So… you are getting ready to release new music. As a musician, your goal is to get as many people to listen and purchase or save your release. More and more people musicians are taking advantage of the pre-save capabilities distributors offer. It is proving to increase streams and downloads when fans are able to save the music ahead of time. Cyber PR breaks down how to run an Apple Music pre-order and what distributors offer this service.

What is “Pre-Order”?

It is important to note that Apple uses “pre-add“, which is the same as a pre-save/pre-order. This tool allows people to listen to one or more songs before its public release. It will also automatically add the music to their library as soon as it goes public. Having the ability and choice to do this gives fans something rewarding as they wait. They can listen to a few songs off the album and when the album releases, they already have it saved.

What is Required to Add Songs to Pre-Add?

Apple Music has a few requirements for artists to be able to use this feature. In order to successfully pre-add, an artist must submit a pre-order form with iTunes. The music must include at least one instant-gratification track or music video. An instant gratification track is one that is available for individual purchase during pre-order if they purchase the album. Songs also must have a sales start date of at least one day in the future from the date of adding pre-order metadata. The music must also clear in territories where the pre-add is available.

Pre-Save with CD Baby

CD Baby is one of Apple’s most preferred distributor. This makes it far simpler to create pre-adds. When you sign up with CD Baby, be sure to opt-in for an iTunes pre-order (as discussed in the section before). Please note that pre-orders must been albums or EPs. The album becomes available for pre-add the moment it’s available for pre-order on iTunes. The pre-sale can last anywhere from one week to 6 months and the release date has to be at least a week out.

Pre-Order Setup with TuneCore

TuneCore allows artists to set-up a pre-order when submitting all must to their distribution site. After completing the album or single checklist, you have the option to proceed with pre-order. A few things that you can do with the pre-order option is set a pre-order start date, select track previews, select instant gratification tracks, and/or select special pre-order prices. TuneCore process this pre-order at a set fee plus the distribution’s fee per each release. For iTunes the pre-order fee is $15..


With Linkfire, Apple Music has access to adding songs and/or albums to their library per the fans’ authorization. Linkfire also provides artists with a smart link. This link combines all DSPs in one link. From there, fans can choose their preferred DSP to pre-save or pre-order the album or EP. Linkfire currently is connected to Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer. You are able to customize the landing pages’ artwork and text as part of the pre-order campaign.


Distrokid offers some features for Apple Music and iTunes as well. As an artist, you must have a Musician Plus or Label plan in order to use the pre-order feature. The first thing to do is add the release date of your album at least 5 days in advance. After choosing the release date, you can opt in for the pre-order feature and set your pre-order start date. After filling that information, you can upload your music as usual and the pre-order request will be sent to iTunes and Amazon Music.

Setting up a pre-save

Are Pre-Orders Really That Effective?

Short answer is yes! However, you must put in extra work in order to achieve this. Your marketing campaign begins here with the pre-save. This feature gives you the opportunity to build the hype. Fans take an extra step in committing to your music by saving it ahead of time. They can also drive streams because now fans don’t have to hunt down your latest release. If you also added instant gratification tracks, you already have some traction. You can also gather insights in how your music performed which can help with improving future campaigns or re-releases.

Pre-save campaign

Singer/songwriter Eliot Popkin was able to successfully run an Apple Music pre-save campaign. By adding his album to Apple and running a pre-release campaign, Eliot was able to increase his number in streams. When his EP Running released to the public, Eliot immediately took the spot of #29 on iTunes singer/songwriter chart. This was Eliot’s first time hitting the Top 30. Had he not dedicated some time to a pre-release strategy, it would’ve been far more difficult for him to hit this milestone.

Successful run of pre-save campaign

We hope this makes creating pre-adds with Apple Music easier to understand. For more tips and tricks, be sure to order Ariel’s latest book The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity!

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