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March 24, 2015

Music Industry Makes Major Change To New Releases

  The Roosevelt Torch, Roosevelt University

By Daly Tongren

New Music Tuesday will be a thing of the past very soon, thanks to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and its decision to move the global album release day to the end of the working week.

Beginning this summer, the IFPI plans to release all new albums on Fridays, instead of the current industry standard, which is Tuesday. This switch, according to the IFPI, is being made to combat piracy issues and create an equal opportunity when it comes to accessing music across international borders.

“Release days currently vary from one country to another, causing frustration for consumers when music fans in other parts of the world can access new releases before them,” the IFPI said in a press release on Feb. 26.

This inconsistency of music releases among different countries can be directly attributed to the piracy rates that have plagued the music industry for the last several years.

The market is glutted. Consumers expect free music,” said Lloyd King, musician and adjunct professor at Roosevelt University.

According to King’s own experience and those of his colleagues in the professional music world, artists aren’t making money the way they used to.

“I've informally polled my musician friends and to no one's surprise, we all made two-to-three times more per year in the nineties than we make now, even though we're all better musicians now with more experience and impressive credits,” King said.

According to a study by the Institute for Policy Innovation in 2007, the music industry loses out $12.5 billion each year due to piracy, or illegal downloading of music.

By setting a global standard for when artists can release their new music, the IFPI believes that consumers will be more motivated to purchase the albums, since they will be less impatient to receive them in the wake of releases across other boarders.

Tuesdays have become the American music industry standard for release days before this regulation but not for a concrete reason. In 2010, NPR reported on a few of the possibilities, which included distribution timing and Billboard charts as potential reasons.

This seemingly lack of solid rationale that makes New Music Tuesdays, as they have come to be known a good idea, didn’t make it very difficult for the IFPI to come to a decision on a new date. The idea has been in the works, according the organization, for over a year, and it did not make it on its own.

“The move to a global release day follows several months of discussions between group representing retailers, record companies, artists and musicians unions,” the IFPI said in its press release.

King believes the change is a positive move, but doesn’t think it will make too much of an impact in the overall state of the industry from a financial perspective.

“It'll likely be good to get everyone on the same page both in terms of building excitement for new releases and perhaps even cutting down somewhat on piracy. But I doubt the change is going to make a big difference in terms of the industry's overall trend–that is, it's downward, chaotic slide,” King said.

Paul Von Mertens, a Chicago music producer and arranger for former Beach Boy Brian Wilson, sides with King’s positive yet realistic outlook on the release day switch.

“I suppose the attempt to create a sense of community and excitement is a good idea, if everyone wants to play along,” Mertens said.


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