Digital Dialogue is an interview/guest blog series presented by Byta, and written by friends of Byta. Exploring niche, behind-the-scenes topics within the digital realm of the music ecosystem, Digital Dialogue presents readers with insights into challenges, successes and passion topics in the day-to-day life of those working deep in digital.
Mike Warner from Chartmetric and Work Hard Playlist Hard explains instant gratification tracks (instant grat) and streaming data tips.
Who are you? Where do you work?
I’m Mike Warner. Director of Artist, Label and DSP Relations with Chartmetric. I’m also an independent artist, speaker, author, educator and creator. I definitely wear many hats, but I love everything I do and the people I get to meet.
What are you currently listening to?
The Soul Juice Band. So much soul, so much funk! Check them out.
Give us a small insight into your daily routine…
Coffee. Emails (too many). Video calls. I do a lot of calls and work closely with Chartmetric customers, including Artists, Record Labels and Music Streaming platforms. I show them how to understand their data, find opportunities and use it as leverage to get gigs, find collaborations, identify influencers etc.
Over to you, Mike!
I would like to talk about Instant Gratification Tracks…
Instant Gratification Tracks are individual tracks that are immediately available as part of a pre-order for an album. If you purchase an album as a pre-order, you may find that some of the tracks are available immediately to download or stream before the album is available.
Artists can request to make tracks from an upcoming album available as Instant Gratification Tracks by asking their label or distributor. Currently, this can only be done for iTunes/ Apple Music, Amazon & Deezer.
Want to really give your fans an incentive to pre-order your album? You can set up to 49% of the total number of tracks as instant gratification tracks (for instance, a maximum of 5 out of a 12 tracks album).
In the above example, you can see that two tracks from the upcoming album are available to purchase and download immediately. These tracks can be purchased individually. If someone pre-orders the album, they will also get those two tracks instantly.
Additionally, when making tracks available for Instant Gratification in iTunes, they will also be available to stream in Apple Music, as pictured below.
Additionally, this makes pre-orders more valuable and drives sales numbers on release day.
Remember when pre-ordering an album from your favourite band meant visiting your local record store and leaving your name and phone number to secure a physical copy?
As the robots took over and technology advanced, people started purchasing their music digitally. This prompted the need for pre-orders to move from record stores to online. The benefit of a pre-order on iTunes, for example, was that people could pre-purchase your song, meaning that once the track was released, it would appear in the purchaser’s library. The best part for an artist is that all pre-orders are counted on day 1. All the “sales” over the weeks leading up to that release are all calculated on release day. This strategy is how many labels and artists have a “number 1 on iTunes on release day”, even though the ranking falls in the following days.
Oh, and I mentioned iTunes. Many people respond with, “iTunes is gone” when I say this. That’s not true. iTunes isn’t gone! It’s just tucked away in the settings menu in the Music App. If you updated your Mac OS and found that iTunes mysteriously disappeared, here’s where you can turn iTunes back on!
Additionally, let’s talk about collaboration…
There are many benefits to collaborating with additional artists on a song. You can achieve a different sound or simply bring on a guest vocalist. The result can be unique and potentially loved by both your audience and theirs.
The best part of this comes when releasing your music. The song will reach your audience, but it will also reach theirs. If you have 1,000 followers on Spotify and they have 1,000 followers, you have potentially doubled your audience for the track.
To make sure you reach all followers, you need to have both artists as a “main artist”. If you have one artist as “featuring”, it won’t reach their audience through the likes of Release Radar or necessarily show on their profile as one of their latest releases. In short, it may be buried further down on their artist profile. As another bonus, all main artists will have the opportunity to submit the song through Spotify for Artists.
TIP: YOU CAN CURRENTLY INCLUDE UP TO 5 ARTISTS AS A “MAIN ARTIST” BEFORE THE ARTIST NAME SWITCHES TO “VARIOUS ARTISTS”.
If all artists involved actively promote, share, and pitch the release, you have significantly increased your chances.
If you start a new project under a new alias or a collaboration, you don’t have to lose your followers. One example is Diplo and Mark Ronson. Both have huge follower counts. They started a project called Silk City (which had no followers initially). Their debut single had four main artists tagged: Silk City, Diplo, Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa. This meant that the debut single from their new project would reach all of the combined followers for the four artist profiles. With a combined follower count in the millions and guaranteed Release Radar placement if submitting more than
Seven days prior to release, this makes for a successful release, regardless of what additional support they receive.
Where should readers go to find out more? Any further reading or digital gurus to recommend?
Shameless plug. I wrote a book called Work Hard Playlist Hard, and the second edition is out now as an Audiobook, e-book and Paperback version in book stores. I poured everything I know into this book.
Finally, any pain points or frustrations in relation to streaming?
Payola. Don’t ever pay for streams, ever!