The day has finally come. You’ve been practicing hard, laying down vocal track after vocal track, and finally got your drummer to play with a click. Recording an album can be one of the most rewarding, but most difficult processes a band goes through. Now that the album is finally in your hands and ready to go there’s only one thing left to do, plan your release show!
Not so fast.
As with everything in music and business, there is a lot more than what meets the eye. You might think it’s a good idea to book the hottest new venue in your area with a prime slot a month from now, but take a step back and think first. Bands need to look at the big picture before they set up an actual release. Sure you can book that show and promote as hard as you can, but without any lead time, local press won’t even have a chance to write about the new album.
Planning a release is two fold. First, and very importantly, there is the local show. This is your time to shine in the scene and to finally get your music to the fans. But second, and much more importantly, is the national release. We live in an age of digital formats, and if you’re not putting your music online, you are severely limiting your reach. I understand that you might want the digital release to coincide with the actual show, but sometimes they just don’t line up - and that’s okay!
The digital release - or national release - is where you should attempt to maximize the hype for the album. Keep in mind, press needs at least three months lead time to actually cover an album. The rumors are true, they are incredibly busy, so don’t think that your music is automatically going to the top of the pile. This is the part where you have a chance to build some national credibility for your band, which coincidentally builds up your local cred as well! Keep in mind that majority of the press on your list are not going to be from your area, and won’t be able to attend the release show. So, you really want to plan the release date with them in mind - this will not always line up with the show.
Speaking of that show, let’s talk about a few things. I don’t like the term “release show.” I think a lot of bands get hung up on this and feel like a release show is the make or break moment when it’s not. People in your area are going to want to listen to the album digitally just as much as anybody else. The show is your chance to solidify them as fans. Think of the release as a taste, and the show as the full meal. In all honesty the release show is more of an “album celebration.” Think of it as a local party you’re having with your closest musical friends and family. This should be a local celebration for all of the hard work that you’ve put into the new album. A release show almost has a stressful tone attached. You’ll be so worked up about the actual date, you’ll forget to enjoy yourself. Think of the album celebration show as that time where you get to show off a little and make the night about you. Trust me, everybody will still be more than happy to pick up a copy of the album. Afterall, that’s the whole reason they’re coming in the first place. Now give them a show they’ll never forget so that each time they play those songs they’ll remember your live show too.