iTunes Free Single of the Week, Promotional or Official status?

So, I’ve been working a bit on adding some of the iTunes free music I got a few years back, and I just wanted to confirm their release status. Since the “Single[s] of the Week” were initially released for free, I’m thinking Promotional, but I’m pretty sure you could buy them after they weren’t free anymore. In fact, there’s apparently a few still available on Apple Music, like Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree”.

(I think the Microsoft music store even gave away full albums for a short time. Pretty sure that’s how I got Abba’s Greatest Hits and Kanye West’s Yeezus, I feel those would get Promotional releases as well?)

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Not that easy question as what defines promo is a combination of different factors:

  • What was released
  • Why it was released
  • How it was released

Most of the times a “Promo” release refers to a different release from the original, made for specific purpose and given in a limited number for free. ex: promoting to radio DJs, bundle with a magazine or gimmick for a marketing event.

In the current case the product is indeed free but not different from the normal release and not made for a special purpose. It should be more compared to a Sale Off like when you buy a product with discount in a supermarket.

PS: The last sentence is not really nice. Let s more compare to buy a convertible in winter or a snowmobile in summer: the What, Why, How dont change and the When is not part of the equation :slight_smile:


I think this is probably one of those cases. Take “High Heel Leather Boots” by Baby Bee as an example:

Using your criteria:

  • The What: This series of releases are, to my knowledge, always just a single track, unlike many other Singles. They also had a banner added to the artwork. Not a big change, but one worth noting.
    Also, in this particular case, I’m pretty sure this is the only way this single was released.
  • The Why: I would consider them Promotional because they’re released to promote the Artist, maybe the artist’s upcoming/new Release (The Shaker in this case, released the same day), and also the digital store, (iTunes in this case).
    Many digital stores have free stuff when they first start out like this, Microsoft’s music store (I forget the name at the moment), Google Play Music, and even the Epic Games Store have done/are doing this. These latter cases might not be quite the same as “Single of the Week” though…
  • The How: They’re first available for free for a limited time (one week). Still possibly available for purchase after the week is up, so that may be a point for Official…

I will say, not all of iTunes’ free music was released this way, sometimes it was just a free song from an album or something. In those cases no, they’re not a Promotional release. But the “Single of the Week” was seemingly very consistent.

No offence taken~ :grin:
(edited for some minor grammar corrections)

Edit #2: I’m also 98.7% sure most all the Singles of the Week were new releases, I don’t ever remember getting old music like that, but I may be mistaken…

If they have a different artwork, and the single that could be purchased later didn’t have the Single of the Week banner, then you could indeed call it a second, promotional release - but then we should have two releases :slight_smile:

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It seems they’ve kept the banner on iTunes, if Kelly Clarkson tells us anything. It’s still there to this day, even as iTunes slowly dies.

If they were available to the wider public I suspect the promotional type isn’t appropriate.

Apart from some slightly different wording on the part of Apple (single of the week) it seems like a regular single release?

Note that all singles are usually ‘promo’ for an album! The mb ‘promotional’ type means something different - something not considered by the artist or label to be a ‘proper’ release at all. Whether paid for or free doesn’t come into it imo

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