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NARM Calls For Fixed Release Dates

NEW JERSEY (Hypebot) – NARM has issued a strong call for common release dates across digital and physical retailers in an attempt to protect its core brick and mortar membership. But digital pre-releases and online promotions are now a core promo strategy and it's doubtful they can reverse the trend.

"While recognizing the continuing shift in physical and digital album sales patterns, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) reminds the industry that the accepted practice is for all album releases, regardless of format, to come to market simultaneously on Tuesday.

It is simply good for business that this practice is respected. If not, the Board feels we are opening the door for chaos in the marketplace

as the significance of street date becomes meaningless and its competitive benefits are lost. Over the past few months, there have been instances where release dates for physical and digital versions of albums did not coincide, creating unnecessary and unwelcome marketing obstacles, consumer confusion and, most importantly, missed sales opportunities.

The NARM Board urges all parties to make extraordinary efforts to limit or more tightly control any copies issued before the actual release date. In those isolated instances where an album’s digital release is advanced unexpectedly or unavoidably, retailers that are planning to merchandise the physical product should also be permitted to provide it to their customers immediately without fear of reprisal.

Artists, managers, labels, and distributors are urged to make every effort to embrace, endorse and execute release date parity. There is no “competition for earliest availability” that will be of any benefit to consumers. A singular street date will help stimulate competition on what matters: price, selection, quality, and service. The NARM Board feels that strict adherence to this strategy will benefit all segments of the business, especially consumers."

– NARM JUNE 2008