By Anthony Pacheco, Sr. Marketing Analyst, Disruptor Records
Teasing music on TikTok is a staple in music marketing plans these days. For the music fan, it provides an inside look at what artists are working on. For the artist, it allows the ability to gauge public interest and engage with fans around an upcoming record.
This pre-save marketing phase seems simple on paper: tease a song on TikTok through various forms of content, get as many views as possible, and hope to go viral.
The conversion goal
However, there is one missing component to every pre-save strategy: conversion. Any marketing plan that does not have a conversion goal in mind is not going to be effective in building long-term fans.
Disruptor Records understands that conversions from marketing efforts are crucial to breaking an artist.
Historically, artists signed to major labels and indie distributors were not capable of generating pre-saves on unfinished music like they are able to now with Feature.fm. Artists needed to have a song mastered and distributed with a set release date in order to start collecting data.
In the new phase of the music industry, because TikTok allows artists to build demand by teasing music on the platform, musicians and their teams have to get pre-saves up immediately when a song snippet starts to react.
In October 2021, Emmy Meli posted a TikTok teasing a live version of her record, I AM WOMAN.
The video (with 34 million views to date) started gaining millions of views per day, as well as user generated content around the sound. User generated content (UGC) is content created by fans using the sound of an artist.
The Evergreen Pre-Save
After using Feature.fm for quite some time, we noticed their pre-save links could be generated without an ISRC. There was no need to distribute a track. This meant that we could set the release date to a date in the future, leave the ISRC blank, and then come back to set the correct release date and plug in the ISRC.
Essentially, it is a detonator; we set the date and time of when we want the bomb to explode (the pre-saves to kick) and can make it more powerful in the meantime (by collecting as many pre-saves and Spotify followers in the meantime).
With Feature.fm, we resolved the traditional distribution problem; you no longer need to distribute a song in order to generate a pre-save link. We discovered and began to use what is now called the Evergreen Pre-Save strategy.
Sam Lockhart, A&R at Disruptor Records, says on the process “Like the rest of the industry, TikTok is a focal point for the label's new music discovery and community building. During the early rise of the platform, we waited for music to react before deciding to capture that audience. With how quickly content can gain traction, we soon realized that during the time it took us to distribute a record and generate a pre-release link, we were missing out on valuable fan interactions."
Capitalizing on viral moments
The biggest problem was solved in that we were able to capitalize on the TikTok traffic our artists were gaining. This meant that while the UGC was building and her page was generating millions of visitors per day, we were converting fans of the track via the pre-save.
The result was an explosion of support on release day, 125 million streams in four months, as well as, chart placement on Billboard Hot 100, Spotify Global 200 and Mediabase Top 40.