Record industry's global release date change to Fridays gets a start date

New Music Fridays is meant to codify the global, instant online nature of how fans find new music

Those who once built their music-buying week around new albums coming out on Tuesdays will have to change their schedules.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry -- a trade group representing more than 1,300 international record labels -- has announced that beginning July 10, its members and a consortium of other retailers, artist reps and other groups in over 45 countries will shift to a single global Friday release date for new albums.

The move to Friday -- previously suggested as a goal of the trade group -- will collate a patchwork of traditional release days around the world. Historically, Britain has seen albums come out on Mondays; the U.S. on Tuesdays, Japan on Wednesdays and Germany and Australia on Fridays. Albums will become available at 1 a.m. local time on each Friday.

Some countries, like Japan, will preserve their traditional release date, but most will adhere to the new system. 

The shift, promoted by the trade group under the mantle of "New Music Fridays" is meant to codify the global, instant online nature of how fans find new music -- hopefully discouraging illegal searches for new albums legally available in other countries.

"The move will mean fans can now get new music on the same day worldwide rather than having to wait for their own national release day," the IFPI said in its announcement. "It puts an end to fans being unable to access music in their own country when it is legally available elsewhere, and the frustration that can cause."

The shift also reflects changing attitudes about when fans prefer to look for new music and incorporate it into their always-digitally-connected lives. 

In February, IFPI head Frances Moore said, "Music fans live in the digital world of today.... Their love for new music doesn't recognize national borders. They want music when it's available on the Internet — not when it's ready to be released in their country."

Not everyone in the record business is happy about the shift, however. Martin Mills, the president of the Beggars Group, an umbrella consortium of highly regarded indie labels including XL, 4AD and Matador, told The Times in April, "I just don't understand why the majors have ignored this and are doing something that so clearly is going to hurt one of the principle routes of breaking the artist.

"They may possibly sell a few more copies of the biggest records but at the cost of a loss, potentially, of the smaller records, which tend to sell outside those peak times."

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