The LCD Soundsystem Soundscam: Could James Murphy Actually Top The Charts?

Mar 22nd, 2007 // 12 Comments

lcdpic.jpgTwo months ago, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy posted a message on the DFA Records board, in which he asked fans to send this week’s Sound Of Silver album to the top of the charts. His logic: If the Dreamgirls soundtrack can claim the top spot by selling a mere 60,064, than he could move at least the same amount of Silver copies:

lcd record 1 (the old record) sold a total of 60559 in the US since it was released. meaning, straight up, if everyone who bought the first record bought s.o.s. the week it’s released, then we’re totally #1. i’m sure some people who bought the old record have now moved on to extreme noise or something, but maybe there are enough new people to make up for it!

So how’s that working out for him so far?

So far, we only have a handful of online sales rankings to look at. And while these positions provide strictly anecdotal data, they do give an idea of how Sound Of Silver is faring against such just-released records from the likes of Modest Mouse and Joss Stone. All positions are as of this morning:

Amazon: No. 17
iTunes album chart: No. 9 No. 26 No. 5

It looks as though Murphy’s biggest challenge is not only fending off Isaac and Joss–both of whom could cross the six-figure mark, according to HITS–but dealing with last week’s surprising amount of top-five debuts. Perhaps if Silver had been released in the dead of early winter, it would have stood a chance of hitting the upper echelons of the chart; as it stands now, it’ll be lucky to break the top ten. Of course, this was all just a tongue-in-cheek PR stunt, rather than a sincere desire for world domination merely disguised as a PR stunt. Right?

  1. dentist

    Caroline/EMI distributes DFA. But it’s a one-stop, not the main distributor, that didn’t have enough on hand. They’ve got plenty of Joss Stone though!

  2. Jude

    y’know what’s REALLY hilarious about Murphy’s “request”? He’s apparently pulling a Tila Tequila. No?:

    “Edge” officially lost.

  3. Chris Molanphy

    I love James and adore the album, and it was a clever stunt, but it’s all over already, and he’ll be lucky to make the top 20.

    The DFA stock issues and the competition from Modest Mouse (who, by the way, have a real shot at #1 next week - there’s your headline!) are big enough challenges, and you’re right that he needed to drop this album in January if he really expected the gambit to work.

    But the larger point is, as beloved as LCD is by hipsters, it has nowhere near the penetration with rank-and-file rock fans as the two big indie records of the year so far, Shins and Arcade Fire. We’ve already seen what an actual indie-rock record, on an actual indie label, against medium-size major-label competition, can do on the charts. The answer? Around 100K (and in both cases, a #2 debut) – and that’s if the band has name recognition with suburban kids who’ve (a) seen the band on Saturday Night Live, (b) seen the act live or heard buzz that their concerts are selling out, and/or (c) have heard the band on the Garden State soundtrack. LCD has none of that.

    The only chart James stands a chance of topping is Jackin’ Pop next January. Here’s hoping!

  4. konflictofinterest

    Remember when Radiohead tried to pull a stunt like this with Amnesiac and outsell N Sync? Have fans buy three or more copies and return the excess later?

    How’d that work out?

  5. dentist

    I’d be surprised if Radiohead actually had anything to do with that.

    The best was Hawthorne Heights/Victory Records’ desperate attempt to topple Ne-Yo by telling fans to go to stores and hide copies of Ne-Yo’s CD!

  6. The Mozfather

    James’s point wasn’t a PR stunt – he describes it in the post. He wants to be able to ask radio stations to play stuff like “North American Scum” and for them to say, “I can’t, it’s retarded” rather than “You just aren’t on the charts.” People were also asking on the message board if they should buy more than one copy and he said not to do that. The stunt is unlikely to work, but its not like it was altogether that important.

  7. GiantPanda

    I did my part in helping his dream

  8. nonce

    I buy Murphy not being as pre-marketed as a Shins CD (new genre: lifestyle music?) but The Arcade Fire? Really? Their pre-release buildup was a couple of shows at a church, an appearance on a late night TV show nobody watches, and pre-emptive backlash against hype that wasn’t ever really there.

    So if Arcade Fire can sell well off of a combonation of feverish devotion and curiosity, Murphy can at least sell decently. Maybe the PR stunt he needs is a good backlash.

  9. Cam/ron

    If a man is willing to create a 45-minute disco track to sell Nike shoes, he can sincerely lead a Tila Tequila-style campaign to boost his band to no.1. SOS is still a great record, but it needs to have strong pop singles to get any radio airplay and wider exposure. Besides, many of the hipsters who bought the “Losing My Edge” 12-inch five years ago are starting to age and struggle to prove their coolness to the kids – just like in the song.

  10. Bob F.

    Pretty strange that the LCD album was not first-week-deep-discounted at Best Buy, Circuit City, or any of the other big guys. Best Buy has it for 14.99, Circuit City for 11.99 (but not even listed in last week’s Sunday flier).

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