The music industry is in for another shake-up, though this one is of its own choosing.
Starting this week, the industry will, for the first time, release new albums around the world on the same day -- Friday.
"In today's connected world, it simply makes no sense that an album could be released in Australia on a Friday, but not be available in the U.K. until the following Monday or in the U.S. until the subsequent Tuesday," said Frances Moore, CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the music industry in 62 countries. "The global release day levels the playing field for music fans internationally. It can raise awareness of newly released tracks and albums globally. And it's a celebration of new music on an international scale."
The plan, which took nearly a year of negotiations and preparation, already has its share of detractors. Some retailers complain that the Tuesday release date brought shoppers in on a slow day of the week. Some independent labels worry that their releases will have a harder time getting attention on Friday, where they will also have to battle with movies being released for the weekend.
However, music industry officials believe that the benefits of a single release day outweigh the drawbacks.
"The beginning of the weekend is fans' favorite time of the week and we hope to tap into that excitement with new music," said Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America. "With this change, the objective is to better leverage weekend foot traffic in retail outlets and harness the growing buzz behind a new album or song that builds across national markets."
The IFPI decision has ramifications for those who cover the music business as well.
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Following the shift, Billboard magazine, which tracks sales and airplay of music, will change its schedule, releasing its charts on Tuesdays instead of Thursdays.