Saturday, July 23, 2005


We raised an eyebrow when the Electric 80s compilation CD rolled up with a big barcode as its cover design - it seemed to be such a GCSE Art project idea, and we're sure it's been done about sixty-five times before anyway. But, at least, they'd take care to make sure the design wasn't a proper barcode, wouldn't they? Because otherwise, you'd get some shops scanning the design barcode instead of the actual barcode. So, obviously, they'd have someone check that out, wouldn't they? Wouldn't they?

No, it turns out: not until Jack Johnson's In Between Dreams started racking up extra sales and people shopping at Tesco found they were only be charged for the Johnson album (less than a tenner) instead of the compilation LP (nearly fifteen quid). Now, as well as the money lost on the cut-price sales, the label is having to cough up for a cover redesign, reprint, and redistribution. These are the people who are meant to be the experts, remember.

Still, the error seems to have been confined to the supermarkets, as our old chum Gennaro Castaldo from HMV has popped up to point out this hasn't been at issue at their shops:

"Someone would have to be pretty stupid not to recognize that," HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said.

"The proper barcodes are always done on the reverse of the CD," he added. "All our staff are aware it's the cover artwork, and if fellow retailers and supermarkets are doing that, it just highlights that they're not really music specialists. We've not had any issues."

While we're delighted to see the hardest-working PR man in the music industry doing great work here, we're not sure this is quite the coup he might think - isn't he saying "the chances of getting an unexpected bargain in HMV is very low indeed"?