How Top Musicians Pick Album Release Dates

Album and single releases are still a major event for all musicians looking for commercial and critical success. There is no perfect formula for what makes an album or single take off, but there are certain aspects to releases that musicians can be mindful of.

Here are some things musicians should consider before picking their release date.

1. Know the competition.

September 11, 2007 was a day that determined the career path for two larger-than-life rappers. Kanye West and 50 Cent faced off by releasing albums on the same day. Although four years earlier 50 Cent had the best-selling album of 2003, the face-off ended in Kanye’s favor.

This established a sharp rise in Kanye’s career and a downturn in 50’s. Artists should be aware of other releases on the same day and be cautious of competition.

2. Pick a date that is good for consumers.

All best-selling albums have a quality that appeals to consumers beyond a release date, but that date is still very important. Two examples of albums that capitalized on a good release date are the Eagles’ Hotel California and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

The Eagles released their iconic album at the beginning of December, and Jackson released his best-seller at the end of November. These two albums likely found their way into many Christmas stockings.

3. Study best-sellers.

Every musician wants to make an album that critics and fans love, but it is hard to find time to study a wide variety of music. Feel comfortable creating a new sound, but allow others to influence that new style.

Is there a unifying similarity in production styles of best-sellers? If so, find out how to replicate high production quality when creating music.

By studying the best and learning the importance of release dates, musicians can optimize their releases to get the best exposure for their work. These bodies of work are products, and once a musician learns the business elements necessary to make a living, creating great work becomes easier. Join the likes of Michael Jackson, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac. Gain buzz by releasing work at the right time.

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Will Randick is a blogger and educator working out of the Bay Area.