If you follow album releases, you’ll have noticed that outside of a couple of big records (Florence + the Machine, Blur, Noel Gallagher), we haven’t seen much in the way of true blockbuster releases so far this year. That’s because over the last number of years, record labels have moved almost all of their biggest releases to the fourth quarter. Everyone wants to capitalize on back to school, winter cocooning, Black Friday and the Christmas rush.
There is, however, a theory that back-filling the fiscal with big releases is coming to an end. What’s going to kill this practice? Streaming. Why? As people move away from buying full albums and digital downloads and towards paying $10 a month for access to 35 million songs, it’s becoming less and less important to have a full album ready for record stores (physical or virtual) to sell in time for Christmas. The way we access music is changing. So is the way it’s being provided to us.