There is no shortage of reasons to be enthusiastic about Fridays: you’ve just finished a gruelling week at work and 2 days filled with whatever you please await. However, for all the music nerds the most important thing about Friday is that it’s the release day for new music.
On paper, new music being released on Friday seems like a no-brainer; people are gonna be living it up on Saturday and Sunday and need some fresh tracks to provide a soundtrack for all the weekend antics that lie ahead. For some new music coming out this summer, check out this HOLR article. You’d be surprised (or not) to know that the answer is not that simple.
Before the 1980s there was no such thing as a release day for music. Record stores simply stocked the shelves with new albums once they arrived at the shop. Then once the industry became more competitive an agreed-upon day to release new music was necessary to create a level playing field. Tuesday was chosen because when music was still being consumed physically it made the most sense; the weekend was used to ship out albums and Monday gave music store employees a day to crack open boxes to display all the new tunes. This system worked hunky-dory until 2016 when things needed an adjustment.
The Tuesday rule only applied to citizens of North America, in France new music was distributed on Mondays and on Friday in Australia or Germany. This meant that a hardcore Canadian fan could illegally upload a new album for all their German buddies to check out 3 days ahead of schedule. Thus in an effort to combat piracy Friday was chosen worldwide as a new music release day. Accordingly, all the bureaucratic details of streaming services and billboard charts were adjusted to line up with Fridays. Billboard charts track sales from Friday to Thursday, and according to Ashaunna Ayars (former vice president for Warner Bros. and Def Jam) Friday is utilized because “that’s when the major streaming platforms update their playlists to include new music and their marketing and positioning is updated to highlight those new releases.”.
Friday seems to work great unless you’re a relatively unknown artist trying to make a name for yourself. On Friday, February 26th there was a total of 61 major new releases including EP’s and albums by artists ranging from rock n roll vet Alice Cooper to pop sensation Madison Beer. Competing with 61 other big names makes landing your new music onto playlists challenging to say the least. Granted, a lot of that challenge has to do with oversaturation and how music is consumed in today’s age, but Tuesday was a much more memorable day for new music. Monday is a natural reset day and a weekend is not enough time to fully appreciate an artist’s body of work. Friday has enough going for it already, let’s bring new music back to Tuesday.