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.