The Guardian calls the "impatient X Factor generation" who are unwilling to wait what is sometimes up to six weeks between a radio release of a song and its actual sales release.In an attempt to combat digital piracy, Sony Music and Universal have announced that they will put digital singles for sale the same day that the music hits the airwaves. According to record label executives, the move is meant to combat what
Whether or not that length of time is what's contributed to rampant piracy of digital music, there's no doubt that early releases of songs on the radio do tend to find themselves available for download illegally shortly thereafter.
According to music executives, the practice of "setting up" a record several weeks in advance of sales is out-of-date. "What we were findng under the old system was the search for songs on Google or iTunes were peaking two weeks before they actually became available to buy," says David Joseph, the chief executive of Universal Music, "meaning that the public was bored of - or had already pirated - new singles."
The practice of hyping music before release was part of a strategy of having songs hit the number one position on the chart upon release, and The Guardian says that industry insiders believe this new "on air, on sale" policy will make it easier for songs to climb the charts as excitement grows, rather than simply appear on the charts on release day, only to fall off immediately afterwards.
Sony and Universal will start this new policy in the U.K. It's not clear at this time if other record labels - or labels in other countries - will follow suit.
Of course, nor is it clear that the lack of "instant gratification" in getting new songs is really the impetus behind music piracy.