Music Industry Sets Friday as Global Release Day

Traditional Tuesday releases in the U.S. will end as music industry hopes to “re-ignite excitement” and curb piracy

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Lynyrd Skynyrd was right. Tuesday really is gone.

For years, most U.S. and U.K music releases have hit shelves and digital retailers on Tuesday, but all of that is set to change this summer. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPA) has adopted Friday as the new worldwide release day for albums.

The organization, which represents the recording industry’s worldwide interests, cited several reasons for the global shift, including social-media advantages and the fact that consumers are more likely to be shopping (after getting paid) on Fridays than on Tuesdays. The IFPI came to the decision after consulting with artists, record labels and retailers, as well as conducting consumer research.

The IFPA also suggested that unified global releases could lead to a reduction in piracy. As it stands, albums are often released in other countries before they drop in the United States, which means would-be online pirates can conceivably download albums illegally before U.S. consumers have an opportunity to purchase CDs in stores or legally download the music. A unified release date might help curb that.

The Music Business Association, the RIAA, the U.K.-based Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and companies like Spotify are all standing behind the initiative.

“The FAC supports a Global Release Day as a great opportunity to re-engage the public with new music and re-ignite excitement around new releases,” Crispin Hunt of the FAC said. “We are in a time when the general public’s involvement with music has become more fleeting and somehow less social – a global release day could help change that. As the weekend is when the public are most engaged with music and offers the best opportunity for musicians to access their audience, we believe a Friday release would best serve the artists.”

Added Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO of RIAA: “There’s a strong consensus for a singular global release day. Consumer research and feedback has informed the decision that Friday is the optimal choice.

“More than ever, the music industry has become global, and we represent international companies marketing international acts in multiple markets. Geographic lines are often irrelevant to digital marketing strategies and fans’ expectations of instant access to their favorite music. This change will be good for fans and good for the business.”

How the move will affect charting data is still unclear. Billboard and Nielsen Music are working together to determine whether to adjust the sales tracking period, which currently runs Monday through Sunday.

“We will make an informed decision on these matters in the coming months, well in advance of the release date shift,” Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s vp of Charts and Data Development, said.

“We have been working with Billboard and key industry players for some time on this important initiative and will continue to provide the most timely, accurate and complete measurement of music consumption,” David Bakula, svp of Industry Insights for Nielsen Entertainment, added.