Recording a CD is a great accomplishment. But once the CD is finished is when the real work starts. If nobody knows about the CD to buy it, then all the work that was put into writing the songs and recording the tracks is wasted. So promoting the CD is vital to the success of your recording. One of the best ways to draw attention to your CD is to throw a Release Party.
First, you need to select a location for the party. Unless your house and kitchen is big enough to comfortably accommodate 100 guests, its better to find a commercial space. Hotels, however, are very expensive so unless you have a wealthy benefactor better to choose a less formal setting, such as a local music club before they open for business in the evening or a restaurant with a patio area.
Selecting the time for the party may determine who shows up. Late afternoon cocktail hour release parties are convenient for music executives because they can stop by after work before heading home. The food and drinks served depends on how big of a budget the party has. At the very minimum, have a fruit and vegetable platter for people to snack on. Finger sandwiches are easy to eat while standing and talking. If you can afford to have the party catered, hot hors doeuvres are also easy to eat and are filling.
Beer and wine should be available and if the budget allows, a small selection of spirits, too. Make sure to have plenty of mix as well as soft drinks and club soda for those who dont drink alcohol.
People make or break any party so come up with a guest list that represents a cross section. Invite local music critics, record executives, fellow musicians, agents and or managers if you are looking for representation and local radio personalities. Make sure to send press release to local news stations and invite them to come and cover the event.
And of course, youll need a sound system so you can have your CD playing during the party.
Remember, the point of the release party is to get your music in front of people who can help sell and promote the CD; its not an excuse to hang with your friends. Its a business event in a social setting so plan it accordingly.