US music retailers rail against Apple

A US music retailer trade body has railed against pre-release albums being made available for sale through iTunes, appealing instead for same day release of both digital and physical versions of new albums, presumably on the basis that delayed physical presence harms the interests of their members.
Established in 1958, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) board states: “While recognizing the continuing shift in physical and digital album sales patterns, …(we)…remind the industry that the accepted practice is for all album releases, regardless of format, to come to market  simultaneously on Tuesday.
“It is simply good for business that this practice is respected. If not, the Board feels we are opening the door for chaos in the marketplace as the significance of street date becomes meaningless and its competitive benefits are lost. Over the past few months, there have been instances where release dates  for physical and digital versions of albums did not coincide, creating unnecessary and unwelcome marketing obstacles, consumer confusion and, most importantly, missed sales opportunities.
“The NARM Board urges all parties to make extraordinary efforts to limit or more tightly control any  copies issued before the actual release date. In those isolated instances where an album’s digital release  is advanced unexpectedly or unavoidably, retailers that are planning to merchandise the physical product  should also be permitted to provide it to their customers immediately without fear of reprisal.
Artists, managers, labels, and distributors are urged to make every effort to embrace, endorse and  execute release date parity. There is no “competition for earliest availability” that will be of any benefit to consumers. A singular street date will help stimulate competition on what matters: price, selection,  quality, and service. The NARM Board feels that strict adherence to this strategy will benefit all  segments of the business, especially consumers.”
The Association’s retail members operate 7,000 storefronts that account for much of the physical presence of music retail in the world’s largest music market. However, Apple’s continuing place as the biggest music retailer in the US means the digital music seller is now impacting the business of NARM members.

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