Setting up a Waterfall Release on Spotify

A popular release strategy on Spotify that a lot of artists are using is called the ‘Waterfall Release Strategy’. Instead of releasing your pre-release singles one by one, all as separate tracks, these are now being built up into an EP or an album as they come out. This gives artists a chance to highlight these tracks with every new single that is released, ultimately gaining them more streams over time. 

It’s possible to create Waterfall releases in the Make Waves platform. Read our guide below to learn how to set this up!

How to get started

To use this strategy correctly, it’s important to first make a plan and decide which singles are going to come out before the EP or album is released and on what date. When choosing release dates for the singles, we would recommend that they are at least one month apart. This will then decide how you should set up your first, second and third release in the Make Waves platform.

We will be taking the last album of The Murder Capital as an example, to see how they have applied the Waterfall Release Strategy to their album campaign.

Single #1: Only Good Things

TMC - Single 1
Single 1

This first single is nice and simple, it only consists of the first track. This is then delivered to stores and goes live on its release date.

Once your first single is delivered, the ISRC code becomes available in your Make Waves account. Make sure to store this somewhere, as you will need to recreate the existing tracks for each next release. So you will have to upload the same audio file, mention the correct ISRC code and the same metadata for the track you are recreating.

Single #2: A Thousand Lives

TMC - Single 2
Single 2

This second single contains the new track as the first track, and has the first single (“Only Good Things”) added as the second track. You can see the waterfall / trickling of tracks is starting to take shape.

For "Only Good Things", you would recreate this by filling in the same ISRC code, uploading the same audio file and adding the same metadata as was done on the first single. This is important, because you want to have the streams merge across all the products you are releasing. You can see in the example below that this track has the same amount of streams on two different products, which means it has been set up correctly.

Another thing you will notice is that the product name of this second single, is the name of the new track (“A Thousand Lives”). The artwork, as you can see, is also different. Every new waterfall release will have a different product name (the name of the new single that is coming out) and its own artwork. 

The streams have merged on "Only Good Things"

Single #3: Ethel

On this single, the first track will again be the new track that is being released. Which is called “Ethel” in this example. So this is a new track with a new ISRC. Track number two is “A Thousand Lives” and track number three is “Only Good Things”. These tracks are recreated again in the platform, using the existing ISRC codes, audio files and metadata in order for the streams to merge.

Single 3

Single #4: Return My Head

This was the last single before the actual album came out. You can see that the first track is the new track again, called “Return My Head”. This is followed by the other three tracks that have already come out, in the correct order. This single also has its own artwork.

Single 4

Why use the Waterfall strategy?

As these releases are starting to build up, fans can enjoy the previous singles in one space with every new track that comes out. With each release, there is a really big chance fans will continue to listen to the other singles after having played the new track, as they are present on each new release. This means these tracks will continue to be played, from when they first go live up until (and after) the album has come out.

If we take a look at the complete album of The Murder Capital, you can clearly see which tracks were part of the Waterfall Release Strategy. As these are the tracks that have the most amount of streams.

The advantages

To sum up the advantages of using this strategy:

  • You can continue to capture the attention of your listeners and build anticipation. The staggered release of singles and the promotional material that comes with it allows you to build anticipation among your fans and followers, leading to greater interest.
  • You can optimise Spotify’s algorithm. Continuous streaming of your music allows for greater visibility of your music to the platform’s users.
  • You can get into editorial playlists. With this strategy of releasing consecutive singles, you will be able to pitch each of your songs via Spotify for Artists and therefore increase your chances of getting into editorial playlists. (Find out more about pitching your music on Spotify in our other guide).
  • You can get into Spotify algorithmic playlists like Release Radar and Discover Weekly. By using this release strategy, you are more likely to enter these playlists.

You can always reach out to if you have more questions about setting up Waterfall releases!

Setting up a Waterfall Release on Spotify

Setting up a Waterfall Release on Spotify
Last updated in May 2024
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