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It’s Been a Year Since We Started Releasing Music on Fridays. Has It Helped the Industry?

Before July 2015, all new music in Canada and the US came out on Tuesday. New releases were shipped in time for stocking shelves/uploading tracks Monday night so everything could go on sale first thing Tuesday. But the because other countries released music on different days–Mondays (UK), Wednesday (Japan), Friday (Germany and Australia), piracy became a problem. Once a song was released in the UK on Monday (or the previous Friday in Australia), tracks could be had for nothing hours and even days ahead of the official on-sale date in other countries.

After much lobbying, 60 countries agreed to coordinate all new releases for 12:01am local time on Fridays. The new arrangement went into effect last July. So has it made any difference to the music industry? Sort of. This is from Wired.

It’s hard to say. Dr. David Price, IFPI’s director of insight and analysis, says that the industry’s granular day-by-day sales data is “not as good as we want it to be.” However, the organization announced in April that streaming now accounts for 19 percent of all music revenue worldwide, and is close to overtaking downloads as the dominant way people consume music digitally.

A midyear report from music industry analysts BuzzAngle, which charts the U.S. industries year-over-year numbers, echoes that reading. Streams are up more than 107 percent over 2015’s first half, but album sales are down 14. Even so, that streaming growth raised “Total Industry Consumption” by 6.5 percent. In other words, as everyone in the music world already understood, the future of the industry is streaming, plain and simple.

Whether that has anything to do with Friday releases is another story. According to Murray says that some pop artists do see big Pandora boosts on weekends and holidays—in particular, the July 4 weekend this year saw a big spike in Jimmy Buffett music. But for other genres, the Friday release is much less beneficial. “It’s funny, a lot of artists follow a sort of standard internet usage, where they peak on Thursdays and then things fall off on the weekend,” he says.