When Is The Best Time To Release Your Music?
Releasing music can be a scary process. After pouring your heart and soul in crafting the perfect album, you want it to land with a splash, not a flop, and timing is key to success. Fortunately, there’s a formula which can help you figure out the ideal moment.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Ignore anyone who claims to know the right time to release your music. Finding the perfect date involves more than calendars and educated guesses.
Whenever we discuss releasing music with artists, we first ask them to consider the reality of music promotion today. There are millions of artists vying for attention across a vast landscape of streaming platforms, blogs, influencers, and social media apps. Competition is at an all-time high, and no matter when you choose to release your music, there will be an unknown amount of musicians all over the world who are eyeing the same date.
It’s okay if you feel intimidated. Releasing music can be scary, regardless of the competition. Most musicians at every level of success feel that fear. It fuels an entire industry of influencers, insiders, and other so-called marketing gurus who make a living tell people the “secrets” to success. But the truth is that no one can tell you the perfect release date to release your music because no such date exists. Finding the right time for you is a formula, which we’re happy to share.
The first thing you need is the music. Is the single or album you’re hoping to release the best work you can create? Is it recorded, mixed, and mastered? Does it meet not only your standards for a quality release but that of your fans? Are you sure that you cannot produce a better version of the material you want to share, at least right now? If so, congrats! You’re one step closer to finding a release date.
The next thing you need is promotional materials. Like music, the need for this content is obvious, but many artists approach it in a manner that is detrimental to their upcoming release’s success. Instead of picking a date and rushing to meet that deadline, musicians should focus first on gathering the materials they need to maximize the impact of their release. Get the artwork, photos, videos, song clips, video teasers, scheduled social posts, email newsletter copy, and anything else you need ready before you announce a release date. Please make a list of everything you want for your promotional rollout and check off each item as you complete it. Then, place those materials in a folder, Dropbox, or Google Drive that you and the rest of your team can access at a moment’s notice.
Once you have these elements in place, finding a date is a matter of estimating how long you need to make as many people aware of your upcoming release. Massively successful artists like Ariana Grande, for example, can surprise their fans with extremely fast rollouts for new material because their audience is always demanding new work. Rising artists, however, often need more time to build momentum for a new song or record. Figuring out what amount of time works best for you is dependent on many factors, including the size of your audience, the number of promotional materials you have to share, and the goal of the release. A four to six-week rollout is normal. It is also about half the length of most campaigns from a decade ago. Audiences are increasingly distracted, so lengthy campaigns come with a risk of losing interest, but shorter campaigns may not turn enough heads. It would be best to find what works for you and the materials or plans you have to maximize engagement. It may take several releases to nail down your approach, but it’s worth the effort to get it right.
So, when is the right date? We can’t say! It’s different for everyone.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.