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The Best Time to Release Your Album in 2019

This article originally appeared on Sonicbids

It’s that time of year again where I give you a guide of the best months to release your music. In past years, I’ve focused on album releases while touching on singles a bit. This year will include both types of releases with tips on when to play into possible Spotify themes.

 

For the most part, the forecast for 2019 is similar to 2018. Before you plan any release, at the very minimum, you should start the promotion and publicity three to six weeks in advance for a single and three months for an album, especially if media or Spotify curators aren’t already aware of who you are. The simple reason is based on the fact that they will always prioritize a band they know over one they don’t, and you need time to build that awareness.

The major changes I foresee are in November and December. While the United States is mired in election mode in 2018, it will be an off-year in 2019, so media will most likely be focused on wrapping up their "best-of" yearly lists. This means December could open up a bit for the first two weeks when competition is lighter and the year-end lists have been completed.

January

Competition is lighter in mid-to-late January for major and indie releases, so it can be a good time to release albums or singles. We wouldn’t recommend releasing it any sooner than that because, for the most part, media is still getting back in the swing of things after the holiday season and needs time to catch up.

How to maximize your release

Moods: This operates on two ends of the spectrum. Ambient, somber, and reflective music works well here, as does upbeat, get-you-moving types of music.

Other possible themes:

  • Winter-themed songs
  • New beginnings/fresh starts
  • Positive messages
  • Workout songs

February

Competition is still light with independent releases, so February can be a great time to release music.

How to maximize your release

Moods: This also operates on two ends of the spectrum. There’s the angsty, near-rage songs or the cozy, sit-by-the-fire-with-a-warm-cup-of-coffee-or-whiskey tunes.

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Workout songs
  • Love and anti-love or anti-Valentine songs
  • Music rich in relationship content

Folk Alliance occurs in mid-February. If you’re a folk band playing the festival, definitely look at releasing music around this time. If you have an opportunity to be there and network, do it.

March

Competition does increase a bit due to SXSW, but overall, we’re not seeing any overly detrimental effects on releases. We do, however, recommend avoiding releasing music during the conference.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Light and airy, upbeat, party

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Attend SXSW and network. Read the 2018 monthly guide for additional tips.
  • Spring-themed songs
  • Spring Break party songs

April

April is a great month to release music, although there may be competition with more established independent artists who release music around Record Store Day. If you're planning a release around this time, look at creating a promotion with your local record store.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Light and airy, transitional

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Money woes or taxes to tie into the April 15 tax day in the US
  • Spring themes
  • Record Store Day (April 20): Have vinyl ready!

May

This is a great month to release music before the summer festival season opens up.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Summery, upbeat, hopeful, energetic, nostalgic, celebratory

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Mother’s Day
  • Graduation
  • Summer

June

The next few months will be primarily focused on upbeat summer songs and summer music festivals.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Upbeat, energetic, fun

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Music festivals: If you plan to release music in the summer months, book music festival dates to coincide with releases.
  • Father’s Day
  • Graduation
  • Summer (electronic and indie pop do especially well in the summer months)

July

Just like June, the same rules apply.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Upbeat, energetic, fun

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Fourth of July (US)/political and/or patriotic themes
  • Summer songs and beach anthems
  • Music festivals

August

The festival season is winding down toward the end of the month. Summer songs are still a hot commodity (excuse the pun). You will find blogs, especially in Europe, take a hiatus for a few weeks during this time.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Upbeat, energetic, fun

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Summer
  • Music festivals
  • Back to school
  • Coming of age

September

September can be a great time to release an album if you’re an emerging artist, because there’s a bit of a lull overall. Folk-y/Americana and indie-folk music do well this month.

How to maximize your release:

Moods: Upbeat, sad, moody/angsty

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Back to school
  • Fall

October

This is a great month to release music, especially if your music has a haunting or autumn feel.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Sad, moody, angsty, haunting, poetic, dark

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Fall
  • Halloween
  • Rustic songs
  • Coffee-house songs
  • Blossoming love songs

November

Best-of and end-of-year lists will most likely play a factor. We don’t recommend releasing music this month unless you have a strong theme that fits. If you’ve already released music this year that received critical acclaim, now is a good time to loop back and remind that writer about the release.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Uplifting, calm, ambient

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Fall
  • Comfort, coziness, and the first signs of winter
  • Gratitude
  • Uplifting songs that help overcome stress, anxiety and burnout
  • Holiday songs

December

There may be stragglers with best-of lists this month. It’s also a light month for indie releases, so it can be a good time to release music earlier in the month. Avoid releasing any music after December 15.

How to maximize your release

Moods: Cheerful, nostalgia, heartwarming, sentimental, sad

Other themes and opportunities:

  • Winter
  • Holiday songs
  • Best-of lists: Create your own best-of Spotify playlist and ask your fans to do the same and include one of your songs
  • New Year's Eve

 

When you’re planning out your single, EP, or album release, make a list of all the possible themes to determine the best time to release your music. You can then search Spotify playlists for other possible ideas to build off of those main themes.

If you want to further maximize your release, pay attention to themes that pop up and use that to pitch your song, even if it was released a few months back.

For further ideas on how to maximize your album release, read “How To Release Your Album Successfully (Even If You Don’t Have a Record Label)” and download the free, week-by-week album release guide.

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Brijana can be found reading a book on a hammock while listening to her favorite tunes.

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