Update, February 26: The IFPI has confirmed that Friday will become the global release day for new music.
Singles and albums will go live at one minute past midnight local time in each market, with the changes set to come in this summer.
Rumors that a change was coming popped up last August.
Music Week reports that the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is “on the verge” of announcing Friday as the global release day for new music. The move would bring all territories in line with Australia and Germany, with the hope that it will decrease music piracy.
“The whole dynamic of the global release day consultation has been driven by one thing and one thing only – how best to serve the music consumer,” IFPI CEO Frances Moore tells Music Week.
“We’ve had a long consultation involving retailers artists and record labels, and we have looked at a large amount of insight and research. The good news has been the widespread support we’ve seen around the world for global release day – no one has seriously questioned the concept, the only debate has been about the day. The artist organisations and many retailers and record companies internationally support Friday, and this is backed by consumer research in many countries.
“There are other voices who prefer other days, and that’s not surprising. It would be very surprising if a project like this, involving over 50 national markets, didn’t lead to some objections in some markets. However, there is no doubt we have had a long and thorough consultation with the stakeholders involved and we now intend to make an announcement as soon as possible.”
Objections have come from independent labels and merchants, as well as US retailer Target, which could even drop music from its stores as a result of the change.
“I have concerns about the proposed global release day,” says Beggars Group boss Martin Mills. “Whilst I acknowledge the needs of a digital world for co-ordination, it seems to me to be crazy to throw away one of the trading week’s two peaks, and the ability to re-stock and rectify errors before the week’s second peak.
“It astounds me that the major labels are not listening to their customers, their interface with their artists’ fans. I fear their consultation has been a charade, and the market leaders were always going to push this through. 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 marginalised. I fear it will further cement the dominance of the few – and that that is exactly what it is intended to do.”