New Release…Friday?

I’m still getting used to that.  I’m so used to getting my new release emails from AllMusic and elsewhere on Mondays that it seems strange getting them midweek now.

This month signaled the global change of new music release dates to Fridays.  Per Billboard, it’s been Tuesday in the US since April 1989 (coincidentally, my next-to-last month of high school life and right about the time I really started paying closer attention to album releases for my beloved college music).  Before that, Mondays were the default release day for years. It was moved in ’89 due to the fact that most retailers were not receiving their product until later in the day, thus losing most of their first-day sales. Moving the release date one day leveled the playing fields.

I’m a bit surprised that this is a global thing; it wasn’t just the US moving the standard drop date, but labels and distributors worldwide, finally aligning.  That’s pretty big news, considering the UK has always been Monday (the start of the retail week, natch) and other countries have had similar setups.

I’ll be honest, I loved working Mondays when I was at HMV.  That meant that I got to unpack all the new titles and slap security tags, price tags, and sale stickers on them, all while listening to them a day before everyone else.  I discovered way too many great albums that way, and it’s part of the reason my music collection is so ridiculously large. But back then it was also perfect for when I was on the sales floor, as I could upsell new titles to customers and back it up with actual listening.

Nowadays, (again per Billboard), in this digital age, more active fans and listeners prefer listening to new titles on Fridays and Saturdays, and would rather not have to wait that extra day or so in their own country for a title to drop.  Granted, it’s gotten a mixed reaction from some of the labels and distributors — some feel this will continue to let the majors to oversaturate the stores, leaving the indies in the lurch — and that’s frustrating yet understandable, given that that’s been pretty much the norm for decades anyway.

I imagine this would have come in handy during my years at Yankee Candle, when I’d get paid at the end of the week and would have to wait four or five days before I could do my music shopping.  Then again, I most likely would have been in much deeper financial straits in the process.  So it’s a toss-up there.  Still, I’m curious if we’ll see an uptick in sales, given that some of us still get paid just before the weekend.

How do I feel about this now, though?  Well, I’ll admit I didn’t notice the change right away, at least not until I looked at my shopping list and saw all the new stuff this week with the drop date of 7/10.  [Yes, I have a shopping list.  It’s a spreadsheet, showing prices from multiple purchase sites. I am such a sad and pathetic man.] [On the plus side, said spreadsheet comes in mighty handy because I can access it via Dropbox on my phone while I’m at Amoeba!] [ANYWAY]  I suppose this makes things a bit more exciting if I happen to be heading towards a brick and mortar shop, because it’ll be something to look forward to on the weekend, which is when we usually head over to the Haight for anything in particular.

It’s too early for me to say how I feel about it, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be totally fine with it. As a good portion of my purchases are downloads nowadays, I think it’s something I’ll have to get used to.  For a good few years there, I had a solid schedule of checking out all the new release streams on Monday so I would know what to expect the next day…now I have more time to do that.  I follow a number of music blogs on Twitter, and they’re more than happy to let us all know when something new is streaming.

I’ll just have to learn to start saving up for Fridays then.

2 thoughts on “New Release…Friday?

  1. It’s interesting it wasn’t officially Tuesday until April of ’89 because I feel certain that was the day when I was in college and I graduated in 1989. I specifically recall when R.E.M. released Green it was on election day, a Tuesday, in 1988. That was the regular release day, it wasn’t like they held it by a day to coincide. I mean, they planned it to be released on that particular Tuesday rather than a Tuesday in October, say, but not like it would have been Monday otherwise. Maybe it was label by label?

    • Haha, I remember that release day too! I specifically remember the ad for it: “Remember to do two things on 8 November: 1) Vote 2) Get Green.” 🙂

      But yeah, I think it was by distributor and/or label before that. Some of the majors released on Tuesday anyway for quite some time, I think since at least the 60s, to even out the sales at different areas, but it wasn’t made official until ’89. For the most part I think a lot of labels released big-name albums on specific dates and other albums on soft dates (i.e., “sometime in July”). I could be wrong, though.

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