Sony Drops 'On Air On Sale' U.K. Strategy

Singles will no longer be on sale as soon as they hit radio

October 12, 2011 8:55 AM ET
lady gaga sony
Lady Gaga performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Sony has announced that it will be dropping its strategy of releasing singles to retail at the same time the songs are serviced to radio in the United Kingdom. The strategy, called On Air On Sale, was put into practice early this year by both Sony and Universal in the U.K., but has been largely abandoned in favor of "looking at each release on a case-by-case basis," according to a statement from Sony. Singles by Lady Gaga, Jessie J and the British rapper Chipmunk were released as part of this program.

Photos: Random Notes
The plan, which was put into place largely to combat piracy in the period between the time a song hits radio and is available for sale, was not widely publicized, resulting in some listeners being unaware of the fact that they could buy the new tracks immediately. In other cases, the process of promoting a song before it becomes a hit was being truncated in a way that minimized their music's impact on the charts.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »