Moby was released by the New York-based independent label Instinct Records on July 27, 1992. In an interview with Billboard at the time of the album's release, Moby stated that "all the songs are at least a year old. It's not entirely reflective of where I'm coming from right now" and that "the label had the legal right to put it out, the best thing for me to do is view it as more a retrospective and get on with my life".
The album was issued without Moby's cooperation. In Martin James' book Moby < Replay – The Life and Times, Moby recalled that he was so angry about the release of the album that he actively spoke out against it in any promotional work. He went on to say:
The basic problem was that I had never wanted to put an album like this out. It was just a compilation with a few unreleased demos. Dance albums had always failed, I thought, because they didn't work over the full length of the record. Mostly they were singles collections which was exactly what I didn't want to do. At the time, the first Prodigy album (Experience) impressed me because they'd managed to create a full listening experience which encompassed various styles. This was the kind of vision I had for my debut album. But Instinct insisted on putting Moby out. Which kind of upset me a lot."
By 2016, however, Moby had softened his stance on Moby and its Instinct Records-issued follow-up Ambient somewhat, stating that he "really like[d] them almost as odd time capsules".