When to Release Your Album – Month by Month

PiecesWhen should you release your album? It depends on several factors and the decision should include your plans after the release. Are you planning on touring to support your release? On Music Think Tank, David Roberts explains the events that go on during the various months and has advice for indie artists. Have you found an optimal month to release your album?

“If you’re thinking of releasing in this time period, you better be damn sure that you’ve got some money to break through the noise with. Blog advertising costs go up around February to May because big name artists are also going to be fighting for the same space as you.” (Read On

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  1. David;
    I do not focus on the seasonal timing of releases, but I have a different thought on the release dates.
    I voraciously read music blogs and purchase music that I find. In blog surfing, I frequently encounter Soundcloud posts of songs that I like and want to buy, but I then discover that they will not be released for another two or three months. Or I find a cool re-mix of a song I enjoy.
    So, who determines that songs are ready but cannot be purchased for several months? Pre-Internet and pre-digital tracks, labels released singles early to radio stations to build buzz for the album release. Now, in an era of single tracks and diminished cultural importance of albums, the early release strategy is archaic.
    If an artist has a song ready and gets the attention of a blogger to post it which gets the attention of a potential buyer to listen to it, and the listener can not buy it for two more months, what purpose is being served by getting it to the blogger? Isn’t the entire goal to get someone’s attention so the artist can sell the track? In two more months, the listener will be hearing more music that will be unavailable for two or three more months and will have forgotten what he heard two months prior unless by some miracle it shows up on a radio station. Meanwhile, the buyer’s dollars remain in his wallet and the artist is not making money.
    Additionally, if there is a remix, or live version, posted by the artist on Soundcloud, let the listener’s buy it. Adding a Bandcamp download can not be that difficult and if the band can make a few more dollars, good for them.
    I find this aspect of the music industry to be incredibly frustrating. I also feel bad that artists are being so badly served by their management/labels that still follow record release strategies from the 1980s.

  2. @Jay there is a very good reason why this stuff happens and for those that produce new releases the physical market (which so many here on forget about) is a larger slower moving wheel, however once a release get’s moving in retail the numbers on soundscan and the potential to recoupe the cost of make the release go up by 50 percent. Just look at what Dawn Richard is doing as an indie by having her release ready for both clicks and bricks. So yes it take a bit longer, frankly producing a release beyond the music itself is a rather complicated task depending upon the packaging and like many good things it takes time.

  3. @Nelson, I am not going to profess knowledge of the physical release market and the margins involved. I suspect that the profits, as they are, for many bands must lie in the vinyl releases.
    However, in a digital age with an ocean of music, if a band has managed to break to the surface and capture a potential purchaser’s ear, I think that they should be ready to sell that music. If that means that the digital release intended to build hype for the physical release is available for sale earlier than the physical release, so be it. I am not sure what the harm would be.
    In a brutal environment for musicians, and with Spotify paying a pittance, the dollars from digital sales have to be worthwhile and appreciated. If I managed a band, I would at least re-visit this paradigm.

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