When it’s time to finally release your latest masterpiece, you have to be ready for whatever comes your way. The best way to ensure your release’s success is to plan for everything and do it way in advance. Let’s break it down…
Best Practices for Maximum Release Potential as a Symphonic Client
How Our Process Works
Before we dive in, I’d like to preface how the release process works as a whole. Once you initially submit your release, it will be queued for packing to prepare it for delivery to partners. As soon as the release has completed packing, we review the content in the order that it was submitted. Our team approves releases daily, Monday through Friday. Each release is carefully reviewed, inspected, and screened to ensure that it meets distribution guidelines to the partners that we deliver to.
Release approvals typically take 5 business days, not including holidays or weekends. Once it’s approved, you receive a system email notifying you of this, and from there, your release should be delivered and processed on all partners in 1-10 days.
That being said, we recommend that all record labels and artists deliver their releases with 4-6 weeks of lead time. This is because some retailers or streaming providers may have server related issues or problems that we cannot control that may impact your release date. Also, in the case of Apple, they typically require a product to be delivered at least 10 full business days (not including weekends and holidays) prior to the release date, and often your product may not show live until 10 full business days (not including weekends and holidays) has passed.
- Note: If your release was submitted with 10 full business days (not including weekends and holidays) and it is still not live, please feel free to create a request, and we’ll inspect the matter.
Lastly, the most important reason you need to send in a release 4-6 weeks in advance is to ensure that your product can be recognized and marketed by the retailer. Feature and playlist placements are extremely competitive. Symphonic works hard to pitch your releases to our DSPs, and many partners receive thousands of feature requests daily.
Selecting a Release Date
Before you select a release date, make sure you have a clear idea of when you will have your mastered audio and track or album art in hand. Unexpected things may come up in the production process, and you want to give yourself ample time to set everything up properly and on time.
While we recommend staying on cycle and releasing on Fridays, we understand that you may have a strong, marketing-driven reason to release off-cycle (premiere partner, event anniversary, promised social support, etc). Weigh the value of the driver and consider if it is likely to increase your chances of placement.
The required lead time is no less than 4 weeks. 6 weeks is ideal for the delivery of release AND marketing drivers.
This timeframe gives your distributor time to ingest and approve releases, DSPs time to receive them, and playlist editors time to receive pitches and marinate with a release before deciding whether or not to feature or place it on playlists.
6 Weeks Before Release Date
- Fully submit your release via the SymphonicMS.
- Submit Marketing Drivers via the “Market” menu item.
- Secure venue for listening event or release show and promote.
4 Weeks Before Release Date
- Re-skin all digital surfaces to match the imagery and title of your release. (including sharing the pre-save/pre-sale link in bios, posts and CRM.)
- Pitch your release in Spotify For Artists platform to promote algorithmic playlist potential.
3 Weeks Before Release Date
- Secure media partner to premiere release.
- Enlist influencers, friends, family, fans, colleagues to share.
- Update the marketing drivers form with any new ‘spotlights’ that you have lined up.
2 Weeks Before Release Date
- Initiate pre-save/pre-sale campaign — Please create a Help Request to obtain partner release links.
- Continue sharing.
📚 Explore some more…
- 6 Things To Do When You Sign Up For Music Distribution with Symphonic
- How To Determine Your Marketing Budget
- SMS Text Marketing Services for Independent Musicians
Week of Release
- Premiere the release on your media partner’s site or radio station, Youtube channel, etc.
- Throw your listening party, release show, etc.
- Share across ALL socials + CRM – don’t be shy about CTA fans to stream / DL.
- Share any DSP pickup and other support, be sure to tag and thank anyone who has supported / featured the release.
- Repost fan shares.
What happens next? The grind doesn’t stop there. Here’s what to do now…
- Repeat everything from the release date.
- Run CTA/UGC campaigns with an incentive for fans.
- Promote it on socials.
Social media offers an easy and effective method for promoting your latest track. To do so, start by creating a strategy tailored to your goals and target audience. Next, you can engage with your followers by posting your song in Reels, Stories, TikTok’s, and wherever else your fans frequent. You can also collaborate with fellow artists to expand your reach even further. Remember to utilize relevant hashtags, create visually appealing content, and consider running targeted ads for wider exposure. Lastly, always encourage user-generated content from your fans! Ask them to tag you in their own posts featuring your song, and get permission to re-post it on your own profile.
If social media isn’t your strong suit, check out these posts to guide the way…
- How To Use TikTok To Promote Your Music
- How To Use Spotify Promo Cards
- Easy Instagram Reels Ideas for Independent Musicians
- How TikTok Views Can Improve Your Spotify Streams
🪄 Let’s Talk About Marketing Drivers. ✨
The most essential tool in helping Symphonic pitch your release to our DSP partners are Marketing Drivers. Our client marketing team works closely with all major DSPs to submit your tracks for playlist considerations. It’s never been easier to send your marketing details so we can craft the best possible pitch. The marketing drivers form is now in SymphonicMS to streamline data entry so we can promote your upcoming release, and you can get back to making music.
The more details that you can provide, the better chance you’ve got at getting noticed and featured. We’ve listed out a few examples of attractive spotlights below:
- Music videos
- Social media follower and engagement
- Third-party Spotify playlists
- Previous DSP playlist placement and features
- Advertising to be run for this release
- Premieres on media outlets and general press pick-ups
- Radio campaigns or plays from direct DJ relationships and other DJ support
- Tour dates and other POI – “shared stages with,” notable festival appearances, etc.
- Charting, ie. Hype Machine, iTunes, Billboard, etc.
- Brand and media partnerships
- Other marketing campaigns – wildposting, print, etc.
- Pre-save and pre-sale campaign data (iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, etc.)
- Sync and other licensing information
- Other artist development POIs – management, booking agent, TV/film appearances, etc.
Note: Be sure to send marketing driver updates regularly to your CM. Also notify CM of submission to MS, etc.
- It is essential that you and your team promote the release.
- Please make use of our tools, pre-save links, etc.
Marketing Campaign Inspo
Here are some suggestions for promoting your release. Take a look, and think about which ideas make the most sense for your release. Get creative and customize them to your specific brand and audience.
- Pre-save/Pre-sale campaign
- Countdown to release on socials
- CTA to fans on socials – directly asking them to pre-save, DL, view, etc.
- Offer incentives to fans – Instant Grats, merch packs, exclusive tracks, autographed items, VIP meet and greets
- Invite other artists, friends, influencers to share the release on their socials and do the same for them
- Create artists playlists on Spotify and encourage fans to follow.
- Place the new releases atop these playlists to alert your followers
- Partner with other distributors: Noisetrade, VNYL, etc.
- CRM – collect emails and send out newsletters via Mailchimp etc. inviting fans to pre-save, download, view etc.
- Be sure all DSP and social profiles are up to date, verified where possible, and consistent
- Update all tour dates and enable direct messaging on Bandsintown
- Set up targeted digital advertising campaigns on social platforms and/or boost posts that include the pre-save/stream link
- Consider expanding digital real estate – join and utilize TikTok, Triller, Snapchat, etc.
To wrap things up…
Being prepared for everything and anything will alleviate a lot of stress from you and your team. The more prepared you are, the better your release will do. If you want to be the best, you have to think like the best. In the meantime, be proud of all your hard work! Keep going, be consistent, and believe in your talents as an artist.
Keep in mind: You may fill out a marketing drivers form and not receive feedback. This does not mean we haven’t received or reviewed your submission. We receive several playlisting submission requests daily and may not be able to provide updates to all submissions. If we land any pitches for you, we will communicate this with you ASAP.
- If you need additional support, please submit a request here.
What happens now? Check out, “What To Do After Making Your Music Available Online” to find out. 👀