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What is a Single in Music & Are They Profitable in 2024?

Releasing a single is a great way to make a serious impact in the music industry and keep your fans engaged. 


It can help bring attention to your upcoming album and generate buzz around your new music so people will actually tune in.


This way, people will eagerly anticipate your next releases and check out your entire album when it drops. 


As an artist, it’s super beneficial to know all about singles so you can strategically release music that maximizes your reach and success.


In this article, you’ll learn:


  • What is a single in music ✓
  • The evolution of singles ✓
  • How to tweak singles prior to release ✓
  • Why you should release a single ✓
  • How to create a single ✓
  • Creating a marketing plan (digital and physical formats) ✓
  • Utilizing social media & engaging with fans ✓
  • Choosing the right release date ✓
  • Digital distribution platforms ✓
  • Pre-save and pre-order campaigns ✓
  • Music videos, visual content, collaborations, and features ✓
  • Leveraging playlists, curators, and record companies ✓
  • Much more ✓


After reading this article, you’ll know all about what is a single in music. 


Plus, you’ll have everything you need to know about creating, releasing, and marketing that single for maximum impact. 


This way, you can promote your music like a professional and reach new heights in your music career.


So, let’s dive in…


What is a Single? The Evolution


what is a single in music


A single is a music track released independently of an entire album, often featuring just one standout song. 


Historically, singles were released on a vinyl record, showcasing an A side and a B side. 


In the early days of the music industry, singles primarily released digitally or physically and played a key role in promoting artists and gaining radio airplay.


When it came to releasing music and recordings, Vinyl records gave way to: 


  • Cassette tapes
  • Then, CDs
  • Now, the digital download age of streaming


The evolution of singles has been significant with platforms like Apple Music and other streaming platforms having revolutionized how listeners access singles.


This makes it easier for artists like yourself to reach a global audience instantly. 


The focus has shifted from physical media like vinyl records and compact disc to digital formats 一 making singles more accessible than ever. 


Releasing a single/individual song digitally is the best way to engage with fans worldwide and gain rapid feedback on new music.


If you approach it correctly, it can really pay off in the end (which is what today’s article is all about).


The Pros of Releasing a Single


Single 1 - Unison


Releasing a single can be the smartest, most strategic move for any artist. 


It helps build anticipation for an upcoming album release and give fans a taste of what’s to come and what you’re all about musically.


A single can also test the waters with your new music 一 giving you a firsthand look of how people react and respond, which can be invaluable.


You’ll be able to refine your sound based on that feedback and really get things together for a more successful album release.


Singles are also easier to promote than an entire album, and with fewer tracks to focus on, your marketing process can be more targeted and effective. 


Also, releasing a single keeps fans engaged and maintains momentum between larger studio album releases. 


With new artists popping out of the woodworks pretty much daily, it’s super important to keep that listener engagement. 


NOTE: Singles often receive more radio airplay and playlist placements, increasing your visibility and captivating new listeners who may not have discovered you otherwise.


How to Create a Single


Writing a Song - Unison


Creating a single starts with songwriting and composition, of course.


#1. Choose a song that shows off your best work and will instantly draw people in.


Make sure it’s always super catchy, memorable, and reflective of your unique style/brand.


Collaborating with other musicians can also add depth to your sound 一 making it more appealing to a bigger audience.


#2. Focus on recording and production. 


A high-quality recording released with the proper equipment is bound to get more attention than one that was half-assed.


Consider hiring a professional producer or recording in a well-equipped studio to ensure the best sound quality if you don’t have a home studio setup yourself.


#3. Pay attention to details.


This includes mixing and mastering your songs, so it’s polished and professional. 


This level of quality can significantly impact how your single is received by listeners and industry professionals.


#4. Do everything needed to prepare for the release. 


Develop a solid marketing plan and timeline, decide on the release date, and coordinate promotional efforts across various platforms. 


A well-executed release strategy is everything.


NOTE: Make sure to create visual content, such as cover art and music videos, to enhance the appeal of your single and provide additional promotional material. This is the kind of things that will get you on radio stations, like your favorite artist.


  • Pro Tip: The Role of Singles in Artist Development


Producers Talking - Unison


Singles play a huge role in artist development, providing a platform for endless experimentation and much-needed growth.


Releasing multiple singles can help artists like yourself:



Singles also offer opportunities that can come out of the blue, especially when it comes to collaborations.


It will help expand both artists’ reach and influence 一 making them an essential tool for any musician’s career.


Marketing Your Single


Marketing your single is essential for its success, period. This process involves several strategic steps to ensure maximum visibility and engagement. So, let’s break it down.


  • Creating a Marketing Plan


Strategies Marketing - Unison


A well-thought-out marketing plan is the foundation of your single’s success, so always start by identifying your target audience and setting clear goals. 


Outline the promotional activities you’ll undertake, such as: 


  • Social media campaigns
  • Email marketing
  • Press releases


Make sure to have a budget for each activity so you’ll have the resources to execute your plan effectively. 


Try creating a content calendar to schedule your posts and promotions. This will help keep your marketing efforts organized and, more importantly, consistent.


Use analytics tools to track the performance of your marketing activities. 


This data can provide valuable insights into what promotion strategies are working and what needs some adjustment. 


NOTE: Make sure to engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages 一 showing appreciation for their support. 


This interaction can build a loyal fanbase and enhance your single’s reach.


  • Utilizing Social Media


Social Media2 - Unison


Social media is, by far, the most powerful tool for promoting your single, so make sure to create engaging content that highlights your new release, such as: 


  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Teaser clips
  • Interactive posts
  • Contests
  • Etc.


Use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter to reach as many people as possible.


Consistency is key, so post regularly and interact with your followers to keep them excited about your single.


Encourage fans to participate and share their content using a branded hashtag. 


This user-generated content can turn one song into a trending masterpiece and help you reach new listeners.


Also, collaborating with influencers and other musicians, like we mentioned, can help expand your audience and create even more engagement.


Releasing & Promoting Your New Single


Releasing your single requires careful planning and execution. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and successful release to help you understand what is a single in music really good for.


  • Choosing the Right Release Date


Music Calendar - Unison


Choosing the right release date can impact the success of your single. 


Avoid releasing music during busy periods, such as major holidays or significant industry events. 


Research the best times to release music in your genre and plan accordingly. 


A well-timed single released separately from your whole album release can maximize its exposure and impact, but only if you choose the perfect time.


  • Digital Distribution Platforms


Music Distribution e1701209238366 - Unison


Digital distribution platforms , like DistroKid, TuneCore, or CD Baby, can help you reach even more fans and potential opportunities.


They will distribute your single for you across major platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.


They’ll help you upload your tracks, set entire release dates, and manage your digital presence efficiently (super convenient, right?).


Ensure your track is properly tagged with relevant metadata 一 including the song title, artist name, genre, and release date. 


Eye-catching, high-quality cover art is also very important because it will appear in different playlists, search results, and recommendations.


Additionally, explore the promotional tools offered by these platforms. 


For instance, Spotify for Artists allows you to pitch your single to playlist curators, update your profile, and view in-depth analytics. 


Features like these can help you refine your marketing strategy and reach more listeners.


  • The Importance of Pre-Save and Pre-Order Campaigns


Spotify Pre Save e1710814825944 - Unison


Pre-save and pre-order campaigns are vital for generating buzz and anticipation for your single. 


Pre-save campaigns allow fans to save your single on music streaming platforms like Spotify before its release, ensuring it appears in their library as soon as it goes live. 


Platforms like and offer pre-save campaign services, making it easy to set up and manage, so make sure to check them out.


Also, always encourage fans to participate in your pre-save campaign by offering exclusive content or incentives.


This could be early access to the music video, behind-the-scenes footage, or limited-edition merchandise, etc.


Use social media, email newsletters, and your website to promote the pre-save link and create a sense of urgency and excitement.


Pre-order campaigns on digital stores like iTunes and Amazon Music can also boost your single’s visibility and sales. 


Offer bonus tracks, special artwork, or autographed physical copies to entice fans to pre-order (think outside of the box).


It not only increases your initial sales but can also improve your chart position, as pre-orders count towards first-week sales.


By generating pre-saves and pre-orders, you can create a strong launch day impact 一 increasing your chances of being featured on playlists. 


Plus, it will help you gain new fans and get your name out there as an artist.


  • Pro Tip


Songwriting Template - Unison


Consider releasing an Extended Play (EP) before your full-length album release. 


An EP, which contains fewer tracks than an LP record (LP = Long Play), can serve as a teaser for your upcoming music release. 


It will build anticipation and give fans a taste of your new sound 一 potentially increasing the impact of your full-length album when it drops.


If you want to know all about EPs vs LPs, we’ve got you covered.


  • Bonus: The Financial Aspect of Releasing a Single


Money Music - Unison


A successful music release (whether it’s a single or full album) involves some serious financial considerations, so budgeting is key.


It will help you get the resources needed to have a successful single release and promote it accordingly.


Remember, it’s all about getting those music downloads, so make sure to invest in: 


  • Recording your songs
  • Mixing and mastering your album
  • Marketing strategies


Also, consider the costs of hiring professionals, creating visual content, and running ad campaigns for single recordings.


It’s a lot to think about and move around, but a well-planned budget can help you manage expenses and maximize your single’s success.


NOTE: Revenue streams for singles include sales, streams, and licensing, so make sure to rack your income from digital downloads, streaming platforms, and sync deals. 


Understanding your revenue sources can help you make the best decisions when it comes to releasing music in the future (e.g., individual tracks, full-length album, etc.).


As well as the promotional strategies of your songs.


If you do it right, who knows, your new releases might just end up on the Billboard Charts.


What is a Single in Music? Final Thoughts


Singles are a powerful tool in an artist’s arsenal, hands down.


They’re the key to building buzz, engaging your audience, and testing the waters before releasing a full-length album. 


Plus, they can help build your fanbase and ensure your music stays relevant. 


But remember, it’s not just about releasing a single, but also about the strategic creation, marketing, and promotion as well.


If you really want to take your songwriting skills to the next level so your singles are always on point, you should check out the highly-renowned #1 Songwriting Course in the industry. 


It’s your key to becoming a successful songwriter and creating songs that people are instantly drawn to. 


With over 9+ hours of video training and endless industry secrets, you’ll be on the top of everyone’s playlists in no time.


So, now that you understand what is a single in music and how you can promote yours like a professional, it’s time to go create one. 


Just remember, the journey of releasing a single involves creativity, strategy, and engagement with your fans. Make each single count.


Until next time…




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