The International Federation of the Phonograpic Industry made it official today, according to their website, “following consultation with artists, musicians unions, record companies and retailers, [the] release day for new music will be aligned internationally on a Friday.” According to their own report, the IFPI consultation included 1300 record labels, global musicians’ unions, the Featured Artist Coalition of UK performers, and the alphabet soup of global retailer institutions : AMRA, ERA, HMV, AIRES, MusicBizUS, The Orchard, Rdio, Spotify, and Napster(?!).
Citing “customer frustrations” in differing parts of the world, the IFPI said the move was also motivated to “reduce the risk of piracy by narrowing the gap between release days”. Customers polled during their study apparently showed a 68% preference to a release day of either Friday or Saturday.
They haven’t given a specific date for the changeover, however the soft-date seems to be summer of 2015 where all new LPs, EPs, and singles will be released at 00:01 local time on Fridays.
Martin Mills of Beggers Group, during a speech at an ERA conference in London, expressed “concerns about the proposed global release day. Whilst I acknowledge the needs of a digital world for co-ordination, it seems to me the be crazy to throw away on of the trading week’s two peaks, and the ability to re-stock and rectify errors before the week’s second peak.” He continued, “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 marginalized. I fear it will further cement the dominance of the few – and that is exactly what it is intended to do.”
This move of the global release day to Friday would brings the rest of the world in line with Australia and Germany, along with a few others, and will result in huge changes in retail operations in the US, UK, and Canada. Major retailer, Target, has even threatened to remove physical music sales all together as a result of the cost incurred.