Music Industry Trends: Pre-Release Streaming

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A marketing strategy that was considered risky in the past is now becoming a fast growing trend in the music industry. If we go back about 5-10 years ago whispering a pre-release stream of an album made any record label executive cringe on the fact alone that it had not been done before and even worse, they weren’t sure if it would help or hurt record sales. Well that paradigm has been changing rapidly over the last couple of years. With U.S digital music sales now outnumbering physical sales, record are embracing full streaming of full albums before they release. They know people will listen, and in turn will of course purchase the album or singles off the album.
Sales 2006 2012 music CD downloads online streaming

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Take a look at Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’ marketing campaign for example. Their campaign has been extensive, lengthy, and very strategic.

Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’ music album download marketing strategy

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One of the tactics they used was doing a pre-release streaming strategy. According to sales figures their marketing efforts have been extremely successful with their album on its way to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and are expected to sell 300,000 copies of their album.

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Here’s what some Industry insiders had to say about the strategy. Jason Feinberg, VP of digital strategy at Epitaph, says “we stream every single record before street date, and we’re certain this has a positive sales and marketing effect”, “We often see a two-times to five-times bump in pre-orders during these campaigns.” That says a lot. The most used outlet for pre-releases has been iTunes, Youtube, Spotify and now even Pandora is jumping on the bandwagon. Senior VP of analytics at Nielsen says, “That space on iTunes’ front page is very valuable.” Artists who partake in pre-release streaming “get a good amount of exposure. It does draw consumers.”
So if you’re on the brink of releasing an album, you should definitely consider this tactic in your marketing campaign. It will surely make a difference on the number of units sold.
{Alex Pham (2013). Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’: Strong Numbers Show Pre-Release Streaming Just Might Help Sales. [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed May 28, 2013].}
Brandon Rodriguez
Sound Engineer

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