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When it comes to releasing your music, timing can be a major factor. Release your new single at the wrong time of year or on the wrong day of the week and you could be missing out on huge opportunities for wider discovery and higher chart position.
But if you follow these guidelines and release your music at the best time for your genre, you’ll give your music a higher chance of reaching its widest audience.
How are you distributing your music?
Before I dive into the best day to release your music, do you have a way to get your music on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, TikTok, YouTube, and other streaming platforms? Because if you don’t, none of this is going to matter.
Choosing a digital distribution partner for your music is an important first step, and the good news is there are plenty of options for independent musicians, including CD Baby, Distrokid, and Tunecore, among others. Check out our series of posts to help you figure out which is best for you.
- Choosing a digital distributor for your music
- Digital music distribution: It’s not just about streaming
- Digital music distribution Q&A: Pricing, payment, support, and more
Is Friday the best day to release music?
Before June 11, 2015, every country released new music on a different day of the week — for example, in the UK and France, it was Mondays; in the US and Canada, it was Tuesdays. But since then, every country (except for a few Asian nations) releases new music on Fridays, which is known as Global Release Day or New Music Friday.
This was done as a way to standardize the music industry, help coordinate marketing efforts, and cut down on piracy. (If a single was released a day or two earlier in one part of the world, that gave pirates in those countries opportunities to upload illegal copies.) Friday was chosen by the fans via polls asking which day of the week they wanted new music to be released.
To further solidify Friday as release day, the Billboard charts now track inventory from Friday to Thursday. So, artists with a Friday release date are giving themselves seven days in which to make as many sales as possible so they can debut on the charts in a higher position.
Streaming platforms like Spotify have also embraced New Music Friday. Many of their playlists, like “Release Radar” and “New Music Friday,” are focused on Friday releases.
So, thanks to the reasons mentioned above, a Friday release strategy can provide more playlist opportunities, attract a weekend audience, and have a better chance of landing on the charts.
On the downside, you will be competing for attention with every other music artist, worldwide, who is releasing new music, including those released by major labels.
One final consideration: Fans of pop music (including country and hip hop) and EDM are used to hearing new music on Fridays. So, if you make that kind of music, you should probably choose Friday as your release day. But if you make music in other genres — like alternative, jazz, or metal — consider releasing your music on another day of the week.
What about the other days of the week?
Even though Friday is official Global Release Day, there are plenty of emerging artists who release their music on other days of the week. After all, Fridays are so busy that even established artists on record labels can get lost in the fray. Let’s take a look at your two best alternative options.
Wednesday and Thursday release
On the plus side, releasing your music mid-week will mean you have less competition. By choosing a Wednesday or Thursday release, you won’t have to worry about competing with Taylor Swift or Drake, but you can still build up hype for your music for all those listeners looking for something new to listen to over the weekend.
On the downside, you won’t have as many playlist options available to you and you won’t have much of a chance at charting in your debut week because you’ll only have a day or two worth of sales. Still, for indie artists who aren’t interested in trying to make the charts, a Wednesday or Thursday release may be worth trying.
Saturday and Sunday releases
For most artists, a weekend release is not ideal. Yes, you will have less competition from artists releasing new music on Friday (or even on Wednesday or Thursday), but you’re unlikely to receive much attention from Spotify, Apple, or Prime playlists. Then again, you’ll still have the better part of the week in which to sell albums and hopefully chart, and, because people have more free time on their hands on the weekend, you may benefit from an organic push on social media.
Monday and Tuesday releases
Generally speaking, you want to avoid releasing new music on these days. Most people aren’t searching for new music to listen to on Mondays, and Tuesdays aren’t much better.
Then again, there are plenty of artists who have had tremendous success bucking trends and trying something new. If you are motivated and if you can mobilize your fanbase, you absolutely can make a Monday or Tuesday work.
When is the best time to release music?
At the end of the day, the best day to release your music is when your fans will be most likely to hear it. Do some research. Ask your fellow musicians and see what worked for them. As your fans. Find out when they like to discover new music.
There are other factors to consider besides industry trends.
- Gigs. Did you land a killer gig at the venue of your dreams on a Monday night? That might be the best night for you to release your new song — who cares what Doja Cat or Luke Combs does?
- Holidays. Looking to get your new song out in time for the holidays? That might make a Sunday release the perfect for you.
Best months to release music
OK, so I’ve addressed the best day of the week for your new release, but which month is best? Let’s take a look.
- January and February are often the least crowded, so your competition isn’t as strong. Plus, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for selling music.
- March is when SXSW happens, which means all the media outlets are going to be busy covering that conference. So, unless you’re performing there, you may want to skip this month.
- April is home to Record Store Day, so this might be a good month to partner with your local record store for some cross-promotion.
- May through August are great months for releasing new music, especially high-energy, party songs. It’s summertime. School’s out. Music festivals are happening. Avoid the 4th of July as many people are on vacation, but other than that, release away! Of these months, August should be your last choice, but it’s not exactly a month to avoid.
- September and October are great months for releasing cozy music. Perfect for jazz, singer/songwriter music, ambient, etc. If it’s something that you could hear in a Starbucks, this is your time to shine. Also, October might be your best bet for trying to capture some pre-holiday action, because…
- November and December are the busiest months. All major label stars are releasing new music at this time of the year, so your competition is going to be fierce.
Does time of day impact sales and streams?
You’ve chosen a month and a day… does it matter what hour you release your music? Generally speaking, early morning is best because most people stream music between 10 am and 3 pm.
How to maximize your sales
Simply choosing a day, month, hour to release your song isn’t going to guarantee you success. You need to back that up with serious promotion, both before and after your song is released.
Here are some tips to help you have as big a release day as possible:
- Playlists. We can’t stress enough how important playlists are. Do some research to find out which playlists are the best for your music. Then, seven days before your song is being released, pitch your music to the playlist editors. Spotify has a great article on how to do this. (We’ve also got you covered if you want info on how to get your music on Spotify.)
- Marketing and promotion. You can’t beat the classics: posters, radio play, and custom merch. But to promote your release and further your music career, you should have a music release plan that stretches over weeks.
How to Get on the Billboard Charts as an Indie Artist
Choosing a digital distributor for your music: Part 1
Digital music distribution: It’s not just about streaming
Digital music distribution Q&A: Pricing, payment, support, and more
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