The debate of how frequently an artist should release projects has been a discussion that’s lasted decades. The general consumption of music radically changed when digital music allowed the free consumption of mixtapes and other downloads through DatPiff and LimeWire over the years. Now, music is easier than ever to release through and promote through streaming services and social media. However, artists can miss out on plenty of opportunities, and profits, if their albums aren’t released with careful consideration for consumption time in between projects. 

It’s important to not release full projects of music too often, as it has backfired greatly on artists both large and small over the years. For example, rapper Logic has been considered to be one of the artists with the greatest downfall in the last three years due to a focus on quantity over quality. Logic burned out his fanbase from releasing full albums more and more often over the years, leading up to two albums within three months of 2019 (neither of which were well-received). 

Nearly one year since his last album, Logic has stepped back from the spotlight to focus on making quality music rather than building up streaming numbers. While it’s great to have a solid work ethic and the ability to create such a large amount of music, it’s just as important to focus on the quality of the music so that people are more likely to return to it and keep streaming for a longer period of time. 

On the other hand, it’s key to not go too long without releasing a project, unless the artist has made their name well-known and can afford to go longer without releasing a project. There have been too many rappers to count that have gone an extensive amount of time without releasing an album, attempt a grand comeback, then are known as “irrelevant” or “a long-awaited disappointment” to the general public. 

Performers such as Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean have gone three to four years currently since their last full album release, yet fans are clamoring for new music and at the edge of their seats for an album in 2020. It’s these artists, that are currently on another tier and haven’t oversaturated their fanbase, that can afford to take breaks of this nature from releasing music, as their fanbases are much more likely to give them a chance when they return. 

A rule of thumb to go by is the “Album, Tour” method. Artists will often repeat a cycle of releasing an album and promoting it on tour, back to back. A tour typically lasts anywhere between five and nine months depending on the scale, which is enough time in between projects to let fans consume the latest album freely before receiving another. Adding another two to three months for the upcoming album’s promotion after the tour brings the artists to nearly a year in between projects, allowing the artist to maximize a project’s listening period and grab their attention yet again with a new project! 

Social media allows the artist to see if fans are desperately craving new music in the meantime before a full album is ready. If so, it could be wise to put a couple of loosies that the artist is confident in on an EP (generally 4-6 songs) that can be performed on the road, should they receive positive reception and streaming numbers from fans. It’s important to consider timing carefully when releasing music, as it can make or break an artist’s chance at being listened to and gaining replay value from their core fanbase. If an artist takes their time in their craft, plans their moves wisely, and has faith in the process over time, they should be on their way to the top in no time!