Major record labels to release singles as they receive radio airplay
- Niki Boyle
- 25 January 2011
Record labels Universal and Sony Music have announced that singles from their artists will be available to buy as soon as they receive radio airplay. This is a major change from the traditional model, where songs are played on the radio up to six weeks before they are available to buy.
David Joseph, Universal’s CEO, explained: ‘What we were finding under the old system was the searches for songs on Google or iTunes were peaking two weeks before they actually became available to buy, meaning that the public was bored of – or had already pirated – new singles.’ The new system will provide a legal alternative to music piracy, and also demonstrates to the UK government that the labels are doing their part to combat piracy – culture minister Ed Vaizey was alerted to the plan by the labels themselves.
Piracy aside, it’s also a measure intended to placate the modern generation of music buyers who won’t wait for a song to be released, simply because they’re used to having things instantly. Songs from X Factor or Glee are available to download shortly after those programmes air – Sony Music have experienced this first hand, with their roster of artists including X Factor alumni Alexandra Burke, JLS and Christmas number one Matt Cardle. The move will also have the benefit that grassroots campaigns to direct the course of the charts, such as Rage Against The Machine’s successful bid to keep X Factor winner Joe McElderry from the Christmas number one slot in 2009, will not have time to gather momentum.
For listeners, the change will most likely mean a more varied weekly chart, as there will be more new entries, and more gradual sales as people find the song growing on them, rather than becoming bored of it before release.
Aside from X Factor artists, Sony’s roster also includes acts such as Glasvegas and Foo Fighters, both of whom are due to release new albums this year. Artists under the Universal banner include Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas and Jay-Z, although individual acts on both labels can choose whether or not they want to subscribe to the scheme. (Niki Boyle)