Understanding how music releases work for recording artists
Have you ever had an album release you were excited for? Did you ever anticipate an album dropping from an artist you were a big fan of? More than likely you have. We all have for the most part. If we like the singer’s music. Or if we like the rapper’s previous work. Then usually we’re excited for the next project. However, as a member of the audience. We’re looking for the outside in. We have no idea what it takes to create an album. We have no idea how much work it takes to prepare for an album release. Anything factor many don’t know about are the calculated dates applied to releasing an album. That’s correct. Recording artists, especially mainstream ones have certain time periods they have to release albums during. Learn all about the best time to release new music for recording artists.
Album release quarters
If you’re a mainstream recording artist in the music business, then of course you release albums. However, you don’t just release an album whenever you feel like it. You can’t just randomly release new music whenever. As a professional artist, you have to have a particular date, time and structure in place. This is because the music industry is a business. Like any business you have to study your audience. You have to study statistics. But most importantly, you have to study how consumers buy. After all, you want people to buy your albums. For this exact reason the music business have specific times new music should be released. These time periods are called quarters. Just like schools have various marking periods. The same way colleges have semesters. The music industry have album release quarters. There are 4 album release quarters. Below each quarter is explained and detailed.
1st quarter – January
A lot of aspiring artists always ask the question “how to become a music artist?” or “how do I make music that sells?” Well understanding the business side of music is one of the best ways to succeed. Making music isn’t just about the singing or rapping aspect. It’s also about knowing how the business works. The 1st album release quarter to understand starts in January. January is the 1st quarter for release new music for recording artists. The reason January is selected as the 1st quarter for recording artists to release music is because it’s the beginning of the year. It’s the time where everything has a “fresh start.” A lot of people are exciting about the new year approaching. Many have new years resolutions so their morale is higher. When people are happier they tend to buy more. They also tend to listen to music more. This means they’re more likely to purpose new music releases.
2nd quarter – April/ May
The 2nd music release quarter are the months April and May. These are great months for recording artists to release new music for several reasons. During these months the weather is starting to break. This means people will be traveling more. The more you travel, the more likely you are to listen to music. The weather breaks which also generally puts people in good moods. During the Spring months there’s also more music festivals happening. This gives R&B singers, Pop acts and Rappers the perfect opportunity to promote their new music. A lot of colleges have music festivals. A lot of major cities have annual Spring music festivals. These are all platforms for recording artists to present their new release. The record labels are very aware of this. Which is why this is another album release quarter time period.
3rd quarter – Summer
The summer time (June, July and August) is perhaps the most popular music release quarter. For obvious reasons, the summer time is one of the best times for recording artists to release new music. This is because once again the weather is nicer. This tends to put people in higher spirits. School is out. This means people tend to travel more. The more traveling, the more listening of music. A lot of students also have summer jobs. This means they have more money to spend. Also a lot of songs become “summer anthems” depending on how catchy they are. These are just some of the reasons summer is the 3rd album release quarter for the music industry. One of the most successful hip hop and music albums ever, “The miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by rapper and artist Lauryn Hill, was released the summer of 1998. Released on August 25th, 1998. Beyonce’s debut solo album “Dangerously in love“, which was very successful, was released June 23rd, 2003. Another classic album that debuted in the summer was the debut album of legendary vocalist Mariah Carey. Her album “Mariah Carey” was released on June 12th, 1990.
4th quarter – Holiday season
The 4th quarter for recording artists to release music is the holiday season. These are the months November and December. These months are coined as a music release quarter due to the fact that people shop during the holiday seasons. Of course this would make these months a great time release music. During the holiday seasons the general public shop tremendously. They also buy gifts for loved ones and family members. Due to all the shopping people tend to travel more. Once again the more traveling, the more you’re likely to listen to music. Of course during this time a lot of recording artists make holiday albums. These are almost guaranteed to sell. One thing to keep in mind for releasing music during November and December. It shouldn’t be a debut album. If you’re going to release new music make sure you’re already an established artist. A debut artist during these months will get overshadowed by all the holiday fiasco that goes on. You also have to remember more holiday music is played on the radio. This means you debut music won’t get much airtime. This means not that much promotion for your debut album. So the chances of your debut album selling a lot would be slim. Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was released in November and sold an extraordinary amount of units. It’s the biggest selling album of all time. It was released November 30th, 1982. However, he was already an established artist and household name. Another classic album released during the holiday season was Whitney Houston’s astonishing Bodyguard Soundtrack. The album was released on November 17th, 1992, long after she was an established vocalist and artist.
Non-popular music release months
Just like there are months where you should release new music. There are also months where you shouldn’t release new music. Some months people are less likely to buy. According to statistics, consumer purchases tend to drop during certain time periods of the year. One of the most popular months to NOT release music is February. During this month people are less likely to shop. They’re just getting over all the holiday shopping. The only exception you should consider when releasing new music is a Valentine’s Day release. If you’re not releasing an album on Valentine’s Day, they don’t release new music as a recording artist in February. A noted album that was released on Valentine’s Day is Whitney Houston’s debut album, Whitney Houston. It was released February 14th, 1985 and sold over 14 million copies at the time, making it the greatest selling debut album of all time. It now has sold over 25 million units. Other months recording artists are advised not to release new music in are March and October.
Understanding how music releases work for recording artists is crucial. It’s not something that only mainstream artists should be aware of. This is a music business guideline that indie artists and aspiring artists should follow as well. Remember no matter how big or small your platform is as an artist, you always want to remain professional. Next time you’re gearing up for an album release or new single, keep these music release quarters in mind.