Business News Labels & Publishers Retail

IFPI defends Friday global release day, chart makers yet to confirm impact

By | Published on Friday 27 February 2015


Now, some of you may have wondered yesterday whether the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry’s “international consultation” of all stakeholders in music, on what day of the week to use for the global release day, mainly took the form of asking everyone what they thought, ignoring anyone who said anything but “Friday”, and then saying “fuck it, we’re going with Friday”.

If that’s you, I can’t help thinking you’ve been talking to one of the dissenters who were pushing for an early-week release day. Because that’s definitely what they’ve been saying.

But those backing the ‘Friday’ option insist that the majority support the plan, or they do if you include those who are indifferent as to what day the worldwide record industry opts for putting out its new content. Then they point out that everyone agrees there should be a global release day, and while there may not have been consensus on going with Friday, it was always going to be impossible to please everyone.

And while some dissenters have questioned the IFPI’s logic for going with Friday, the global label trade group defended the decision yesterday. Boss Frances Moore told Billboard that “having done analysis over the past year there is an uplift towards the weekend that we can really build on”.

She went on: “That uplift has been estimated in the region of 3% across the industry and at a time when we’re pushing new models and, as an industry, doing what we can to survive in a very difficult environment, 3% uplift is something worth fighting for. We chose Friday in order to satisfy some of the logistic problems that have been raised with us. But also because that way you get the Friday lift and then the Saturday lift. You’re essentially getting the best of both worlds”.

Of course, earlier this week Beggars Group chief Martin Mills aired the opposing view, that an early-in-the-week release day is best of both worlds, in that you get two spikes, one on release day and one at the weekend.

But Moore does not agree. She said: “We’ve done four different pieces of analysis and we haven’t identified [that] double spike. The idea that you have large sales at the weekend and then on a Monday a consumer goes specifically into a shop to buy new music – we haven’t managed to identify that spike. But that point was made by Martin and I think there is an element of just getting used to a new day”.

For those countries that currently have early-week releases, so the UK and US for starters, the shift to Friday will not only have a logistical impact, but will also require a rethink on when charts are compiled and released, with the ‘chart week’ from which sales and digital data is gathered usually designed to give new releases as many sale days as possible.

Chart makers in the UK and US have long acknowledged that a new release day would impact on their operations, though they are yet to be drawn quite on how the shift to Friday releases later this year will change things.

In America, Billboard’s VP Of Charts & Data Development Silvio Pietroluongo told reporters: “The announcement today by the IFPI is not a surprise and is something that Billboard has been discussing with [chart partners] Nielsen Music and industry leaders for months in relation to how a Friday global release date will affect chart processing. We will make an informed decision on these matters in the coming months, well in advance of the release day shift”.

Here in the UK the Official Charts Company said: “Following the announcement that the record industry is moving to a synchronised global release day of Friday, we will also be looking to move the UK chart announcement day”. And as for the main singles chart radio show, and whether that might move days too, the OCC added: “Exact details are to be decided but Radio 1 will continue to be the home of the Official Chart”. The BBC is known to be up for considering moving its chart show to another day.