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Can ‘pre-saving’ Taylor Swift’s new album help speed its delivery on launch day?

A person holding their iPhone open to The Tortured Poets Department pre-save album page on Spotify.
Taylor Swift’s latest album is available to pre-save on Spotify and other streaming services. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Taylor Swift’s latest studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” will be released at 12 a.m. on Friday, April 19. 

Edmund Yeh, a Northeastern University electrical and computer engineering professor, says streaming services such as Spotify are working to prevent crashes when the clock strikes midnight. 

This is being done by accurately estimating future traffic peaks and moving digital copies of Swift’s album to content delivery networks around the world in advance of the launch date.

So what can fans do to make the process as seamless as possible?

Using the ‘pre-save’ option on Spotify, Apple Music and other services can also reduce bottlenecks on Friday, Yeh says.

Pre-saving the album automatically adds it to the user’s digital library. The album content becomes live on launch day.

“Having users download it ahead of the launch time takes away from the eventual traffic peak and decreases the likelihood of a crash during the launch,” he says.

Exactly how does this work?

“The concept is similar to that behind content delivery networks,” Yeh says. 

The pre-save feature allows users to download the album from the origin servers during periods of low traffic instead of during peak traffic times, such as midnight Friday, he says.

“This balances the load and spreads out the traffic over time,” Yeh says.

The option to pre-save music before it’s released is a win-win for consumers and artists, who often use it as a promotional tool to build anticipation.

Obviously, Swift doesn’t have that problem.

“Setting up a pre-save campaign can help you promote your music and get noticed by the Spotify algorithm, making it easier to get your music heard,” Spotify says.