Why are CDs and DVDs released on Tuesdays?

I get why movies are typically released on Fridays, but why is everything else--DVDs, CDs, books--released on Tuesday?

By Leslie Gornstein Apr 15, 2006 7:00 AMTags
I get why movies are typically released on Fridays, but why is everything else--DVDs, CDs, books--released on Tuesday?

By: Jak, New York

A.B. Replies: We can safely assume that music people pioneered the Tuesday release schedule. Book people never pioneer anything anymore--unless you count delusion, in which case James Frey and Kate O'Beirne certainly deserve some credit.

According to the many media experts I snagged for this question, Tuesdays are the most promising days for home-entertainment industries to release, say, 13 shiny new tracks from Toby Keith. Tuesdays are also the easiest days for data crunchers to begin tracking weekly sales of said stuff.

"It's quite simple, actually," states Mark Berman, of the trade magazine MediaWeek. "Since Monday is the day after the weekend, consumers are not at their height of awareness. And because Friday is the day before the weekend, consumers are preoccupied with other things. That leaves Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Since Tuesday comes first, it leaves Wednesday and Thursday open to actually buy [and track sales of] the product. So, Tuesday it is!"

A detailed, day-by-day explanation of this theory:

Mondays: Employed consumers are way too busy to shop. Bunches of forwarded emails about sleeping newborn pandas and kitty cats who dance, dance, dance have amassed in their inboxes. And then there are all those meetings about expediting deliverables.

Wednesdays: Rock deejays are too busy hooting about "hump day" to promote new tunes, making the middle of the week useless for the music industry.

Thursdays: This day is way too hectic for the music business, making CD releases unthinkable. Crusty blues singers are busy shooting a man in Memphis. Country session musicians are suffering their usual truck breakdowns in the Valley and calling their club promoters asking for rides.

Fridays: This day belongs to the movie industry. Nobody out here messes with Weinstein.

A music manager put it to me this way: "As I learned it, there had to be one specific day to level the playing field in reporting sales clearly--all the more important since the advent of Nielsen SoundScan. Tuesday was an arbitrary day selected to get the records in the stores early in the week but still allow a window for late shipments due to the prior weekend."

Occasionally, some company will get squirrelly and try to release a book or a CD on a Monday so that it can report higher weekly sales figures. According to another music insider, these companies are generally seen as scourges that need to be napalmed from the air.

"It's considered cheating," my insider says. "Dirty play."

Hmmm. So, what does that make someone who releases her new podcasts on Friday nights?