Global Release Day confirmed as Friday; backed by HMV, Spotify

The IFPI has confirmed that from this summer, the official global release day for new music will be Friday.

Release days currently vary from territory to territory – Monday in the UK, Tuesday in the US, Friday in Germany – which the IFPI says causes frustration for consumers.

The worldwide label trade body said the move would benefit artists wanting to harness social media to promote their new music.

New albums and singles will soon be released at 00:01 local time in each country on Fridays.

“It also creates the opportunity to re-ignite excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new music,” said the organisation. “The move to an aligned global release day will also reduce the risk of piracy by narrowing the gap between release days in different countries”

IFPI cites consumer research by TNS across seven markets that shows Friday and Saturday as the most preferred days for new music release among consumers who expressed an opinion. More than two thirds of those with a preference (68%) chose Friday or Saturday.

It says that is consulted with 1,300 record labels worldwide as well as representatives of musicians’ unions and artists.

Crispin Hunt of the UK’s Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) said: “The FAC applauds the IFPI for involving the Artist Community in the development of this initiative. The FAC supports a Global Release Day as a great opportunity to re-engage the public with new music and re-ignite excitement around new releases.

“We are in a time when the general public’s involvement with music has become more fleeting and somehow less social – a global release day could help change that. As the weekend is when the public are most engaged with music and offers the best opportunity for musicians to access their audience, we believe a Friday release would best serve the artist and the fan, and help to
make new music the occasion it should be.”

In addition to rights-holders and performers, IFPI says it consulted with leading retailers and representatives, including the Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA), E.Leclerc, El Corte Inglés, Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) (UK), HMV, Italian Association of Specialist Consumer Electronics Retailers (AIRES), Media-Saturn, Music Business Association (Music Biz US), Mondadori Retail, the Orchard, Rdio, Spotify and Napster.

Paul McGowan, chief executive of Hilco Capital, the group which owns HMV, said: “A global release day is a totally logical move in today’s global music market and Friday is overwhelmin
gly the right choice for the day. Quite simply, new music should hit the high street when people hit the street. New Music Fridays will get new releases to fans when they most want to buy them. As the UK’s biggest music retailer, that makes perfect sense to us.”

Ken Parks, Spotify’s Chief Content Officer, added: “We very much welcome the concept of a global release day which should truly work for everyone; for music fans around the world, major and independent labels, digital and physical distributors, music retailers of all sizes and across all platforms, and of course the music creators themselves – artists.”

However, not everyone is convinced. Speaking earlier this week, Beggars Group co-founder Martin Mills slammed the move to a Friday and the process by which the decision was reached.

He commented: “Whilst I acknowledge the needs of a digital world for co-ordination, it seems to me to be crazy to throw away one of the trading week’s two peaks, and the ability to re-stock and rectify errors before the week’s second peak. It astounds me that the major labels are not listening to their customers, their interface with their artists’ fans. I fear their consultation has been a charade, and the market leaders were always going to push this through.

“I fear this move will also lead to a market in which the mainstream dominates, and the niche, which can be tomorrow’s mainstream, is further marginalised. I fear it will further cement the dominance of the few – and that that is exactly what it is intended to do.”Music Business Worldwide

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