Do you know what day music is globally released?
In the U.S., the music industry traditionally released new music on Tuesday. On July 10, 2015, “New Music Tuesday” became “New Music Friday” to appease the global music industry. Led by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a non-profit with operations based in Switzerland, the new global release street date aims to prevent music piracy that can occur between Tuesday, the U.S. release day, and Friday, the global release day. For example, an artist in the U.S. may release an album on Tuesday, however the album may not be available globally until Friday.
U.S. music labels typically advocated for the Tuesday release date because Billboard publishes its charts on Wednesdays, giving record labels the maximum seven days to accrue its music sales. That’s tactical business.
But when the IFPI proposed measures to close this gap, several U.S. organizations objected. Notably, Target denounced the new proposition, arguably because the change would compromise U.S. music sales. Think about it: movies also release on Friday and music consumers often have weekend plans that may or may not include them tagging along their favorite tunes. Not to mention, who really has the time to browse the entire iTunes music store (or record store, for those who still have them) after 5 days of work?
The senior vice president for Universal Music Group Nashville, Tom Becci, said he “could see the piracy ramp up dramatically over the weekend” when albums leaked the Thursday or Friday before a Tuesday U.S. release, according to USA Today.
So far, the Friday global release date has had minimal effect on global piracy levels, with a 5 percent overall piracy decline and a 25 percent rise in YouTube piracy (illegally downloading MP3s from YouTube music videos) in 2015. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), meanwhile, reported revenue growth for the first half of 2016, largely thanks to streaming. However, streaming encompasses both paid subscription services (such as Apple Music and Tidal) and unpaid services that don’t always fairly compensate artists.
So does the showdown between Tuesday and Friday really matter? For industry executives and promotional teams, Tuesday v. Friday is huge. But for the average music consumer? Not that much.
But always, always pay for your music.