What is a pre-save?
A pre-save is the streaming equivalent of a pre-order. Unlike CDs and vinyl, digital music doesn’t need to be physically delivered. But music on streaming services does still have release dates.
A pre-save lets fans place a “virtual order” on an upcoming release. It’s then added to their streaming libraries the moment it goes live.
For artists, pre-saves are quickly becoming an essential marketing tool. Finding success on services like Spotify and Apple Music is all about increasing streaming numbers and engagement. Pre-saves do just that, by helping to build momentum around new music before it’s even out.
With Linkfire, you have the ability to create a pre-release link, which combines multiple pre-saves into one shareable link.
How does pre-save work?
Pre-saves can be used with most major streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer. And while they each look and work slightly differently, these different pre-saves function in the same way.
To begin, you’ll need to create a pre-save link. Not all streaming services offer pre-save as a native feature in their artist dashboards. That means you’ll need to create them through a smart link platform like Linkfire. Or if you’re signed to a label or distributor, pre-save links may be part of your deal.
When you have your link, it’s ready to include in your promotions across the web. When fans click the link, they’ll be asked to authorize the pre-save. This authorization involves a number of permissions, which let streaming services take action on their behalf.
Once the pre-save is authorized, the fan’s job is done. When release day comes around, the track or album will be added to their library. As for the pre-save link, it will automatically convert to a standard smart link (such as Linkfire’s release link).
Common pre-save actions in streaming services
Add track/album to library
You want to be in your fans’ music collections. Whether they’re scrolling through to find a specific song, or hitting shuffle, the music they want to hear again and again is in their libraries.
Pre-saves make it easier to secure your spot, weeks or even months before your music actually drops. By capitalizing on fans’ first wave of attention, you ensure they don’t forget to click that save button on release day.
Why is increasing your follower count important? Well, streaming services automatically promote your new releases by adding it to your followers’ personalized playlists, such as Spotify’s Your Release Radar playlist.
Large follower counts also show streaming services that you’re worth paying attention to. The higher the count, the more likely you are to be recommended and playlisted to a wider audience outside of your followers. That’s why the number of followers often form the basis of labels and music marketers’ campaign KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
How does Spotify pre-save work?
When fans select a pre-save service from a Linkfire pre-release link, they’re taken to a permissions page (as shown in the image below). Here they can review the actions that their chosen service can take on their behalf.
If they’ve chosen Spotify, those actions include save track/album to library, or follow artist. They also authorize the collection of some account data, including their email address.
Actions included with Spotify pre-save:
- Save track to Your Library
- Save album to Your Library
- Follow artist
- View account data
How does Apple Music pre-add work?
While it’s termed pre-add, this Apple Music integration with Linkfire works in the same way as Spotify pre-save. It lets fans authorize the adding of a song or album to their library.
However, unlike Spotify pre-save, pre-add does not include the option for fans to automatically start following an artist.
Actions included with Apple Music pre-add:
- Add song to Library
- Add album to Library
How does Deezer pre-save work?
For Deezer users, their library is called Favorites. Deezer pre-save through a Linkfire pre-release link can add tracks or albums to Favorites. Additionally, fans can add artists to Favorites, which is the equivalent of ‘follow’ on Spotify.
Actions included with Deezer pre-save:
- Add track to Favorites
- Add album to Favorites
- Add artist to Favorites
- View account data
Why pre-save campaigns are worth your time
Here are just some of the reasons pre-saves are becoming essential features in any music marketing mix.
Build meaningful hype
Music promotion doesn’t start on release day—it begins long before that. Because unless you’re already a household name, a surprise drop isn’t going to work.
There are tried and true ways of building excitement for upcoming releases, such as teaser tracks, giveaways, music videos, and more. And pre-saves are the latest tool in the marketers’ toolkit.
They’re hugely useful because they marry awareness with real action. You can remind someone a hundred times that your track is out next week, but it doesn’t mean they’ll listen to it. With pre-saves, fans are taking that extra step, committing to adding your music to their collection.
Pre-saves can grow your streaming numbers in several ways.
First up, from all those fans who pre-saved your music. When release day comes, they don’t have to hunt around for your record—it’s right there in their library. There’s no risk of them forgetting that it’s out.
Secondly, pre-saves help catch the attention of streaming services, increasing your chances of being playlisted. In choosing tracks to serve to a wider audience, playlists (both algorithmic and human-curated) pick music that’s already performing. It makes sense—there’s no point playlisting a song which no one is listening to in the first place.
So if your pre-save generates you lots of saves and streams on release day, it can land you on playlists like Spotify’s Discover Weekly, which in turn can massively boost your profile.
Like other types of smart links, pre-save links can give you a wealth of data insights into your audience. You can use stats to judge the performance of promotions and discover how to optimize them going forward.
Pre-save data vary between services but is likely to include figures on the number of visits and click-throughs. Additionally, some services will offer analytics on visitors’ locations, devices, and browsers.
If you’re running campaigns around retargeting, it might be possible to create custom audiences with pre-save data. It all depends on whether the service you used to create pre-save links integrates with ad platforms like Facebook or Google Ads. If it does, you may be able to create custom parameters to include in your remarketing data.
At Linkfire for instance, custom parameters include actions triggered when visitors interact with your Linkfire pre-release link.
Invite fans to join your mailing list
When fans authorize pre-saves with some services (currently these include Spotify pre-save and Deezer pre-save), they also grant permission for being notified about the release by email. A good practice is to use that chance for inviting fans to join your mailing list. Email marketing has a higher conversion rate than social, making it a great way to promote new releases, tours, merch, and more.
Appealing incentives such as free merch or a fun competition usually increases newsletter sign-up rates.
How to make a pre-release link in Linkfire
Our pre-release link brings together numerous pre-save services into one smart link. Fans can then choose their preferred service from our current pre-save integrations—Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer.
Making a pre-release in Linkfire is just as easy as our other links. You can customize the landing pages’ artwork and text, and choose which pre-save services you want to activate. And don’t worry if you don’t have your release UPC code or URL yet—this can be added closer to the time of release.
To learn more, check out our Help Center article Creating pre-release links.
First pre-release links are
We’re so confident that you’ll love promoting music with pre-release links that we’ll let you try Linkfire completely for free, no strings attached.
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