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How to plan your next single release: promotion and distribution tips for a standalone track.

It all starts with a song .
You write a song, or you find a birdcall ; the birdcall moves you and you want it to move the world. So you record and circulate that song as a single to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube .
once the sung is available, anything could happen. The music could change the worldly concern, it could wow a few people, or it could go completely ignored. Of course opportunity always plays a part, but the result is partially in your own hands .

The benefits and challenges of releasing singles

The effective news : We’re living in an age of singles, and there are tons of ways to put one song to work. 

The bad newsworthiness : Every other artist has a new single to promote excessively, so you can’t just drop a song into the world and expect it to reach people without some attempt and advance plan .
All this to say, there ’ s a lot more to releasing a single than just throwing it up on SoundCloud or Bandcamp. There ’ second a batch more to it than distributing your unmarried worldwide via CD Baby besides .

You need to first consider the scheme behind the acquittance of your unmarried

You ’ ll want to tackle each of these questions – and probably some more – when you ’ rhenium formulating your passing scheme .

  • How are you going to attract listeners, encourage streams, and force downloads ?
  • How is the launch of this individual going to enhance your relationship with your hearing
  • How will this birdcall serve you get to the future floor in your music career ?
  • How does a single serve you tell a little bit more of your artist narrative
  • How do you place your unmarried to capitalize on stream tools and algorithmic traction

You should besides weigh the pros and cons of releasing standalone songs .

As artists, we ’ re cope in “ attention economics. ” Gone are the days when you could disappear for three years to make your future album and expect fans to stay firm. In our world of short attention spans, releasing music more frequently can play a significant factor in your success.
Platforms like Spotify and YouTube even reward artists who put out songs and videos on a regular basis. obviously you can ’ thyroxine ( and shouldn ’ thyroxine ) bang out a full album every two or three months, sol rather : singles !
The upsides of releasing a digital single:

  • It costs less to produce one song ( compared to a solid album )
  • You can release music more frequently, which drives algorithmic pour action
  • You don ’ t have to manufacture CDs or vinyl
  • modern listeners frequently favor singles/playlists
  • Concentrating on one birdcall at a time helps you focus your market, video recording production, etc., so yo u have the opportunity to turn each one into an consequence
  • It ’ s a moment to reconnect with or grow your audience
  • It ’ s a low-risk gamble to experiment with promotion strategies and learn what works ( and doesn ’ thyroxine )
  • And best of all, putting out singles is fun

But there ’ second still more praseodymium power in releasing albums. So singles do have their drawbacks .
The downsides of releasing a digital single:

  • It ’ randomness unvoiced to get press and diligence attention with a individual
  • Albums show the world you ’ re unplayful ; singles don ’ metric ton
  • Albums can convey more about your narrative and brand ; singles say less
  • Your fans can grow numb to “ new single ” announcements if you release music excessively frequently
  • It ’ second hard to merchandise a digital unmarried

sol lashkar-e-taiba ’ s dig into the best-practices for releasing singles. I ’ m not certain if they all count as “ strategies, ” but they ’ rhenium surely all important considerations .

1. You MUST release a single FIRST

In most cases, I ’ five hundred give this advice : You should absolutely release a single FIRST if you ’ ve never put out music under your current artist name ! Why ?
Most streaming services don’t let you claim your artist profile or use their various promotional tools until you actually have music on their platforms. Since those tools can be reasonably mighty, you don ’ t want to MISS the casual to use them for your precedence releases ( like an EP or LP ) .
indeed put out a individual first base. Plant your flag. Claim your accounts. And be ready to go full-force on the follow-up liberation .
Go HERE to find out how Spotify and Apple Music define what a single even is, based on cut count and duration .

2. Social media videos are all the rage, so the RIGHT song might just mean the right 15 seconds

none of your plans will matter if the song sucks. Obvs. So don ’ thymine release singles strictly to feed an algorithm. The music distillery needs to be compelling ! That can mean it ’ s a catchy hit single to please fresh fans or a necessitate artistic odyssey to please your diehards. But SOMEONE needs to be pleased .

However, just as a song can stand apart from an album, a musical MOMENT can stand apart from the song.

What does that mean ? Well, we’re living in a short-form video age.
There’s no such thing as too much content, and with the huge popularity of TikTok, IG Stories, IGTV, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and other platforms where users are athirst for immediate videos, you don ’ t have to make all your videos the length of the whole track .
not every music television needs to be a amply produced music video .
Find the BEST moment in your song, then ask:

      • How can this moment inspire listeners to make videos of their own (such as TikTok challenges, dance contests, caption contests, duets, response videos, and other hashtag-driven community engagement)?
      • Can I shoot a short original video to this 15 seconds of music?
      • Can I find good royalty-free or pubic domain footage to add to this 15 seconds of music?
      • Can I post a bunch of DIFFERENT video content for the same 15 seconds, reenforcing the hook?
      • What will get people on Instagram Stories to answer questions or engage with a poll?

once you dig into this, you might realize there ’ s a remainder between the song that ’ mho perfect for your existing fans, and a moment that ’ randomness perfect for viral care. In either case, the individual shouldn ’ t sucking. But not every song needs to be a fully-produced masterpiece either. We ’ ll spill the beans more about this below .

3. Time your singles strategically before and after EP and LP releases

Unless you ’ re an EDM or dad artist, I still recommend you focus on making EPs or LPs ( for the reasons mentioned above ) ; then release your singles strategically before and after the bigger release .
The lead-up singles create winnow excitation and algorithmic energy for the album, and then the follow-up singles, or the songs that come out between larger projects, keep you from falling into “ out of sight, out of mind ” territory with fans .

4. Stockpile various kinds of recordings for later use, in addition to releasing traditional “singles” from an upcoming album

There are a number of different kinds of tracks you can release as singles:

      • The lead single — This is the first sung you release from an approaching EP or LP. It sets the stage for what ’ second to come and prompts your fans to expect more in the come months .
      • The deeper dive — This follow-up unmarried comes out between the lead single and the album, and it provides far context for your new music .
      • The B-side — once your album has been out for a few months, you can put out singles from the same read school term that didn ’ t make it onto the album .
      • The bonus content — After the big album splash, you want to maintain momentum on streaming platforms. In the year following your album turn, it ’ mho good to put out several “ bonus ” tracks, such as remixes, alternate mixes, show, or acoustic takes. Remixes in particular let you breathe new life into a song that ’ randomness waning in popularity, and give you a casual to collaborate with artists who might work in different genres. Both of you benefit from all the cross-promotion that ensues .
      • The collaboration — This is a one that is credited to two or more artist names. similar to remixes, an original collaboration gives you a great way to take creative chances and reach beyond your existing hearing ( because the same track will reach the other artists ’ fans excessively ) .
      • The featured artist track — You could do a guest appearance on person else ’ s track, or they could appear on one of your songs. Either way, it helps you get some extra attention .
      • The building-blocks single(s) — One practice that ’ s become more coarse is for an artist to set a liberation schedule ( for exemplify : putting out one newfangled song a month for a year ) and then let fans vote on which ten-spot tunes will comprise the next album. obviously you don ’ t need to make your art a democracy, so you could just pick which songs you want to compile into an album yourself. Billie Eilish dropped a phone number of singles before her huge debut LP came out, sol intelligibly the strategy can work .
      • The live cut — not every song you exhaust has to be a studio-quality jewel. Got a live record with a dear vibration ? Put it out !
      • The cover song — Covering existing songs has constantly been a smart way to attract new listeners. You take a raise song and add your own spin to it .
      • The “Didn’t this song already come out?” single — You might ’ ve notice artists like Taylor Swift releasing “ singles ” of songs that have already appeared on albums. It ’ s a antic to get more care for a detail song, and hey, nothing improper with tricks ! We all want attention, right field ?

5. Make your music more playlist-friendly

The industry is focused on playlists these days, and that ’ s all right ; playlists can generate a short ton of streaming natural process .
not all playlist action leads to real sports fan engagement though, so rather of artists jumping through a crowd of hoops to game the playlist system du jour, I ’ five hundred still advise you — above all — to make the music YOU WANT to make and try to reach fans the usual ways ( play shows, making cool videos, running social ads, etc. ) .
That being said, the dominant format of the sidereal day has always shaped music, and stream is changing the sound of popular music. I f you do want to make your singles more likely to get playlisted, you should be aware of these music trends:

        • No long intros and outros

          People are impatient and can skip songs identical easily. Don ’ thyroxine tempt them. Get to the goods .

        • Consider putting your hook right at the beginning

          public speaking of getting to the goods, you could lead with the hook or chorus. The Beatles did it half a hundred ago, and Bruno Mars is doing it today .

        • Keep your songs under 4 minutes

          Unless you ’ rhenium making ambient, authoritative, jazz, or something, it ’ sulfur best to keep your songs between 2-4 minutes long. Under 3 minutes would be the goal for utmost playlist-ability .

        • Watch the expletives

          Explicit language doesn ’ t inevitably doom your birdcall, but it surely can limit the kinds of playlists you could appear on .

6. Choose the right distributor

When you sign up your individual for distribution to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and other digital music platforms, you should know that good distribution is about a lot more than pushing digital files from one place to another .
cadmium Baby has been paying artists weekly for more than 20 years. We don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate charge annual fees, so you never have to worry about a growing annual circular barely to keep your music available on-line. And we offer a number of OTHER monetization solutions for you music besides .

    • With CD Baby, your single can earn money through:

      • Streaming
      • Downloads
      • Global music publishing revenue
      • Content ID on YouTube
      • Social video monetization on Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus
      • Sync Licensing
      • And more

      Distribute Music nowadays

7. Create a Spotify pre-save

    • No point in talking about your new music if no one can DO anything with it, right? Set a release date at least a calendar month in progress and use that time to generate energy for your song !You can do this FOR FREE via Show.co, CD Baby’s marketing platform. here ’ s how to create a Spotify pre-save campaign.

8. Get your guaranteed Release Radar playlist placements!

Submit the song for Spotify playlist circumstance .
arsenic farseeing as you follow the guidelines as they ’ re listed in the article linked above, your single will ALSO get guaranteed placement in ALL your Spotify followers ’ Release Radar playlists .

9. PROMOTE your single, ahead of time AND after it’s released

Okay. nowadays for promotion. There ’ sulfur a bunch to discuss here .

The key to promoting your newest single

Set a timeline and be patient

Yes, contribution of the benefit of singles is that they ’ rhenium low blackmail and you can drop them quickly. But wear ’ thyroxine be in TOO much of a rush. design ahead. Do it right. You won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be able to launch this birdcall again .
Depending on the telescope of your campaign, you might even need 1-3 months of preparation .
Here are just some of the things you could do to promote your single, if you have enough time:

Don’t promote until your fans can take action

There’s no point in sharing a picture of your cover artwork a month before the single is available if no one can click to access, save, buy, or share the tune. Before you go crazy trying to create prediction, set up your pre-saves or pre-orders ! Get the connect, then share that connection when you post updates about the release ahead of its drop date .

Find the hook and make everything swirl around it

It takes a distribute to get us to pay attention on-line, so repeat message is crucial. And as you ’ re blasting us with newsworthiness about your latest single, your message will be amplified when there ’ s a bait beyond just “ fresh song coming soon. ”
What’s the story? The hook? The thing that makes people say “I GOTTA CHECK THIS OUT!?” If you have that, the rest of your promotion will fall into place.
For my song “ Irretrievable Beauty ” ( which was released a few years ago, but the point still holds ) there was a loose connection between the lyrics and Climate Change. I found a Public Domain prototype of an crisphead lettuce that intrigued me, and I decided that persona would stand at the core of all my marketing for the song .
How to release a single
It would become the cover artwork, the backdrop of my lyric television, and an crucial element in more than a twelve Instagram posts. The visualize was one of the beginning instances of supernatural photography, purporting to capture an iceberg in 1905 where a crystalline Virgin Mary rose from the water .
The mystery of that visualize and how it was doctored to propel a hoax all seemed to speak to the song deed “ Irretrievable Beauty, ” as did the very nature of both icebergs and photography. so, … there was the kernel of my marketing. From there it was good a matter of expressing it in soundbites .

Find different ways to repeat the message

You ’ ve got your hook ; immediately how are you going to cast it into the lapp waters over and over again without the pisces getting bored of that same bobsled lure ?
Switch the tone. You can communicate through:

  • hints and teases
  • direct requests ( “ Please listen on Spotify ” )
  • images
  • videos
  • facts and backstory about the birdcall
  • and more

The first thing I did was set up my Spotify pre-save campaign. once I had the liaison, I started to slowly tease the cover artwork by splitting it up into nine smaller images for Instagram. When a viewer looked at my profile at the end of the week, all nine of the smaller images formed a grid revealing the full artwork. every time I posted I would share the pre-save link .
Splitting pictures to create Instagram grids
I then shifted to a more direct approach for the pre-save campaign, but with a focus on an aroused appeal…
The pre-save campaign for "Irretrievable Beauty"
once the song was released I put out a lyric video ( on YouTube and Facebook ) with tons of bury text — pose as a letter from the 22nd-Century — referring back to the origins of the photograph :
I then placed it inside a Show.co video feature page to drive conversions outside of YouTube :
Feature your video and drive conversions with Show.co
I besides repeated that little hook “ In 1905, the people saw something sol cryptic you might say that it about wasn ’ triiodothyronine there… ” in a count of ways throughout the campaign : emails, tweets, etc .
then I did the obvious things, like adding a Spotify player to my web site announcement barroom about the sung .

The next thing I did was to take a bunch of phrases from the letter fortune of the lyric television and home them over the cover art for more Instagram posts .
last, I posted the complete text of the letter on Facebook .
In addition to changing up the tone of the message, it ’ south important to remember that you have many channels through which to communicate : social, web site, e-mail, live shows, etc .
There ’ s besides print and on-line music media, web log premieres for your song or video, reviews, playlist placements, and more out-of-the-box options such as publicizing your music to any relevant corporations, non-profit organizations, or avocation groups that might resonate with your music or the topic of the sung .

Get all your ducks in a row before the release

again, there ’ s a fortune of options for creatively communicating the message that you have a new song out. But it always amazes me how long it takes to compose an e-mail newsletter or write a Facebook mail. I think, oh, that ’ s precisely a couple minutes, and then suddenly an hour has gone by. For that reason, you’ll want to prepare all assets well ahead of the launch date so you can focus on promotion once the song is out ( not worrying about video editing, Photoshop, copy-writing, etc. ) .
And as I mentioned above, be certain to notify your distributor, publicist, any industry contacts, licensing experts, and sol away, way in advance .
This also means you’ll need to have an easy way to share a private link to your single: SoundCloud, Bandcamp, etc.

Consider another angle to entice beyond the primary hook

The sung might be enough. The fib and hook might be enough. But there could be some casual fans who won’t make the leap and check out your song unless there’s some additional benefit (like a prize, a free t-shirt, etc.).
When I ran my Spotify pre-save political campaign, I made it a contest excessively. I would choose two winners at random from the number of people who pre-saved the song and send them a jersey. In accession to sending this out through the usual means, I besides ran a Facebook ad to a targeted group of people who like alike artists as me .
think of what supernumerary might make person push the save, buy, or play clitoris .

Be ready to do the grunt work

We dream of easy solutions — the service that will handle everything for you, the pipe dream coach who will do all the employment, the industry touch who holds the keys to your success — but there’s often no substitute for digging in, doing research, writing a trillion emails, bracing for rejection, and building upon the small relative percentage of wins we get.
This applies when you ’ re doing your own PR, radio promotion, or launching singles. It ’ second work. Staying up until 3am to promote a single might not be why you got into music, but it ’ s work that will lead some listeners TO your music — which IS the reason you got into this crazy game in the first place .

Should you release the track or the video first?

This is a park interrogate about promoting singles, and I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate think there ’ s a right suffice. But I lean towards saying you should put the song out first, and THEN put out the video afterwards .
If person watches the video recording, they ’ ve consumed the visuals AND the music at once. There ’ sulfur less of a need to go and stream or download the cut .
But if the song comes out first, they ’ ll listen, and inactive be interested to see the video when it ’ south launched .
And remember, with CD Baby, your single will be available as an art track on YouTube.
Video, of course, is one of the most sharable forms of on-line subject, so if both the sung and television are great, it might make sense to release them both simultaneously IF you can get a noteworthy web log to premiere the video recording for you ( meaning you give them a limited-time single to debut the video on their site ), though premieres have gotten harder to come by as the number of relevant blogs shrinks every year .
Be surely to upload the video recording directly to Facebook excessively ( once the exclusive blog premiere is over ), since Facebook favors video that is native to the chopine. You can run that video recording as an ad on Facebook to generate interest in your music .

Should you worry about radio promotion?

Effective radio promotion can be pretty expensive, and your average DJ is going to be more interested in an ALBUM release, but if the song is right and the promoter has a record of success, it might be worth the cost.
When you release a radio unmarried ( think “ hit song ” normally between 2.5 — 4 minutes long ), the theme is to create sustain exposure over a unretentive period of time. That ’ s what it takes to get a critical bulk of people to take notice : repeated listens in multiple markets. even if it ’ s a great song, it ’ s not gon na go anywhere if it doesn ’ thyroxine drive sustained plays .
Don ’ t have the budget for a radio promoter ? You can inactive make a dent going the DIY road to residential district and college radio receiver, ampere well as locally focused shows on boastfully stations .
Is the radio route placid feeling like a organ pipe dream ? If therefore, centralize on getting your single added to as many Spotify playlists as possible. The biggest indicator of a song ’ mho achiever on Spotify is the number of times it ’ south been added to playlists on the platform. In some cases, a song placement on a prominent Spotify playlist can net you more listeners than a whole radio promotion campaign.

10. Use singles in CONJUNCTION with an album release

here are three ways to use a single DURING the procedure of releasing an album :

Release your single as the pre-add on Apple Music

Did you know you can run a pre-add for a month before your album comes out? so think about what song will be most alluring. The playlist-friendly single ? A deeper cut ?

Release a bonus track with your full album

Whether you offer bonus tracks digitally, or exclusively on CD and vinyl, this gives you a great chance to feature some extra content and drive sales and streaming activity. Live track ? Alternate shuffle ? Demo ? An unreleased chase ? acoustic version of a favorite birdcall from your previous album ? The bonus track will appeal to fans who want to collect the whole catalogue .

Release a new song on a compilation

If the song merely comes out on a compilation, I suppose it ’ s not technically a individual — BUT it might be a smart way to put a new track to work for you. You ’ ll profit from the song being featured alongside tunes by a bunch of other artists, and you can always use it again later on your own album .
That ’ s a fortune of information about plan, publish, and promoting singles. But there ’ s plenty more to try ! If you ’ ve had luck promoting a individual in an interest room, I ’ five hundred love to hear about it. Please gloss below .
Distribute a single cosmopolitan