Pre-Release Hype and How To Create It
What is pre-release hype, you might ask? Well, it’s all about creating anticipation around your release and getting people to WANT to listen to your music once it’s out.
So many artists and producers assume that they can just chuck all their hard work out into the world and hope for the best without any kind of marketing strategy or plan.
The more preparation that’s done BEFORE the release means that you will drastically increase your chances of reaching a larger audience and getting more streams/plays/downloads than if you didn’t have a strategy or plan.
What if you’re not good at marketing and have no cash to put towards a campaign? No problem, sometimes we need to do the absolute best we can with what we have on hand at the time, which is what I’ve always done in the past.
So if you’re someone who doesn’t have money to put towards a marketing campaign or maybe you don’t yet have the marketing skills that you’d like to have, I can help you with some basic tips on how to create anticipation amongst your audience and followers and get them wanting to listen to your track once it’s out!
Firstly, I have to admit… I used to be a serial spammer many years ago! I had no clue about self-marketing and would always annoy people with my posts.
I had no idea that all I was doing was annoying the hell out of everyone by begging people to listen to my music. One day I stopped caring so much and started documenting and showing people what I was doing rather than asking them to listen, and it made a world of a difference.
I didn’t want to beg anymore! I wanted people to WANT to listen to my music.
Many years later I started studying social media marketing and released a lot of my own singles and landed on over 10 Spotify Editorial Playlists, Apple Music Editorials and Youtube Music Playlists and reached over 1.5 Million Streams after releasing my first few singles, all on my own without paying for ads or a PR agent.
I realised that there were so many little things I did that all played a big part in having a successful Pre-Release Strategy.
I had to ask myself so many questions:
- What makes someone stop to click on a link?
- What makes someone want to press play?
- In literally just 1 second how on earth can we grab people’s attention when they’re scrolling their social feed?
Well, I have some of the answers to these questions, but they take some hard work!
I’ll give you all the advice I can, but it’s up to you to ensure you implement them well in advance of your release.
Good things take time; don’t rush your release without a solid strategy.
Tip 1- Killer Artwork
Ideally, you should hire a graphic or type design artist. I can’t stress this enough! It will be one of the best investments for your release.
The FIRST thing people see is your artwork. And for the past 20 years of being in this industry, I’ve seen people’s artwork let them down time and time again. It’s like we never learn.
Your single/album artwork is what sets you apart, and the artwork is what tells a story before someone hears the music, the artwork captures peoples attention, the artwork will be a talking point, the artwork should reflect the hard work you put into your music, it’s your branding after all.
I’ve rarely seen incredible artwork attached to a crappy song. It’s almost always the other way around. Incredible song, but the artwork let them down.
You may not think the artwork is a big deal but trust me, in the social media landscape, when you’re competing against millions of others including major label artists, if a listener has never heard of you before and doesn’t know your name, what will make them want to click on your track? If there’s no text and just a teeny tiny square, the least you can do is grab that little bit of attention they have with solid artwork!
The artwork is crucial. It’s a visual representation of you as an artist or producer and of your brand and music.
Tip 2- The Song Release Story, Artistic, or Commercial Intention of Your Work
The key tip here is to have a story so that you can discuss and engage with your followers well before the song’s release date.
Not only will this assist you with creating more content for your socials around the release, but it will give you so much more context to discuss, which will stop you from falling into the “My new single is out this Friday” trap.
The reason I call it a trap is because it’s an overused statement with little info and not much context, it’s boring and unlikely to create a feeling of excitement and hype.
You can ask yourself the following questions to help you create your story:
- What inspired you to create this song, and what was the process?
- Does your song or lyrics have a political agenda or message?
- What was the artistic or commercial intention of your work?
- Did you release this to raise awareness about a specific issue?
- Is the song a message to anyone specific?
- How do you want the song to make people feel?
If your style of branding/marketing is more about the music itself and less about you or a story, e.g., You just made a killer trap song, it’s catchy as fu*k and doesn’t really have any story behind it, you just wanna get it out there to as many people as you can.
You could take a snippet of the track and create your hype around marketing that small section of the song in video format and get as many people as you can to record themselves reacting to the track. You can also utilise apps like TikTok and Instagram or pay Influencers to promote it for you (I will go much deeper into ways you can Marketing your music on Socials in another blog)
Your story doesn’t have to be elaborate, sad, or even unique. It can be short, simple, and to-the-point, but ideally you need substance behind your song, you will need it when websites and blogs ask to interview you about your song when radio stations ask questions about the song and also when promoting it via your socials.
If you’re not excited about your release, how can you expect anyone else to be?
Tip 3- Host a Listening Party
I’ve only ever done this once before, and it was SO MUCH fun! Now more than ever, hosting a virtual listening party a few days before release is a great idea.
A listening party can literally be anything you want it to be! In my case, it was my cat and me in my room… I got dressed up, set the mood with some fairy lights, had a drink ready, had my latest single paused, and ready to stream live. You can get as creative as you like since it’s your party!
You can also use the listening party as an opportunity to sell merch and/or get pre-saves, have the link ready to get people to pre-save WHILST they’re all in the listening party.
You can either host it on Zoom, Google Hangouts, or any other video platform that allows everyone to share their camera. It’s more fun when others can hang out with their cams on, but you can also do it alone using Facebook live and just allow everyone to watch and chat with you.
Firstly you will need to choose a date and time then make some cool artwork for the invite.
Then you need to decide if you want to go live on Facebook or if you will use a website like Zoom.
Once you have date time and platform for the video chosen, you need to create the artwork for the invite. You can use canva.com if you don’t have a graphic designer.
Then you’re ready to create your event on Facebook!
You can create a public or private Facebook event under the music category (If you choose to make it public)
Making your listening party public is a great idea especially if you add your location (Ensure you don’t give your exact home address, just your local area)
People in your area can search local online events and attend yours, a great way to attract new fans in your area, especially since lots of people are bored at home and some still in lockdown.
Once your listening party invite is all ready to go you can start promoting the link on your socials, you would promote this in the same way as I mentioned early.
Create a story and use your story to entice people to attend the listening party!
Tip 4- Spotify Pre-Save Campaign
Having a Spotify Pre-Save Campaign is a MUST! It is quick and easy to set up, and with a little bit of extra effort, you can create your own little campaign to entice your followers to pre-save your upcoming Spotify release.
Pre-saves are important because they help increase your chances of doing well on Spotify’s algorithmic playlists such as Release Radar & Discover Weekly which can, in turn, help you land on an Editorial Playlist.
It’s important that you have a good Stream-to-Engagement Ratio, which means that your listeners are not only listening but saving to their Library, Queue, Playlists, and sharing on socials such as IG Stories. To ensure a solid Stream-to-Engagement Ratio, focus more on pre-saves and getting your audience to add your music to their own playlist or library rather than focusing on just getting loads of streams.
There are many ways to create a successful Spotify Pre-Save Campaign! Creating a Giveaway is one of them (see below)
Tip 5- Create a Giveaway to bring attention to your upcoming release
When done right, giveaways can be a great way to reach a wider audience and bring attention to your upcoming release.
There are two key things to remember when doing a giveaway:
1. Ensure there’s a strong CTA (call-to-action), Which means that your directions are clear in telling your audience what they need to do in order to enter the giveaway. You don’t want to make it too difficult, but you also don’t want to make it too easy for them, there has to be an objective as to WHY you’re doing the giveaway.
A great CTA could be something like “Pre-save my upcoming single on Spotify and send through a screenshot for a chance to win, comment when you’re done!”
2. The giveaway should be something people will WANT to win, and it should tie in with your brand. I would highly suggest investing up to $100 for this giveaway.
The better the giveaway item is, the more chance people will put in the effort to enter, and the more pre-saves you will get for your single release if you chose to use that as your CTA.
The item you use for your giveaway should have meaning to you, it could be artwork you have created, your Merchandise, or something you have purchased that you know your followers would love to have!
I hope you enjoyed these five tips to help you build some hype around your next release!
Noella Nix is a Music Producer, Songwriter & Artist from Australia. She teaches Sound Production, Music Business & Social Media Marketing at University and has written 4 Music Industry eBooks. Connect on Instagram
Audio Business, Keeping Track, Promos, Social Media