Global sales, marketing & distribution for discerning record labels & artists.

Above Board provide record labels and artists the expert resources and services to manage and drive your release campaigns worldwide, through a network of physical and digital partners throughout the globe.

FAQs

Digital Delivery Best Practices

The best thing to do for delivering release is as follows;

  • Deliver the following 4 weeks before the release date; Metadata, wavs, press release, artwork.
  • Sam can provide you with the metadata template. If you need us to supply Isrc or barcodes we can.
  • I will also need a private streaming link and a promo report for the store editors in order to pitch for coverage.
  • I would send an email to Sam and I with the catalogue number in the subject box and all the assets four weeks ahead of release.
  • If you are doing vinyl you will a bit longer – 8 weeks with TPS and 5 without.
  • Sam delivers the product
  • Dc Handle’s vinyl production and scheduling
  • I handle marketing and pitching

Things to note:

  • For dance floor tracks we recommend a two week Beatport exclusive. So release on Beatport and streaming sites first then two weeks later release on all stores.
  • Supply 4 minute edits helps the tracks be considered for more playlists on Spotify.
  • Do not label edits – edit. Please label the full length original and leave the shorter version just with the title and artist.
  • Please supply Beatport charts the week of release.
  • Please update Spotify playlist frequently.
  • Let us know if you want to monetise on SoundCloud.
  • Let us know if you want your catalogue delivered to Dubset.
  • If you would like us to put together a marketing timeline for the release get in touch as soon as possible and we can put together a strategy for you to consider and fine tune.
  • Send promo updates to us weekly.
  • Double check we have the final promo report pitch 10 days before the release date.
  • Do not make the tracks live anywhere before the release dates including sc snippets and radio play. This goes against the Spotify on air on sale rule.

How To Generate Interest In Your Catalogue On Spotify

Through a combination of playlists and products and pitching your catalogue can be discovered by more and more people.

We recommend that labels consider the following suggestions to drive further traffic to their labels catalogues;

Discovery Products

  • This is effectively a compilation.
  • You curate a track list with your labels’ milestone tracks.
  • You can approach this process with different themes, Genres,
  • The idea is these are a straight forward introduction to a sound, time, genre etc.
  • We recommend that you have do two of these a year including 15-30 tracks.
  • Once they are live you when request the Artists in the track list share on their socials.

Playlist management

  • Create 2-4 playlists you update weekly
    1. 20-40 tracks no repeat Artists
    2. Choose a theme and a title or keep it random – themes such as labels, moods, genres
    3. Create artwork that follows the Spotify guidelines
    4. Ask Artists included in the playlist to share

Frequent social posts tagging in the Artists in the playlists

  • Include a couple of posts a month to Spotify playlists and products.
  • Create interesting ways to request fans follow you on Spotify.

Monthly email blasts to label subscribers

  • Emailing fans directly is still a powerful tool.
  • Include details of products and playlist in those eblasts

How To Make Income From Soundcloud

Important changes to note

  1. ARTISTS & LABELS NO LONGER UPLOAD THEIR MUSIC TO SOUNDCLOUD (the distributor will deliver to be live on the release date)
    • There have been some interesting developments at Soundcloud and they are launching more editorial features to spotlight your music.
    • There have been issues with labels, managers and Artists uploading duplicate versions of tracks online and at incorrect times in the campaigns.
    • Therefore we propose that labels and Artists no longer upload their releases signed to you – we deliver the tracks as part of the release campaign and they appear on the Artist pages on the day of release.
    • This way we can streamline all the hits to one upload – labels can share from the Artists pages, tracks will also be considered and supported by the editorial team if delivered this way.
  2. ITS TIME TO START EARNING MONEY FROM SOUNDCLOUD STREAMS
    • Many of the labels were disengaged with soundcloud’s montizing platform Soundcloud GO when it launched because it was uploaded old catalogue into Artists feeds creating duplicates and interfering with the
    • Artist pages flows. As a consequence many labels requested to opt out of monetising their content on Soundcloud. If you do not opt into Soundcloud Go then you are not collecting money on this platform.
    • Things have changed, there is a new team and there is new approach.
    • They have offered to manually select tracks from the back catalogue to monetise so there won’t be duplicates.
    • Please email back with your labels top 20 tracks you would like to be monitored on that platform – the team will address this and get the tracks set up.
  3. PITCHING FOR EDITORIAL SUPPORT ON SOUNDCLOUD
    • We will be working closely with the team to push spotlights on the releases each week.
    • 50% of the revenue from Soundcloud is from the House genre – there is an opportunity here to support the platform and earn income (it’s a similar return price as the other streaming sites)
  4. WE CAN STILL HOST PREMIERS ON MEDIA PARTNERS PAGES
    • These can be manually monitized. You need to email us with the link and we will be contact the soundcloud team.
    • If you don’t send over your top 20 best strongest tracks they will stay on soundcloud but you won’t be earning money from them.
    • If you have any feed back for the Soundcloud team please email it over

Optimising Your Release Strategy Check List

  1. Delivered package including press release 4 weeks before release date
  2. Included 4 minute edit of lead track
  3. Not titled the edit ‘edit’ instead call the full length ‘original’
  4. Not broken the Spotify on air on sale rule
  5. Updated the above board team with full campaign support ten days before the release.
  6. Double checked the Spotify analytics dashboard submission is updated
  7. Do not have tracks by the same artist coming out on the same week.
  8. Tagging and sharing on social media is on point
  9. Notified your mailing list with an e-blast

Setting Up Digital Campaign Pointers

The process the editors go through to select tracks is a bit of a guarded subject but from all the conversations I’ve had with the team there are a number of elements at play.

  • Artists rating on the platform (if you have had success previously and an engaged audience you get marks out of 100. You can actually see these in a crude form in the page.
  • Trusty algorithms play a role here too. If the editors see a spike in the first week release activity they react to it. The better the track reacts the more playlists it’s added to. Often the editors start a track in a smaller playlist then move it up and through to the bigger lists.
  • The editors not only receive pitches from us each week but they also scan relevant media to see which artists are being supported.
  • The key dance lists are edited all over the world. Techno Bunker is managed from Germany. We recently had a cover spot for pleasurekraft. Coverspot is the example you attached. We pitch for these via email. The artist features on the branded artwork and the track is in the no. 1 position in the playlist. These spots push up plays enormously. The higher in the playlist you are positioned the better the record streams.
  • It’s important to know Playlists are in competition each other. We receive a weekly chart and can see which lists for growing and appearing. So editors want their playlist to be as appealing as possible to the audiences.
  • Supplying shorter edits is a good idea because editors consider a tracks ‘skip rate’ tracks with lower skip rates are favoured because they are showing they are popular and it reflects better on the playlist
  • Editors do not like tracks labelled ‘edit’ they want the short edits to just have the title and the full length versions to be called ‘originals’.

It’s important to note Spotify have a policy called ‘On air on sale’ which means that they want it on their platform as soon as it’s promoted. The official line from them is that they won’t support a record if it’s on other competitors sites first – they include soundcloud and youtube in that. Therefore we set up campaigns so that promotion of tracks happens once they are live on streaming sites.

They don’t value exclusives either they believe it’s best for the artist to have the music on all platforms.

We recommend campaigns that follow this shape for a club track (please note there would be longer club promo and print press lead times for crossover tracks)

eg. For a track out on the 10th August

  • 4 weeks before release out to club
  • 2 weeks before release securing online and radio premiers
  • 9th August – Online announcement
  • 10th August Pete Tong Essential New Tune and streaming and beatport release date (two week exclusive on beatport for full banner support)
  • 24th August Released on all stores
  • The campaign isn’t over on the release date we would then roll out a number of supporting assets each week around the record and we would do a small ad spend over 3 weeks from release on social networks
  • eg. 31st August share beatport chart
  • 7th September Spotify Playlist
  • 14th September – videos of DJs playing the record

The reps we work with in the UK alert their international reps if the campaign fits in that region but I also have a number of international reps who I email each week. The editors say that most of the international playlists look to see what is happening in the UK first.

Having said all this, there is no size fits all – we prefer to listen to the release and write a more detailed timeline perfectly suited to the release. We can run these through google docs if that’s helpful too.
Most of our labels follow this route but some prefer to release to all stores on the same day, it’s really your choice.

Soundcloud has just announced plans for a more editorial spot light opportunities which could be interesting too.

Spotify House Keeping

Do you have your label profile set up and verified?

If not please set up a normal punter profile and then submit it here to be verified.

Do you have the follow me embed on your social pages?

If not please see how to embed here

Have you claimed your Artist profile yet?

If not please do it here

Do you submit a private soundcloud link to Above Board 4 weeks ahead of the release date to get maximum chance of being featured in electronic playlists?

If not please start doing this and copy Lara and Sam

Do you have a public playlist for your label with the majority of the catalogue on it?

Ideally we would like you have have 3 active playlists running

  1. Most recent releases 20-40 tracks
  2. Highlights
  3. Full catalogue

If not please create and send to Above Board – we will be featuring these in our biweekly newsletters and on our socials and sending these to the editors at Spotify to consider. Hopefully spotlighting some older tracks and making the history of the label easy to discover for late comers.

Do you supply us with shorter edits for the more commercial releases?

Spotify ask us for 4 minute edits for the bigger playlists. Lots of labels are asking us when the right time to release is the edit is. The official word from Spotify is that edits and original lengths should be released in the same package on the same day. Otherwise pages look messy.

Please note it is possible to supply pre or post release but if possible can we release on the same date

Spotify have an on air on sale rule. This means they prefer to support tracks that are promoted from the day they are available on the streaming site. This means we are asking labels to keep premiers to the same week as the streaming release date. Work the record once it’s out and most radio and press support to come post release.

We are seeing good results from this method and would suggest you roll out a campaign like this

  1. 3 weeks before release send to club
  2. announce online with premier week of streaming release date – if possible 48 hours before release
  3. target first plays at radio on streaming release date

You get find a lot more information on how to interact with the platform here