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Do Release Dates Affect Album Sales?

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Let's take a quick trip down memory lane. July 26, 2019 was arguably one of the hottest weeks in music this year. You had plenty of high-end artists release projects that day, such as Chance the Rapper, Rich Brian, Of Monsters and Men, YBN Cordae, NF, and the list keeps going on. However, does the date of which an album is released affect how well it will perform? Let's take a closer look.

Going back to the day of July 26, 2019, I was constantly on Spotify, checking out the New Releases section as well as observing trending topics on Twitter. One thing I noticed is that a lot of the non-mainstream bands were not getting any attention on the New Releases page. I only saw albums from major artists, a few singles that dropped earlier in the week, as well as a few albums from the previous week. While I understand the popular albums will go to the front of the page, it does raise an issue for smaller artists that are trying to get started. Even with plenty of advertising, if there are other major artists releasing a project, they could easily outperform the smaller artists.

You would think the smart idea for smaller artists would be to release an album on a day where there aren't as many popular artists releasing a project. However, that might not be the best idea. If people don't know of many artists releasing a project, they might just blow off the week and not look for new music. I know I love searching for new artists and music through the new releases section on Spotify, but I know I'm weird and not everyone does the same thing as I do.

Another question arises, how do release dates affect popular/mainstream artists? Popular artists will definitely have an upper hand since they have money for advertising and have a larger following, but what if they are put up against other major artists? Artists in the same genre? When Chance the Rapper decided to NOT release his album at midnight EST, that built up more of a hype. A lot of people were waiting to listen to other projects because they didn't know exactly when Chance the Rapper's album was going to drop. While there were people that decided to jump on other releases, it built up enough hype to put Chance the Rapper's album at the number 1 spot on the New Releases page on Spotify when the album dropped. Despite mixed reviews, his long-awaited return and promotion for the album did well for the performance of the album.
The next thing with albums are surprise releases and dropping an album sooner than expected. On Thursday, August 8, Bon Iver released his album, i,i. It was set to release on August 30th, but it looks like Justin Vernon wanted to surprise his fans by releasing a new track from the album every hour until all the tracks were posted. Surprise releases can be a good or bad thing for artists. I feel as if the artist hasn't released a new project in years, it will be good for publicity. However, if it has been a year, or even less, a surprise release for an album probably won't chart as well and won't gain as much traction. Fans need time to digest an album, but then again, it is nice to hear artists drop more than one album a year (Ty Segall, Brockhampton, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard to name a few).

Overall, it all depends on the listener and the current trend in music. What do you think about release dates? Should artists focus on releasing albums on a certain date? Should albums mainly be released on Fridays? Let me know down in the comments section!


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