You may have noticed a trend among artists who release music on streaming platforms. On Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, artists are asking their fans to “pre-save” new releases. What’s the deal with that, and should you do it?
What is “Pre-Saving” Music?
If you’re unfamiliar with pre-saving, it usually goes down like this. An artist will ask their fans on social media to pre-save an upcoming single or album. This request is accompanied by a link to a third-party website with buttons for Spotify, Apple Music, and any other platform they use.
When you click the link to the service of your choice, you’re asked to give the website access to your streaming account. There are a few different pre-saving services that artists use, but they all work this way.
What does it actually do? Essentially, it’s like pre-ordering without actually ordering anything. When the music is released—whether it’s a single or a full album—it will show up in your library right away. Some services will notify you of new music from your favorite artists, but not all of them do. Pre-saving can be a nice way to make sure you know.
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It’s All About Data
Pre-saving is not only about convenience. You have to give the pre-saving service an alarming amount of data when you sign up. That data goes to the record label of the artist or a third-party service.
Here’s an example of the data that Universal Music gets when you connect your Spotify account to the pre-saving service.
Your name, country, username, email, subscription information, how many followers you have, public playlists, listening history, and explicit content settings. You’re also handing over the ability to make changes to your profile and playlists.
It may appear that the pre-save website is some official thing associated with Spotify or another streaming service, but it’s not. At the time of writing in July 2022, no streaming service has pre-saving built-in.
Beyond the privacy concerns of all that data going to third-party services, there is some value for the artist as well. Just like pre-ordering a new phone, it gives the artists an idea of how much demand there is for the new music. It’s also a way to build up hype before release.
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Should You Pre-Save?
With all of these privacy concerns in mind, is it a good idea to pre-save music through some random third-party website? That depends on how much you value the convenience.
Chances are if you follow an artist enough to see the call to pre-save, you’ll also see when the music is actually available. However, if you’re worried you’ll miss it, pre-saving can be a nice way to make sure you don’t.
At the end of the day, pre-saving is like many compromises we make online. If something is free, there’s a good chance you’re paying with your data. Maybe that bothers you, maybe it doesn’t.
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