That’s it. The Lebanon buys one copy of each album. I sometimes wonder how a meeting of record company sales executives must go when they review the monthly sales figures.
“OK, so Robbie Williams’ new album is breaking all the records. 8 million in the US; 2 million in the UK; even Germany – Germany!, where you’ve got to knock David Hasselhoff out of the charts to have any success – we managed to shift around a million CDs.”
“Great going guys! What’s the bottom performer?
“Yep. It sold a grand total of, wait for it… one.”
“Again, just one?”
“Yep, just one. As always.”
“We gotta find out who this one guy is – maybe he’ll buy two next time.”
Well, if they came to the Lebanon they’d find that thousands more are sold, but they are all copies. One original is bought and copied, the cover is also copied and it’s all packaged up and sold for peanuts: maybe $2-3.
The quality isn’t bad, it just isn’t great, and every time a new album comes out I make it my business to find the one original copy in the country, and usually I am the person in the country who buys that original album (in reality; it has been estimated that for every 60.000 albums sold in the shops in Lebanon, an additional 3 million copies are sold in the streets).
But this time, this album that is simply called “Clapton”, the quality of the copy really isn’t that bad at all – but that’s not the point. The point is that piracy is basically theft: musicians have to make a living somehow.
Anyway, I have yet to make my mind up about the new Clapton album – it might be run-of-the-mill, it might be brilliant, I am still discovering it, although it does seem to me to resemble 461 Ocean Boulevard. It’s chilled out in the same way that 461 was.
I love 461, it is beautiful piece of work, although the critics said it wasn’t any good… and here’s an interesting contradiction: how come the critics – who certainly aren’t listening to pirated copies – fail to see the qualities of what are some the most beautiful albums, and acclaims other albums that are a pile of shit?
461 got a pretty mixed reception when it came out, but was ranked in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time a few years ago; while Paul Simon’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon will never be compared favourably to Graceland, which the critics loved.
But I think Graceland is for wankers, basically.
The press sometimes makes something much bigger than it is, and vice versa, which I suppose only goes to prove that they are human like the rest of us. Maybe.