NEW YORK (Hypebot) – At this point it's rather unclear what the "music industry" thinks about a global release date happening on Fridays. But given the response of retailers, it sounds like the industry and a key partner industry are disconnected and poorly communicating. A statement from the UK's Entertainment Retailers Association is helping bring this divide into the light. Unfortunately it appears that no one has made public any of the claimed data that would help those affected decide. Call me old-fashioned but this doesn't seem to be a good point in history to be stumbling around in the dark.
According to Ed Christman at Billboard "everyone in the business appears to unanimously favor Friday as a global uniform street date."
But he also says:
"U.S….indie label groups say that while they think a global street date is a good idea, it makes much more sense to have it on Monday and Tuesday."
I wouldn't know that's why I turned to Billboard for clarity. But, for my part, as someone associated with the music business inasmuch as Hypebot makes me a part, I'm fine with it. Friday leads into the weekend. It makes a release date a natural party. Plus a lot of people get paid on Fridays. So I believe it could be a good thing.
But, as many are noting, UK trade organisation the Entertainment Retailers Association is very much against Fridays.
Here are some excerpts from their statement:
"ERA believes there are strong arguments in favour of adopting a Global Release Date. However, it is incumbent on those proposing the change to make a robust assessment of the costs and benefits of choosing any particular day of the week. Unfortunately those promoting this plan are giving the impression that they are set on selecting Fridayregardless of any evidence."
"A Friday release date will undoubtedly cause logistical problems and additional costs for both digital and physical retailers. The current UK Monday release day allows for restocking and correction of metadata issues well ahead of the busy weekend period, something a Friday release day would not allow…"
"The only justification for a Friday release date would be if it resulted in a net increase in sales. No evidence has yet been put forward that this would be the case…"
"ERA urges the executives within the major companies who are pursuing a Global Friday Release Date to adopt a more open-minded approach and to undertake genuine economic research into the impact of their plans. If they do not, they run the risk of making a difficult trading environment for music retailers and digital services even more difficult."
Actually some solid transparent research would be a good idea. Christman closes his account with a disturbing statement from Steve Harkins, said to be vp of music at Baker & Taylor:
"My understanding is there is supporting data…Assuming there is, I would be anxious to see it. We are so challenged as it is as an industry, we should examine things thoroughly so we don't make any rash decisions."
Sounds like folks are still stumbling around in the dark with music industry folks somewhat divided and out of touch with retailers. Not a good look.