Josh's recent post about Modest Mouse's new record leaking got me thinking: do release dates really matter anymore? If you still wait to hear a record the day it comes out in stores, sure. But what about people like me, Josh and several other people we know who actively read MP3 blogs, message boards, etc. for hearing new albums? I'm only speaking for myself, but release dates don't matter that much to me anymore.
I really noticed this trend with Belle & Sebastian's The Life Pursuit last year. A few months before its release date, a few tracks trickled onto MP3 blogs like Gorilla vs. Bear. A few weeks later, the whole album was making rounds and Jason got a copy. Burning a copy for myself, I had listened to the whole album plenty of times before it arrived in stores on February 7th. Since I really loved the record, I bought it the day it came out. However, I didn't listen to my store-bought copy that much in the ensuing months. If anything, the "new-ness" of the record was gone.
It's not like I exclusively listen to brand spankin' new stuff, but I do like that as well as the stuff I repeatedly listen to. Right now, the latest records by Dinosaur Jr, Modest Mouse, Bloc Party and Fall Out Boy are getting some attention in my CD player. All of these records came from downloading, an activity I view more as a trial run/borrowing than physically owning. Whether or not physical copies are available in stores or not, this is no big whoop.
A timely case in point is the new Explosions in the Sky record, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone. Receiving an advance copy to review for Punk Planet, I spent a solid three weeks reviewing it for my February 12th deadline. With the album coming out in stores today, its songs are already well planted in my head and are kinda old news. I don't mean to pass this off or anything, but there is no new-ness in it right now.
So I wonder, do release dates still matter for you? Is the date of a record leaking more important?