Australia could get its own National Album Day [exclusive]
Australia could have its own National Album Day to celebrate the long player as a full body of work.
A British initiative launched last year, it’s a day where at 3.33pm, fans, shops, radio stations and public spaces are invited to play their favourite album in full.
It was set up by the Entertainment Retailers Association and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first recognised album release in Britain – the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor on the Columbia Masterworks label (June 1948).
The BPI estimates that five billion albums have been sold in the UK over the past 70 years.
This year, the BPI reached out to the ten biggest music markets – including Australia, the US, Spain, Italy, France and Germany – to consider introducing it in the next few years.
Dan Rosen, chief executive of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) tells TMN, “We’re very interested in seeing what the BPI has done in the UK, along with their partners.
“Promoting the discovery of music is an important art of what we do, and we’re quite happy to have a look at it. We want more of engaging great music and great artists.”
Introducing the day in Australia would be a major undertaking.
It would include tie-ups with radio and retail to highlight classic albums, artist Q&As, iconic album artwork exhibitions and an extensive social media campaign.
The idea is not only to focus on how an album is the ultimate creative expression of Australian songwriters but how they shaped the culture of our cities.
It is not known if the other markets will also adopt Britain’s October 12 date.
But if ARIA does introduce it in the next few years, October would be ideal for the local recorded music sector, around the time of ARIA Week.
Rosen emphasises that no firm decision has been made on adopting the initiative, but he says the ten biggest markets do regularly share information and last year set up a collaborative Best Practises.
The Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA) applauds National Album Day.
“It’s a great idea and we’d love to get involved with it,” its president Dave Clarke tells TMN.
“To be able to experience a body of work in the order that the artist wants you to hear it is a magnificent thing in this instant one-track at a time world.”
AMRA is behind Record Store Day (RSD), which is held in April and is growing in importance for music discovery.
In terms of economics, RSD is already a bigger sales booster than the Christmas period, and some stores reported four times as many transactions as on an average Saturday.
“Certainly spikes in vinyl and collectors items are continuing to build,” Rosen says.
“RSD is an important part of the calendar and that’s something we support, and something we want to see grow year-on-year.
“It’s an important initiative driving peoples into their record stores and reminding them what great places they are to discover music and ignite their passion for music.”
Rosen declines to comment on ARIA’s upcoming mid-year figures as they are not finalised.
He adds, “There’s no doubt the album is going through a transition as it moves into the streaming world, and it’s something we’ll watch as it translates over the next few years.
“But there’s no doubt the album format is thriving, as we see from new releases by Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Kylie Minogue and Jimmy Barnes.
“But it’s a format that will evolve as new devices are introduced. What remains constant is that great music is great music.”