A launch party for a release is a great way to promote a new album, EP or single. There are lots of musicians trying to launch their music but a release party can help you stand out.
A release party for an album, EP or single is an ideal way to bring your fans together. You can grow your fan base, showcase your music and drive sales. Set a budget, find a venue and promote it as much as you possibly can.
We’ve put together a simple seven-step guide of how to host a successful release party for your music. It is slightly different from a normal event, but some of the same basic rules apply.
What is an EP or album launch?
An EP or album launch is an event that promotes the release of new music. Normally this is a release party but it could be a video launch or a listening party. It is important to think about the aim of your release party and make sure you’ve got your EP or album ready.
Having an idea of your goal for the night is important as it will help you plan. For example, would you want to promote your music on Spotify or are you promoting a music video on YouTube? This could mean that you’re either going to do a listening party or a screening for your video, which will require different kinds of venues.
Overall there are various different options, including a simple launch party, a listening party or a music video release party. However, there are no limits to your imagination. Be creative and make sure you focus on having a good time with your fans.
Why should you host a record release party?
A release party is a great way to build your fan base and promote your music directly to your fans. You could even make money from your party by selling merch. It is also quite a unique event and could help you get noticed by a record label. Either way, it’s an opportunity to hold a great night to celebrate your work.
You can also use the event to promote upcoming shows, a tour or even future releases. It is a lot easier to get fans to commit to coming to a future show when you’re speaking to them in person. Interacting with your audience also helps you gain a better understanding of them, which can give you new ideas for future releases.
Listening parties are great for giving your fans early access to your music before your actual release date. You need a venue where you can have control of the music as well as plenty of space for your fans to sit and relax. Booking a venue with good and drinks will also go down well. If it isn’t possible to play music loudly then you could also hold a silent listening party where everyone wears headphones.
You could put together a playlist of your inspirations or new releases to play as people arrive and get settled. After everyone has arrived and gets comfortable, stop the music and introduce your project. You don’t have to talk for too long but a simple introduction with context behind the release will get everyone’s attention.
Music video release party
Releasing a music video means you can have a screening or premiere. You’ll need somewhere with a projector and hopefully a bar for everyone to get drinks. Also, don’t forget about sound facilities because you can’t have a great screening without good speakers. You don’t need a red carpet but treating it like a formal movie premiere will help get people excited.
It’s probably best to have a formal showing at a specific time and then to play the video in the background on a loop for the rest of the evening. You will also be expected to say a few words, thanking people for attending and asking for their feedback, possibly answering some questions, and you should also do a couple of numbers during the night.
Make sure your guest list includes local media, scouts from record labels, music promoters and of course your fans. Banners, flyers and cards with all your social media contacts on will be great assets to help promote yourself. You might consider selling some merchandise and to try and recoup some of the costs too.
How to plan an EP or album release party
- Set your budget
- Pick a date
- Find a venue
- Plan your line-up/programme
- Promote your release party
- Check the facilities
- Remember your initial goal
Any kind of release party can be a fun night to promote your new album or EP. Regardless of the type of party you go for, make sure you’ve planned effectively. Check out our 7 tips to help you plan your release party.
#1 Set your budget
You need to have a good idea of what you’re going to spend before you get started. Your costs could include venue hire, AV equipment, a sound engineer, security, publicity and printing, food and drink (including free stuff for the other performers), producing merch and copies of your CD, insurance (most venues handle this but if you use somewhere unusual they might not).
You need to think about whether you’re going to charge people to come or if it’s going to be a free event. This could factor into how much you get charged for the venue. However, it’s more important to think about a realistic estimate of people who will come through the door.
Fewer people are likely to come if you charge them. If your goal is to make money then it’s probably a better idea to charge for tickets. On the other hand, if your goal is promotion then you just want people to show up. However, you could still make money in other ways.
You could use this as an opportunity to sell merchandise, CDs or any other product related to your music. If you get it right, you could make more than if you were charging for entry.
You could look at charging between £5 and £15 if you are going to charge for entry. You could throw in merch discounts or offers to help sell tickets. If you are charging the upper price then you should think about throwing in a free CD or some merch. You can charge more if you are doing the gig as part of a charity event.
#2 Pick a Date
This may sound obvious, but you will need to have your album or EP ready for the launch party! Only set a date once this is ready. Planning the launch takes a while so you will probably want to start planning before the music is finished. Make sure you don’t underestimate how long post-production and things like artwork take.
Think about what else is happening around the time of your launch party. If you want students from your local uni or college to attend, then make sure you hold the event in term time and avoid exam season. And, don’t hold your launch on Christmas Day or the evening of the FA cup final!
The day of the week is up to you, Fridays and Saturdays are the typical choices and the crowd will be livelier, but on other nights venues will be cheaper and less likely to be booked up already.
In terms of timings, you need to think of your fan base. If you are expecting loads of 13 and 14-year-olds, then kicking off at 10 pm is not ideal. A 7.30/8pm start is typical and gives you enough time for encores and socialising afterwards. But, you will also need to remember to book the venue at least two or three hours before the doors open for setting up and sound checks.
#3 Find a venue
A release party has to be relaxed and fun whilst still feeling intimate. Don’t choose a venue that’s too big or one you or your fans don’t know. Choose a venue that features the sort of music you know and like, or where you have played before. But, at the same time, your venue shouldn’t be too small or too homely. The launch needs to feel like a special occasion.
Find out where local bands or artists like you held their release parties. Use your social media to ask your fans where they think you should hold the launch party. You can use polls or ask for suggestions as this will engage fans, act as soft advertising, and make people more likely to attend.
Your venue to match your needs. You need to think about how much it will cost and how many people you think will attend. Is the location easy to get to for most of your fans? The best way to find a venue is to go to gigs and see the venue for yourself. You might even get to talk to the staff a sort out a deal.
#4 Check the facilities
You will need to think about things like staff, merchandise, food, drink, and security. Hopefully, the venue will provide staff for front of house, the bar and security. If not, then you will have to hire staff yourself. Don’t forget that the bigger a venue is, the more staff it takes to run it. It may be better to go for somewhere smaller that won’t require as many people.
You need to have a good amount of space if you are going to set up a merch table. You will also need storage for boxes of goods, a cash box, a float, and a card machine (check that there’s a signal before you set up the table).
The venue will probably have a bar, but it will need someone to work it. It’s unlikely that a venue will trust anyone other than their own staff. Therefore, if you can’t get staff for the bar then you may just have to settle for drinks somewhere afterwards.
Finally, you need to ask questions about the fire regulations and exits. You should also have a designated first aider, and know where the first aid kit is. It’s a party so ideally, you won’t need any of this but you have to be prepared!
#5 Plan your line up/programme
If you have been around long enough to produce an album or EP, then you probably know a lot of other local bands and performers already.
Remember, the more artists you have in your line-up, the more people you will get at the event because they will invite their fan base. But don’t have too many or you might get lost in the crowd. You could also try inviting a famous artist with a local link or your music hero. The worst they can do is say no and if they say yes you will have a big draw. But again, remember it’s supposed to be your party.
In short, when choosing the line-up for your EP or album launch party, choose 2 or 3 local artists you like and fit with your music and who will make sure you are the star of your night. You might need to pay them but at the very least you need to cover expenses. Remember to give them a name check and thank them for supporting you.
#6 Promote your release party
Organising a launch is hard work and you want people to turn up, so you need to make sure you promote your heart out!
There are four main ways to promote your event: word of mouth, social media, newspapers, radio and TV, and printed materials.
Word of mouth is the best form of promotion, tell everyone you know and tell the crowd at all your live performances (and tell them to tell everyone else they know). A personal invitation is very compelling, and you might even be able to sell some tickets face to face.
Social media is ideal for promoting your album or EP launch party. Use all your normal channels and get your friends to share and promote it too. You could also think about using some of your budget (probably between £50 and £100) to advertise your launch on Instagram.
If you have a hook or a story then you could also get coverage in your local newspaper. If it’s really good you might even get on local TV. You need to prepare your pitch before approaching any of these and think about how it works as a ‘story’ to increase the likelihood of them covering it.
Printed materials, such as promotional flyers and posters can be left in venues where you perform gigs and open mics. Ask local bars, clubs and cafes to put up posters and leave flyers. And, don’t forget local universities and colleges where live music is always popular!
#7 Remember your initial goal
Don’t forget why you’re doing this release party. What are you promoting and are you looking to make money? Focus on getting your music and visual produced as well as possible before you get into creating an event. You don’t want to be in a position where you’ve hired a venue but can’t afford to get your music finished.
This event is for your fans first and foremost. You want to make sure that they have a great time and the happier you make them, the more likely they are to support your career.
Virtual release party
You might also want to think about your fans who can’t attend the physical gig. It’s now a lot less expensive to record and live-stream events, and hosting a live virtual release party is a great idea for reaching a wider audience. If you decide to do this, you will need to hire decent video equipment and live broadcast it via Instagram or Facebook.
The added benefit of hosting a virtual party is that you can use the footage on social media for future promotion. You just need to remember to mention on the flyers and tickets that the gig is being recorded and broadcast.
Have you hosted or are you planning a launch party for your EP or Album? What other tips would you like to share? Or can you tell us how your event went? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!