How to do Instant Grat tracks on Apple Music & iTunes
Today we’re going to talk about Apple Music’s Instant Gratification tracks. This snazzy feature allows you to show fans your upcoming album while only streaming select tracks from it prior to release day on Apple Music AND giving fans instant access to songs when they purchase on iTunes.
No idea what i’m talking about? Here’s one from rock band Staind:
This is an unreleased album that shows up on their profile. Fans can stream tracks 1 and 6 right now, and if they purchase the album on iTunes they get instant access to tracks 1 and 6 as well. Here’s why this is cool for both Apple Music and iTunes…
In Apple Music fans get to stream two of these tracks, but they can see that the album is on the way and get excited for it. They can save the album to their library and even share it with friends, all before the album is out. Artists can add more songs to be streamed over time before the album drops.
On iTunes this is very much like a regular pre-order, except fans get access to a select amount of tracks earlier. The artist can add on more instant gratification tracks as singles are released.
How to do it?
For a while I thought this was only a feature for major label artists, but last week I distributed an album through DistroKid that included Instant Gratification tracks. You can also arrange this through Melodist as well.
Here’s the general process:
Distribute your album to Apple / iTunes with a pre-order date and release date
Contact your distributor and tell them which tracks you want as Instant Gratification tracks
They’ll set it up through iTunes Connect
If you want singles to be available on other platforms, distribute those separately, but excluding Apple / iTunes
By using this method you can effectively take advantage of the waterfall strategy on all other streaming platforms, while having a pre-order on iTunes and an even better waterfall on Apple Music. It’s a win-win-win.
No matter who you use for distribution, this is very much a manual process. You will be contacting customer support every time you’re altering the instant grat tracks. If you change anything about your release it will break the instant gratification tracks and they have to be resubmitted.
Lastly, you can’t have more than 50% of tracks be available as an instant grat track. Reach out to support at your distributor to figure out the details for how they want you to do it, or if they support it at all.
Maybe someday this will become an automated process, but for now it is 100% possible as an indie artist to take advantage of this pretty slick release method.
I recently made a video showing how you can use Facebook ads to promote your music on Apple Music:
I created a calculator so you can calculate royalties from Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and other streaming platforms.
Recently i’ve been posting a lot on Twitter (or now X, I guess):
Chat GPT can actually be useful for music artists.
You can't expect it to do everything for you, but you can use it quite effectively as a brainstorming tool.
Lets talk about some examples.
— Andrew Southworth (@southwortha)
Jul 31, 2023
Here are some music industry news highlights from the past week.
Amazon music partners with BandsInTown for merch integration
Meta released a tool called Audiocraft that can generate AI music and audio
AWAL has taken 20 artists from zero to 1 billion streams
Quote of the Week
I was the least popular in my school. The less popular you are, the more time you have to work on your own thing as opposed to trying to fit into everyone else’s thing.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:
My courses. Spotify Growth Machine teaches you how to use Facebook ads to promote your music on Spotify. YouTube Growth Machine teaches you how to grow a YouTube channel organically and how to use YouTube ads.
My ad agency. Forbid Media specializes in running Facebook conversion ads to promote your music on Spotify.
Website / Store / Funnels. MusicFunnels is the best all-in-one platform for music artists to make a website, online store, sales funnels and build their mailing list.
1-on-1 consulting. You can book 1-hour calls with myself or Alex Bochel here.
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🎬 Animated lyric videos: https://generastudios.com/products/lyric-videos
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If you’d rather just purchase the e-book, or physical book or audiobook you can do so here.
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