Marc Weinstein, founder/co-owner of Amoeba Music // L.A., San Francisco, Berkeley
“[This is] another example of us indie/’brick and mortar’ [stores] having to adapt to the increasingly dominant rules created by Wall Street giants who’d just as soon see us all go away. They write the new rules regardless of the history.
We will have big challenges properly restocking hot items when we discover we need more on release day. We’ll basically have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to get many of those items back in. Our entire machine is geared towards Tuesday new release day. Those mid-week sales have historically been very important to us, and we had time to restock for the weekend. Oh, well, no more of that.
The fantastic array of in-store performances associated with new releases are fairly easy to accommodate on a Tuesday, but not so on a Friday, obviously. We may well be passing on some great opportunities for new release celebrations and live in-stores because Friday is a very challenging day to pack the store with fans, as it is such a busy day.
Basically this is a huge inconvenience for all indie stores, and represents another ‘hit’ by the new powers-that-be in this business. We absolutely hate it, frankly. [There’s] nothing good about it in our world or our customers’ worlds. [It’s] just a way for the big boys to make more money.”
“We are fine with a global release day, but Friday is definitely the wrong day for indies — both retail and labels. Monday is a much better day; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are busy days already, and so Monday is a great day to start the week with new products and promotions in the shops. A Monday/Tuesday release date gives the industry two bites at the apple — one that drives consumers to stores and digital storefronts at an otherwise quiet time of the week — and then again at the high-traffic weekend period. It’s easier and cheaper to get restocks in — and manage digital customer support for glitches —during the working week than it would be over the weekend.
I can only see that Friday will benefit supermarkets. Their customers can pick up a new CD with their weekly shop. They haven’t exactly supported music in the past. And a global chart is inevitable now, which is surely for the benefit of the aptly named Universal.
It is easier to get part time staff in for weekends than it is for midweek, which is now where we would need those extra people. For Rough Trade, we have regular release day in-stores — Mondays/Tuesdays are perfect for this, since a lot of artists are booked for weekends.”
“In the most basic way, it [a global release day] makes sense, especially in the digital age where we are all so connected; on the other hand, considering the infinite changes we’ve seen in the industry over the last decade, this seems like it’s besides the point. Records do leak sometimes, but if you still buy physical LPs and CDs, you can’t exactly mail order from Australia just because their release is a few days before ours. If you listen to music digitally, illegal downloading will obviously continue. For folks who don’t steal music, everything is moving towards streaming anyway.
I guess it’s not a huge deal, titles that have strict street dates tend to be shipped a few days or a week early, so they don’t all come into the store the day before release. But we already are busy on Thursday and Friday setting up for the weekend, so any extra work on Friday is not ideal, unless it truly leads to more sales — and I’m pretty skeptical that this change will make any real difference in overall sales.”
“The problem with Friday street dates for record stores is that it strips us of our ability to adequately prepare for the weekends, our busiest days. As it stands, the Tuesday release date allows us the flexibility to restock hot titles between their release date and weekends.
Since new release orders are due anywhere from two to five weeks prior to any given street date (not including huge titles like Bjork or Faith No More, which can be solicited months in advance), our buyers can only predict so much.
A Friday release date will push back restock orders on hot titles until the following Monday, and provided these orders can ship the same Monday — which might be doubtful if every store is trying to get in orders the same day — stores will be lucky to have restocks a full week after an album’s release, unless we want to pay for two-day or overnight shipping which we all know is not cheap.
Let’s say that restocks arrive to our stores on a Thursday or Friday of the week following an album’s release. Now, we’re already onto the next release date, the customer has had to wait a week and the cycle starts anew.
If labels want to start giving us complimentary Saturday shipping, that would help but only if we could get the orders in early afternoon on Friday, which still allows for very little time to determine what we’d need.
Another disturbing aspect of this is how majors like Sony made this switch without even consulting their own distribution arm (RED).”