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Global Street Dates May Mean No Waiting For New Music

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The music industry is reportedly close to adopting a global album release date that would see all new albums unveiled on a Friday. The shift, scheduled for July 2015, is being implemented partly to curb piracy from Australia and could mean fans no longer have to wait to buy new music.

According to Billboard, the industry is hoping a single release date will entice consumers in the UK and US to pay for content. Traditionally, albums in the UK and US are respectively released on the Monday and Tuesday following Australia’s Friday release date. This means that by the time albums are released in these territories, Australian consumers have already uploaded them to the web.

A single global release format could also ensure that no consumer would be effectively “waiting” for an album to be released. Australians, who often receive albums first, are regularly forced to wait to get their hands on albums by artists signed to smaller indie labels or labels based overseas.

However, it’s not yet certain if a new release format will help remedy this. Billboard reports that some US independent labels and physical music retailers are opposed to adopting a Friday release date and prefer having releases scheduled for early in the week as it helps sell more CDs.

They claim devoted customers of an artist normally come in on the Monday or Tuesday to get the album first, while more casual customers will come in on payday, usually at the end of the week. However, it’s unlikely that physical retailers and indie labels will have much of a say in the matter.

“This global street date is necessary for the industry but unfortunately it will be awkward for the physical retailers to change their ways of doing business,” one label executive told Billboard. “Now, they could have two-thirds of their sales in one day,” significantly impacting retail operation.

Australia has been at the centre of the debate surrounding varying release dates for media content. Beloved HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones now stands as the most-pirated show on television, largely as a result of Australians downloading the show to circumvent its delayed availability here.

As Billboard reports, the change was also partly inspired by the successful rollout of Beyonce‘s 2013 self-titled album. Other artists have already taken heed of the advantages of a single release date, with Foo Fighters recently announcing a global 10th November release for their new album.

Each territory has normally chosen the release day they feel is best for their respective markets. The varied release dates have also allowed record companies to more easily move their artists around and schedule high-profile appearances that coincide with release dates in each market.

Billboard notes that among the other issues that need to be addressed before the shift are a change in the way units are delivered to stores and potential changes to world music charts. With other industries such as software and publishing also adopting the US’ Tuesday release date, some are also asking if US consumers will adapt after having been taught to go to stores on a Tuesday.

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