How Important Are Release Dates?

This week in our open thread, where Musformation readers can ask us for advice on their problems, we received an interesting question from Eric Jainchill, “How important is setting an official “release date” for a DIY release? Also, how much lead time should we have before the release to secure press, etc?”

I think the answer to this is all about expectations. If you’re a small act looking to gain a little press and hoping that after doing many thing over the next year you will have reached a much bigger fanbase, then you can just release your music whenever it’s ready and start working, since the most important work is done after the release anyway when writers and fans can actually hear the record out in the real world and it is able to be shared by everyone who enjoys it.

With that said, if you want to submit to print publications and you are relatively unknown, 10 weeks out can be a safe amount of time to send out to writers and build up a reason they would pay attention to your unknown release. If you are only pursuing online press 2 weeks is more than adequate time to secure a review, interview or other features in time for release day. If you only have an hour or two to devote to work you may want to get started even earlier since all of this work can take a while.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • Andy Mort

    This is a really important topic. One of the things that really stuck with me was some advice Tom Robinson from the BBC gave me a couple of years ago. He said when sending stuff out with the hope of getting featured, reviewed, played etc, ALWAYS put a future release date on it. Even if it’s a track from an album that came out a few years ago, just create a new release date for it that means it appears relevant and new today. Publications and radio are not interested in stuff that is old. As soon as the release date passes the work is old as far as they’re concerned. It’s not good but that’s the way it works. It doesn’t mean you always need to be putting out new stuff, it just means you have to create the perception of new. Hope that makes sense.