Music Release Timeline – one of the most underrated elements of making your music release a success. For once, planning your release in advance will make sure you have everything you need prepared. Simply taken, a music release timeline is a step by step plan for your next single or album.
What is more, with a timeline you can set very specific dates. Firstly, this can help your own workflow and productivity. Next, it can help to get the whole team on the same page. You might want to outsource some work to industry experts. A music release timeline will ensure that all can do their best job.
On one side, many musicians have a rough idea when they want to release the new single. On the other side, most musicians don’t know how to plan backwards from the release date. And therefore not making sure to implement all important milestones during the release process.
This may be pitching your track to Spotify for Artist. Equally important, uploading your new YouTube video in time for Google to render it to HD quality needs time. Also, having all your content assets prepared in advance can be part of your music release timeline.
Music Release Timeline – Important Milestones To Keep In Mind
12 weeks before your release
Make sure you have your budget finalised at this point. If you are relying on institutional funding for your project, check out funding periods and deadlines.
It can take some time to hear back from any organisation that grants music funds. Always have a plan b in case the money doesn’t get through. Again, have a timetable with clear dates. This way you know exactly when you need to start working on your release even without the money.
If you are running a crowdfunding campaign for your release, time it accordingly. All your funds should be ready at this point. Why? Simply because if you hire experts like a graphic designer you want to be able to pay them in a timely manner.
Also, merch production, video shoots and everything else need immediate payment, too.
Moreover, have your team together. This means contact everyone that you want to work with. Make sure they have time to work with you when you need it.
To summarize this point, make sure that no questions are open anymore. Will you have money for music videos? Are you planning any live streams? If you are going for a single, how many will follow?
11-8 weeks before your release
Before you even think about promoting a tour or album, you must ensure your brand is up to date! This means your artwork, EPK, website, social media, merch etc. are all ready and aligning with your current project.*source: Music Industry Inside Out
I can’t stress this enough. For a coherent visual identity for your release, it is key to have all ‘assets’ together at this point. Asset simply means a valuable thing. May it be your social media postings like Instagram Posts or Stories. Or the thumbnails for the YouTube videos + plus the actual video content. Try and produce as many videos as possible.
If you need new photo material for your release make sure to have it all done now. This way, you can prepare a sleek EPK to send out to journalists and bloggers in advance.
It could also be a good idea to plan out any newsletter you are wishing to send out. Most newsletter programs let you save templates. If you work together with a graphic designer they can help you with this.
Then, give your website a good old update. Make sure all SEO standards like page speed are on point. You can already prepare any new info and save it for later!
Last but not least have your artwork ready. Even if you are ‘only’ going for a single release. Make sure the artwork is optimised for streaming purposes.
8-6 weeks before – your music release timeline gets closer!
Now it’s time to send your music and artwork over to your distributor. That early? Yes, give them enough time to process your input themselves. This will leave them enough time again to push your music into streaming services like Spotify. This again will give you enough time to pitch your focus track to playlist editors over Spotify for Artist.
Make sure to have your Spotify Pre-Save Campaign ready, for example. Building momentum with your fanbase can take time.
What is more, reach out to any independent playlist curators you know. Alongside this, you can start reaching out to any media unless you hire a publicist. You can even draw up an old school press release if you’d like.
Equally important, amp up your target audience research! This way you have fresh numbers on the people you want to reach with your release campaign.
You can also start pre-populating your Facebook Business Manager or Google Ads with your target audience. By being pre-active you can save a lot of stress and nerves comes campaign time.
4 weeks before your release
Now you can really go to town with the advertising. May it be on Instagram or on YouTube with Google Ads. You can also send out the first newsletter remembering every one of the Spotify Pre-Save campaigns.
What is more, you can schedule a video premiere on YouTube for your official music video. Communicate that well in advance and keep remembering your fans.
All that preparation work of building up a fanbase really pays off now. No matter if you do a live stream with the new single or just an IGTV video. Make sure to let the fanbase know and incorporate them as much as possible.
Now is the time to really activate all resources. Your fans should be at the forefront of your mind. Perhaps you can run little competitions with your fans and re-share their content. User-Generated-Content really can increase the buzz before your release.
Traditionally you would also be on tour now. Hopefully, this will be possible again shortly. If you still can’t go on tour or face fully-booked venues, a virtual tour might be for you.
One is for sure, having a good plan in place for your next release can really help you pull through. You might want to switch one or two things up that I’ve recommended. However, sticking to a plan overall is paramount for making it through your music release timeline!