These are part of Q/A we did for Music Alley’s article on Presave to Spotify funtionality. Because of client’s interest in the article and topics covered, here is the full question and answer session.
Why are these pre-save campaigns proving popular?
Pre-saves have become the streaming equivalent of “Pre-orders”. You’ll be hard pressed to find an artist or a label who doesn’t understand the value of doing a “Pre-order”. Well the same principal applies to Pre-saves! Fundamentally pre-saves make obvious marketing sense – it is better to start “collecting” your Spotify “streams and adds” sooner than later! That’s essentially what a pre-save allows you to do – it allows you to start the marketing process for generating and encouraging streams well in advance of your single, EP or album’s release.
What is Spotify’s attitude to pre-saves? Are they looking to offer this option to labels etc? Or do you still have to build your own?
Spotify’s attitude toward pre-saves has been both refreshing and pragmatic. From what we can gather (from our clients), Spotify has recommended and even encouraged pre-save campaigns. In fact, we have dozens of referrals coming directly out of Spotify, so we are very grateful for that! Unlike other companies in the (streaming) space, Spotify has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing, as well as providing the necessary APIs that allow developers like us to be successful. In our view, this approach has allowed Spotify to focus on their core business and services yet at the same time, has allowed developers like Metablocks to build compelling marketing solutions and drive campaigns around the Spotify platform.
What creative ways do you have to make the pre-save campaigns more fun, or to give them a story/incentive?
This is an excellent and important question! When pre-saves first came out, they were a novelty. We are now past the novelty stage, and it is not enough to come out with a Pre-save campaign without any marketing behind it and expect for it to work well! We have a saying here at Metablocks: “No incentive, no action. Little incentive, little action. Big incentive, big action!”. From the start, we have encouraged clients to give fans an added incentive when it comes to pre-save campaigns. Some of our most successful pre-save campaigns have featured compelling prizes or giveaways. More recently we have introduced interactive components and user generated content to peak fan’s interests and drive more pre-save activity. Additionally there are opportunities to drive aggressive sharing campaigns that we plan on implementing for clients in the near future.
What are your different goals when running these pre-save campaigns? Is it streams? Data capture?
Its all of the above! First of all its fan collection and data capture. All pre-save campaigns give fans the ability to automatically follow the artist (see Spotify marketing tips) as well as opt-in to receive email updates from the artist. We continue to stress to artist the importance of converting “streamers” to “followers”, this is an important and continuous marketing discipline – one that Spotify itself continues to encourage. We see too many artist enjoy “short term” streaming success (after they get featured on a playlist for example), but who are unable or unprepared to convert that temporary streaming phenomena into “long term” fan traction! Data capture is important but I think artists need to be more diligent in using it. Hopefully, that is something we can help them with in the future. There is a lot of data that is captured but understanding how to effectively use this data is part of a learning curve the whole music industry is going through.
Second, its about “streams” and “adds” (or getting added to users playlists). Obviously at the end of the day, that’s what its all about – streaming. So all of the other goals we discuss are hopefully driving fans to this same eventuality! Having immediate access to the new release, saving it to your library and playlist, getting notifications – of all these events, maximize streaming. With increased streaming and adds comes the increased likelihood of getting more exposure on prominent playlists – this leads to discovery, which in turn leads to streaming. It’s all about the streaming!
Third, its about the notifications! Spotify’s own notification system is pretty effective! If you follow an artist there is a very high likelihood you get some sort of notification. If you remember, our platform automatically allows fans to follow the artist. Our platform also has a built-in email-based notification of its own, but honestly, it’s rarely used because we encourage our clients to own their own marketing. The success of Release Radar and Spotify continued focus on music discovery makes all of this more important.
Could we see this spread to other platforms? (I see you have a Pre-save to Deezer link on your website, although it’s not active yet – any more info on this?)
Yes, it can and it should! As you correctly pointed out, from day one we have had support for Deezer. There has been some interest in Deezer from clients in South America and France in particular, but there has just not been enough market demand. Offering an affordable pre-save platform is actually a very expensive exercise. The only thing that allows us to do this has been the (large) scale of our operation. We have and continue to launch hundreds of campaigns but almost entirely on the Spotify platform.
Other streaming provider really need to take a page from the Spotify marketing handbook and learn how to either create demand or support a partner ecosystem. Besides Spotify and Deezer, none of the other providers have similar web-based APIs.
What was the response to the campaign? The sign up rate?
At Metablocks, we have had the privilege of running pre-save campaigns for Sony Music artists that include The Chainsmokers, Zara Larson and Depeche Mode. At the same time we have powered literally hundreds of pre-save campaigns for much smaller indie labels around the globe. You can say we have been blessed to have front row seats to the pre-save campaign rally.
As a result, we have great insight into the numbers behind these campaigns. Some campaign have enjoyed great success and others have not performed to their potential! Over time and through analysis we come to understand what works and what doesn’t. That is probably one of the biggest benefit we bring to clients – experience and insight. Many successful campaigns enjoy conversation rates as high as 80 percent (we like to see conversion rates in the 60-80 percent range but the norm for “no-incentive” pre-save campaign seems to be in the 40-60 percent range). Obviously campaigns with incentives tend to perform better than those without. We generally recommend a two to four week “runways” leading to the release.
Do you have any information on the number of people actually streaming the pre-saved tracks from the pre-save created playlists, or from their libraries after pre-saving?
Spotify has a ‘Spotify Analytics/Data API’ that it makes available to some of its label partners that provides detailed streaming information. Because individual user streaming data is anonymized and playlist details are not always available, it is only possible to approximate this sort of information. We have worked with a handful of clients who have access to this type of data to demonstrate that pre-save campaigns can significantly drive post-release streaming, but it’s not an exact science.