JULY 2015 IN
RICK ASTER’S WORLD
The world’s record companies got together and agreed that Friday would be a nice day to release new records. It is an adjustment for the U.S. music business, which has spent the last quarter century releasing records on Tuesday.
The United States might have pioneered the idea of releasing records on a specific day of the week, but the situation has changed since then. The Tuesday release day made work easier for record stores in the 1990s, but it has been a decade since record stores drove the record business. Now it is the music-download sites that the record companies are looking at when they try to streamline things. Most online music sources operate in multiple countries, and releasing a record is mainly a matter of pressing buttons. There are fewer buttons to press if you can release a record to the whole world at once. Friday record releases align with the movie release calendar, an advantage in Hollywood and India. That was reason enough for the U.S. record business to change its schedule.
The first day of the aligned global record releases on Friday is July 10. Billboard, the source of the definitive U.S. record charts, is changing its chart calendar accordingly. Aligning the chart calendar with the release calendar makes it easier to have high-ranking new releases. That’s an occasion that never fails makes the charts seem important and meaningful, almost like home runs in baseball.
Aligning record releases globally on Friday is a funny kind of globalization. It is certainly not that the whole world is listening to the same music. Music charts are still done by country, and for good reason. Currently, the #1 album in the United States and Canada is by Breaking Benjamin; in the U.K., Florence + the Machine; in Germany, Santiago Blue; in Australia, Ed Sheeran. Even among hit records, it is the exception to have a hit in ten countries at once. A global chart would be almost meaningless at this point, but at least now we can have simultaneous global releases.
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