There was a time when music fans would go into a record store and actually buy an album or CD. Now that streaming is the main go-to source for listening to music, the record industry is making a shift to compete with this change.
Starting this week, new albums will not be released on Tuesdays, but rather on Fridays.
Zel McCarthy is the Editor-in-Chief at Thump, the electronic music and culture channel on Vice. He spoke with The Frame's John Horn about why the industry chose Fridays for record releases and whether it will have an impact on people buying music the old-fashioned way.
Why are albums now being released on Fridays instead of Tuesdays?
Well, it's a shift prompted by an organization called The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. This is the organization that internationally protects the interests of the record industry and for years they've been trying to combat piracy. They've determined that because of all the different dates around the world for albums, the best way to stop people from pirating them is to consolidate everyone's release date in every market to a single day. They've chosen Friday because they think that is the best day.
Carly Rae Jepsen's new album was already released in Japan weeks ago, but it's not coming out in the U.S. until August. Is the space between these two release dates for the same album a part of the issue?
Yes, that's a big part of it and especially when you have countries like Japan and Australia that are on different days. If an album comes out there on a Monday and it doesn't come out in the U.S. until Tuesday, you actually have two solid days in the U.S. where you can theoretically pirate the album.
Why was Tuesday the day for album releases in the first place?
Back in the day, there used to be a lot of excitement on a Monday night. You would wait outside Tower Records or Amoeba, and you'd be there at 11:30 p.m. and you'd get in line and at midnight, they would put on sale the albums that were coming out on Tuesday. And if it was a big deal then it would be a big event. That doesn't happen anymore. This move is getting a lot of attention for the record industry right now and hopefully it shines a light on some really worthy albums, like ["Communion" by] Years & Years.
Tuesday has been honored by all the major labels and independents because it's been a really effective marketing tool. It's been a great way to regulate your publicity and build anticipation for an album release. This has changed plans for everyone's summer albums, and people I've talked to at labels and in the industry are pretty skeptical as to what the impact's gonna be.