In an effort to cut back on piracy, the music industry is considering making a global standard street date for album releases. If adopted, the new standard would have new albums released in all countries on Friday.
According to some inside sources the RIAA and IFPI are already on board for the change, which would likely be implemented around July of next year. As of now, the standard release date in the U.S. is Tuesday. In the U.K. it’s Monday. In Australia it’s the Friday before those dates.
By switching to a universal release date, the lag time of four days between when an album in Australia is sold to when it’s available in the UK and the US, is cut out, practically eliminating the opportunity for Australian fans to share the music online before it’s available for purchase in the West.
Last year, Beyonce released a surprise album on the same day everywhere, breaking an iTunes sales record. Her success is cited as a major reason for the switch.
While fighting piracy is generally well-received by members of the music industry, not all are excited about the changes. Many brick and mortar indie merchants and labels feel that a Tuesday release date allows for more CD sales: dedicated fans will come into stores the day it’s released, whereas others will come in on Friday’s payday–allowing more opportunity for sales. Also, spreading out sales throughout the week is better for operating costs, as opposed to making two-thirds of all sales on one day of the week.
Others have contended that a Friday release date yields better sales over a two week period.
Moving forward, it seems likely that the universal release date will be adopted. The music industry is instant and global now, whether its members recognize it or not.