To those who are not in the music industry, release dates might not seem like a big deal. But to artists, especially up-and-coming ones, it is.
If you're an upcoming artist, a minimum of a month is needed to promote a song. That means all material surrounding the single, such as artwork, music video and press releases need to be finalized at least a month before release and ready to send out to media. You also need to upload the song to your distributor, so you can make sure the song will hits all digital channels.
Up until 2018, I was used to emailing the Spotify team concerning upcoming singles to try and land them on official Spotify playlists. Today, this format is no more. Once the distributor has sent the song to Spotify, you then log onto your artist Spotify profile and submit the song via their online format. You fill out your hometown, what the song is about, instruments used etc. and then submit the song and hope whoever is at the end (human? algorithm?) adds your song to an offical Spotify playlist.
In terms of dates, you want to avoid seasons such as Christmas (unless it's a Christmas song) as radios/playlists/media will favour seasonal tunes. When I centered my release around Danish media, I would also have to take into account summer holidays as most offices are empty around that time. I praise Denmark for giving it's workforce adequate holiday, but when everyone decides to go AWOL in summer, it really throws a wrench in the works if you're releasing during that time.
This is only scraping the surface in terms of why a song needs to be ready at least a month before the release date.
Picking a release date
A release date, I find, allows you to plan accordingly. By setting a goal, you are more easily able to plan your timeline. However, the world isn't perfect and as often happens, shit hits the fan.
I used to be hell bent on making sure that the date I had set, was the one that I adhered to. Over the years however, I've realized that this is often at the detriment to the song/body of work...and my stress levels. It means that you rush to finalize parts of the project instead of giving it the space it needs to breathe and reach its full potential. It also means that mentally you go into a tail-spin.
So, for my upcoming EP I have a very relaxed attitude to the release date. I've given myself three months wiggle room. But at the end of the day, even that can be changed. The songs and circumstances will dictate the timeline. I will not force the song to be done within a timeline.
In 2020, I released six singles. If you calculate the minimum 4 weeks of promotion before the single release and then the promotion of the song for a couple of weeks after the song's release, you'll see that six songs in a year, as an independent artist who has to be in charge of all aspects, is no small feat.
I succeeded in releasing six singles, but not without having to reschedule certain song releases.
The more time I spend in this industry, the more at ease I am. I feel like I've been in a race to release music, but now I've decided that it's okay to release at my own pace. With over 40'000 songs being released every day on Spotify, whether I release this week or next year, really doesn't matter. The competition will be the same, so I might as well release with a sane mind and tracks that I know have been fidgeted with in every direction before settling on their final sound.
You can follow my music here :-)
Other links: https://linktr.ee/amandarakel