Music Industry Sets Friday as New Global Release Day
Friday will be the new Tuesday beginning this summer, when the worldwide music industry begins putting out new releases on most music buyers’ paydays. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the British-based organization that acts as a music-biz United Nations, announced on Thursday that the new plan would go into effect this summer.
The organization hopes that the move would benefit the industry as a whole, since it would reduce piracy (since albums often come out before the United States internationally), allow artists to focus their social-media campaigns and, using the words of the IFPI’s statement, “re-ignite excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new music.” The decision, which has been in the works since at least last summer, came after the IFPI consulted with artists, unions, labels and retailers. It also cited consumer research that suggested Friday and Saturday were the days people would be most interested in buying new music.
The Music Business Association, an organization that represents U.S. music retailers, as well as the likes of Spotify, Rdio and many international music stores have voiced support of the initiative.
“Music fans live in the digital world of today,” IFPI CEO Frances Moore wrote in a statement. “Their love for new music doesn’t recognize national borders. They want music when it’s available on the Internet – not when it’s ready to be released in their country. An aligned global release day puts an end to the frustration of not being able to access releases in their country when the music is available in another country.”
“More than ever, the music industry has become global, and we represent international companies marketing international acts in multiple markets,” RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement. “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.”
Despite these sentiments, not everyone is excited about the shift. Martin Mills, who heads up the British-based indie Beggars Group, recently told The Guardian he felt the move was “crazy” and would affect independent labels.
“It astounds me that the major labels are not listening to their customers, their interface with their artists’ fans,” he said. “I fear their consultation has been a charade, and the market leaders were always going to push this through. I fear this move will also lead to a market in which the mainstream dominates, and the niche, which can be tomorrow’s mainstream, is further marginalized. I fear it will further cement the dominance of the few – and that that is exactly what it is intended to do.”