Monday, October 14, 2002

Ask A Stupid Question

CD release timing is industry standard

By Mike Pulfer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Question: From a local Christian oldies fan, "I have noticed that, for some strange reason, most CDs are released on a Tuesday. Why Tuesday? Why not Monday?

Answer: "Well, like most things, the quick answer is `because that's the way we've always done it,' " says Larry Nager, the Enquirer's pop music critic.

For a longer answer, we went to Tom Thompson, spokesman for downtown's Arc Distributing, a national distributor of CDs, tapes, records and other musical merchandise.

"It's the industry standard," he said. "The objective is to keep everyone (retailers) on the same playing field . . . It's been that way for quite some time, now.''

For about 20 years, it appears.

The standardized release date makes it easier for the recording industry to monitor sales and to avoid preferential treatment to stores. In other words, it's more difficult for a particular store to jump the gun and sell popular releases early, thereby swiping business from nearby competitors.

"It also lines up with shipping times," Mr. Thompson said. Shipments of music typically begin arriving in stores on Thursday.

And Tuesday releases allow stores to coordinate special midnight sales launches on Monday evening, as opposed to Sunday, which is normally a short work day.

"I guess it was in the '80s when they started really making them adhere to it," Mr. Thompson said. "In the '70s, if you got it, you ran with it (sold it)."

If you have a stupid question, send it to Ask a Stupid Question, Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; fax: 768-8330; e-mail

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