The Friday the Thirteenth problem wouldn’t present itself to artists for much longer. Gradually during the 1980s, all the major record companies were changing the standard day of issue from Fridays to Mondays. Friday had been the norm in the entertainment industry for the release of new product for many years. Until the 80s, many working people in Britain were paid in cash on Friday and so they had money in their pockets to spend on new records and new films; these would appear on Fridays to catch the weekend market. Even today, major movies open on Fridays – but this makes sense as part of a night out for people with a day-off on Saturday. By the mid-80s there was no advantage to be had by releasing a single on a Friday: people were being paid monthly or 4-weekly into their bank accounts, and as the charts were compiled based on a sales sample from Monday to Saturday, new titles appearing on a Friday were competing with singles that had been available all week. Issue the new title on a Monday, and it had a better chance of a high chart-entry position in its first week – and therefore a better chance of a ‘Top Of The Pops’ appearance, among other benefits.
EMI, who had the biggest market share in the UK music business at the time, started to issue new releases on Mondays as standard in 1980. The CBS group followed in 1984, then the WEA labels in 1985, and then the last of the big four companies, PolyGram, in 1987. Of course, a single could always be released on any day of the week regardless of the conventional form as the label or artist saw fit – as Roddy Frame knew.
NEW SINGLES on sale from May. 12
AZTEC CAMERA (Roddy Frame) Walk Out To Winter (Rough Trade RT132)
The COMMUNARDS (Jimmy Somerville) Disenchanted (London LON89)
Julian LENNON This Is My Day (Charisma CB423)