Well it has officially happened: the music industry now has a global release date. As someone who loves working in music sales, I strongly agree with this change to a global release date. This switch helps ease so many issues.
Say a release is out in the UK the day before it is out in the US, and some kid decides to share it with the world. An illegal downloading binge occurs, and it can only somewhat be controlled if a certain service can help you discover the source of the leak and block it from the source, to prevent it from getting downloaded more.
Yes, piracy is always a problem in this day an age, but a global release date can control this ever so slightly. I support it as well, because then you don’t have fans complaining about certain other countries being able to purchase the album before them.
Where I tend to disagree is the decision to set the global release date to Friday. Why Friday? Is the mentality behind this decision that people are more likely to engage with it because it’s the end of the work week? Was there online engagement data from Spotify Analytics or something that showed more users streamed music on Fridays than any other days?
From a marketing perspective, Friday is a little difficult. If the album was released on a Tuesday, enabling you to market the album prior to the release date, you can now also spend the rest of your work week pushing the release with full force. A Friday release date means you have to plan a majority of your marketing efforts prior to the release date and hope that it goes smoothly, because the weekend is next. The first few days of release are crucial data wise, and three of those taking place on a weekend can potentially inhibit good sales numbers and visibility due to lack of immediate post-release push. Also, if a release is leaked, it’s even less likely to be able to contact a service to take it down immediately, since it’s the weekend.
If they kept it on a Tuesday – the US release date and the middle of all the international release dates – that would have somewhat merged all release dates and eased the transition. It also would have enabled for the immediate, post-release, marketing push.
There are many other reasons I can think as to why I am iffy of a Friday release date choice, but it is now a historical, music change. Hopefully the experts were wise in this decision, and it performs well!