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RELEASE WARS: HOW DROP DATES AND STRATEGY AFFECT STREET SUCCESS

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First published on www.nielsen.com

From Beck previewing his Morning Phase album for in-flight air travelers to hear via Gogo Inflight Internet before its formal release date to Bruce Springsteen streaming his recent Higher Hopes album more than a week before its release as a promotion for the TV show The Good Wife, there’s more to release dates than a specific date. We take a closer peek at various types of release strategies (release dates, formats, exclusives and previews) and how they relate to post-release success.

NONTRADITIONAL RELEASES

Although New Music Tuesday has been famous for decades, the tradition is shifting, with the most obvious example being a recent one: Beyonce’s self-titled visual album released last year. Released at midnight on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 as an iTunes exclusive digital release, the surprise album sold an impressive 617,000 units in its first three days without any radio airplay or pre-release promotion. It was available only as a digital release until Tuesday, Dec. 18, which is when brick-and-mortar stores began selling the album. Beyonce’s album continues to perform very well digitally, with almost 50 percent of the album’s sales in 2014 being digital.

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