Shoegaze-y UK garage rockers The Horrors have always maintained a steadfast independent spirit, and it came out in full force during a recent interview with the Daily Star, in which bass man Rhys Webb criticised the tactics he alleges have been used to propel Lily Allen‘s new LP to Number One.
After they bass player did some gushing about Beyonce, he turned his attention to what he feels is the ephemeral quality of most modern pop music, and slammed the decision to sell Allen’s third album Sheezus for just 99 pence (AUD$1.79) on Google’s digital store, Google Play, for 24 hours.
“Her record company have done that to give Lily a surefire Number One,” said Webb, connecting it to his concerns that pop music is becoming increasingly throwaway. “Albums should be something that are there for a lifetime.” But would machinations such as those Webb is suggesting even work?
According to the Rules for Chart Eligibility for albums, as outlined by the Official Charts Company, who are responsible for the UK’s sales charts, discounting an album does not disqualify it from contributing to its Chart position, “provided that the records, and the gifts or discount offered, comply with all other chart eligibility rules.” If the retailer promotion doesn’t conform with this, it’s excluded.
This could partly explain why current Official Chart Company data does indeed have Sheezus at Number One at the midweek stage of this week’s Album Chart, putting her 12,000 copies ahead of her nearest rival, Paolo Nutini, while The Horrors currently sit at Number Six, according to NME.
It is of course important to note that Allen has been a sales draw since her debut and that Sheezus is the singer’s comeback album after a four-year hiatus. However, Webb’s comments raise questions about the types of tactics labels and artists employ in today’s increasingly frugal market.
According to a report by Hypebot, Billboard Magazine, who maintain their own US sales chart, declared in 2011 that unit sales for albums priced below $3.49 will not be eligible for the Billboard charts, possibly done as a response to a 99-cent Lady Gaga sale on Amazon’s digital store.
Watch: The Horrors – So Now You Know
Watch: Lily Allen – Sheezus