As an independent artist, it is important to release a single at the right moment to optimize your chances of being heard. When is the best time to release music? With so many new releases saturating the online music landscape, it can be easy to fall through the cracks. Follow these tips to release your song at the right time and get your music heard.
1. When is the best time to start releasing your music?
Once your song is fully finished, give yourself at least a month to distribute your music and prepare the marketing campaign. This will give you enough time to organize promotional material and also set up a pre order feature. What’s the benefit of setting up a pre order, otherwise known as a pre-save? First of all, it generates excitement about your new release and creates a concrete call to action for your fans. Secondly, it can help boost streams from the moment the song is released. When your listeners pre-save your song, it automatically shows up in their Spotify library on release day.
In order to submit your music to Spotify editorial playlists through Spotify for Artists, you need to do so ahead of time. There can be delays with digital distributors and your release showing up on your Spotify for Artists dashboard. If you decide on a release date that is only a week away, you won’t have enough time to properly pitch your song. The sooner you can pitch your song, the better.
The one month rule works well when preparing singles, but if you are releasing an EP or a new album, give yourself three to six months. This can include planning a first single leading up to the EP or album release. If you want to work with a PR agent, you need to give them enough time to properly pitch your project to the media. If you decide to take the music promotion into your own hands, check out Groover: an innovative platform that lets artists contact influencers in the music industry with guaranteed feedback.
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2. Best day to release music
Across the board, the best day to release music as an independent artist is Friday. Releasing new music on Fridays has been an industry standard amongst record labels and indie musicians for awhile now. This can be traced back to the Billboard charts: back in 2015, they changed their weekly cycle back to run from Friday to Thursday. Music released on the first day of that cycle will have better chances of reaching the top of the charts. Music streaming platforms like Spotify update playlists like Release Radar and New Music Friday on Fridays. Releasing music on this day will increase your chances of getting into these playlists. Also since the pandemic started, Bandcamp launched Bandcamp Fridays. On the first Friday of every month, they waive their revenue share and artists get to keep 100% of the profits. When in doubt, choose a Friday.
3. Best months to release music
What’s the best months to release music as an independent artist? First think about the genres of the song you’re releasing. If your new song is a Christmas jingle, for example, don’t pick a release date in the summer. Think about the mood of your song and make sure to time it with the right season. Ready to release an upbeat summer jam? Set the release date for June. Got a folky winter song? Time the release for January.
If your music doesn’t necessarily fit a particular season, there are certain months to favor and certain months to avoid.
Best months to release music:
- May / June: Warmer days are back and summer is just around the corner. May and June are great months to release new music and also coincide with more touring and festival opportunities. If you’re releasing music in May or June, try to book some gigs to promote your music.
- September / October: Fall is a great time to release new music because people are back to work and back to school. Take advantage of music industry professionals being back in the office.
- January: New year, new you, new resolutions, and new songs. January is a slow month for bigger artists releasing new projects but works well for emerging and independent artists. Everyone has that start of year motivation to seek out new music and industry professionals could be looking for the next big thing.
Months to avoid:
- December: Around the holidays, industry professionals are usually checked out and spending time with their families. This goes for your fan base as well. December is not the best time to release new music because people’s attention span’s are elsewhere.
- March: March is a bad month to release new music as an independent artist because the SXSW festival takes over. Unless you’re playing in the festival, don’t release music in March because all the industry professionals will have too much to cover already!
- August: Releasing new music in August is risky. At the end of the summer, most music industry professionals are on vacation and won’t be tuning into new music releases until they get back to the office in September. Once summer vacation is over, there will be new releases in September to focus on and songs released in August could easily be missed. If you want to release a summer hit, try for a release date in June or at the beginning of July at the latest.
4. Best time to release your music for optimal fan engagement
Digital distributors will automatically set all music to release at midnight on the chosen release date. This is pretty standard. Some distributors like TuneCore and DistroKid now allow artists to choose a custom release time of their choosing through Spotify. After choosing a custom release time, you can then decide if you want to synchronize the release to be available at the same moment regardless of time zone. Being able to release the song at the same moment means your fans across the globe won’t have to wait. Midnight remains the standard best time to release a song and also builds hype.
Remind your fans the day before your release that the song will hit streaming services at midnight. Of course, make sure to post about the song and share it on release day when people are awake. Some of your most devoted fans will stay up until midnight to hear the track, but most people will listen to it on release day. If your song is scheduled to be released on streaming platforms at midnight on Friday, for example, we recommend engaging your community by:
- Posting on social media on Thursday afternoon around 3pm to remind your fans that the song is being released at midnight
- Posting on social media on Friday at 10am to announce the song is available on all streaming platforms
5. Conclusion: when is the best time to release your songs?
So when is the best time to release music as an independent artist? To summarize, here are our recomendations:
- At least a month after the song is finished to properly prepare your music promotion campaign
- On a Friday to boost your chances of getting into playlists
- During these months: May / June / September / October / January
- Schedule the music on digital streaming services to be released at midnight but post about it on social media the afternoon of the day before and on the morning of release day
Now that you know when is the best time to release a song, start the music promotion phase with Groover!