A smart link is a powerful upgrade on regular, everyday links. There are several different kinds of smart links out there, but they’re essentially all URLs that you can share, track, and customize according to your needs.
Some smart links come with landing pages that can route visitors to many different destinations instead of just one. On top of that, smart links can automatically adjust the destinations based on criteria like visitor location and device. This creates a win-win all around: Link visitors get a tailored experience that matches their preferences, while you see better results from your marketing efforts.
Smart links typically route visitors to these destinations through a landing page. A landing page is basically a microsite that’s dedicated to a single purpose, goal, or campaign. For example, a smart link promoting a new album will lead to a landing page with a list of different music services. Fans can then choose which service they prefer. And in just one click, they’ll be listening to your music. Smart link tools like Linkfire allow you to customize both the URL and landing page with your own branding, which is especially useful if you’re an artist, band, or creator of any kind.
- What does a smart link look like?
- Why is it important to use smart links for music?
- When should musicians use a smart link instead of a website?
- Where can you share a smart link?
- What data can you get from a smart link?
- How to analyze your smart link data
- What’s the best smart link tool for music?
- What type of smart links can you create with Linkfire?
- How to create a song link for a new release
- Use smart links for every phase of your music marketing campaign
What does a smart link look like?
Regular links are often long and ugly, filled with random numbers and letters. Smart links are short, easy to remember and use real words that are relevant to what you’re promoting.
Once you create a smart link, you can instantly share it anywhere across the web. And because the URL is branded, visitors will feel more confident that they’re clicking through to trustworthy content. Here’s an example of a smart link created by the band Tolstoys for one of their singles: lnk.to/gentle
Why is it important to use smart links for music?
A smart link is an essential music marketing tool for three main reasons:
They create a frictionless experience for link visitors.
Imagine you’re an artist promoting your latest album. You want to post about it on Facebook, and encourage fans to click through to your album and start listening. The problem is, which link do you use? Should you link to your album on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, or Boomplay? What about the dozens of other services that your fans might be using instead?
You can take a guess that the majority of your audience is using one service over another, but you still risk losing out on tons of engagement, streams, and potential revenue.
Smart links solve this problem by taking link visitors to a landing page that features a list of services to choose from. This list can be customized depending on your preferences and visitor location. For instance, Pandora is only available in the United States. So when you set up your smart link, you can have Pandora appear as a service destination only for link visitors in the US. It won’t be shown to anyone outside of the US because it’s not relevant to them, which creates a better fan experience.
This means that the journey from clicking on your smart link to the final destination is as frictionless as it gets for your fans. And you get one simple link that can service them all, and doesn’t clutter up your promotions.
You can customize smart link URLs and landing pages to match your brand.
Linkfire allows you to customize different elements of your smart link. For example, you can add your subdomain and campaign name as part of the URL itself, like this: YourArtistName/lnk.to/NewAlbumTitle
You can even create your own custom domain name to use with all of your links, such as YourArtistName.co.
Once a fan clicks on your link, they’re taken to a landing page (or redirected to the website of your choice, if you want all traffic going to the same place). The best part is that you don’t need any coding or design knowledge to build your landing page. They work beautifully on both desktop and mobile, without any effort on your part. In just a few clicks, you can customize elements such as:
- Artwork: Linkfire finds your album artwork automatically when you first create a link. You can also switch this artwork out for anything you want.
- Text: This is usually the artist name and title of whatever you’re promoting.
- Video or audio: Add a play button over your artwork, which visitors can click to play an audio or video snippet.
- List of destinations: These are the different service options that visitors can choose from. If you’re promoting music, these destinations will be different music services. If you’re promoting a tour, they’ll be tour dates with “purchase” buttons.
You can collect fan data that helps you make smarter marketing decisions.
Smart links provide you with invaluable fan insights. You can use this to optimize your marketing and ad spend, plan your tours, or even decide on a new songwriting direction. We’ll get more into how to analyze smart link data later in this article!
Learn more: How and why to create smart links for your music
When should musicians use a smart link instead of a website?
Smart links and websites both have their place, and actually, work together quite well.
An artist's website acts as your home on the internet. When someone searches for you online, it’s good to have a central hub where they can learn more about you, download press photos, find your bio, access your upcoming tour dates, buy your merch, watch your latest music video, subscribe to your email list, find all of your social media pages, and more.
You can create a smart link that redirects to your main website, allowing you to capture fan insights and performance data. You can also embed smart link widgets directly on any page of your website to get the best of both worlds.
But when it comes to marketing campaigns, specific goals, and conversions, smart links with dedicated landing pages are by far the best tool for the job. Think about it: If you want fans to stream your latest single, are they more likely to do it when they land on a clean, responsive page where that’s the only action they can take, or on a website where they’ll get distracted by dozens of other links and calls to action?
Smart links are also exponentially easier and faster to set up than a typical website. You can generate a professional-looking landing page in just a few clicks, with zero coding or design skills.
So remember: If you want to increase the likelihood that your link visitors will take a specific action (stream music, buy merch, buy tickets, pre-save an album, enter a giveaway, etc.), use a smart link. If you want people to simply learn more about who you are as an artist, send them to your artist website.
Where can you share a smart link?
Driving more traffic to your smart links will lead to more streams, fans, and revenue—which is why you should share your links in as many places as you can.
Since smart links work everywhere across the web, the possibilities are truly endless. As a starting place, here are nine ways to get the most mileage out of them.
Social media bios
When people land on your social media profiles, your bio section is one of the first places they look to get a sense of who you are as an artist. Smart links fit perfectly in your Instagram bio, Twitter bio, TikTok bio, Facebook “About” page, and YouTube channel description.
Linkfire bio links make it easy to turn social media attention into meaningful engagement. In just a few clicks, you can put together a beautiful, highly scrollable microsite that brings all of your content together. It’s fully customizable, so you’ll never have to swap out your bio link again. Update it anytime to include your latest single, upcoming shows, merch, playlist feature, or anything else you want to promote.
Social media posts
Smart links are ready to share across every social platform, for every type of post. Even if you’re not directly promoting something, it’s always a good idea to use a smart link with every post so that you can track engagement and better understand what kind of content resonates with your audience.
YouTube video descriptions
The descriptions under your YouTube videos are crucial. It’s what the algorithm uses to determine what your video is about. A well-written video description will help organically boost your videos in search rankings.
Be sure to put your smart link front and center, alongside relevant keywords. That way, people who discover you on YouTube will be able to quickly find more of your music on any platform they prefer.
SoundCloud track descriptions
SoundCloud is the place to experiment. Unlike other streaming services, you don’t need a distributor to get your music on the platform, so it’s great for sharing demos, remixes, and rough ideas with your fans.
But once you’ve hooked their attention, don’t lose it! Include smart links in your track descriptions that direct people to your website, merch store, or other social media channels. Make it easy for them to check out your other tracks and albums on any music service.
Every Linkfire link can be turned into an embeddable, eye-catching widget for your own website, with different sizes and types to choose from.
You can choose the showcase widget, which displays your album artwork and a play button. Or try out the clickthrough widget, which features a list of services for visitors to choose from (much like a release link landing page).
To get your widget, you’ll need to add a small bit of HTML to your website—here’s how.
Your email subscribers are your most valuable online audience. Why? Because they’ve taken an active step to sign up for your latest news. Your emails land right in their inboxes, and they want to hear from you. It’s a much more direct line of communication than social media posts, which can get lost in the endless scroll of their feeds.
Reserve your email newsletters for the important stuff. Make sure you always include smart links so that you can consistently measure interest in your new releases, merch, and upcoming shows.
Reddit is one of the most popular sites in the world. It consists of millions of forums called subreddits that cover every topic imaginable. Many of them are devoted to music, and some specifically focus on giving independent artists a platform to share their work.
Whether you’re looking for new fans or constructive feedback, sharing smart links on Reddit can help boost your music career.
Pitches and press releases
If you’re sending out lots of music links to bloggers, editors, or playlist curators, make sure you’re always using a smart link. Between press releases, pitch submission forms, and emails, it’s easy to lose track of your PR efforts. We’d recommend creating a channel specifically for PR so that you can easily see whether all those links you sent out are getting clicked on.
And if you have a publicist, manager, or other team member who sends pitches on your behalf, make sure they’re using trackable smart links as well!
Electronic press kit
An electronic press kit (EPK) basically acts as a résumé. It comes in handy whenever you connect with a journalist, venue owner, promoter, or other music industry professional who needs up-to-date information about you that they can review in just a few seconds.
A top-notch EPK includes a current artist bio, latest music release, high-quality press photos, videos, tour dates, press, social media links, and contact information. Every link in your EPK should be a smart link so that you can track visits and click-throughs, and see which sections are resonating the most.
What data can you get from a smart link?
We’re big believers in wrapping every link you publicly share in a smart link, whether it’s a pre-save campaign, Instagram bio link, podcast episode, YouTube video, or anything in between.
By doing this, you’ll be able to maintain brand consistency, measure visits and click-throughs, gain deeper insights about your audience, and keep everything you’re promoting nicely organized in one dashboard. (Pro tip: If you don’t need a landing page and just want to link directly to a website, use a simple content link.)
When you use Linkfire to create your smart links, you’ll find everything you need to know about how your links are performing in your Linkfire Insights dashboard. As soon as your links start getting traffic, you’ll see the data populate on your Insights page. This allows you to analyze your link performance and optimize your marketing in real-time.
You’ll have access to a ton of data points, including:
- Visits: the number of times your link has been visited by actual people. Bots, scrapers, and preloads are not counted.
- Click-through rate: the percentage of click-throughs on your link against the number of visits.
- Source: the traffic sources for your link based on channels, activity IDs, and referrals.
- Click-throughs by service: a breakdown of how many times visitors clicked on each service destination listed on your landing page.
- Location: a breakdown of the cities and countries in which your link visitors are located.
- Streams: the number of in-service streams that we can attribute to your Linkfire link.
- Sales and commissions: how much revenue you’ve earned through your links.
All of this data helps you measure your marketing performance in a more comprehensive way than if you were to use regular links.
How to analyze your smart link data
Data is only useful if you’re able to turn it into action. And without a clear understanding of which marketing efforts are driving results, your campaigns will quickly become expensive and time consuming.
Since Linkfire brings together data points that would otherwise be disconnected (or flat-out inaccessible), you get context around the entire fan journey, from the first click to the final conversion.
What is music attribution, and how does it work?
As a music marketer, you’re constantly striving to understand which campaigns, channels, and fan profiles lead to conversions such as streams and follows. The process of determining which marketing activities are contributing to a conversion is known as attribution. It’s an essential asset for music marketing campaigns—no matter how big or small.
Through exclusive partnerships with some of the largest digital service providers in the music industry, Linkfire has access to streaming attribution data that you can’t get anywhere else. The behavior data we have varies by partnership, but includes events such as play, download, favorite, follow, and save/add to library. These data points can be broken down further by geographic and demographic segments like country, city, and device.
As soon as Linkfire receives the data, we pass it along to you. This allows you to better understand the relationship between your link performance and fan behavior.
Not only does this data help focus your decisions, it provides proof that your marketing spend is driving conversions. Without attribution data, it’s virtually impossible to create a targeted campaign, or understand why certain campaigns are successful. As a Linkfire user, you can be sure that you’ll never miss out on this crucial information.
You can use Linkfire Insights to answer questions like:
- Do Instagram posts, Facebook posts, or emails perform best?
- Which of my marketing channels drove the most streams on release day?
- Which music services and devices do my fans prefer?
- Do I have enough fans in European countries to schedule tour dates there?
- Where are my merch sales coming from?
- Are my affiliate links meaningfully contributing to my revenue goals?
What’s the best smart link tool for music?
There are a few different smart link platforms out there, but if you’re specifically looking to create smart links for music and entertainment, you’ll find that Linkfire is the industry standard. It’s trusted by every major label and over 50,000 artists worldwide.
In comparison, generic smart link solutions like Linktree and Lnk.bio aren’t designed for music marketing. They don’t give you a complete picture of the fan journey, and they don’t provide the kind of fan and streaming insights that are crucial for music marketers.
Another benefit of using Linkfire is that fans can pre-save your music on Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer directly from your smart links. And then on release day, you get to enjoy trouble-free auto-scanning of over 250 music services—which means you don’t have to lift a finger to update your landing page.
Pre-save tools such as Presave.io, on the other hand, don’t have the technology to automatically find your new music across all services on release day. As a result, you have to manually update every music service on your landing page that day. It also doesn’t provide any post-release streams, sales, or engagement insights like Linkfire does.
As you grow in your music career journey, Linkfire is flexible enough to adapt to your changing needs. You can track new channels as you grow your online presence, invite collaborators to your workspace as you bring on new team members, and add more advanced features to your account when the time is right.
Plus, Linkfire is the only smart link platform with exclusive streaming data partnerships that help you understand what fans do after they click through your links. You have access to data from top streaming services like Apple Music, YouTube, Deezer, Pandora, and more, right from your Linkfire Insights page.
Transparent insights like these are essential for optimizing music promotions, reaching more fans, and measuring your overall success—while saving you time and money in the process.
What type of smart links can you create with Linkfire?
Posting a variety of fresh content is key for any music marketing strategy. Here are the seven different types of smart links you can create with Linkfire:
- Release links: Promote your single, EP, album, or podcast with a trackable landing page that connects fans to their favorite services.
- Pre-release links: Build momentum with a pre-save campaign to make a big splash on release day.
- Bio links: Turn social media attention into meaningful engagement with a highly scrollable microsite that brings all of your content together.
- Reward links: Drive the conversions that matter most to you by giving your fans instant access to secret content, coupon codes, and contests.
- Ticket links: Promote your shows and events in seconds with a smart landing page that automatically pulls in all your dates and purchase links.
- Playlist links: Grow your streams and followers by promoting playlists that you’ve created or have been featured on.
- Content links: Wrap any URL in a short, branded smart link to track performance and gather marketing insights.
How to create a song link for a new release
Here’s how to create a smart link for any release in five easy steps:
- Log into your Linkfire account (or click here to sign up for a free trial), and hit the green “create link” button in the upper right-hand corner. Choose “Release” as your link type.
- Paste in a link to your release on a streaming service (we recommend a Spotify or Apple Music link for the best results). We’ll automatically scan the URL and show you the details and services we’ve pulled in for your landing page.
- Customize the URL so it includes your artist name, release name, campaign name, or any other key branding elements (e.g., artistname.lnk.to/albumtitle).
- Customize your landing page to make it look exactly the way you want by adding more services, updating the text description, uploading artwork, and more.
- Hit “publish,” and your new link will be ready to share!
Want to learn the ins and outs? Find an in-depth tutorial here.
Learn more: The anatomy of a killer music landing page
Use smart links for every phase of your music marketing campaign
Linkfire smart links are each tailored to an essential part of your release campaign. Let’s take a look at some ideas for when and why to use each link type:
- Create a pre-release link to build momentum 30-90 days before release day.
- Share a reward link to incentivize fans to follow a “My Essentials” playlist of old tracks 10-15 days prior to your new release. Then, add your new release to the playlist on release day.
- Use a release link to promote your new single or album for up to 90 days after release day. Keep sharing your release link on all channels, make “in case you missed it” posts, and remember to add it to YouTube descriptions.
- Share your music video or lyric video on a direct-to-service release link to capture YouTube streaming insights.
- If you plan to go on tour, start promoting your ticket link about 90 days in advance.
- In the week after your release, update your landing page to direct fans to an upcoming live stream, like this.
- If you score any media coverage or playlist features, be sure to share them with a content link or playlist link as soon as possible to maximize your exposure.
- Bring everything together in your bio link, which works perfectly for social media pages and email signatures. Be sure to include any merch!
- Keep up engagement in the post-release phase with reward links, which give your fans instant access to secret content, coupon codes, and contests.
- About a week after release, send out an email newsletter offering an exclusive merch discount through a reward link, and include a personal video greeting on a content link or release link.
Remember that no matter what kind of content you share, it’s always a good idea to wrap it in a trackable Linkfire link!