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.
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.
“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.
(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).