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News October 27, 2015

Aus Music Retailers Association lists Global Release Friday pros

According to the Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA), having Friday as the designated Global Release day is good for business.

AMRA has weighed in on the debate after Kim Bayley, director general of the UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association, suggested that major label executives “undertake genuine economic research into the impact of the plans.”

Bayley favored Monday due to its allowance of restocking and correction of metadata issues and said that the only justifiable reason for a Friday release date would be if it resulted in a net increase in sales.

The Australian music industry, which made the move from a Sunday release day to a Friday in 1996, has said that the move “made sense for the Australian industry then and it makes sense for the global industry now.” AMRA executive director Ian Harvey stated, “The decision to move to the Friday release date in Australia was not based on numbers and empirical evidence as Kym Bayley suggests it should be but on the belief that retailers had to meet the needs of their customers and that for those customers Friday, Saturday and Sunday are shopping days.”


Calling the move to Friday a relatively painless one, Harvey explained the transition to Billboard. “We picked the smallest sales week of the year to make the change (mid/late January) and we prepared at both record company and record store level over the previous six months.”

He continued, “No one complained, no one said there were increased costs, no one baulked at the idea because there were logistical issues and the implementation went off without a hitch.”

Referring to the issue of costs and logistics as “non-issues”, Harvey deemed the selection of Friday as sensible. “Why wouldn’t you have your most attractive, most in demand product available in store when consumers are actually shopping?”

As a top 10 world market region, Australia has a strong culture for domestic content, along with a presently growing digital market and a historically buoyant CD album business.

AMRA chairman Geroge Papadoloulos, who serves as GM of Australia’s Leading Edge Music, Video and Books divisions, refers to the country’s move to a Friday release date as the right call. “The weekends, from Friday night onwards, are Australian music retail’s busiest time and it makes sense to have the new product releases consumers want in stores and ready for sale when they are out shopping.  If we don’t have it, then they won’t wait and will just go elsewhere. Strong pre-orders for some products make it even more important to put the customer front and centre.”

Despite the IFPI and major music companies championing Friday as the global release date, the presence of an anti-Friday coalition ensures that opposing viewpoints remain heard. The Department of Record Stores, one of the indie coalitions behind Record Store Day, were the first to contest the idea of a Friday street date. Billboard went on to report that The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the US independent label organisation, and Target, the giant discounter, are also publicly opposing a Friday street date.

Target spokeswoman Jill Hornbacher said, “We completely support — and want to help — the music industry’s effort to fight piracy, and we are 100% aligned for a global street date… but we think that the current Tuesday street date works best.” Echoing her sentiments was A2IM head Rich Bengloff, who wrote: “Our position is that we favor a Global Street Date for the social media/digital commerce but we favor a date earlier in the week, preferably the same date as DVD’s, games, and books as they generate physical retail store traffic and result in less logistical challenges.”

As discussions on the topic continue and alternate options are explored, the IFPI maintains that on today’s digital environment, it “makes sense” to further review the global release situation.


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