What Is The World Coming To?

So there I am, with a spare five minutes, walking between New Office and Old Office, when I stumble into HMV. I’m not usually one for buying my CD’s from chain stores, being a fan of either shops like Rough Trade or online folks Amazon (or buying direct from artists, frankly). But as I hadn’t got a copy of the new Joanna Newsom yet, I thought I’d shell out there rather than order online, if it was at a decent price1.

You Need Some Braces, Luv

But it wasn’t on the shelf. “Typical”, I thought, “Someone makes a great, brave album, which gets unanimously fantastic reviews, and the mainstream shops don’t even bother to stock it”. So I try the desk.

“Hello, have you got the new Joanna Newsom album?” I ask, expecting a “Durrrr…who?” response.
“No, we’ve sold out” said the man, astonished.
“Sold out?”
“Yes, it sold out yesterday. We’re getting 20 more copies in tomorrow but they might not be enough” said a second man, who was equally as astonished as his colleague.
“Are you serious?”
“Totally! The record company wasn’t expecting to have sold so many either. They are getting it re-pressed, apparently”

We all laughed at the strangeness of discussing the fact that a Joanna Newsom album had sold out and I went my merry way.

So there you go. We’re constantly being told that no-one buys CDs any more, yet an esoteric artist like Joanna Newsom sells out in a day. In a chain store in Canary Wharf. Either there’s loads of bankers irresistably drawn to a triple-CD evocation of lost love by a musician for whom the term “kooky” was invented, or she really is rather more popular than anyone realised.

I go for the former, personally. Canary Wharf is an odd place.

1 Ok, I do have a pre-release copy, but it’s 192Kbps MP3. I want to rip this to AAC, to go with my lovely new iPhone and lovely new Phonak Audeo earphones. And I want artists I love to be able to make a living.

MP3: Good Intentions Paving Company by Joanna Newsom

Buy “Have One on Me” (CD/MP3)

Buy “Have One on Me” (Vinyl)

(By the way, if you buy the Vinyl, this is what the inner sleeves look like. I’m getting my record player out of the attic).