What’s with those odd release dates for books, CDs and movies (“The Best of the Dopers’ Choir” CD will be released 12:01 A.M. Tuesday the 13th of March)?! Who decides? And if a book, a CD or a film is “in the can” in November, why wait til March to release it?
I worked in record stores for many years, so I can answer with regard to CDs.
Release dates are always on Tuesdays for virtually all record labels (except VERY small independents). I’m not sure who chose that specific day or why, but there is a clear advantage to having one day a week serve as “new release day” - it’s easy to put up a display of everything released on that day, which people who come into the store for a specific item will usually look over.
As far as which DATE to release it on, that comes down to a number of factors: time of year (January is a slow shopping month, so few albums are released then), availability of the artist to promote it, copyright clearances (e.g. if any sampling is used), what other artists are releasing records around the same time (if you’re trying to get a strong chart showing for your CD, you don’t release it the same day as the new U2 album, for example) … etc.
I remember seeing one particular CD’s release delayed for several months because after the copies had already been made someone realized the bar code was already assigned to a CD in the company’s back catalog.
Who decides? The record company, probably someone in the marketing department, but I never worked on that end so I couldn’t tell you for sure.
Interesting stuff, ruadh. Many thanks.