professionals and other contacts in your inner circle for feedback before releasing and finalizing the song.
Song length is in the artist’s control, and they may have a strong reason to favor a certain track length. The research, however, confirms the length is shorter today. The average UK number one in 1998 was four minutes and 16 seconds long, while 2019’s average was just three minutes and three seconds, per digital label Ostereo’s study. Their findings suggest this is a trend which demands attention.
It is important to note, that if listeners click off your track, it is believed it could impact the Spotify algorithm, meaning the algorithm is less likely to recommend that song to other users, which means it is less likely to become popular. So, something as trivial as having an outro or intro that drags on for too long could see a song underperform in the charts and on streaming numbers.
The move towards shorter track lengths is a shift that is believed due to shrinking attention spans and streaming platform’s algorithms.
Establish both a pre and post-release plan for your release.
Make sure your track is Spotify ready (that it is positioned for success on Spotify)!
Select a release date. A minimum of 4 weeks is recommended from track upload to release time, and many industry experts recommend six weeks as this provides the editorial playlist curators more time to review your song. With 40,000+ tracks added to Spotify each week that is a lot of tracks to review for only 3,000 or so Spotify editorial playlists. The release day is SUPER IMPORTANT! On the first day of your release all your focus should be to drive traffic to your song, and traffic that favors the algorithm. Get all of your friends and family to like the track, put it in their playlists and follow your artist profile. Get your social media following to get to Spotify and listen to the track. If you implement and focus on your plan, you will get followers!
Select a distribution platform for your song. Platforms to review are CD Baby, Ditto, TuneCore, and DistroKid. There are many platforms (both paid subscriptions and free) so review all the pros and cons of each and their pricing structure.
Have your photos (professional recommended), bio, song summary, lyrics and social links organized and load them into Spotify for Artists. Determine what you profile photo, banner photo, song artwork, and gallery photos will be and have the artwork ready. Make sure your content is professional and aligns with your brand.
Spotify for Artists is where you will load in and update your song information.
Have a design for your song cover ready and in the correct size specifications. Having your photo on the album artwork will attract attention if you are new on Spotify.
Organize your email list and have a target for a number of contacts pre-release.
Initiate a pre-save campaign. Distrokid uses Hyperfollow and others like CD Baby use third-party company Show.co. This is all free through your distributor. Allow sufficient time on the pre-save. It is super important to do a pre-save as your followers will get your track on release day and can follow your Spotify account which helps with the algorithm. What a pre-save does is that when someone has pressed the pre-save button, they will like the track and follow you right on the release day which is beautiful because it does everything we want in favor for the algorithm. You also want sufficient time to promote your pre-save link.
Create a strategy for Spotify marketing which will include social media posts, social media promotions and building a playlist worksheet for sending your track to.
Do everything…everything you can think of! Be sure to have as much information about yourself out there; Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp, and other promotional platforms.
Send the track day #1 to independent playlists and continue the playlist targeting on a daily basis until you are satisfied with the results and streaming activity. Google docs or Excel spreadsheets are a great way to manage your playlist worksheet as you can note your submission date and status updates.
Create your own playlist and add your track to it.
Organize a listing of collaborative playlists you can add your track to.
Have your friends and fans add the track to their personal playlists and stories.
Always thank the playlists that add your track on your social media pages and Instagram stories.
Post the track on Facebook group pages (there are many big Spotify pages).
Use the analytic platforms to track your song’s metrics (Spot On Track, Chartmetric)
Follow other artists in your genre and see what playlists they are on to add more to your worksheet and add new playlists to the worksheet on a daily basis. This is a lot of hard work, so when friends and fans see you on playlists and ask you for your list, remember all the hours you put into it as giving it away would not be a wise move.
Post your song on other platforms like Reddit and Linkedin. Join the Reddit Spotify playlist groups and find places to post your track.
Send your song to music bloggers (can search on Submithub, Groover, and Humanhuman for ideas).
Use submission platforms like submithub to send your song to. They mostly focus on mainstream music and top artists, but their submission fee is only $2 so it is a good way to get some feedback and test the waters.
Write a blog about your release and share it to your network and website.
Become a detective and search other artists playlists. As an example, when you get on genre specific lists, look at the other artists on the list and see what other lists they are on.
Focus on piling up particles so the algorithms see you. When you take a vacation on the marketing, so does Spotify. Particles can be viewed as all movements you make on the track.
Keep in mind you don’t need to follow what your music friends are doing, as it is important you have a plan that is feasible for you to manage. Once you complete a plan it is a good idea to note what worked the most and what had the biggest impact on your streaming numbers. If you have other songs that will follow, plan on releasing them 2-3 months after your first campaign so you can ride on the successes of the initial campaign. As an example, Artists on the Move artist and songwriter Maximilian Wentz, got added to four of the larger playlists his last song was on, in the first week of the new songs release. Having this immediate traction is huge, as it will enable him to see streaming numbers early on in the release. Max currently has 41,510 Spotify streams and it is continuing to climb.
We want to hear about your successful strategies and approaches, so please share them with us for our follow up blog on “Getting on playlists” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artists on the Move is pleased to see their artists experiencing success with organic marketing campaigns. The organizations educational clinics will be continuing in the coming months, and will each focus on a different part of the process.
Start learning the DIY approach for streaming today and see immediate results. Don't depend on others to do it for you. If a Spotify marketing plan is part of your studio agreement, make sure you fully understand what their plans are for your song from the pre-release time to post-release.
Best of luck and we hope to see you all streaming big!