In the music industry, Fridays are undoubtedly linked to New Music Friday. Hundreds of thousands of artists release music on Fridays in the hope of being included in a New Music Friday playlist. However, unless you have a major label marketing machine that supports you or massive financial support, New Music Friday may not be the right day for you to release music. Here’s why.
Why is new music released on Friday?
Here’s a history lesson. In 1989, the music industry decided that all new music will be released on Tuesday from that point on. This was changed to Friday in 2015 to combat piracy and increase music sales. The reason for this was that different countries had different release days. This meant that someone could potentially buy an album in Japan before it was released in the US, upload it and let others illegally pirate it.
Many popular artists or those signed to major labels release music on Friday because of the way charting works. In the United States, for example, Billboard tracks sales from Friday to Thursday each week. So if an artist releases their music on a Friday, they have a greater chance of accumulating the streams and sales he needs to chart.
However, with a barrage of music flooding DSPs every Friday, is it really the ideal day for emerging artists to release new music? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for these artists to release music on another day?
Why you should avoid New Music Friday
Major labels and artists
According to a study by Systemic, 75% of the songs on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist were either released by artists on major labels (40%) or imprints of majors (35%). Therefore, if you’re an independent artist releasing music on New Music Friday, you’re undoubtedly competing with the big wigs. This undoubtedly reduces your chances and opportunities in all areas.
Media & PR
On Fridays, music journalists are bombarded with press releases from every music press agent on the planet. Therefore, music journalists and editors can have their pick. Undoubtedly, the large majority opt for top-notch releases by popular artists that attract the most attention from their readers.
If you are an emerging, independent artist, releasing music on a day that is not Friday (or the weekend) could serve you better. You have a much better chance of getting the coverage that you would otherwise not get if you released your single on a Friday.
New Music Friday playlists are typically packed with top-tier artists. Music fans can therefore have their pick when it comes to listening to brand new music. Alternatively, if you release music on another day of the week, there is a higher chance that it will not be buried under tracks released by popular artists. This in turn leads to more listeners, which drives DSP algorithms organically.
Sure, releasing music on another day of the week eliminates the possibility of having your music on a New Music Friday playlist. However, there are hundreds of other editorial playlists that are updated at different times of the year, depending on what is best for the experience within the playlist. If your song gets traction, it can also be added to an editorial playlist at any time. Therefore, Friday is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to playlisting.
Although Friday is undoubtedly a tentpole day for new releases, this does not mean that it is always the right day for you. The most important thing is to have a good release and marketing strategy that takes into account your niche and optimizes all the opportunities your next single can bring to your career.