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Blog: Shop Receipts

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After our previous looks at charts for digital sales and spotify plays, today we're bringing the CAPITALISM CATCH-UP to an end with a look at good old-fashioned PHYSICAL sales. This information comes from my own DATABASE OF ROCK where I record (or at least do my best to record) all the sales that we're involved in ourselves. That basically means sales at gigs or via our online shop, but that comes with SEVERAL important caveats. Firstly, I only began doing this in 2003, so any sales earlier than that aren't included. Secondly, I've been a bit variable about including digital sales, and finally the fact that lots of sales were done at gigs and then added to the database some time later means that my memories of what was sold may sometimes have been even more variable. These last two items only change the overall SALES of each item, rather than the actual order they appear in, so for that reason AND THAT REASON ONLY I have not included the actual sales figures. Just assume they are all #various degrees of PLATINUM HITS and you won't go far wrong.

With that in mind, here's the chart!
  1. WE VALIDATE!
  2. Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez
  3. Say It With Words
  4. Warriors Of Nanpantan
  5. Dinosaur Planet
  6. Forest Moon Of Enderby
  7. Shed Anthems
  8. This Is Not A Library
  9. Still Valid
  10. The Uberset
  11. The Lesson Of the Smiths/The Gay Train
  12. Milk & Baubles
  13. It Only Works Because You're Here/My Exciting Life In ROCK
  14. Do The Indie Kid
  15. Hey Hey 16K T-Shirt
  16. Better Things To Do
  17. Dinosaur Planet T-Shirt
  18. A Million Ukeleles
  19. Wonderful Wednesday
  20. My Boss Was In An indie Band Once
The winner, WE VALIDATE! , is FAR ahead of everything else for various reasons. Obviously it was our big HIT, with radio play and all that, and we also TOURED it a lot more. This was done when people were still very much listening to music on CD too, so all that combined (plus the fact that I got LOADS made so still have some to sell years later!) is why it did so well. Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez is also up there for similar reasons, but having said all that Say It With Words might well have beaten both of them if I'd started recording the DATA earlier. In fact, it almost definitely would!

Moving down the list, I'm DELIGHTED to see Dinosaur Planet at number 5 - we didn't do as much touring for this one, and I think we've thought of it as a bit of a sales flop after our previous GOLD DISCS, so it's lovely to realise that actually we DID shift quite a lot of SCI FI UNITS. We also sold quite a few Dinosaur Planet T-Shirts, it seems, which pleases me no end.

That brings us on to another issue here - we are SO INDIE that a lot of our stuff is LIMITED EDITION. I mean, technically speaking, it's ALL limited edition because we've never gone to re-press on ANYTHING. This is because we are DEAD COOL and HIP, and not at all because we've never needed to - actually, that's sort of true, as we sold out of This Is Not A Library YEARS ago and so could theoretically have sold more, but my DELIGHT in finally clearing some storage space at the time was so great that I REALLY did not want to re-stock. Similarly I was so pleased to finally get rid of the last Hey Hey 16K T-Shirt that I resolved not to do anymore - these days you can do Print On Demand, which is ACE, but back then you had to pre-order ALL the shirts you wanted, and predicting which SIZES you'd need was a LIVING NIGHTMARE. Also, it was a right pain having to lug five different sizes around with you to gigs! Other stuff was INTENTIONALLY limited - A Million Ukeleles and Wonderful Wednesday here were only ever meant to be limited releases, phsyically at least, although they're VERY MUCH still available to buy digitally.

And that's pretty much all I've got to say about SALES for this week. I hope it's been of interest - I find it all ENDLESSLY FASCINATING how this all works, and I wish more people in our MILLIEU would discuss it. Decades ago it would have been impossible to do so as sales had to be done through THE MAN, but now that we, The Artistes, do most of this work ourselves we are free to MINE the data. We're also free to SHARE it, yet people rarely do. I guess part of it is not wanting to seem CRASSLY MATERIALISTIC (but I think I've shown pretty conclusively that it's possible to do this without appearing that way, right punters?), but from conversations I've had over the years there's also a nervous competitiveness. Nobody wants to reveal that they've only sold 3 copies of their album, say, nor to appear triumphalist if they've sold something crazy like 11. I think this is a shame - TALKING SHOP like this can inform and educate us ALL and prevent THE MAN from taking over again!

posted 8/10/2020 by MJ Hibbett

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