Now that the major record labels have officially announced that they are moving to a Friday release day, the time for debating the logistics behind what the move could entail is over -- it's time to make some decisions.
With the move to a Friday street date, the IFPI and the RIAA expect the Billboard charts, powered by Nielsen Music, and the U.K charts, produced by the Official Charts Company, to change their reporting dates in order to accommodate the move.
As it is now in the U.S., the chart-eligible sales week runs from Monday through Sunday at midnight, with most retailers electronically transmitting their sales data feeds from the Sunday/Monday overnight through early Tuesday. Nielsen Music and Billboard then process and review the data for an early Wednesday release of sales charts on Nielsen's client platforms and a Thursday morning release of all charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, on billboard.com.
So in the U.S. the questions become: Will the seven-day chart week now end on Wednesday night or Thursday night? And how will that shift affect the official chart release dates for Nielsen and Billboard?
"The announcement today by the IFPI is not a surprise and is something that Billboard has been discussing with Nielsen Music and industry leaders for months in relation to how a Friday global release date will affect chart processing," says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard's vp of Charts and Data Development. "We will make an informed decision on these matters in the coming months, well in advance of the release date shift."
"We have been working with Billboard and key industry players for some time on this important initiative and will continue to provide the most timely, accurate and complete measurement of music consumption," said David Bakula, svp of Industry Insights for Nielsen Entertainment.
Across the pond, the Official Charts Company told The Guardian that the "exact details [of its adoption of the new release day] are to be decided."
"Radio 1 said it had nothing further to add to the Official Charts Company statement. Insiders indicated that a decision had yet to be made on whether the show would move or remain in its current timeslot."