Choosing the single release strategy that’s right for your song -10 ways to release a single

Thought this was a great article by Chris Robley I received today – gets back to the “being strategic in what you do using the options available – to your advantage and marketing need”. Hope it’s of interest and remember we can help with advice in this area if needed.  So, over to Chris…….


There’s a lot more to releasing a single than just throwing it up on SoundCloud or Bandcamp. And I’m not talking about distribution — though, ya know, you should totally get your latest single onto Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon etc as fits.

Global music distribution is important, but what I’m talking about here is the strategy behind the release of your single:
How are you going to attract listeners and encourage downloads? How is the launch of this single going to enhance your relationship with your audience? How will this song help you get to the next level in your music career?

As a music marketing tool, you can do a lot of different things with a single, and there are a number of strategies you can employ for its release.
Here’s a list of options (and thanks to Jon Ostrow, from whom I borrowed some of these ideas) — and remember, you can combine some of these strategies for the same single:

  1. Release the video single

With this approach, you would premiere your song on YouTube, perhaps first as an album art track and then followed up later with an official music video (and then even later with live videos or lyric videos), and use YouTube cards to drive engagement. Be sure to link your fans via cards, annotations, or in the video description to a place where they can purchase the download.

Video, of course, is one of the most sharable forms of online content, so if both the song and video are great, releasing the music this way can be a smart move — especially if you manage to get a notable blog to premiere the video for you (meaning you give them a limited-time exclusive to debut the video on their site).

Be sure to upload the video directly to Facebook too (once the exclusive blog premiere is over), since Facebook favours video that is native to the platform when determining what to display in users’ feeds.

  1. Release the radio single

Effective radio promotion can be pretty expensive, but if the song is right and the promoter has a record of success, it might be worth the cost. When you release a radio single (think “hit song” usually between 2.5 — 4 minutes long), the idea is to create sustained exposure to the song over a short period of time. That’s what it takes to get a critical mass of people to take notice — repeated listens (even if it’s a great song).

Don’t have the budget for a radio promoter?, you can still make a dent going the DIY route and there is a range of information and people who can help here,.

  1. Release a deep cut

Radio singles are great for catching new ears, but every once in a while you need to reward your existing fans too — the folks who love you for everything you do (not just the moments with the sharpest hooks). So feel free to release what Jon Ostrow calls a “street single,” a longer or more demanding song that offers up the goods for those who pay closer attention.

  1. Release your single as the instant-gratification track on iTunes

Did you know you can run an iTunes pre-sale for a month before your album comes out? One of the features of the pre-sale on iTunes is that they allow customers to download one track right away (and then they get the full album download on the day of release). So think about what song will be most enticing. The radio single? The street single? Something else?

  1. Release a bonus track with your full album

Whether you offer bonus tracks to download customers or exclusively on CD and vinyl, this gives you a great chance to feature some extra content and drive up sales. Live track? Alternate mix? Demo? An unreleased track? Acoustic version of a favourite song from your previous album? The bonus track will appeal to fans who want to collect the whole catalogue.

  1. Release a new song on a compilation

If the song only comes out on a compilation I suppose it’s not technically a single — BUT it might be a smart way to put a new track to work for you. You’ll benefit from the song being featured alongside tunes by a bunch of other artists, and you can always use it again later on your own album.

  1. Release a FREE single

Okay, you’ve really got options here, including:
* using the single as an incentive to join your mailing list
* handing out download cards of the new single to anyone who attends your single release party
* granting a blog the premiere on your new song — and let readers of that blog download the song for free

  1. “Leak” the single

This one has its ethical issues, but as Jon Ostrow says in an article
If artists are planning on ‘leaking’ a track, time and attention needs to be paid so that it not only seems the track was actually accidentally leaked and not just released, but also so that the music gets into the right hands of influential bloggers and super fans who’s announcement of the leaked track will help is spread. But be careful, if it comes out that you were behind the leak, the inauthentic nature could leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans.

  1. Release a remix

Remixes let you breathe new life into a song whose energy might be waning, collaborate with artists who might work in another genre, and benefit from all the cross-promotion that ensues.

  1. Release a series of singles to build an album

One practice that’s become more common is for an artist to set a release schedule, for instance: putting out one new song a month for a year, and then letting fans vote on which ten tunes will comprise the next album. This is a great strategy for staying motivated, stirring fan anticipation, and giving yourself multiple chances to connect with a new audience throughout the year.


So what did you think? Of interest? Learn something new?

Areas there you need to know more about?

Remember we offer an advisory and mentoring service as part of our business offerings (and this service can be with anyone using Skype (or Facetime), email etc). Check out and contact us if we can be of help.

Cheers till next time



One comment on “Choosing the single release strategy that’s right for your song -10 ways to release a single

  1. John Newsome says:

    Such a plethora of ideas here. I want to try them all. I recommend amrap for radio distribution, a cost effective tool for radio promotion of an EP, album or single. I went this route with my song “how loved am I” and was picked up by, charting at #17. Exceeded my expectations. Love to hear thoughts on video promoting on a budget (read- not much money). I am thinking of releasing singles next with a spin on the monthly release idea. Thanks Ian. John

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