I’ve seen a debate among independent musicians: to pre-save or not to pre-save? Some people say you should just put the song out and then promote it. Others say pre-release hype leads to more streams on release day. So let’s talk about the pros and cons of a Spotify pre-save campaign and how to set one up if you want to.
What Is a Spotify Pre-Save Campaign?
A Spotify pre-save campaign is when you allow fans to save your song before it comes out so that when it drops, it will automatically be in their library. It’s also supposed to show up on listeners’ homepages if they’ve pre-saved it.
What’s actually happening is, listeners give a third party company permission to save songs to their library. So on release day, this third party adds your song to the libraries of all the pre-savers. Although as of this writing, Spotify is rolling out their own version of pre-saves to select artists called Countdown Pages.
The Downsides of a Spotify Pre-Save Campaign
While many indie artists find pre-save campaigns helpful, there are definite downsides. Here are a few…
Saves aren’t everything
When someone pre-saves your song, the third party you use will add your song to listeners’ liked songs. But saves aren’t everything to the Spotify algorithm.
Spotify looks at multiple engagement points, including:
- Playlist adds
- Repeat listens
- Minimal skips
- High save-to-stream ratio
- Song shares
So even if you get a bunch of saves from a pre-save campaign, that doesn’t mean people will actually listen, share, and add the song to their playlists.
Now, theoretically, when the Spotify algorithm sees that your song has a bunch of saves on release day, it’s more likely to push it to the algorithmic playlists, like Discover Weekly, Spotify Radio, Your Daily Mix, Release Radar, and Radio. But you can’t rely on the algorithm to do all the work for you.
Many fans won’t save a song without hearing it first
As a listener, I don’t like pre-saving an artist’s song, even if it’s an artist I follow and love. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I want to support my fellow artists, but I don’t want songs saved to my library if I haven’t even heard it first. I like to curate my listening algorithm by only liking songs I actually like, and then I add them to one of my vibe-specific playlists.
A pre-save is a big ask in an asking world
Nowadays, everyone is asking for stuff. Every artist is asking for something from listeners, so asking for a pre-save feels like a big ask. You don’t want to get lost in the sea of requests.
The Benefits of a Spotify Pre-Save Campaign
I’m not totally anti-pre-saves. They work for a lot of artists. So here are some of the upsides…
A bunch of saves on release day
Even though Spotify looks for more than just saves, it definitely helps to get a bunch of saves on release day. It does increase the chances of pre-savers listening and the algorithm pushing the song out to new people.
You can collect emails
This is probably the most beneficial aspect of pre-save campaigns. When someone pre-saves your song, they agree to share their email address with you (they don’t have to enter it, the campaign just pulls their Spotify email address). You can then add them to your email list and contact them about future music.
People who pre-save your song also become your follower
When someone pre-saves your song, they also automatically follow you on Spotify. As long as you make this clear in your marketing of the pre-save campaign, this could lead to a bunch of new followers who stick around instead of immediately unfollowing you.
How To Set Up a Spotify Pre-Save Link
Okay, now that you’ve read about the pros and cons of a Spotify pre-save campaign, maybe you want to try it out. If so, below are some places you can use to set up a pre-save link, assuming Spotify hasn’t given you access to Countdown Pages yet.