By Chris Mooney
TuneCore Artist Promotions
Looking at the iTunes store, most artists think, “I want my album to be featured there.” Here’s some good news: all TuneCore releases distributed to iTunes can be considered for this placement. Albums spotlighted on iTunes are there based on editorial decisions made by iTunes—these are not paid placements.
For example, TuneCore artist Chris Wallace had a banner placement on iTunes’ Pop page and his album Push Rewind was featured alongside major label acts No Doubt, One Direction, Owl City (TuneCore alumnus) and Alicia Keys on the ‘New and Noteworthy’ slider.
How do you increase your chance of getting featured on iTunes? Here are seven tips that should help. (Friendly reminder: it’s completely up to iTunes staff to decide what gets featured.)
1. Plan Ahead
Lead-time is a key element in feature consideration. The iTunes store is a planned out effort, not put together last minute. In general, featured releases are picked with at least three weeks lead-time. It’s a good idea, when possible, to select a release date three weeks from the time you hit ‘distribute’ in your TuneCore account, to give iTunes (and other stores) enough time to consider your music.
2. Pre-Orders build momentum!
iTunes album, single and EP pre-orders—when setup two to three weeks ahead—are available for sale in advance of your official release date. Pre-order sales count towards your iTunes chart position both during the pre-order period, as well as on your release date. So driving fans to purchase your pre-order can help you rise on iTunes charts and start a buzz. Learn more about the benefits of pre-orders.
3. Albums good, Singles not as much
Singles are a great way to gain popularity and set up your album; they can also help you establish a sales history to include in feature submissions. The fact is, though, if you look through iTunes and other stores, you’ll notice that there are a lot more placement opportunities for albums than singles. iTunes has specific sections for singles only on their R&B, Hip Hop, Reggae, Dance and Electronic genre pages.
4. Spell-check, please!
Creative spelling is okay, BUT we often see releases with typos and misspellings. Editors will notice this, so make sure to proofread your release before distribution.
5. Who’s on first?
Unless you can get a bunch of really well known artists to guest on your songs, it doesn’t look professional when you have a looooooong list of featured artists.
6. Prepare to be asked
Beyond the music, there are some important facts and figures stores consider:
- How much have your other releases sold? Especially your most recent releases…
- How many potential fans can you reach and direct to purchase your new release on iTunes? In other words, how many people like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, are on your email list, etc.
- Do you have a press and/or marketing plan in place with commitments? For example: Do you have a major magazine feature commitment? Do you have ad dollars allotted to the release?
- Will there be TV or film sync placements of your music at the time of release?
- What are your realistic expectations of overall first week digital sales for your new release?
7. How low will you go?
Although sale pricing is not required for features, it is one additional factor that can increase your chance of securing a store placement. You can contact TuneCore’s artist support team for price adjustments.
Though I’ve focused on iTunes, these tips apply across all stores. Again, editors make the decisions on what is featured, but if you can follow our recommendations you’ll have a better shot at getting some form of placement. Check out past digital store features of TuneCore Artists.
Due to the volume of submissions, we will not be able to respond to your requests, but we will do our best to submit all qualifying releases. iTunes and other stores do not send us notifications about the releases they select for features, so we suggest you review the various pages of iTunes on release week to see if your release was selected.
Want to submit your release for consideration? Take me to the submission form.