Just as the music industry offered other creative sectors a glimpse into the future with its all-in approach to streaming media, the announcement of a standard worldwide release day for records is a forward-thinking acknowledgement of today’s digital marketplace.
Friday is the day selected for albums to be made available in any country, although in truth the important element here is less about the day of the week and more about the way releases work.
Different release dates around the world leave a space where demand in certain countries goes unfulfilled, even when supply is flowing in others. Pirates need no invitation to quickly step in and fill that void, leaving impatient fans with a moral choice to make. A global release day eliminates the temptation to piracy, while legal streaming services make it easy to access any album that has been officially released around the world.
Although the tradition of “New Music Tuesdays” in the U.S. is rooted in record-buying history, and Monday a major day for music stores in the UK and Europe, the reality is that the vast majority of music is now consumed online. Whether by digital downloads from stores like iTunes and Amazon, or streaming on-demand from the likes of Spotify and Rdio, international demand has been aligned by digital supply.
Fans now know what is out in other markets, and rather than fuel further demand for expensive import CDs as it has in the past, restricting availability across national borders now just pushes fans into the arms of piracy sites.
The move to a global album release day is, hopefully, another step on the road to beating pirates at their own game.
The only reason for a piracy site to exist is to satisfy the demand that legitimate channels have yet to fill. If all music is available online at the same time, easily accessible and synced up across devices, then piracy is pushed to the very margins of music consumption.
When fans get what they want, how they want it, there’s simply no reason to risk the malware and questionable quality that the illegal sites present.