Move over New Music Monday, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has announced a consensus to set Friday as the new global record release date for albums, according to Billboard.

The move to standardize album release dates worldwide, which is to be phased in over the summer, was instigated by the surprise release of Beyonce’s last album and the recording industry’s continued efforts to fight piracy. As it stands now, album release dates vary by country, Monday in the UK and Tuesday in the US, for example. According to the IFPI, a study showed Friday to be the optimal choice because that is the day most consumers prefer to hear new music.

In a statement released on the organization’s website, IFPI CEO Francis Moore further explained the reasoning behind the shift:

Why is global release day such a smart idea for today’s music business? First, because it is what our consumers want. Music fans live in the digital world of today. Their love for new music doesn’t recognise national borders. They want music when it’s available on the internet—not when it’s ready to be released in their country. An aligned global release day puts an end to the frustration of not being able to access releases in their country when the music is available in another country. This is particularly prevalent in a world united by social media, where fans can instantly see friends or family in other countries enjoying the music they want.

Global release day is about celebrating new music. By creating a single day for new releases across the world, it’s an opportunity to re-awaken the excitement and anticipation of new music everywhere […] And there is another benefit: the global release day narrows the gap on piracy by making it less likely that consumers will go to pirate sites when they can’t get new releases in their country. This will help channel revenues back to the legitimate rights owners.

Not everyone in the industry is content with the decision, though. While most favor the idea of a worldwide alignment in release dates, many in the industry, such as Michael Kurtz of the indie retail coalition Department of Record Stores, expressed concern over the decision to make the release date Friday. In an email sent to industry executives he stated, “Artists and promoters are comfortable doing events on Tuesday — or most days not on or near the weekend — as it does not compete with their weekend concerts/shows — which are the artist and promoters’ bread and butter. If the street date is moved to Friday then artist street date events will stop.

Others, such as Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills and Radiohead manager Brian Message, outright oppose the idea entirely. In a speech during the launch of a five-point manifesto by trade body UK Music, Mills stated, “I fear this move will also lead to a market in which the mainstream dominates, and the niche, which can be tomorrow’s mainstream, is further marginalized. I fear it will further cement the dominance of the few — and that is exactly what it is intended to do.”

In spite of the opposition, the plan to make Friday the global release date is a go, with support from major industry leaders including the RIAA. The IFPI also anticipates Nielsen SoundScan will have to alter its chart weeks to correspond with the change as their current week runs Monday through Sunday.

Photo: Joshua Mellin