“New music Tuesday” has been the release staple of the recording industry in the U.S. for decades. But, that is about to change. New music albums will be released on Fridays worldwide starting this summer.
The entertainment industry is finally realizing something that other industries already realized: Releasing product country by country does not make sense it today’s global economy where travel and social media allow things to spread rapidly worldwide. As one industry official noted, music fans live in a digital world that does not recognize national borders. People want music once it is available, without regard to countries.
A global release day has been talked about in the music industry for years. The fact that different countries have different release dates — Monday in the United Kingdom, Tuesday in the U.S., Friday in Australia and Germany — did not matter much before people started buying and listening to music online. It was common to release a British group in England before releasing their album in the U.S. and vice versa. However, an album released anywhere in the world today is global right away with social media, the Internet, and streaming. Many believe a common music release date will cut back on illegal downloads by consumers who do not want to wait until an album is released in their area.
Australia and Germany were releasing albums on Fridays and the albums were heavily pirated in countries with Monday and Tuesday release dates. The same is true for albums released on a Monday or a Tuesday. An aligned global release strategy levels the playing field and makes the music available worldwide, presumably at once. The industry press releases about the change did not mention time of day, but one would assume releasing everyone at the same time would best help avoid pirating by time zone rather than country.
Beyoncé gets part of the credit (or blame) for the recording industry representatives from several countries choosing Friday, according to Billboard. Beyoncé’s surprise album the end of 2013 was release on a Friday to massive success. Drake’s recent If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late was also launched on a Friday. In addition, the industry experts point out that a global release date on Fridays works well with consumer behavior, since in retail stores and online traffic is generally highest on the weekend.
It will be interesting to see if other industries adopt Friday too. Right now, new books and DVDs are released on Tuesday in the U.S. along with music. iTunes switches out its home page, free download options and other things every Tuesday, too. It also remains to be seen how retailers will deal with it. It can be puzzling enough on Sundays to look through the weekly Target ad and see that the new albums, novels, DVDs and more will not be available for sale until Tuesday. If the different industries do not align their product debut strategies with the new worldwide music released on Fridays, it will be even more confusing for buyers.
By Dyanne Weiss