Note: email addresses and submission forms are strictly for our distribution clients.
We have an enormous distribution network at our fingertips and can deliver your music to the world’s biggest digital retailers and streaming platforms around the world. Something that’s equally as important is the promotion and marketing of your release, ensuring that you reach, inform and engage your audience and attract potential new consumers. On this page we have provided some key points to help you maximise your promotion and revenue.
1. Liaison with the Press – Magazines, Blogs & Music sites
Traditionally the most effective way to reach new fans and potential buyers is through the press. Magazines, blogs and music sites are the billboards of the music industry. It takes time and good research to build your own press contact list, however it’s a fantastic way of reaching wider audiences and using existing fan bases to increase overall reach. The following are examples of features which can help you achieve this –
Label and Artist Interviews, Reviews, Streaming premieres, Free Giveaways, Featured Releases, Exclusive Guest Mixes, Fan Gating, Premiers and Events.
The more press you achieve, the more you can post on your social networks to push your forthcoming releases.
Pitching for playlists is the newest and most effective way of getting your music discovered. Whilst focusing on streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music & Deezer, a single placement can present your release to millions of new listeners. At Cygnus, we submit priority content to streaming platforms every day. However, certain key playlists are generated outside of the various companies who provide this service; these are known as user curated playlists.
3. DJ and Radio Support
Getting big radio plays or DJ support can make a release immensely successful and even raise revenue through income streams such as PRS and PPL. Putting together and regularly updating your DJ and Radio contact list, whilst organising them into priority tiers will ensure that the right people get them at the right time. If you receive any big plays such as on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Kiss FM or Ministry of Sound, you should post the links via your social networks. However, you should take extra care not to spam DJs, as it can have an adverse effect.
Radio play can be vital when it comes to promoting a release, just like press. If you haven’t already built relationships radio tastemakers, a good place to start is by reaching out to them on social media. A radio premiere prior to a streaming upload can really help push a release announcement, especially on big platforms such as BBC Radio 1. Setting this up alongside a Spotify Pre-Save, which you can use to direct fans to where they can listen to the track following its release, can boost your music’s visibility. Radio plugging has always been key to larger more mainstream campaigns, however playlist placements add far more value nowadays.
4. YouTube & SoundCloud Premiers
These can be a powerful way of showcasing a forthcoming release to a bigger audience. Remember though, often these sites will ask you to waiver monetisation rights meaning revenue from the plays will often go directly to the network hosting them. A good balance to this would be to only allow a segment of a track to be uploaded and that pre-order links are included in the upload description. Essentially when the track comes out on full release you want your fans to only be able to buy or hear the full track through a monetised platform, where the revenue comes back to your label.
5. PR Companies
An established PR company can provide the full spectrum of promotion and exposure your release needs. PR campaigns can range between a few hundred pounds and thousands of pounds; however, they may double your investment in the long term. Having an expert with years of experience in building and maintaining industry contacts representing your label, release or project can raise your profile immensely. However, always do your research before handing over any cash.
Press releases are quite simply one of the most important aspects of promotion. A professionally written and effective music press release can be a true key to creating massive awareness for your project. It’s a great way to achieve music publicity for your project whether posting online or sending to significant media outlets and music journalists either on or offline, whilst providing key release and artist information for press to include.
A press release should contain:
- Cover artwork
- Release date and Catalogue Number
- A write up that can be used for news stories
- Artist and label information
- Track List
- Embedded links to streamable audio files
- Significant DJ support
- Press highlights
- Contact details
Label Marketing Manager at Juno “Press releases are an important tool for us as a store; they highlight releases and give us some background information on the label and artist. A press release is a quick and easy way for us to sort through the thousands of releases and help us decide which releases can be featured. It is good to see if the label is undertaking its own marketing around the release, newsletter campaign, and social network updates etc.”
why press releases are important!
Dave Jenkins (UKF / Mixmag / DJ Mag / RA / Red Bull Music) “I’m a hype man. I want to cover every record I hear and get inspired by. I want to shout about them from the rooftops and scream about them in your face. I wish I had 200 pairs of ears to listen to everything and four pairs of arms to type four times more features and interviews. But I don’t. And time is my biggest enemy. So I have to decide what should be covered and what I don’t have time to cover… And a professional press release that has no waffle or BS and gives me concise facts and potential angles will often help me make a decision on what to cover. Not having one may prevent support.”
Director of Out of Hand Magazine “Press releases are important to highlight the key points about the release they go alongside. Us journo’s are under huge time pressures on a daily basis, so anything that get make our life easier is likely to be appreciated and be more likely to get editorial space.
We get loads and loads of things sent to us on a daily basis and we haven’t got physical time or will to listen to everything that comes our way, hence press releases work well to give us an idea of whether something is suitable for us and our readership and worth following up or not. People taking short cuts and assuming journo’s don’t need press releases are only cheating themselves and selling themselves short – it’s like getting something from Ikea without the instructions – you can figure it out yourself given time, but it’s much quicker and easier to follow the instructions!”
Example of a 2 page press release
A press release should be considered as a live document which is added to as your campaign develops. We will send it to stores on your behalf for their consideration for store features. To submit your press release to us, follow the steps below in STORE FEATURES.
Stores will feature content to help promote releases in the form of banners, recommended listings, Top 10’s, label takeovers, newsletter placements and more. At Cygnus Music we have a FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM which we use to deliver submissions in the format most preferential to stores.
Providing you complete the form in its entirety and demonstrate an effort towards the promotion of your release, we will submit the information to stores on your behalf.
WHAT STORES ARE LOOKING FOR: The quality of data provided, size and reach of label, popularity of artist, quality of music, quality of artwork, uniqueness, well written press release, level of DJ and Radio support, amount of PR coverage, commitment to marketing, previous releases on the label, previous releases from the artist, potential to be the next ‘big thing’ and the overall hype surrounding the release.
For distribution clients only
FAQ’s Features, Banners, Reviews, Playlists.
Q: How will I know if my release will be featured? A: Some stores reach out to us with a list of featured content for the week and ask us to inform the labels. We then email clients directly. For the most part however, stores will have independent curators who decide on featured content and it’s a case of looking on the day of release to see if your release has been selected.
Q: My release or track isn’t in my forthcoming section on the Spotify app ? A: If your release is on a Various Artists album Spotify do not display this in their app pre-release. They only allow content to be submitted to playlist via their app for content where the artist name/s are featured at product level.
Q: How can I guarantee store features? A: You can’t. However you can greatly improve your chances by carrying out high profile marketing campaigns, submitting high quality content and completing submissions via the form above, by requesting a pre-order link (see how further down) and driving up pre-orders prior to release, and finally by going exclusive with a chosen store.
Q: When do Beatport features go live? A: Beatport content gets updated in US time so if you’re in the UK you’ll generally see new banners and features go live around 5pm to 5:30pm on a Monday.
A playlist is one of the most powerful tools in the music industry. The songs on a curated playlist are often grouped together for a target audience – and that means more listens if your track is selected by tastemakers. Some established playlists have hundreds of thousands of followers, opening your music up to a different fan base and if a track from your label gets selected, you can expect to see a huge boost in revenue.
Getting on to a big Playlist
- Start by putting together a list of playlists paying close attention to whether your track is appropriate for the playlist’s genre or theme.
- Follow them on Spotify/Apple Music/Deezer/YouTube as well as other streaming platforms and see if they also have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and follow them there as well.
- Leave comments, share their posts and like/favourite their content. Demonstrate to the person who programs the playlist that you’re knowledgeable about their music choices.
- Make your pitch and send a private streamable link, be sure that your pitch communicates clearly how your music can benefit the person you’re contacting and their playlist.
- Be specific from the start about why your song is perfect for the playlist. This could involve genre, theme, topic, something noteworthy in your music career or the release’s support, but you can include any combination of these factors.
- For targeting playlists that are curated by a particular streaming platform, research and find the “Artist Liaison” contacts in your region or country. Grab their contact and reach out to them, asking for suggestions on who you can send your music to, so that you can be considered for the playlist genre that best fits your music.
- As an artist, it’s also imperative that you sign up and submit your music for playlist consideration through the Spotify for Artists platform. This way, you’re able see song stats and fan insights to see what’s hitting hardest. If you’re struggling with your Artist Profile for any reason please check out Spotify’s FAQs. Spotify also have great resources for helping you to get the most out of the platform, which we’ve included links to below. (See Essential Spotify Links)
- If you make it onto a playlist, share it as much as you can across your social media platforms and do your best to develop a relationship with the curator as you’ll potentially get more music on their playlist in the future!
Most of your audience will be regularly visiting sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud and YouTube to find new music. Plan how you want to inform and engage them by posting updates about the label, releases and artists. Often the most effective forms of engagement come in the few weeks preceding the release, as posting too much too early can water down the impact of your campaign due to the volume of data people are posting and receiving daily.
There are a variety of ways in which you can begin to build your social presence, including inviting people on your personal Facebook account to like your artist page, creating Twitter lists for music blogs, PR companies, other DJs and record labels (they’ll get notifications to say you’ve added them) and pinning your key posts at the top of your profile. It’s also important to limit your posts and make sure they’re engaging, meaning your audience will feel more connected to you as an artist. With Facebook in particular, less is more, so concentrate on only posting content that’ll get the best interaction from your audience, especially when it relates to your releases.
Regarding Twitter it’s imperative to interact with other users to gain followers. It’s important to ensure that you mention or follow each brand you interact with on Twitter with the tag ‘@’ feature, whilst utilising popular hashtags relevantly, enabling you to appear within Twitter’s primary search function. But be careful, as following too many profiles will mean you clog up your Twitter newsfeed and you may miss important industry news.
Instagram is just as important for many labels, DJs and producers – their stories function is a great way to keep fans involved with your brand and gives a daily insight into their day to day proceedings. Like Facebook, posting engaging content is vital in building a follower base. Similarly, much like Twitter, tagging other individuals, following other profiles and utilising hashtags will also build your audience.Take advantage of cross posting content by linking Instagram and Facebook to maximise engagement.
Spotify Pre-Save sent 1 week before release date
How it works
Links are emailed out to clients 1 week before the release date, or if exclusive with a store, 1 week before the store exclusive date. Clients are sent a URL link to a page which initially allows fans and followers to ‘Pre-Save’ the forthcoming release on Spotify. The page will also display a store link for any stores with pre-orders or a coming soon status. Once the Pre-Save is clicked on by a person :
- The release will appear in the users ‘Albums’ in ‘Your Library’ on the day of full release.
- The release becomes liked by the person.
- The person who Pre-Saved the release now automatically follows the artist.
- The artist gains an additional follower for every new Pre-Save!
Once the release is available worldwide the Smart-Link will automatically switch to buy and streaming links to key stores such as iTunes, Apple Music, Beatport, JunoDownload, Amazon, Spotify and Deezer.
A walk-through this process can be found below.
1. Spotify Pre-Save
2. Pre-Save pending
3. Worldwide Release Day
5. The Artist Has A New Follower!
Q: What is a Smart-Link? A: Our SmartLinks are unique 1-page URL’s which display a list of stores and streaming sites that link directly to your release. This page displays the release information and artwork and can be posted on websites or social networks providing convenient link to promote your release.
Q: What is a Pre-Save? A: Our Spotify Pre-Save allows your fans to connect on Spotify and automatically add an upcoming album or single to their Spotify library when it is released. Once a Pre-Save is activated the user will automatically follow the artist.
Q: A key store is missing from my link? A: All key store links should be updated by 11am UK time, Beatport 5pm. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Q: Beatport doesn’t display on release day? A: Beatport is a U.S store and releases generally go live around 5pm UK time. The SmartLink should update automatically an hour or so later.
Q: Why aren’t artists in ‘Various Artists’ releases followed? A: Releases with more than 3 seperate artists automatically change to ‘Various Artists’ on Spotify (and most major DSPs). Pre-Save artist tracking is designed to find and match artists at product level not track level. This ensures that high quality data is fed back into Spotify’s algorithm. Various Artist releases display on the ‘Appears On’ section not ‘Albums’ and ‘Singles and EP’.
Q: Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? A: Get in touch, we are happy to help.
Q: I haven’t received a link for my release. A: If you haven’t received your link 6 days before your release date, please first check your junk folder and then email [email protected] and we will resend it ASAP.
Your Pre-Save and SmartLink will be sent to the email address that your label account is registered to with us.
To change this to a different email address, login, go to the top right corner, hover over your username, click on ‘Account Settings’ and change it there.
Q: I need my link sooner. A: Once you have submitted your release to us via the label management system and had your release confirmed by email, we will start making our deliveries to stores and streaming sites worldwide. This is generally done around 3-4 weeks in advance of your release date or exclusive date. Once it has been delivered to stores, we are able to generate the Pre-Save and SmartLink. Drop us an email if you need it sooner and we’ll send it over.
Q: Can you provide SmartLinks for labels who don’t distribute through Cygnus? A: SmartLinks are one of a number of exclusive services available only for our distribution clients. We plan to roll out new features in the future and continue to develop this helpful promotional tool!
Q: Can I add my own links? A: The SmartLinks are currently not editable by clients and are only generated for the stores listed in this section.
After some thing more customisable?
Whilst our Pre-Save & SmartLink system is an effective and free promotional tool, you may wish to pay for one which is customisable with background analytics and a dashboard. For these we would suggest a smart url specialist company such as as smartURL or ToneDen.
Need a URi link for Spotify Pre-Save?
Distribution clients simply need to request a URi from [email protected] to be able to initiate a campaign from a Pre-Save provider of your choosing.
- Login to Spotify for artists/label analytics to confirm your release is in ‘forthcoming’.
- Contact [email protected] and request a Spotify URi for your release making sure you list the cat number, label name and release title.
- Find a Pre-Save provider, initiate/pay for a Pre-Save campaign and add the URi we have provided.
In 2017 a report showed that Spotify officially had more UK listeners than Radio 1, demonstrating the switch in listeners discovering music from radio to online platforms. In fact, Spotify now generates more revenue for our labels than any other digital service provider and we encourage our clients to put as much focus on Spotify as possible.
While the platform is mostly artist led, it’s important that labels work with their artists to ensure they’re verified, regularly creating playlists and getting the most from the platform. Spotify is all about momentum. It’s bringing in new revenue for the music industry and it’s primarily down to this revenue recurring. With a digital download someone pays for one download and that’s the entire purchase, whereas Spotify users favourite, share and playlist the music they like which means each time it’s played a monetary contribution is made. We have many clients whose revenue is going up consistently every month because more people are discovering their music, sharing it and revisiting it, and this is very much the case for tracks that came out many years ago, where the digital downloads have already passed their purchasing peak. We’ve found that labels who start adding Spotify links to their buy link posts can increase their revenue by around 20% within the space of just six months.
A recent example is a label that was bringing in around £3.5k per quarter. We created an advice PDF on how best to pitch to prolific playlist curators on Spotify and distributed this to our client database. This label worked on the key points listed and spent time finding relevant playlists, reaching out to their curators (which isn’t always an easy task) and starting to converse with them directly. After several successful placements, the labels revenue shot up to £13k per quarter in six months. That’s an increase of 371% and the label hasn’t dropped below this since.
This example highlights how investing time into Spotify can build consistent growth and momentum for a label. DJs will continue to download tunes through stores, but you can grow a huge audience of streaming listeners out there too, so it’s worth investing your time!
Submit New Music for Playlist Consideration
Everyone, whether you’re an artist, label, manager or part of an artist’s team, can try out this feature. Simply log into your Spotify for Artists account or, if you work at a label, head over to Spotify Analytics. There, you’ll have the option of selecting one unreleased song for playlist consideration and submitting it to Spotify’s team.
It’s important to give us as much information about the track as possible — genre, mood, and other data points all help them make decisions about where it may fit. The data you share will be complemented by what Spotify already know about you — what else your fans listen to, what other playlists you’ve appeared on, etc.
Editors will be searching through submissions based on the information you share to find unreleased music to consider for their playlists. The song and all the info you add about it will also impact their personalised recommendations. For example, as long as you tag and submit your track seven days in advance, the song you select will automatically appear in every one of your followers’ Release Radar playlists. This way you have control over which single you’re promoting to your fans.
ESSENTIAL Spotify Links
More about Spotify Playlists
Some things to keep in mind
- We recommend a minimum of 4 full weeks between submission through our Cygnus Music label management system and your chosen release date. This gives plenty of time for us to deliver and for you to submit for playlist consideration. This also gives Spotify’s editors a good amount of advance time to listen and go over the information you have provided.
- If you see the status Available Soon, Spotify are still processing your release.
- Submitting a song doesn’t guarantee a playlist placement, but gives it the best chance.
- You can submit one song per artist profile at a time.
- If a song has both an explicit and clean version, both versions are submitted to our editors. Editors will choose the most appropriate for a playlist.
- You can’t submit releases with ‘Various Artists’ in the product title.
- You can’t submit if you’re a featured artist on the song.
- Spotify editors may choose to feature a different song from your release on their playlist.
- There’s no set amount of time a song will stay on the playlist – it depends how well it resonates with listeners. You can’t remove yourself from a playlist.
- High production value is one of many important factors for playlist consideration.
How will you know if a song gets on Spotify’s own curated playlist?
Spotify will send an email to let you know (Providing you are signed up to Spotify for Artists or Managers). You can also check the Playlists tab in Spotify for Artists when your release goes live, and explore detailed stats about it.
Spotify has launched Promo Cards. This is a new way for creators to develop personalised assets for use on their promotional channels & social media.
There will be 3 types of Promo Cards: visitors to the Promo Card site can create a Promo Card for an artist, track, or album.
Where can I access this? You can access Promo Cards via artists.spotify.com/promocards.
Who can access this? Artists, managers, label reps, marketers, or fans can access this site as it does not require log-in.
When it comes to releasing an album, good planning is critical. With so much energy and work often going in to production, mixdowns, mastering, artwork, promotion, videos, pitching, plugging, touring, radio, advertsing and more, it’s important that you lay out a timeline giving the project the maximum opportunity to see its full potential.
From a distribution point of view we have laid out some top tips and creative ideas to compliment what you’re planning or suggest a different way in which it can be done inline with the evolving modern music scene.
By the way, never, never rush an album…
- Name Dropping Really Works: The artist should consider featuring and collaborating with the BIGGEST artists you or they can possibly work with. Check out the potential collaborators monthly play counts on streaming services and pick off the biggest ones possible. The streaming algorithms will work on these numbers and place the album to the collaborator’s audience and more. Call in the biggest favours you can, this can multiply your downloads and streams… monumentally.
- Preparation is key: We recommend that you do not make album announcements until you have a project timeline in place, all the assets finalised, all the assets submitted, and your release date confirmed. Often these announcements will be scheduled in line with marketing efforts and aim not give away too much too soon as timing is everything.
- Project Timeline: Once you have your release date confirmed you can action your marketing plan. We would recommend that working to a 4 (or more)-month lead in time as the optimum. A 3-month lead in time is a good average, 2-months often means the project is being rushed or has lower expectations, and 1-month lead is insufficient. You will find huge benefits in coordinating all the various activities using a project timeline.
- Commit to Marketing: You should factor in a good marketing budget or have all the relevant resources in-house. If you choose to use a 3rd party for a professional marketing campaign, we would be happy to help vet them for you in advance. They should be focussing on Radio, Playlists, Interviews, Features, Announcements, Premiers and more. They should take control on the feed of information to the potential consumers of the album and provide you with instructions or advice on when and how to engage with your fans. If you can tour or do an album launch party, do it!
- Hammer out the singles! If you want to maximise the revenue, build up and promotional opportunities, the more singles the better. A single (or album sampler) is a track taken from, and included in, the forthcoming album and is released in advance of the album. For example, a 15-track album could quite easily have 7 singles in advance. We have only seen positives from lining up lots of singles. MAKE SURE you use the same ISRC code, metadata and version of the single as it will be used on the album so streaming play counts carry over. The aim is to have numerous album tracks all playlisted with high play counts on release day.
- Pre, During and Post Impact Date: The impact date is often considered as your release date. This is the time you want the most people talking about your album and the very best features going live. Just as important is the build-up period to create the hype and anticipation of the forthcoming album, along with the weeks immediately after the impact date as you can extend the hype by drip feeding additional press, artist curated pieces and interviews to ride the wave of success while the album is still hot and getting playlisted.
- Cool Suplimentary Content: Make sure the artist/s are creating DJ charts, playlists, artist videos, club reaction videos, studio videos, mixes etc. Stores will often reach out for complimentary content.
- Be mindful…Radio or Streaming? There’s a battle in place for new music discovery. Radio stations want to premier music first and as early as possible and streaming sites want listeners to discover your new music first on their platforms. Be aware that focussing too heavily on radio premiers ‘may’ work against you in the eyes of playlist curators.
- Commit to Advertising: Allocate a good advertising budget to promote the album and research how to optimise your marketing methods. This must be coordinated with the marketing campaign and project timeline.
- Set Your Sights on Spotify: It should be considered as one of your highest priorities.
Extra Marketing Tips
Ensure you have a promotional plan and marketing strategy for social media and online in place.
Send out relevant materials to DJs, press and tastemakers prior to release for exclusive features that help build the release’s momentum. Look at potentially paying for a PR or promotional service to do that for you.
Start early promoting your release with assets created by your own team. Be creative.
Streaming premieres on YouTube or Soundcloud should be saved for as close to release day as possible, so this doesn’t compete with other monetised platforms.
Either build your own email list to keep other DJs/producers or fans up to date with your releases with a sign up or pay an external company to do your DJ/Track mailouts for you. Fan email lists are great to keep your audience up to date with news in between releases (like events).
Encourage fans to interact with your social posts. Ensure they’re engaging and relevant in the lead up, as well as following its release. Video content works best!
7. Write your own professional-standard press release or pay an external company to do it for you, at least six weeks prior to release. (We can provide this via the SHOP)
8. Invest in Facebook advertising, but allow each post about the release to breathe before inputting spend.
9. Giveaways are a good way to interact with fans – guestlist to events, mixes, tracks (especially for mailout sign ups). However, this should be limited as you want quality over quantity when offering fans freebies.
10. Remember that grassroots publications are just as important as the mainstream press. It’s important not to alienate your core following, no matter how big you get.
11. You should use newsletters, blogs, tips, links, internet radio/podcasts and more to keep your core fan base up to date with not just your work, but the wider you’re involved with. Don’t just write about yourself – include other artists and labels you’re engaging with or support.
12. Up to date press shots and biographies are more important than you think. It makes you more accessible to press, so make sure you have an updated, easily downloadable version of both.
13. Why not try sending out fan newsletters via email. These are by far one of the best marketing tools and there are several free providers such as Mailchimp.
Making sure the right people get your pre-release music at the right time is essential. It’s essential you work out what timeline works best for you and your release; however we recommend the following as a guide.
- Printed Press ie: Magazines such as Clash, Mixmag, DJMag, Mojo, Q etc. Submission deadlines are generally within the region of 10-6 weeks ahead of release date.
- Leading music sites, YouTube networks, SoundCloud channels and International/National radio stations six weeks from release.
- VIP’s DJ’s & radio premiers four weeks from release.
- Tier 1 DJ’s three weeks from release.
- Specialist radio stations & Tier 2 DJ’s two weeks from release.
- Blogs, taste makers & Spotify playlists 1-2 week from release and on release day with streaming links (private links if prior to full release day).
Promo mail out companies
PROMO:LY USE DISCOUNT CODE (20%): CYGNUS
INFLYTE:USE CYGNUS DISCOUNT CODE (15%): Cygnus2020
As a Cygnus client, you’re eligible for an exclusive discount on promo mailout services from Promo.ly. Promo.ly is a music promo delivery system for artists, labels and PR agencies that allows you to privately send pre-release music to industry tastemakers at a price-point that’s accessible to everyone.
To claim your discount, use the referral code ‘Cygnus‘
As a Cygnus client, you’re eligible for an exclusive discount on promo mailout services from Inflyte.
From the major labels to over 5000 independent record labels and hundreds of international PR agencies, Inflyte is an award winning company trusted to securely deliver content for the most important brands in the music industry.
The only promo platform integrated with Pioneer DJs Rekordbox, Inflyte also provides integrations with Dropbox, Google Maps, Twitter and Amazon Alexa. Inflyte’s iOS mobile app also offers offline sync and cloud storage as standard.
To claim your discount, use the referral code ‘Cygnus2020‘
Choose from monthly subscription or flexible Pay As You Go credits, with no contract.
Keep up to speed with important industry updates by following us on our social channels.
Join us on twitter
Join us on facebook
We also post important announcements on the Label Management System ‘Latest Updates’ bulletin board.
Here’s a few key sites we often visit to see what’s happening in real time:
If you have a radio play or a premiere confirmed with taste-makers, it’s important to ensure you or your artist is registered with Shazam. When we deliver to Shazam, it ensures that whenever your track is played publicly or at an event, a listener can use Shazam to find out the track title and artist, whilst pre-order or pre-saving the release, or buying the release if it’s already out. If you have an important premier lined up it’s essential that Shazam content ID is in place, drop us an email and we will confirm this to you. We generally deliver content to DSPs including Shazam, 3 weeks in advance of your release date. If you need it to be delivered sooner than this drop us an email.
Registering as an artist is also important as it enables you to track releases and see when people are Shazaming your music the most, whether that’s because of a play on national radio, or at a music event. A verified page can also help you gain followers and it can become another platform in which to grow your audience.
You’ll see on the label management system that we offer store exclusives for Beatport, Traxsource, Spotify, Apple Music and JunoDownload and this can be selected when creating a new release. You’ll also see options for dual exclusivity. Going exclusive with a store can present several benefits, which include:
- The release retails at a higher price for the period of exclusivity.
- Sales are concentrated into one store and the release has a much better chance of charting.
- The store may give your release preference for features in return.
A pre-order link provides the opportunity for a buyer to pay for a release in advance of the release date. Customers who pre-order content will not receive the actual assets until the original release date. Pre-order links are a great way to drive sales in advance of a release and if successful, a release will shoot straight in to the charts on the day of release. If you would like a pre-order link please email [email protected], these are generally sent out 1-2 weeks before release unless requested otherwise.
JunoDownload do not offer Pre-Order links but instead present previews around 2 weeks ahead of the release date. If you do not want these previews for your label we can request that they are removed.
Upon your request, we can instruct Beatport to generate a Pre-Order link for every release on your label by a default of 1, 2 or 3 weeks in advance. Drop us an email to request this.
NOTE iTunes pre-order: iTunes now link as a default to Apple Music on mobile devices, and the release won’t be available until the actual release date. Your pre-order will work through the iTunes app on a desktop.
Boost your chances even more by engaging with the stores themselves. Check out some examples of store initiatives and resources for labels below.
TOP TIP: Tag the store in your social media posts. If they see something they like or something trending, they’ll sometimes repost your post or drop you a comment.
We submit priority content to iTunes/Apple music every day. They are looking out for releases which have been well supported, have received widespread media coverage and have had radio plays and DJ support. There are however additional things that you as a label can do to increase your odds of getting featured and that’s by doing the following:
- Go Exclusive with them for a certain time period.
- Pre-Order: When you use the iTunes store to view an item that hasn’t been released yet, the normal “Buy” button instead reads “Pre-Order.” Pushing a pre-order link, getting a good amount of pre-orders in and charting in the pre-orders charts massively contributes to feature placements on the day of release! Email [email protected] to request a pre-order link.
- Bonus Content: Sending them bonus content that can’t be found any where else, and is exclusive to them
- iTunes Instant Gratification allows your fans to buy and download specific, pre-defined tracks before the official release of your album. When someone pre-orders the entire album, they will automatically receive the Instant Gratification
Apple Music provides artists with detailed and powerful analytics and all artists should sign up and claim their artist profile. The tool allows you to:
- Keep tabs on how your music is performing.
- View a quick snapshot of your music’s overall performance.
- Expand your understanding with details of trends over time.
- Find out where listeners discover your music.
Create and share Apple Music playlists
You can create playlists with music from the Apple Music catalog or your own collection, then share your playlists with friends and fans. Or if someone sent you a playlist, you can save it.
Create a playlist
- In the Apple Music app, find a song.
- Press and hold on the song. Or if you’re on a computer, hover your pointer over the song and click the more button
- From the menu that appears, choose “Add to a Playlist.”
- Tap or click “New Playlist.”
- Give your playlist a name. And if you want, add a cover image and description. If you’re on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android device, tap Done.
- Browse or search for another song, then press and hold on it. Or on a computer, hover your pointer over the song and click the more button
- From the menu that appears, choose “Add to a Playlist,” then choose the playlist that you created.
Submit supporting evidence for an iTunes/Apple Music feature
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full so we can summarise and submit this information to iTunes/Apple on your behalf. The submission goes to their marketing and curation team who decide which releases will receive feature placements. Labels with the best promotion, reach and support take priority so make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page. If you would like to set up an exclusive, pre-order link or iTunes Instant Grat please email [email protected] at least 3 weeks in advance of your release date.
Beatport has a wide array of features on their store. The very best of what they think a buyer will want is featured as a ‘header banner’, underneath the header banner you’ll find the ‘new releases’ feature where their content team curates a selection of choice music. Beatport also features artist Top 10s and artists and labels can make one at any time; Beatport will then pick a selection of Top 10s to feature each week. The Top 10s are extremely effective at drawing in potential buyers and at Cygnus we strongly recommend one is done for every release on your label.
Pre-orders contribute immensely as a measurement tool when Beatport consider a release feature. If you’re going as a Beatport exclusive with your release, email [email protected] once your release has been submitted and request a Beatport pre-order link.
- Sign into Beatport with your account.
- After signing in, create a new chart.
- Title your chart and upload a cover image
- Add your tracks
- Publish the chart
The Beatport Hype Chart was created to showcase the best boutique labels in the world. On average, labels signed up to Beatport Hype have seen an increase of more than 70% in track sales. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity: subscribe to Hype now!
SUBMIT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR A BEATPORT FEATURE
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full so we can summarise and submit this information to Beatport on your behalf. Just like with iTunes, the submission goes to their marketing and curation team who decide which releases will receive header banners and feature placements. Labels with the best promotion, reach and support generally take priority so again make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page.
GET BEATPORT PRE-ORDERS FOR EVERY RELEASE!
If you would like a Beatport pre-order link for every release on your label, simply email [email protected] to request it. Please also specify how long in advance you would like the pre-order link to go live choosing from 3, 2 and 1 weeks in advance of the exclusive date or release date. We will then contact Beatport directly, and they will add your label to a lifelong pre-order list.
WHEN RELEASES GO LIVE ON BEATPORT
As Beatport is based in the US, stores go live US morning time which is around 5pm to 5:30pm UK time. If you ever require updates on Beatport, once they are actioned they take around 6-12 hours to kick in.
Juno has a wide variety of features on the store. Not only do they display various banners of featured content across the home page and genre pages, they also write in depth reviews on featured content. Juno Download is a firm favourite among the dance scene with many labels offering a week of exclusivity prior to full release.
SUBMIT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR A JUNODOWNLOAD FEATURE
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full much like Beatport and iTunes, so we can summarise and submit this information to JunoDownload on your behalf. The submission goes to their marketing and curation team who decide which releases will receive banners, reviews and feature placements. Like before, labels with the best promotion, reach and support generally take priority so make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page.
With over 100 million passionate music fans around the world, Spotify is a great place to grow your audience. Spotify is an artist-to-consumer based platform with little emphasis on the ‘record label’, however if you spend time developing your artists on the platform, you’ll see huge growth through fans discovering your label through its artists.
Whether you’re an artist, label, manager or part of an artist’s team, can submit forthcoming music to Spotify’s editors. Simply log into your Spotify for Artists account or, if you work at a label, head over to Spotify Analytics. There, you’ll have the option of selecting one unreleased song for playlist consideration and submitting it to our team.
SUBMIT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full so we can summarise and submit key information to Spotify curators on your behalf. Labels with the best promotion, reach and support stand out best so make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page.
SUBMIT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE TO TRAXSOURCE
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full much like Beatport, JunoDownload and iTunes, so we can summarise and submit this information to Traxsource on your behalf. The submission goes to their marketing and curation team who decide which releases will receive banners, reviews and feature placements. Like before, labels with the best promotion, reach and support generally take priority so make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page.
DEEZER is one of the world’s most popular streaming platforms and offers both Free and Paid for plans for listeners. The Free model places advertisements in between tracks when played, whereas the Paid model works on a rolling subscription and offers no advertisements, an offline mode and a number of perks!
Creating a playlist on Deezer
ACCESS artist analytics with Deezer backstage
Go behind the scenes: Discover Deezer Backstage, a platform designed to bring artists and music professionals closer to their audience. Their tool lets you analyse and understand your streams from behind the scenes.
Make the most of your music: Deezer Backstage gathers the best information on users’ streaming habits and activity in order to help you connect with your audience and understand their needs.
Boost your listening! Using data analysis and metadata curation, Deezer Backstage assists in optimising your content to boost your stream count.
Curate your artist profiles: Deezer even offer a complete space for you to update all your latest artist credentials. From highlighting specific content to biographies, photos and social network links, your fans will never be without the latest news again!
How to use Deezer
SUBMIT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR DEEZER PLAYLISTS
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full so we can summarise and submit key information to DEEZER curators on your behalf. Labels with the best promotion, reach and support stand out best so make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page.
Amazon Music (previously Amazon MP3) is a music streaming platform and online music store operated by Amazon.
Amazon Music Unlimited offers on-demand access to 50 million songs, all ad-free. This premium service includes offline listening with unlimited skips, popular new releases, and an even wider variety of hand-curated playlists and stations.
Prime Music offers more than 2 million hand-curated songs are instantly available as part of a Prime membership at no additional cost, including thousands of stations and top playlists.
Amazon Music Free offers an ad-supported tier of 2 million songs, providing free streaming to anyone using the Amazon Music app on iOS, Android, Fire TV and Amazon Music on the web in the US, UK, and Germany. This is effectively the same catalog that comes with Prime, only it includes advertising and doesn’t require a membership.
ACCESS artist analytics with Amazon Music for Artists
Amazon Music for Artists is available as both an app for iOS and Android and a companion website at artists.amazonmusic.com. The app gives both top level and granular insights. For example, you can see a song’s total listening stats or look at its performance over the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, the website gives more nuanced information about how to use the app, interpret data, suggestions for better discovery by fans, and more.
- Dig into Stats: All the reports you need, all in one place.
Stay high level or dive deep.
- Know Your Audience: Discover a world of fans. Find out where your biggest listeners are with location insights.
- You & Alexa: Learn how you trend on Alexa through voice reporting with their Daily Voice Index. Keep your fans asking.
Amazon’s app gives insights on how an artist is trending on Alexa. Not only does the app display an artist’s total number of voice requests, it shows details about the various ways people request songs, such as by artist, album, song, or lyrics.
SUBMIT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR AMAZON MUSIC
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full so we can summarise and submit key information to AMAZON’s curators on your behalf. Labels with the best promotion, reach and support stand out best so make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page.
Moodagent is a music streaming service that specialises in interactive playlists and personalised music recommendations. The Moodagent brand is developed and owned by the Danish company Moodagent A/S, which has proprietary methods for recognising emotional and musical characteristics of individual tracks. Moodagent is redefining what it means to discover, listen to and share music.
• AI understands all the music, all the moods and emotions
• Moods make music more personal
• Recommends the right track at the right time
• Intuitive UX everyone can use
• Refine and customize listening experience
• Delightfully interactive, human voice commands
Deep & wide discovery
• Listeners get what they want
• Discover new music that fits taste and context
• Go deep and wide with your friends
• Share and discover with friends
• Explore and use their taste to find your own
• Share experiences in-app, with the music
SUBMIT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR MOODAGENT
Complete the FEATURE SUBMISSION FORM in full so we can summarise and submit key information to Moodagents curators on your behalf. Labels with the best promotion, reach and support stand out best so make sure you are following the advice for promotion on this resource page.
Instagram lets you add a soundtrack to your story that fits any moment and helps you express how you’re feeling. Instagram Stories is used by 400 million every day, and it’s a great way to feel closer to their friends and followers.
When you tap to add a sticker to a photo or video in Stories, you’ll see a music icon. Tap on it to open a library of thousands of songs — you can search for a specific song, browse by mood, genre or what’s popular and tap the play button to hear a preview. When you’ve selected your song, you can fast-forward and rewind through the track to choose the exact part that fits your story.
You can also choose a song before capturing a video. When you open the camera, swipe to the new “Music” option under the record button. Search for a song, select the exact part you want, and record a video as the song plays in the background.
Special moments are often associated with music, and your artists and their fans can choose their favourite soundtrack for the moments they share on Facebook, whether that’s the newest releases, regional hits or classic songs.
Products are available in over 60 countries and Facebook continue to work towards adding more. Facebook are thrilled to open up the ability for people to express themselves in meaningful ways through music, and give artists and their fans new ways to connect and build communities around music.
Facebook has 6 core Music Features and Products.
- Organic UGC
- IG Music Stories
- FB Music Stories
- Reels (BR only)
- Music in Profiles
- Lyrics in Stories
Q: Can I put my content on Bandcamp?
A: Yes, you are free to sell your content directly to fans if you so wish and we support any thing that contributes to the growth of your label and brand.
It is worth noting the following points
– Making content available before the worldwide release day can impact on charting positions in stores. Charting in stores is incredibly important as it creates momentum which leads to more sales and sustained growth. Some buyers only shop by what’s charting in the stores rather than sifting through all new releases.
– Making content available whilst a release is in a store exclusive period can upset the stores and can result in less features.
– Whilst it’s tough to stop content appearing on torrent sites, some individuals hunt bandcamp looking for high demand exclusive content to put on P2P platforms. Whilst an anti-piracy campaign can help prevent this, once something has been leaked on a high trafficked torrent site it can cause a lot of damage to a releases success if it is not widely accessible to buy and stream.
When a piece of music has been written and recorded it has two separate rights attached to it; The Master Copyright and the Publishing Copyright.
The Publishing Copyright is the right that covers the underlying composition and lyrics of the song. This would be owned by the composers and lyricists. Composers and publishers can sign this right to a publisher.
The Master Copyright is the right that covers the actual recording of the song. This would be owned by the artists and performers of the song. This is also the right that a record label would sign to be able to sell the music. Of course, often a label may sign music before it’s been created in which case the label would own the copyright from the start, rather than the artists.
For instance, if Band A does a cover of a Beatles song, the record label or artists would own the master copyright however the publishing rights would still be owned by the original publisher.
In today’s music industry especially in electronic and dance scenes, the artist and writer are often the same person. Also, the vocalist and lyricist may be the same person. On top of this in dance music you do not really get ‘covers’ of big songs. It is much more likely to be remixed, which is a totally different thing legally. Taking this into consideration it is hardly surprising that today’s new electronic musicians find it hard to understand this side of the industry, as it was created for an industry many decades ago, and things have changed.
So, if you are a producer that has just written a dance track that is not signed, as mentioned above you would have two rights attached to the music. Both of these rights are able to generate royalties. To ensure that you can collect these royalties correctly, let’s look at what royalties you can collect.
When music is performed publicly you would be due royalties. This would include being played on radio, TV or played in a pub or club. Venues as well as TV and Radio stations all pay a license fee for them to be able to use music. Those license fees are then split down between all the writers that have had their works publicly performed.
The nonprofit organisation the handles these rights and collect the license fees and pay writers are called Performing Rights Organisations (PRO’s). Here in the UK that organisation is the Performing Rights Society (PRS for music). You can sign up with PRS as a writer for £100 inc VAT.
Also when music is sold, whether that’s through a CD, on vinyl, via a download or through streaming, royalties of 8.5% of the sale price are deducted. These are called mechanicals. This is then paid to the another nonprofit organisation called Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS). This was traditionally paid by the label for physical products such as CDs and vinyl, however these days with digital formats such as streaming and downloads it is the responsibility of the Digital Service Providers (DSPs) such as Spotify and Beatport to pay this directly to MCPS. You can sign up with MCPS as a writer for £100 inc VAT.
When commercially released music is performed publicly you would be due royalties. This would include being played on radio, TV or played at a pub or club. Venues, TV & Radio stations all pay a license fee for them to be able to use music. The royalties that are generated are automatically split 50% for the label and 50% for the artists and performers. These royalties can often be referred to as Neighbouring Rights.
In the UK, the nonprofit organisation the handles these rights and collect the license fees and pay artists, performers and labels are called PPL. You can sign up as either an artist or label with PPL for free.
When signing up as a label, they will also be issued an ISRC registration code. This will enable labels to create their own ISRC’s which they will need to register with PPL. An ISRC is a unique identifier for music and music videos. As well as being used as unique identifier for things such as accurate royalty calculations and payments, it is also used by the UK charts to help track chart placement.