TO EVERY THING, THERE IS A SEASON, AND A TIME FOR EVERY MUSICAL PURPOSE

“When it’s your time, it’s your time.” – Bruno Mars

So what is the best time of the year to release your music on to an unsuspecting public? The following is what I’ve always believed to be the general consensus of a music release schedule/calendar, although I’ve never actually seen it spelled out. I mostly heard it repeated by sales people at weekly marketing meetings during my 20-year stint at Warner Bros. Records, generally used as a reason (or an excuse) as to why this or that record wasn’t selling. You can easily see how you could use these observations to your advantage were you in a similar spot. I’ve taken liberties and expounded on these theorems, although most of them are pretty self-evident, if you buy into any of this rationale to begin with. Of course these seasonal reasons are more psychological than rational. But so is music. And it all starts with the music. But then there’s the problem of when it it the appropriate season?

New Years through Easter – Historically this is the best three-month time period to release new music from new artists. Why? Out with the old, etc.  It’s a new year and a clean slate. And it’s a wide-open field because all the big blockbuster music was sold over Christmas. So whatever was popular last year is now over and gone.  Good riddance and thank God that year is over.

Most popular music this time of year? Cold, gray and spare singer/songwriter stuff, perfect for a case of the SADs.

And although it’s a dreadful time of year to tour, for obvious meteorological reasons, it’s also a great time to tour because no one who could tour at any other time of year wants to put up with the vagaries of the weather. Better bundle up and hurry up then, because here comes Spring and you’re going to lose your new artist/new music window of opportunity.

Easter through the Fourth of July – The three months between Sprung Spring and the long, hot summer is a time for known artists to introduce summer songs for summer tours and to get some music out there before it gets to be too hot. Most popular sounds on the radio? Up-tempo, gettin’ ready for summer songs. It’s a great time for a club tour before college finals end and big summer festivals begin.

Fourth of July through Labor Day – Summer doldrums means two months of dead-in-the-water, d’Aug days. Everyone’s on vacation, including consumers. Nobody wants to hear anything new; too busy trying to keep cool. Radio will more than likely just keep playing the same stuff they played in the Spring to avoid the annoying, time-consuming effort of moving anything around. Good time to play air-conditioned clubs, flat floors and theaters, if you can. BTW, country music plays well in the summer. Figures.

Labor Day through Thanksgiving – Back to work and back to school and a whole new musical outlook. These three months are the best time for established artists to release their latest. These are the last three months available to release music and tour before consumers spend all their disposable income on things even more disposable than music. Radio gets very competitive with all the major music being released and promoted. Not a good time for a new artist with new music.

Thanksgiving through New Years – The one month of the year where everything sells and nothing sells. Radio is consumed with holiday music (which was all released back in August and September) and live shows (Jingle Balls anyone?). All marketing and promotion efforts are out the window because everyone’s annual budget ran out in early November and they’re all living on promises and hot air. Don’t even think about putting out any music in December, even if (or unless) you’re Beyoncé or Madonna. Might as well enjoy the holidays as best you can and get ready for the New Year, and the return of the new artists and their new music.

“Good music is good music, and everything else can go to hell.” – Dave Matthews

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