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New Music Friday unveiled as prep underway for global release day

By | Published on Thursday 11 June 2015

New Music Fridays

Welcome to New Music Friday. No, not today. Not even tomorrow. Tomorrow is CMU Podcast Friday. Though come to think of it, that’s a secret, so forget I said anything. But come the tenth day of the month of July the year of our Lord 2015, it’ll be New Music Friday. And then it’ll be New Music Friday every Friday after that, all the way through to Armageddon (5 May 2019).

Yes, the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has branded up the much previously reported Global Release Day. They were going to go with ‘GRD’, but then they remembered that the music industry hasn’t had much success with major projects called GRD. So instead they are going with New Music Friday. Because as of next month new music will come out on Friday wherever you are in the world. Yes, even in Basingstoke.

Pretty much everyone in the record industry and entertainment retail agreed that there should be one day in the week when all new music is unleashed, unlike now when it varies from country to country. Though there was less consensus on what day it should be. More than a few high street retailers weren’t so pleased with Friday as the new music day, fearing they’d lose the double spike, ie core music fans shopping early week to get the new releases, everyone else popping in at the weekend for a good old browse. Basically everything what Beggars boss Martin Mills said back in February.

But you know, Sony and Universal spoke and now everyone’s getting on with it. And don’t worry, a survey by UK label trade group BPI of just over 2000 consumers found that an end-of-week release day was most popular. Actually 37% of those surveyed said Saturday. But that’s nearly Friday innit? And 60% said either Friday or Saturday. So job done. Though I suspect beyond those core music fans who created the traditional early-week spike at indie record shops, the average music fan doesn’t care what day new music comes out on, and likely doesn’t even know.

Anyway, “think Friday, think new music” says IFPI, and whatever you think about the choice of day, unified release dates worldwide makes a whole lot of sense in an age when artists converse with fans as one globally. And no one day was going to please everybody. So well done everybody. Hey, look, they even made a website.

Here’s some more words from IFPI: “New Music Fridays are an opportunity for artists and labels to maximise awareness of newly-released music. Whatever country they are in, fans will now know – Friday is not just the start of the weekend – it’s the day for new music. This can help create more excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new albums and singles”.

Of course, behind the scenes the shift has required quite a bit of rejigging by labels and especially distributors and retailers, with 34 of the 45 countries shifting to New Music Friday not currently releasing new tracks and albums on that day.

The move will also impact on chart days in many countries, including here in the UK where, of course, the weekly countdown of the most bought and streamed tracks and LPs will start coming out on a Friday, with a Friday afternoon chart show and Monday morning Music Week delivery to complement the move.

The first Friday chart will appear on the first New Music Friday – making that an unusual five-day chart – with the first Friday Top 40 proper being unveiled on 17 Jul, just in time for everyone being on summer holiday and not giving a fuck about the charts. Still, at least that gives everyone a couple of months to iron out any glitches before we get into full on new release season in September.

Now some quotes…

IFPI CEO Frances Moore: “New Music Fridays is the result of tremendous cross-industry collaboration, involving labels, artists, retailers and others. Establishing a global release day for new music means fans across the world can get new music as soon as it is released and we can recreate that sense of excitement that new music used to bring. We hope it will be a case of ‘think Fridays… think new music'”.

BPI CEO Geoff Taylor: “In a business that is increasingly digital and global, the logic for a global release day is compelling. Fans don’t understand why they have to wait to legally access music that has already been released in other countries. Unifying the day of release inevitably means some countries are having to switch days, but it makes sense to consider the time of the week when interest in entertainment, digital activity and physical footfall is building towards its peak. Fans are telling us they would like new music ready for the weekend, so Friday appears the best choice and it is supported by the research we undertook with consumers. We need to do everything we can to serve the fans and build our business around that”.

Entertainment Retailers Association CEO Kim Bayley: “Retailers and digital services are the ultimate link in the chain between artists and music fans. Having a single worldwide release day reduces customer confusion about when new music is available and focuses everyone’s attention on new releases. Retailers are working hard to implement the change to Fridays and ensure that the advent of New Music Friday is a success”.

Official Charts Company CEO Martin Talbot: “Moving to Friday ushers in a new era for the Official Chart this summer. From 10 Jul, every Friday night will be party night for all the artists and their UK fans celebrating their latest chart position. It is going to be a fantastic new beginning for the Official Charts”.

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