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Teasers in Songwriting and Music Business

Teasers are found everywhere you look in songwriting and music business entrepreneurship.

sneak peek with torn paper coming from yellow background
photo credit Uuganbayar Adobe Stock

Specifically, we have been looking at the marketing kind of teasers in our Songpreneurs Punch Thru Songs online course.

A teaser is a short sample of a song that you put out before the official release to get your audience excited.

Usually, a teaser is a minute or less, and serves as a kind of commercial for your full-length song.

A teaser is most effective when you have an audience that already knows who you are and are anticipating listening to what you’re going to put out next.

Big stars make great use of teasers all the time, especially when they haven’t put out anything in a while, and people are ready to hear something new from their favorite artist.

A high-profile example of a song that used a teaser as a major part of their release campaign is the dance sensation “Get Lucky” recorded by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams.1

The song was the first released by Daft Punk in 7 years, and the fans were going crazy to hear the full length version after seeing the teaser during an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Years later, the song is still a fan favorite, and has even grown on some of us who may not have liked it at first.

The lesson is that using a teaser is like offering your audience a sample of a new fancy cheese in the grocery store.

You give them just a nibble, and they are left wanting.

They are way more likely to buy your cheese, because now they know they like it and want more of it.

Your song is your cheese.

You could let them gorge on the whole song right from the beginning.

Or you could give them a teaser in advance of the full song release and let them get excited enough to pre-order or pre-save the song so it’s all loaded up on release day.

Using a teaser to drive pre-orders and pre-saves is a great strategy for music releases, because all the pre-orders count as week one sales.

Independents can participate in the fun by setting their release dates well into the future, and spending the time leading up to the release priming the fans to pre-save and pre-order.

That way, your week one sales figure, which is an important metric in the music business, is pumped up higher than it would be by only counting the sales that happen during the 7 days after your release date.

This is all well and good for recording artists and singer-songwriters who put out their own music, but what about non-performing songwriters?

How can we use teasers to help us have more success?

Teasers for marketing is one thing.

A teaser in songwriting is something different.

You can use the concept of teasers when writing your songs, too.

In the melody, a teaser can be used to prime up the listener’s ear for a note that you’re going to pump hard in the chorus.

In the verse and intro, you can play all around that main note, but don’t actually land on it for any length of time until you get to the big payoff.

The same thing applies for your chord progression.

You can use inversions and substitutions of chords to hold off landing on that big chorus pay off chord until the audience is just begging for it.

In the lyric, the technique of “teasing” has a name.

In literary circles, it’s called foreshadowing when you drop hints about what’s going to happen later as you’re letting the story unfold.

Teasers are like little samples of what is to come, which help the audience build anticipation, giving them more enjoyment when they finally get the whole thing.

The principle underlying why a teaser works is rooted in the law of supply and demand, which can be applied to all kinds of situations.

In the case of teasers, you are leveraging your supply to increase demand from your audience.

As you see, using a teaser is an effective tool for any songwriter or music business entrepreneur professional.


Let us know about your success with teasers in the comments below, or drop us a line at HQ.

[1] Case Study: How Artists and Songs Go Viral by Connor O’Brien February 15, 2023 @ accessed August 3, 2023.


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