New-Release Fridays Make Tuesdays Feel Worse Than Monday

Look at all these new releases, just waiting to be ignored all weekend.
Look at all these new releases, just waiting to be ignored all weekend.
Photo by Clint Hale

As music consumers, we are constantly facing changes in the status quo. About a year ago, we faced a dramatic new development in the way we consume. No, I’m not talking about TIDAL. In July 2015, the music industry as a whole shifted its normal weekly album-release schedule from Tuesday to Friday. The idea of new albums releasing on Tuesdays had been commonplace since I started buying music, and in fact just about since I was born. Tuesday was selected as the new music release day back in 1989 in order to avoid issues with shipping physical copies (remember those?) and to give all stores equal footing despite fluctuating shipment dates. Since then, there was a period of time wherein music fans all over had reason to rejoice on Tuesday, Monday’s seemingly cool but actually-also-a-dirtbag cousin. That is, until last year.

So now that we’ve all had some time to Netflix-binge Friday Is the New Tuesday, how is it settling? Personally, I don’t like it. But that’s just me.

Part of me understands why the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) decided to make the change. There’s that bunch of crap about the globalization of culture owing to the Internet messing up release schedules with intercontinental piracy from Australia and blah blah blah. We all know this change really came about as a result of a royal decree from Houston’s own Queen Bey.

Beyoncé’s self-titled album dropped unexpectedly on a late-2013 Friday and went straight to No. 1, breaking records and causing industry fat cats all over to put their heads together to reassess the situation. In August of 2014, a mere eight months later (actually a pretty fast turnaround in terms of an entire industry), it was announced that Beyoncé’s Friday release model could work for everyone. While I believe it is a slippery slope to believe that what works for Bey is universally applicable (I learned this the hard way with a $700 shiny designer sporting jersey), effectively hindering even a fraction of piracy seems like a smart move to improve sales on the whole.

Another part of me hates the switch. Maybe I’m just a stubborn holdout, resistant to change for purely selfish reasons. I readily admit that much of my reasoning is selfish — mainly I just liked having something to look forward to on a Tuesday — but is a selfish argument automatically invalid? I, representing “the consumer” in this case, had become accustomed to the midweek pleasure of searching for new listening material. I, the consumer, enjoyed picking an album early in the week to spin endlessly as a distraction from the 9-5 lifestyle until the weekend finally came around.

Weekends have plenty else going on, so the new music is put on hold until Monday anyway, when I can finally start to absorb it. This often results in hastily scribbled Post-it notes on my desk to remind me what I want to listen to next week.  At this point, as far as I and consumers like me are concerned, the album may as well just come out next week!

If we wanted to get unselfish, we could look at how this affects local record stores. Weekend sales are already a given because of predictable consumer patterns, but the additional incentive of new products gave stores a midweek sales bump once upon a time. Though “everyone in the industry” was consulted, store owners claim the decision didn’t involve them. However, shift calendars were adjusted, in-store appearances were rescheduled and everything has settled back into a groove, only with a fun new mid-week lull.

To employ an extended metaphor here, this switch is essentially taking candy from a baby. Little baby Tuesday, dark horse contender for Worst Day of the Week, sits and cries in his carriage until he is finally appeased with a delicious lollipop (new releases). In comes the Boss of All Candy (IFPI) to snatch tiny Tuesday’s tasty treat and give it to some other guy. Not just any other guy, though. This guy is named Friday, and his pockets are already lined with various snacks both savory and sweet (movie releases, parties, live events, proximity to the weekend, et cetera). In short, Friday has plenty going for it. Is it possible to feel sorry for a day of the week? I wouldn’t have thought so, but that’s where I’m at with this.

Tuesday is pathetic now. It may very well have claimed Monday’s long-held throne of “Worst Day of the Week” with this. Tuesday is crying away, a baby, head heavy with a patronizing, mean-spirited crown. Meanwhile, Friday is off gallivanting with his brand-new snack that he probably doesn’t even care about and will toss away the minute he gets bored. Typical.

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