The music industry has changed drastically since the introduction of the first digital service provider in 1999. Many aspects of the industry have evolved to keep up with the advances and continue earning revenue. One of the biggest shifts we’ve seen is from terrestrial radio to curated playlists.

Even though we’ve seen this shift, there are still many things that are the same. Rather than selecting a radio single, folks are tasked with selecting a focus track for playlists. The goal of a radio single and a focus track are the same: to reach a broader audience. Paired with a good marketing campaign, selecting the right track can maximize exposure, increase album or ticket sales, and grow a fanbase.

One difference is that not all songs are available to be a focus track. Here are three things to consider when selecting a focus track:

1. Commercial Appeal

Just like when selecting a radio single, the focus track should have broad appeal. The song should attract a large audience and draw them into more of your music. Consider conducting market research to see what is resonating with audiences. Study the playlists that you would like to be added to and determine what type of music has already been added.

2. Album Representation

Though the commercial appeal is important, the song that you choose as a focus track must still somehow represent your project as a whole. Choosing the pop-country song as your focus track when the rest of the album is bluegrass may get you the playlist placement but it’s not likely to do any good for the other songs.

3. Release Strategy

If you want more than one focus track for your upcoming project, you will need a plan that bypasses the DSP pitching guidelines. This can include releasing a few singles in anticipation of the album or using the Waterfall method. Using these can increase the visibility of your project and offer more opportunities for playlisting.

A little strategy and planning will go a long way.