There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gearing up to release a new album. All the adrenaline, excitement, and anticipation of the last several months coming to fruition—it can be tempting to just release it on a whim, eager to get it out to the world.
I hate to break it to you, but unless you’re Beyoncé or Taylor Swift, you can’t just drop an album with no notice or hype and expect press, fans, and opportunities to find you. You’ve got to put a little planning into it! While that might seem daunting at first, it’s not only a necessary part of a successful album release, but it can be pretty fun too. Here’s how to plan for your next release, and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
Get your assets in order
One of the first things you want to make sure you do is get your EPK together. This means having a professionally written bio and hiring a photographer to take your band photos—preferably a photographer who has worked with bands before. Make sure you get to work on these assets early since you’ll need to give yourself plenty of lead time. Speaking of…
Give yourself at least 8-weeks lead time
Remember how I mentioned not just dropping your album on a whim and calling it day? That’s because you need several months prior to the release to truly hype up the release. If you’re running a press campaign (which you should) your publicist will need 8 weeks lead time. If you’re DIY-ing your campaign, you should allow yourself at least the same 8 weeks, if not a little more depending on how strong your media connections are.
The purpose of this time is to be able to set up a premiere or two, as well as get the music to press prior to its release for review, interview, and general feature consideration. Once an album is out it becomes increasingly difficult to get reviews, so you need that 8-weeks to set things up. Once you begin to get some features rolling in, be sure to share them with fans on social media and tag the outlets that featured you.
Begin working on your strategy
It might seem like releasing an album is as simple as recording the music, getting it out for distribution, and then sharing it on social media. But if you really want to make waves, you have to make sure you have a strong strategy in place. Ask yourself things like: “what’s my press strategy?” “what kinds of things can I post on social media over the next few months to get fans excited?” “How can I make our release show special?” “What unique merch can we sell or giveaway with this album?” “What happens after the album comes out? Is there a music video in the works? A tour?”
Having a game plan can make the difference between a haphazard, lackluster release, and one that helps build your career.
Gather your pitch list
If an album drops and no one hears it, did it really come out? The answer is yes, but that it really sucks because now you’ve spent thousands of hours and dollars on something no one gets to appreciate. Your music is a gift, it has the power to change lives and inspire greatness, but if you don’t give it the release it deserves, then you can’t expect it to have that kind of impact. This is why running a PR campaign is so important. Ideally I suggest budgeting for a publicist, but if that’s not an option, teach yourself how to run a PR campaign, start building relationships, and get ready so that when your album is ready for release, you can make sure it’s getting the exposure it deserves.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR and Infectious Magazine. Muddy Paw clients have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, and more. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.