Global Release Date Implemented, New Music Fridays Begin TODAY!

New Music Fridays - Record Store - IFPI
Rough Trade Records in Brooklyn; Credit: David Hilowitz

Today marks a major shift in music industry practice.

After months of planning and an official June 11 announcement, musicians, record labels, trade organizations, and retailers have adopted a new standard of Friday music releases. Referred to as New Music Fridays, the agreement heralds a move from the common United States release day of Tuesday.

Nearly a year in the making and spearheaded by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), New Music Fridays is now the common global music release day. Industry leaders from more than 45 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia have all agreed to begin releasing new music on Fridays just after midnight.

Adrian Strain, head of communications at IFPI, cited multiple reasons for the decision to adopt a universal release day. He told NPR, "In the digital world, you can't make consumers wait,” and that a standard release day "should give less reason for those people who can't get the new release legally to go to illegal sites.”

And while the change may be an attempt to unify music fans and reduce piracy, the decision and its implementation is creating waves across the industry, requiring many businesses to take adaptive measures. Billboard, the standard in new music sales tracking and charting, will alter it’s reporting period to cover sales beginning after the new release day. Each week's sales charts and stats will now be posted to Billboard.com on Tuesdays, beginning on July 14.

Meanwhile, physical storefront retailers will likely face new logistic problems such as staffing, stocking, and advertising schedules. Co-founder Marc Weinstein of Amoeba Records in Hollywood told NPR, "This is gonna be perceived as kind of another nail in the coffin for brick-and-mortar retail, and it's kind of sad that no one takes any of that into account when they make these kind of fundamental changes in the way things work."

And though other retailers have offered similar sentiments, the IFPI and other industry trade groups may not hear physical retailers as loudly as they once did. In 2014, for the first time ever, streaming music revenue outperformed CD revenue in the US. In an increasingly boundless digital world, it seems the music industry is prioritizing internet and streaming sales over traditional means.