As threatened, throughout April - in celebration of Record Store Day - I offer up a daily post related to all things record shop.
And if any of it sounds like a manifesto, consider it good practice for my election campaign next year.
So, kicking off a month of japery, kinghell boring bullshit and contentious nonsense...
New Release Friday, Again & Yowzer! A Future Vision!
In July 2015, the whole planet synchronised like a second year psychology student flat share and changed new release day from Monday to Friday. This was done to remove the situation where an album could be readily available to buy in the UK say, but the US market would have to wait a few days before getting theirs.
So far, so BORING HISTORY.
Here's some more history: back in the nineties, HMV instigated a store based operation whereby every Monday morning shop staff had to drive to the local courier depot in the early hours to pick up that weeks new releases, get them back to the shop, processed and on the shelves ready for when the shop opened, just to get the drop on the competition. That's right. NEW RELEASES were BIG NEWS. And HMV being HMV, they didn't compensate staff for the additional hours worked, or the mileage.
I once had one of those meetings that are offered to the disgruntled rank & file whenever one of the HUMAN RESOURCES androids pays an irregular visit. Being local to the shop and in ownership of a car, I was one of the guys who got out of bed at 4am every other Monday, drove to the TNT depot to try and get those boxes before they were loaded onto the van. I pointed out to the HR android that I didn't mind doing it - in fact I understood how vital it was so much I knew I'd be writing about it decades later - but compensation in the form of pay *MINDBOGGLING*, or mileage *GROUNDBREAKING*, or even time in lieu *PISS OFF!!!* would at least make me feel appreciated (my appreciation, or my perceived lack thereof will come up a lot over the next thirty days -it's a shit bizness). The HR android considered my HUMAN feelings for a moment. Then she told me to stop moaning and went into a spiel about how many thousands of people would crawl over broken glass for my job. That's right. NEW RELEASES WERE BIG NEWS. Incidentally, many years later, the same HR android rebooted at Fopp and interviewed me for a Regional Managers job down in that there London. You can imagine how that went...
And so much for all that. My point is, that was THEN. And this is NOW:
New Releases don't excite like they used to. Streaming, and the industry practice of digitally releasing multiple singles months before the physical release hits the racks has made new release day - as an 'event' - largely redundant. Sure people can get excited - next week's Wet Leg record will be HUGE - but not on a relentless weekly basis, and I believe it simply isn't viable anymore.
Consider this: shops are ordering and receiving new releases every week. From a logistical point of view it's unnecessary. And from a punters point of view, it's relentless to the point of overload; you CAN have too much of a good thing. With rising costs across the board I believe that physical new releases should be consolidated to one day every month, maybe bi-weekly at most. Think of the savings logistically and environmentally. And crucially, I think the music industry has to recognise the financial impact the weekly release schedule has on businesses and punters alike. The industry has to show responsibility and adapt; a consolidated monthly list of releases, arriving in the shops on the first Friday of the month, would re-energize the interest for new release product. It would cut down costs and it would allow the punters - who are the most crucial element in all of this - to budget and pick their records without panicking about the releases coming right around the corner. Brexit and Covid kicked the music industry hard in the bollocks. The manufacturing and supply chain has yet to recover, with some releases arriving in shops months after the digital version is made available. Punters don't know if they're coming or going. Wouldn't it make sense to make a change sooner, rather than later?
Yowzer! A Future Vision!