Music retailers have tough enough margins as it is - and labels holding back all of their best releases until Q4 doesn't help.
That's according to the Entertainment Retailers' Association, which has called the first half of 2012 "one of the weakest release schedules retailers can remember in both music and video games".
Speaking to the BBC, ERA chief Kim Bayley said: "It is very difficult for retailers to sustain their year-round investment in staff and rent when sales are crammed into such a short window."
In response, Universal commercial MD Brian Rose argued that August in particular was a difficult time for labels to release music as consumers were not actively purchasing.
"We don't put all our hopes into an autumn release period - we are very much a 52-weeks-of-the-year business but there's solid business reasons to release a lot of them in the autumn," he said.
"In December we'll sell 20% of all the albums we'll sell in a year, so it's still a big opportunity."
An HMV spokesperson warned that a crammed Q4 would mean "lots of potential sales which aren't achieved".