Harnessing the Potential of the Cascading Release Strategy

The strategy an artist employs to release new music can significantly impact the success of their launch. In a previous article, we discussed three proven release strategies for independent artists and record labels in 2023. Now, let's delve into another effective strategy known as the waterfall release strategy.

Understanding the Waterfall Release Strategy:

The waterfall release strategy focuses on gradually building visibility by consecutively releasing singles that eventually culminate into an EP or album. Unlike standalone tracks, this approach involves adding one single to another, creating a cohesive musical journey.

This method, resembling an 'extremely slow puzzle,' allows listeners to enjoy each single independently while contributing to the overall experience of the complete album.

Waterfall Release Strategy in Action:

Although gaining recent attention, the waterfall strategy has been successfully utilized by artists for years. The Chainsmokers' 2018 album 'Sick Boy' exemplifies this approach, with monthly single releases leading up to the full album launch in December.

Phoebe Bridgers employed the waterfall release strategy for her acclaimed 2020 album 'Punisher.' The three singles released before the album not only contributed to its success but also increased plays across various versions, as each stream counted toward the song's overall statistics.

This strategy is currently being embraced by musicians like RAYE, FIL BO RIVA, and Kelly Clarkson for their upcoming albums.

Advantages of the Waterfall Release Strategy:

  • Consistent Music Releases: Avoid long periods without music to capture and maintain audience attention.
  • Optimizing Streaming Algorithms: Sustain exponential growth in streams, increasing visibility on platforms like Spotify.
  • Editorial Playlist Opportunities: Increase chances of getting into editorial playlists by releasing singles sequentially.
  • Maximizing Revenue: Successive single releases lead to greater visibility, more streams, and increased revenue on streaming platforms.

Implementing Your Waterfall Release Strategy:

  1. Select three singles from your upcoming album.
  2. Set release dates at least one month apart.
  3. Decide the order of releases based on potential.
  4. Use a music distributor to set up your releases, ensuring UPC/EAN codes differ for singles but ISRC codes remain the same.

How to Release Your Music Using the Waterfall Strategy:

Follow a simple four-step upload flow with your music distributor:

  1. Select 'single' as your release format.
  2. Add your track file for the first single.
  3. Fill in release and track details.
  4. Submit your release.

Start a new release for subsequent singles, adding the previous track(s) to each release version.

Tips to Avoid Technical Issues:

  • Pay attention to the track order; it cannot be changed once distributed.
  • Use different titles for 'single' releases.
  • Ensure UPC/EAN codes for each 'single' release are different, while ISRC codes remain the same.


The waterfall release strategy proves to be an effective method for independent artists aiming to optimize their music releases on platforms like Spotify. Whether you're an established artist or just starting, exploring various release strategies is crucial to making the most out of your musical journey.

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