New Music Release Day Shifted to Fridays
The international music industry marked a significant change on Friday in how music is released and marketed. In the past, most US releases have hit stores on Tuesdays, while new release shit stores on Mondays in France and the UK, and new German and Australian releases were made available on Fridays. As of Friday, however, new releases will become available on Fridays across the globe, both in stores and at digital outlets like iTunes, Spotify and Pandora. Championed by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, the initiative has been dubbed “New Music Fridays”, and industry groups from around the world have embraced it.
In addition to music being released on Fridays worldwide, the New Music Fridays change will also affect major reporting agencies charged with compiling music charts for various markets. Billboard, for example, has always charted music with a week ending on Sunday, charting new releases from the Tuesday before. With the change in releases, Billboard’s charts will now run from Friday to Wednesday. To account for the change, the next Billboard chart will reflect sales for an 11-day period rather than 7. The New Music Fridays campaign also posed a problem for NewReleaseTuesday.com, a website that features and promotes Christian music. In order to preserve its well-known NRT acronym, the site has re-braded itself NewReleaseToday.com.
While the change in release days has been mostly welcomed across the industry, there have been opponents to the change. Small independent record stores, for example, argue that Fridays are very busy already, while Tuesdays would be typically very slow without new releases coming out on those days. Some have complained that they will have to hire extra staff to work Fridays to ensure shipments get opened and customers are taken care of, while the slower Tuesdays provide plenty of time for staff to unpack boxes.
New Music Fridays has received overwhelming support from all the major record labels. The change is voluntary, however, and there are no penalties for smaller labels that do not conform. Most markets are converting, however, with Japan marking a notable exception. In Japan, domestic releases will continue to come out on Wednesdays, though international releases will hit stores on New Music Fridays. A few artists are opposed to the switch, as well, including former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, who told NME magazine: “I’ll release mine on a Wednesday just to be fucking contrary.”