The global music industry may soon agree a single weekly release date for albums. Instead of the UK releasing albums on Monday, the United States on Tuesday, Australia and Germany on Friday, and so on, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is reportedly moving toward a unified worldwide streetdate of Friday.
According to Billboard, executives in the major territories and at the major labels want to be able to stage simultaneous international releases. They hope to reboot the system in July 2015, after which record shops from Birmingham to Boston and Bangkok will all put out their new albums each Friday.
Piracy is the main reason for this change. Often, new releases go on sale first in Australia on Friday, four days before the same music becomes available in the US. If tracks are leaked onto file-sharing networks, that’s four days that American fans are asked to await the domestic streetdate.
Beyoncé’s surprise album release, last December, is also being cited as a main reason for this change. By becoming available for purchase everywhere at once, the singer’s fifth long-player benefited from a huge, worldwide response, breaking an iTunes sales record.
Despite the enthusiasm from some quarters, changing the streetdate in markets like the UK and US will require lots of planning, as well as cooperation across disparate parts of the music and retail industries, including warehousing, transport and record shops. Some smaller labels are said to be resisting the move, claiming that they sell more records by releasing albums earlier in the week.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has yet to release a formal statement on its reported plans.
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