Why are CDs released on Tuesdays?

“We decided to level the playing field back in the mid-80s,” Joe McFadden, senior vice-president of sales and field marketing at Capitol Records, informed me. “Records used to come out ‘the week of,’ and retailers would sell it when they got it.” This created some serious discrepancies; stores that were more remote geographically, or that had a longer distribution chain, would get the music much later. So the labels settled on Tuesdays as a universal release date. “We were trying to avoid anyone breaking the street date,” McFadden said. “We figured if people got the product on Monday, they could sell it on Tuesday. And even if distributors got it on Friday, they couldn’t get it on sale in stores over the weekend.” This also had the advantage of getting people to visit the record store on a steady schedule–although recently, rush releases of leaked records have been on other days. And McFadden confided, “There have been backroom conversations among labels recently about moving the street date to Friday.”

(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)

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