The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry arranged the order in an apparent attempt at preventing music piracy, and it’s now been announced that this rule will officially begin on July 10 2015.
Last month, the IFPI had this to say of the change: “The compelling logic of Friday is that it is the day that best suits consumers … the highest footfall in physical retail stores and the highest levels of purchasing traffic online… It’s also the time of greatest activity on social media, helping amplify the buzz around new releases everywhere. And the weekend is a time for greater spontaneous purchasing.”
It’s interesting and can potentially be of great service on retailers and companies who, like any other industry, would welcome that kind of regulation. Most films come out on a certain day, many clothing brands release new lines on specific dates and so forth.
The plan also hopes to quell piracy by stopping albums from coming out early in certain countries. For instance, here in Australia, we often get to hear albums earlier than other people, which obviously helps overseas pirates. Personally I don’t think this will necessarily change if we make Friday a thing, it’s more about just making sure that there’s only one release date per album.
The news hasn’t been welcomed by everyone. According to Consequence of Sound, Beggar’s Group founder Martin Millis said, “I fear it will further cement the dominance of the few — and that that is exactly what it is intended to do.” His sentiments were repeated by Michael Lambot, of Play It Again Sam: “If a global chart reigns supreme, development artists and local artists will have to get used to hearing the voice of America, everywhere… Big money, big global campaigns, will dominate.”
It’s a fairly confusing decision and one that will undoubtedly affect many people positively and negatively.
The main concern I would echo from Lambot’s argument is that there’ll now be a big rush for scheduling media events, announcements, appearances etc., on Fridays – and there’s only so many TV shows and radio programs one can tune in to on any given day. Previously, artists could previously arrange to appear somewhere on any other day to coincide with the release.
The other argument is one that nobody seems to have mentioned; today, more albums are ‘leaked’ early than are officially released now anyway, and I really don’t know if this kind of new rule will have an impact on that either. Furthermore, artists drop ‘surprise’ albums left, right and centre, making it even more difficult for retailers, media and so on to schedule around them. Will implementing this kind of rule really quell that? And will it really help to prevent piracy?