A promotional recording is a vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD, MP3, VHS, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc, that is generally distributed free in order to promote a commercial recording. However, not all promotional singles are distributed free of charge. The following conditions below make a song a single:
- Serviced to US radio with an official radio add date;
- Distributed and sold by the label as a CD single or 7" or 12" single;
- Promoted as a single and listed as a single in several publications;
- Digital release that is similar to the release of previous singles.
While there are countless exceptions, most singles meet the criteria above. Typically, if a song does not meet one of the above, it can be correctly dubbed a promotional single. However, there are some things that do not make a song a single:
- A music video;
- An "iTunes countdown" single release;
- Being played on the radio.
While many singles do receive some or all of these, it does not verify that a song is a single.