new music releases

When I write my New Music Friday posts for Four Over Four, I often wonder why new music releases are on Friday. Is it for a special reason? Who made up this rule? Is it like this everywhere? Welp, I’ve found out the reasons. But before we dive into that, first…

My guesses before researching include:

  • People want to listen to new music releases on the weekend.
  • Why not release new music on the best day of the week?
  • It’s already TGIF, why not NMF?
  • That’s just when they do it… no reason.

It turns out I was wrong, on every guess above, and now that I really think about it, I do vaguely remember New Music Tuesday…

What’s the real reason for new music releases on Fridays?

The official name of the day isn’t New Music Friday, it’s Global Release Day, and it went into effect on July 10th, 2015. It was implemented by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry or the IFPI. This group represents the recording industry, worldwide.

new music releases ifpi logoBefore July 10th, 2015 new music was released on Tuesdays in the United States, mostly for shipping reasons, before we all started getting into the streaming world of today. Tuesday made sense because if a retailer received their CDs, albums, tapes, whatever, on Monday and a retailer down the street didn’t get theirs until Tuesday, they still got to release their albums on the same day. It would make sure that both retailers had an equal shot at selling the new music. But, that was only in the U.S…

Across the world, many countries decided to release on different days. For France and the U.K., they went with Mondays. The U.S. and Canada went with Tuesdays. Germany and Australia went with Fridays. Now, imagine if your friend in France gets the new release on Monday and you’re in Australia. Would you wait five days to listen to the newest music or would you send your friend a message and ask them to send you a copy of the album digitally? I know, you’re probably a good person and would never think about stealing music, but a lot of people did.

According to NPR, when the IFPI realized this digital loophole, they asked eight countries when they would like the official release day to be. 68% of those said that they wanted it to happen on Friday or Saturday. So in the end, they went with Friday around the globe.

This angered a lot of stores…

When you think about this in terms of stealing music and releasing it on the same day worldwide, it does exactly what it’s meant to do. But, a lot of stores did not like the new release date. Mid-week music releases meant that those who were still purchasing new music in-store would no longer be coming and buying mid-week. And the mid-week boost in sales would disappear.

The IFPI did take this into account, but in the end, chose to do what music-lovers worldwide would benefit from most, while also pushing back on the illegal download market for new music releases.

Now you know the real reasons that we’ve got New Music Friday (or Global Release Day) on Fridays around the world.

What did you think was the reasoning behind New Music Friday? Tell us on Twitter.