Note the girl in the lower right in the USC sweatshirt. On her cell phone. Photo by David Greenwald
As you probably know, the Shins’ latest full-length bowed, as they say at Billboard, at the #2 spot on this week’s Top 200 albums chart. The guys sold over 100,000 albums in a week, a staggering number for a group that 1) are on Sub Pop, 2) kinda cerebral lyrically and 3) saw their popularity peak three years ago already (Garden State. Had to say it. Apologies.).
Anyway, I think it’s fantastic, Braff or no Braff. However, much was made over the album’s inordinately early leak — it hit the Internet back in October, and has since been downloaded over 19,000 times from one popular private bittorrent site alone. That’s an easy 5 or 6k more than other popular albums on the site — which range from indie stuff to Gnarls Barkley and Red Hot Chili Peppers — which have been available, obviously, for months and months longer. This was an unbelievably popular record even by Internet downloading standards, and the album sales reflect this. Or do they? Is there a correlation between leak downloaders loving it and buying, or are the sales totally disconnected? Would it have sold more if it leaked later? Is this really all Braff’s fault?
Considering that every torrenter probably sendspaced or YSI’d the thing to their favorite message board, I’d say it’s a fair estimate that the album was downloaded at least as many times as it was purchased, if not far more.
My question for you, dear reader, is: Did you download the Shins album? If so, did you buy it? Or, did you buy it without downloading it?
For the record, I didn’t buy it. My roommate did. Some great songs — “Sleeping Lessons,” “Australia” and “Spilt Needles” are my favorites — but they’re never going to be the band that I fell in love with when I bought Oh, Inverted World back in the pre-Braff era ever again.
Of Montreal sold 11k and cracked the charts too! Good for them.
Leave your answers in the comments, folks, or if you’d like to retain your anonymity, e-mail me: rawkblog AT gmail DOT com. I’ll tally up the results over the next week and let you know how it works out. (P.S. Stereogum or Gorilla Vs. Bear or somebody with more readers than me — you guys should do one of these, too.)
In the meantime, here are some Shins goodies for you: