Sony Music & Universal "On Air, On Sale" policy targets impatient pirates

Sony Music and Universal have announced plans to synchronize music releases and radio play, in an attempt to avoid seeing would-be buyers turn to pirated tracks rather than wait for an official release. The scheme – which is set to begin in the UK in February – recognizes that "wait is not a word in the vocabulary of the current generation" according to Universal CEO David Joseph, who believes that it's now "out of date to think that you can build up demand for a song by playing it for several weeks on radio in advance."

"What we were finding under the old system was the searches for songs on Google or iTunes were peaking two weeks before they actually became available to buy," Joseph suggests, "meaning that the public was bored of – or had already pirated – new singles." Tracks had previously seen up to six weeks between the start of radio and TV airplay and being commercially available.