Release Dates are Dead!

16Jul09

broken recordBaldwin, NY – I spent a large part of my childhood there. There was Artie’s Deli, The Corner Store where I played Street Fighter and ate pizza bagels for $1 and stole atomic warhead candy. The bike shop, the baseball card store, the bodega where we bought smoke and stink bombs (all of which are gone now). Anyway, the one thing missing was a decent record store. There was one next to Arties deli, but it sucked. I remember seeing posters for Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and some G&R ads, but they were never open. In order for me to purchase a record, I had to be driven to Valley Stream to a place called Slipped Disc. Yes. I had to be driven 30 minutes by my mother to a store, not even knowing what I would want to buy until I got there. Sounds crazy now huh.

Check out this time line. Band creates music. Band records music, label pays for that recording. Label sits on master while marketing and promotion kick into gear. Band plays new songs on tour, talks about new record with the press. Everyone is gearing up to one day where it gets unleashed to the world, THE RELEASE DAY. (cue angel music). Yeah, that’s dead. Let’s re-write that time line. Ahem.

Band creates music. Band records music on their own digital studio. Band uploads full record inclusive of album artwork to their server and posts a download link on their website which they’re all savvy enough to moderate and update daily. They already have a few hundred people following them on Twitter so their small core fan base finds out immediately. Half those people are blown out of the water and tell their friends via aim, Facebook, SMS and Twitter. The other half say “meh” and move on. Each true fan has a copy of the record on their hard drive and swaps it for 10 other records with their friends. Would you rather have ten thousand people know about your band via advertising or a thousand fans willing to buy anything you peep?

Wait, what happened to the release date?

The release date has served the public well. It’s been with us since music has been sold. (Oh wait, music is barely sold now. No wonder release dates are dead. ) The release date is dead! Disassembled and discontinued. When was the last time you had to wait until the release date to get a record? Did you ask your friend who either knows the band or is tech savvy enough to grab it off the Pirate Bay? Yeah, that’s how I get my records too.

PS. I’m not talking about special editions and or special package deals. If you’re selling a record packaged with a trip to the moon with the drummer, you’re selling a trip to the moon, not music.

RIP release dates. You had a long run.

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