Saturday, August 03, 2013

Johnny Borrell: When you give life lemons, someone will make lemonade

You know how you can tell when your record sales are really bad? It's when your label stops trying to talk up your record, and joins in the gales of laughter.

I wouldn't normally plonk down an entire press release, but Stiff Records' giggling at Johnny Borrell's sales deserves to be read in full:

Stiff Records is proud to announce first week sales figures for its latest album – Johnny Borrell's 'Borrell 1' – of 594.

'Borrell 1' is the début solo LP from the former Razorlight vocalist and is the first new album on the highly prolific Stiff Records since 2007.

That last album was the multi million-selling two-volume set, '30 Years Of Stiff Records' (although admittedly that was a free cover-mount with 'The Independent on Sunday').

"First week sales of 594 makes 'Borrell 1' the 15,678th best selling album of the year to date," comments a Stiff spokesperson. "So far we've achieved 0.00015% sales of Adele's '21' – and 0.03% sales of this week's No. 1 album from Jahmene Douglas – so we feel like it's all to play for as we move into the all-important week two."

“We might even break the Top 100.”

'Borrell 1' is out now on Stiff Records. If they're dead, we'll sign them.
You could almost feel sorry for Borrell - after all, it's unlikely Stiff warned Borrell that failing to sell any copies beyond his immediate family would result in public humiliation; and, as we know, Borrell does have a precious self-image which might struggle with knowing there are another fifteen and half thousand more popular albums than his. This year alone.

Johnny Borrell is people, after all. And, let's face it, while he might make terrible albums, it's not his fault that someone at Stiff - which is now just a tiny outcrop of Universal - decided to spend money on releasing it.

And given that marketing and promotion is what the major label is meant to provide in return for its cut, this is a bit like an inept surgeon mocking the dead guy on his operating table.

On the other hand: 594. I know Razorlight were growing ranker than a week-gone bobcat left to fester in an open drain towards the end, but were there no curious fans left by the end?

[Thanks for the tip to @curiousiguana]

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