Release new music now or postpone it? This question is at the core of the music industry.
As well as at the heart of any musician. It is one of the most pivotal moments in someone’s career.
Not only for any band or musician but also for music industry professionals. Basically, anyone who works in the music business lives of the release of new music.
Important to realise, the moment of release can be very much a success factor. First, the music needs to match the season.
Nobody would buy a Christmas Album on 1st of August. Likewise, nobody would tune into a banging summer single in the middle of January.
The overall mood of the release should roughly match the overall vibe at that time. It could be a good idea to research different traditions around the globe in case you are aiming for a worldwide release.
Far too often, the music business is only having Europe and the US in mind. With the exception of Japan, of course.
Another important thing to check is the overall release calendar. That means, is there already any other big release?
Of course, there is always the danger that someone drops an album or single out of nowhere. Like Beyoncé dropped her latest album ‘Homecoming’.
But to be fair, if you are in the ranks of Beyoncé than you probably won’t need any advice on how to best release new music 😉
The coronavirus has pushed back many music releases
Many big names like Alicia Keys or Sam Smith changed their release plan due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is due to the fear that because of closed shops, there won’t be many buyers.
Although this might be true for big names who still sell a lot of physical copies, many other artists rely more on digital sales anyway.
Also important is streaming for the success of a release. There are even music genres that show growth in these crazy times.
You see, there are many factors in order to make a release work. So, how do you know if you should push back as well or if you should proceed?
What are some signs that you are ready to release new music?
When in doubt it is always a good idea to look for signs. There are many metrics in the music business that can help you along the way.
That is why keeping on top of analytics is so important. If you have enough data then making decisions like when to release get easier.
The extremely brilliant Amber Horsburgh has written a perfect guide for this. She has identified 23 metrics that are important for making a music release work.
You’ve read right, 23! Follower Growth (Social), Monthly Listeners and Video Completion Length are just three metrics that you can track easily.
(Video Completion Length) Helpful in understanding how much of a message a viewer has seen and how future videos could be made for better retention.*source: Amber Horsburgh
The Retention metric shows the exact moment people stop watching your videos.
Are you in tune with your fanbase?
Another really important aspect of releasing new music is to be in tune with your fanbase. If you can make them be a part of the release, the better.
British singer and songwriter Charlie XCX has just done that. She gave herself the goal to release new music during the lockdown.
Only using material and gear that she already had with her. To emphasize her connection with the fanbase during this difficult time, she invites them to every step of the process.
No matter if it sharing demo songs and discussing them in massive Zoom meetings. Or letting the fans come up with material for the official videos or the artwork.
Charlie XCX takes them on the journey as close as she can. Perhaps she isn’t your cup of tea in terms of genre or style but you have to give it up to her for being so brave.
Letting anyone into the process of creating music can be hard, let alone thousands of fans. In case this is just not the right thing to do for you, you can still use it as a blueprint on how to communicate better with your fanbase.
Release new music while being in a struggling situation can be hard
Some might argue that Charlie XCX can do this type of release because she has the means to. After experiencing a very successful career one might ask if she simply can afford to do such a release.
If you are struggling financially, of course, it is important to keep on top of things. I’m the last person to tell anyone to just write good music and everything else will be fine.
However, if you are a musician than being creative is your true self. You just can’t help it.
And nor should you. Especially in hard times, people do crave for music. If there is any chance for you to grab a pocket of me-time every now and then while you look after yourself then embrace it.
And if you in a very lucky situation and you have an album or song finished than you might as well release it now. I know, every case is different and I won’t make a general claim on how to release music.
However, if you are already thinking about it I would say, gather all the information you can, check-in with your fanbase and perhaps take a leap of faith and do it!