Record companies typically release new albums on different days of the week, based on what country you live in. In the United States it’s Tuesday, in Germany it’s Friday and in England, it’s Monday.
In a move to cut down on illegal file-sharing between countries, the music industry is now setting on a standard global release day, Friday, which is expected to go into effect later this summer.
But, if there is one thing we know about consumers, it’s that they want what they want and they want it now — and that goes triple for music.
“In that age of social media there is an obvious consumer frustration, when a consumer knows that maybe a big release has been made in one country but they can’t get it in another,” says Adrian Strain, a spokesman for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a trade group representing record labels.
He points out that a common release day would cut down on piracy, as well as appeal to would-be customers.
“You know we did some consumer research in seven countries, and we found that when music fans are asked when they want music to come out, they say Friday or Saturday,” says Strain.
But lately, the ‘release day rule’ has already lost favor. Taylor Swift released her new album, “1989,” on a Monday to boost first-week sales.
“The fact that the industry is still playing by the 20th Century rules and worrying about release dates should give you an indication of where their heads are at,” says Greg Kot.
Kot covers music for the Chicago Tribune in addition to co-hosts the radio program, Sound Opinions on WBEZ. He says release dates are a throwback to the days when record labels would promote new albums months in advance to drive physical sales, which are less important in the iTunes era.
“Increasingly you’re seeing artists, even veteran artists like David Bowie to Beyoncé to Drake, who are relatively new artists, are doing this, where they’re basically just putting records out when they’re done,” says Kot.
Kot says having a common release could make it easier to manage global marketing campaigns for certain mega stars, but for most artists the calendar just doesn’t matter