In a reversal of a decades old marketing strategy, Sony and Universal will begin putting new singles for sale as downloads on the same day that they are released to radio. The new policy, which the labels hope will encourage younger users to pay for a new song rather than grab it free, is being implemented first at the UK branches of the two label groups, but seems likely to spread to other territories.
Previously, labels gave radio up to six weeks before they released the for songs for sale hoping to "set up" the record by building interest that would drive first week sales and chart position.
"Wait is not a word in the vocabulary of the current generation. It's out of date to think that you can build up demand for a song by playing it for several weeks on radio in advance," according to David Joseph, the chief executive of Universal Music UK.
"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," added Joseph, "meaning that the public was bored of or had already pirated the new singles."