Bands often come to me while they are still in the studio with a clear idea they would like to release their album within a few months. However, without a finished product this is rarely a successful strategy. I’ve even seen a few bands announce their album release date on social networks and then have to retract that date, due to a variety of circumstances.

These are three reasons why you shouldn’t announce your release date before you have a finished product.

1. The Record Isn’t Finished.

If you are still in the studio or waiting for your masters to come back, you shouldn’t set a release date. The path is paved with best intentions and I’ve had many a band come to me promising the record will be finished by a certain date. The truth is that out of hundreds of bands I’ve only had a handful finish on schedule. Things come up in the studio from financial limitations, scheduling, and creative direction that simply delay the process. By announcing the release date before you’ve completed the record, you’ll cause confusion with your fans and media when you have to change the release date because delays occurred. Even worse you may feel forced to speed up the process and regret the musical direction you took on the record. Ultimately the record may not be set up properly which almost always leads to detrimental results. To give you an extreme example: I talked to a band back in 2012 who expected their release to be done within two months. We are now in 2015 and they are still putting the finishing touches on the record.

2. Cover Artwork

Just like the recording, you are working with a creative process which often sees delays as the artist and musician unify their vision. When we are beginning an album or EP publicity campaign we include artwork in everything that goes out to media so we can begin branding the image early in the campaign. We need to insure media doesn’t have to jump through any hurdles like waiting for artwork to insure coverage. If they have to wait, they may just move on.

3. Publicity Photos

In order to have a cohesive and well planned release, you should also have your new publicity photos in place.  Photos are the cornerstone of any publicity campaign because they often create the first impression of a band for a new fan, media outlet or industry person.  Yes, that’s even before the music. Again, we are talking about creative processes and band member scheduling which could delay finished photos. Since the publicity photos are such an important part of branding in a pr campaign, it is nearly impossible to begin without having those in place. Even if you do have photos completed, are they sending the right message that you are serious about your career and upcoming release? Do the images clearly represent your style of music?

The key to any successful campaign starts with planning. If you don’t know where to begin, start with these three items and make sure they are complete before you announce your release.

Green Light Go: Set deadlines of when you would like to have the three items completed. Then take one small step to move it forward.

Sharing is Caring: Know someone in the studio? Send them this article to give them a head start on planning a successful release.

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