Spotify is trying out a new feature that allows users to ‘pre-save’ albums in the weeks immediately prior to their release. Its first test began with British artist Florence + The Machine, who will release her new album ‘Dance Fever’ on Republic Records on May 13th.
The option is enabled by pressing the ‘pre-save’ button on the artist’s Spotify profile, which they may also promote to followers via a direct link.
A dedicated page will feature a countdown to the release, album artwork, a tracklisting preview – with tracks playable if they’ve already been released and greyed out if they haven’t; and short videos created by the artist using Spotify’s ‘Clips’ format.
Fans who pre-saved the album will be notified when it is released that it is now available to listen to. The test is currently only available on Spotify’s iOS app, but it will soon be available on Android. Its desktop app is currently unavailable.
Florence + The Machine‘s album is the first tester, according to Spotify, but more will be released soon. The company, however, notes the feature’s experimental nature.
“Spotify is testing a new pre-release experience. We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences,” said the spokesperson. “Some of those tests end up paving the way for a broader experience and others serve only as an important learning.”
Pre-save on Spotify is nothing new: labels and artist teams have been doing this for years. Spotify is the first to provide this as an on-platform option.
Until now, such bands had to create their own websites that used Spotify’s API to connect fans’ accounts and instantly add music to their libraries and playlists as they were released.
The first time this happened was in November 2016, when Kobalt’s David Emery (now at Apple Music) and Patrick Ross created a Spotify pre-save campaign for Laura Marling‘s “Semper Femina” album (now at Music Ally).
It has subsequently become a standard component of artist marketing campaigns. Spotify is catching up to Apple Music, which introduced on-platform ‘pre-adds’ in 2018, by bringing the concept in-house.
Running their own external pre-save campaigns provides labels and artist teams extra data: for example, they can ask fans to input their email addresses to be added to mailing lists. Spotify hasn’t revealed what kind of data its new pre-save tool will provide to those teams. Email addresses are unlikely to be included, according to our expectations.
However… Podcasters who use Spotify’s show-level subscriptions feature will be able to “download a list of contact addresses for their subscribers so they can further engage with their subscriber bases and offer even more benefits,” according to a recent announcement.
Imagine if it applied the same logic to the album pre-saves feature if and when it goes beyond a test, with an optional email registration alongside the countdown clock, album artwork, and snippets on the pre-save page?
Pre-save has been a long-standing feature request from Spotify’s business partners, according to Music Ally, and their feedback will affect how the new feature grows, including how much data is shared and what they may put on the pre-save page.