Monday, September 14, 2009

In your face, the Beatles!

You will no doubt be aware that the Beatles reissued their albums last week, all tidied up and polished for the 21st Century. Although, as they were at pains to point out, the records weren't tidied up or polished very much, because they were already so bloody brilliant. Yes, even the early ones that they recorded in a day.

So, with all the hype and fuss, how did they do? Actually, erm... not that well.

All of the albums returned to the chart - which is, to be fair, a record - but the highest placing the Fab Four managed was number five (Sgt Pepper). Dame Vera Lynn beat them to number one - while David Guetta, Arctic Monkeys and Jamie T all sold better.

The much-vaunted box sets debuted at 24 and 57, for the stereo and mono versions respectively. Oh, and the computer game? That went in at number four - three places below Guitar Hero 5.

Over at HMV, PR guru Genarro Castaldo had the following excuse explanation:

"We've seen huge demand for the remastered Beatles albums since Wednesday, but sales have been spread across all the releases, especially the box sets.

"The fact they were only out for four days also seems to have counted against their prospects of a number one."

Well, excuse my French, but what a load of bollocks. Are there really legions of Beatles fans who can only make it to HMV on Monday or Tuesday? Are we expected to believe that the demand for the box sets (number 24 and 57, let's not forget) cannibalised the sales of the individual records? I don't think so.

I have a few theories to explain this sales "anomaly"

1) The albums were too expensive. Individually, they cost £11 despite being 40 years old. The mono box set was a rip-off-tastic £200 - or £15 per disc.

2) There were no bonus tracks or additional content to entice fans.

3) The differences between the old CDs and the new, remastered ones were practically inaudible to everyone but audiophiles and Beatles geeks. Don't believe me? There's a great side-by-side comparison on NPR's All Songs Considered podcast. With the exception of the mono version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, none of the featured tracks sound appreciably better. Anyone who says otherwise is being fooled by the fact that they're paying proper attention to the recordings for the first time in years.

4) Who wants better audio quality anyway? The popularity of MP3s and ear bud headphones suggests that people aren't really that fussed.

5) The overall effect of "Beatles Week" on the BBC and a million other media outlets was to make people think "do you know what? I've heard these songs enough to last me a lifetime, I'm not buying them".

6) The albums are still not available on iTunes - which is where any normal person wants to buy them.

7) Nor were the new mixed available on vinyl - which is where any abnormal person wants to buy them.

8) That cow Heather Mills sabotaged it all.

I'd be interested to hear what you think, too...

In the meantime, here's a proper outtake (and something I'd consider buying if it was released officially) from the White Album.

Labels: ,

<< Home

Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

© 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact | Go to the homepage