Fans have been pre-ordering new releases since the beginning of the music industry. Once we get wind of an album/box set/whatever that we know what we want, it’s great to be able to place your order early, knowing that when the release date comes around you’ll have the product shipped to you. Very convenient.
But what about in the era of streaming? You know that new music from your favourite artist will hit the streaming services on a specific date. How can you be sure you’ll remember that it’s available? The answer seems to be “pre-saving,” which is basically the streaming equivalent of pre-ordering an album. You indicate that you want an upcoming album automatically saved to a playlist/folder when it hits the service.
Labels and bands are increasingly loving this idea. They look at pre-saving as a way to encourage fans to save singles and to start their playlist for a particular album early. People are already “collecting” Spotify streams/playlists in the way we used to with iTunes and with CDs and vinyl before that. This just takes things to the next (virtual) level. This also gives labels a chance to start marketing a record/box set earlier, thereby helping to cut through all the noise generated by other releases and distractions.
So far, Spotify is the king of pre-saves, but the company still doesn’t offer the option of such a thing. This has to come entirely from the label side, although reports say Spotify is open to the idea of creating some kind of opt-in method fans can use. Until such time, labels are using third-party apps like Metablocks, which offers a variety of pre-save-for-Spotify opportunities.
Does this work? So far, yes. Nothing But Thieves gained 9,000 new followers on Spotify thanks to a pre-save campaign. This is far better than the bump they would have received simply by being added to a new release playlist. Pre-saves also allow Spotify and the label to collect some valuable user data. Hey, if someone is willing to pre-save an upcoming release, that must be a serious fan of the artist. Time to super-serve that person–or at least get into their data to see what makes them tick.
Pre-saves also make good marketing sense. You hook someone in early, nurture them through the release of the album and then work to keep them engaged in the months after.
My prediction? Watch for pre-saves to become as popular as pre-orders in the not-too-distant future.