Majors to sell music the day it hits radio, finally

britney-spears-hold-it-against-meThe music industry is learning yet another lesson it should have learned a decade ago. According to The Register, Universal and Sony have finally decided to make digital copies of songs available for purchase the day they start airing on the radio. Typically, record companies will release high profile songs 1-2 months early, to build buzz for a major album release. The problem with this tactic is that the songs tend to peak in popularity before they are available for sale, and if a song isn’t available legally, fans start downloading it illegally.

Universal CEO David Joseph recently said that research shows that Google and iTunes searches were peaking two weeks before songs went on sale, meaning that millions of fans were finding songs through alternative means, like P2P and BitTorrent downloading sites. Case in point: Britney Spears’s new pop song “Hold It Against Me.” It was just unveiled a few days ago, but I’ve already heard it at several places and parties that don’t play radio even though the song isn’t yet available legally. How many sales has Spears lost out on already?

Not that we have a huge fascination with Britney Spears. That would be weird. But it’s good too see the record industry start listening to its fans. One small step at a time.