The best time to release an album is when you can attract the biggest audience possible for your new music. Well, this is easier said than done. What is undeniable is that releasing an album is challenging, irrespective of the time of the year. However, it is also true that certain times of the year tend to pose more challenges than others. To maximize the release potential of the songs you have put your soul into creating, you must do some intelligent pre-planning. Preparing for the big release is the surest way to ensure more streams, more listeners, and an incredible increase in your followers.
Unfortunately, there are no absolutes for picking the “right” time for an album release. The fan bases of various artists can be as different as day and night. Project niches also vary, making certain times of the year great for some musicians and unsuitable for others. Dive in for a detailed and well-researched month-by-month guide.
A Detailed Month By Month Guide on the Best Time to Release an Album
One thing that is inevitable in life is change. As such, certain times of the year that proved to be fantastic for album releases in the past can prove fatal today. Likewise, the new, improved, and up-to-date guide we share today may be outdated in a few years to come. The best way to make an undoubtedly great choice on when to release your album is to ask yourself these questions:
- What is your fan base, and when is the best time to reach them?
- Are there other artists releasing albums to which your music can take undue credit?
- What is the best way to release your music to ensure synergy across a range of platforms?
- Do you need visuals to enhance your content and create emotional energy to propel your album release?
- What is your budget, and do you have something set aside for marketing?
Once you have answered the above questions, you can plan, plot, organize, strategize and mobilize. The idea is to ensure your music is ready for the masses by the time it is released. Here is a month by month cheat sheet that may just help you pick the best time to release an album for maximum exposure:
January is often a slow month the whole world over. It is like people have a collective hangover and need a few weeks to recover. In addition to people being checked out, the climate tends to be colder until mid-Jan. Therefore, making it unwise to plan an album release, especially if you are a touring act musician.
On the bright side, January is a great month for an album release if your music is more focused on social media. During this time, most blogs and radio stations are yet to be flocked with the “next new thing.” Moreover, the majority of major artists often don’t have new material in January. It qualifies as the perfect time for emerging artists to dominate the spotlight with their fresh and new releases.
Best Time To Release An Album; February
If you want to release your album at the beginning of the year, it is best to do so between mid-Jan and mid-Feb. After the 15th of February, most people shift their attention to SXSW (South by Southwest) conferences and festivals. Bear in mind that the SXSW festivals focus on celebrating the convergence of music, film, tech, culture, and education. The event may rob your album of the media attention it deserves.
SXSW festivals gather a lot of attention, and it’s no surprise that people often remain focused on the conference in March. These festivals occur in Austin, TX, where the press focuses most of their attention. In short, March is considered the wrong time to release an album.
Best Time to Release an Album; April
With spring in April, this is the best time to release an album if you are a touring act musician. By this time, SXSW is out of the way, meaning that fans are looking forward to the next exciting thing. According to professionals in the music industry, including music producers and publishers, April is one of the best months to plan an album release.
May is yet another ideal time of the year to push new music material. It’s right at the beginning of summer, school is out of the way, and everyone is looking forward to the festival season. If you are a travel act artist, releasing your album and getting started on your gigs can make a big difference in your career.
It remains imperative to understand that May is not the best month for all artists. You must consider your type of project as well as the kind of music you want to release. Because the masses are looking for the summer, the albums that make it big are those that contain “summer songs.”
Both June and May are pretty much the same when it comes to the level of idealness. June is also smacking in the middle of the festival season, making it more likely for the masses to give your album maximum attention. If you have great music you want to share with the world, releasing it in June may just give your career a significant boost.
Essentially, any album, even from a starting musician, can turn into a big hit if released during this month. The trick is to promote your music effectively to have it noticed and improve your streaming presence.
The month of July marks the peak of the festival season. During this month, people are checking out to avoid the August rash. According to professionals, you can never go wrong if you choose an album release date between April and July.
Best Time To Release An Album; August
Whether August is the best time to release an album will highly depend on a range of aspects. For instance, your type of fan base will play a leading role in dictating whether your songs will gather the required attention or not. Even though the festival season is still in full swing, August is considered the month right before the “heavy release season.” Other artists may steal your limelight, prominent artists looking to spruce up their game for the Grammys depending on your targeted audience.
September is an almost ideal month for artists to release new music hits. As people usher in the fall season and school is just getting started, your album is likely to receive plenty of attention. Just ensure that you make your submissions before the end of the month, especially if you aspire to win a Grammy.
Emerging bands are better off taking the bench during October. It may be perhaps the worst time of the year to release your album, more so if you are yet to enjoy fame and popularity. With most established bands flexing muscles and showcasing their new releases, the media may not give you the level of coverage you need.
November / December
November and December are the months between Thanksgiving and New Year. You may be wondering whether these months are just as favorable as the summer festival months. Well, they are not, unless you are preparing a Christmas music album release. Unfortunately, the attention of the media during this time of the year is highly divided. Therefore, only major labels receive considerable attention.
Again, radios and blogs focus on holiday-themed programs towards the end of the year. This means less airtime and slots for all other artists with other kinds of music. There are likely to be more people interested in holiday matters than those willing to discuss new music releases. When coupled with industry gatekeepers taking time off their craft to tour the world with their families, you may hardly receive any noteworthy attention.
Best Time To Release An Album; How Far Out Should You Plan?
Again, the best time to release an album is when you have done all the necessary preplanning. You must plan, for everything, including unexpected glitches during the production process. Generally, the idea is to ensure you have adequate time to set things up and adjust if necessary.
Let’s find out how early you should begin planning for your release:
3 Months In Advance
We highly recommend you start planning your album release 3 months ahead of time. Here are 2 vital things to do on the third month to the release:
Ensure You Are Registered
First, if you are yet to register with a Performing Rights Organization, this is the best time to do so. Some of the best PROs include SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers), ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), and BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.). By registering with a PRO, you will be ensuring that you receive your dues once streaming platforms, TV, radio, concert halls, and nightclubs start playing your music.
Spruce Up Your PR Plan
Second, use PR to ensure that your release flourishes once it drops. Naturally, the best way to ensure this is to have a great PR plan. Irrespective of your level of accomplishment in the industry, it’s best not to underestimate the power of great PR. An excellent public relations strategy is equally important as high-quality recordings and choosing the best time to release an album.
Through proper PR, you can get the word out about your new release. You can hire a PR firm and do promos or personal networks to ensure that people know about your plans. Ideally, this should spark excitement and ensure your fans are ready and eager to hear your new songs. Unfortunately, having incredible lyrics and top-quality visuals may not mean much if nobody knows that your music is out.
Best Time To Release An Album; 2 Months In Advance
You cannot underestimate the importance of planning ahead of time. Having everything set before the big release can be monumental in your success.
Let’s have a look at vital things to do at least two months before releasing your album.
Update Your Photo Gallery
Great photos are ideal for good PR. You want to have an up-to-date gallery, especially once the press and blogs begin showing attention to your new material. Usually, it is best to seek the expertise of top-tier photographers, coupled with the best image experts. Take note that the press you receive will eventually become an extension of who you are—or who your fans think you are.
Grow Your Audience
As you work on setting the best time to release an album, you cannot afford to remain inactive on social media platforms. Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep your fans and followers eager about your new material. Consider sharing information about your process on FaceBook and Instagram Live. You can also hold Twitter campaigns to spread the word about your upcoming album.
1 Month In Advance
It is perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous 6-4 weeks before you finally release your album. This will be the best time to confirm that everything is set out as planned and you are ready to share your new songs with the world. Moreover, this is the right moment to submit your singles or album to a digital music distribution company. Even the best music distributors may require at least 4 weeks to share your work with major streaming platforms.
Hype It Up!
See, when it comes to picking the best time to release an album, it’s all about choosing when you can get the most hype. Take the time to blast your album release on all socials and give your fans a piece of the action through behind-the-scenes pictures. Using a blend of synergy, creativity, clever planning, and focus, you can ensure that your audience is ready for your album, irrespective of when you release it. Again, the secret is to start planning in advance and hype it up!