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One Day to Rule Them All? Music Industry Nearing Global Release Day

A leading international music trade group is on the verge of announcing a uniform release day for new albums—one inspired, by the way, by Beyoncé—but releasing albums on Friday isn't everyone's idea of rocking out.

The music industry’s “street date” is about to be synonymous with payday for a lot of people.

But like a shift in your pay cycle, the new release day could be pretty painful for the people directly affected by it.

On Tuesday the British publication Music Week reported that the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is on the verge of announcing a finalized global release day for music releases, a move intended to standardize when albums hit the market and to help put the kibosh on piracy.

The plan for a global release day was first floated by IFPI last summer, but the Music Week report implies that it’s basically a done deal, with Friday being the day in question.

IFPI CEO Frances Moore, who spoke to Music Week editor Tom Pakinkis, didn’t confirm the date outright, but she did strongly imply that a standardized day is the direction in which the music industry is headed. There might be a reason for that—the specific day is really the only controversial thing about the proposal, according to Moore.

“The good news has been the widespread support we’ve seen around the world for global release day—no one has seriously questioned the concept, the only debate has been about the day,” she told the magazine. “The artist organizations and many retailers and record companies internationally support Friday, and this is backed by consumer research in many countries.”

Not everyone’s on board with Friday, though. Retail groups, associations like the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), and some independent record companies have emphasized that they’d prefer that the industry settle on the American street date of Tuesday, or perhaps even Monday, but large labels have a trump card in their favor: Beyoncé.

The unprecedented success of the R&B icon’s self-titled album in 2013—launched, without warning, on a Friday at midnight—was part of what first drove the talk about shifting the release schedule.

But a Friday release date could lead some retailers, most notably Target, to reassess their music strategy entirely. The big-box retailer is reportedly considering dropping music because of the release-date change.

Moore admitted there are some critics of the Friday plan but said IFPI is still leaning toward making an announcement shortly.

“There are other voices who prefer other days, and that’s not surprising,” she told Music Week “It would be very surprising if a project like this, involving over 50 national markets, didn’t lead to some objections in some markets.”

(Creatas/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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