Starting on July 10th 2015, all new music will be released worldwide on Fridays. This includes both physical and digital releases. New music is scheduled to go out at 00.01 a.m. local time on Fridays, according to newmusicfridays.com. This is a significant change from the scattered national release days of the past.
The big question is, why the change?
First, having a uniform release day will build anticipation and hype among consumers. This will create regular buzz for the new content as well as help artists to streamline their promotional efforts, particularly through social media, and to reach their fans when they know they are preemptively looking out for their releases. And a lot of shopping naturally takes place on the weekend.
The second major benefit to a global release day is the hope to cut back on piracy. Prior to this switch, different countries were releasing new music on different days. This posed a problem given how easily connected international consumers are today. The U.S. for example released new content on Tuesdays. If an album is released a few days prior in another country, what’s to stop a U.S. consumer from finding that album instantly online rather than waiting for the U.S. release? Ideally, having a global release day will cut some of this “instant gratification” stimulus for piracy, and fans all over the world can be satiated at the same time.
Most stakeholders in the music business are on the same page in support of a consistent global release day, though some are skeptical of the decision to designate Friday as the regular day. This hesitation is largely from those distributing physical content. The greatest challenge here for physical distributors comes in the form of anticipating demand for new albums. Weekends will pose a challenge for restocking albums that sell better than anticipated when released on Friday. Physical distributors have concerns that these supply obstacles may end up costing them sales if would-be customers turn to digital options for immediate access to new music.
At the end of the day, only time will tell how this global release day will actually impact music sales. However, skeptics can take some comfort in the examples set by other countries that have had Friday music release days for years. Germany, for example, has successfully adhered to a Friday release day for the past ten years – and physical sales in Germany are booming. Consumer focus groups also yielded results to support the decision for the U.S. market – those who cared to voice an opinion expressed that they preferred to buy new music on Fridays or Saturdays.
In the ever-changing music industry, updates and advances are commonplace. Each modernization brings its own rewards and challenges. We can all eagerly anticipate the changes that this global release day will stimulate over the coming years, for both digital and physical music.
Kayla Schmandt, Director of Accounts at Neurotic Media, comes from a background in physical music and retail promotions. Her current work with digital accounts at Neurotic Media has given her insight to provide a diverse perspective on the upcoming implementation of a global music release day.