Today, Friday, July 10 marks the start of a major “paradigm shift” in the global release schedule for new albums.
That’s right, the music world has been rocked on its axis by the Earth-shattering news that records, CDs and downloads will now be released on a Friday instead of a Monday in the UK.
Isn’t this exciting?
The change will affect 45 countries and the music trade body IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) is showing it is down with the kids, despite it having the word “Phonographic” in its title by coming up with a hashtag and a brand awareness campaign called #NewMusicFridays.
Just to remind ourselves, the Definition of PHONOGRAPH is “an instrument for reproducing sounds by means of the vibration of a stylus or needle following a spiral groove on a revolving disc or cylinder.”
“Revolving disc or cylinder”. So they’re right at the cutting edge then.
In the UK, it’s the BPI that represents recorded music – and yes, they are calling it a “New Era In Music” despite also having the word “Phonographic” in their name. Just wait until they discover the Internet. Or even laser discs.
It’s all about cutting piracy, which at first sounds as ludicrous as being the member of a phonographic federation in 2015.
After all, there’s evidence that the introduction of streaming and the blocking of Pirate sites appears to be doing a better job of curtailing illegal downloading than the music industry’s previous tactic of selling CDs and suing elderly ladies who download “Happy Birthday” illegally.
However, there is some sense in aligning release days, even if the effect is rather akin to re-arranging the deckchairs in the Titanic. The idea is to prevent there being up to a week’s gap between one country releasing an album and another.
The boffins at IFPI have quite brilliantly discovered that people from one country are able to download music held in another country, hence this move, which has come just in time, only fourteen years after Napster was shut down.
So what does the switch to Friday mean?
Not much, I suspect. Describing it as a “paradigm shift” is probably making too much of it. No-one ever said of Stairway To Heaven, “Well, it’s a good song, but I’d rather it had been released on a Wednesday.”
The reason is more mundane. Friday was chosen as the universal Global Release date because weekends are when consumer demand—in record shops and online— is at its peak.
However, it does mean that the official countdown in the UK will be on a Friday on Radio 1 instead of a Sunday. It has been broadcast on a Sunday for nearly fifty years – since Alan Freemen first presented Pick of the Pops in 1967. “Will people still tune in?” goes the cry….
As long as teenagers are still interested in music and the charts then I think they will. When I was a teenager, they used to announce the Top Five records on the radio every Tuesday at 1pm. I remember one of us would frequently smuggle a radio into class to hear who was top of the charts. On that evidence, it will take more of a schedule change to put people off knowing who is at number one.
In the meantime, I’ll be appearing on Radio 4’s The World Tonight programme to talk about the changes, so if you want to hear a forty-five year old music blogger banging on about the good old days of the charts, (and who wouldn’t?) why not tune in at 10pm tonight….