By Luke Lewis over @ NME

The lack of interest is puzzling, because Debelle’s debut album ‘Speech Therapy’ won the Mercury the other week, an honour which traditionally guarantees at least a few months of elevated profile. And it’s not as if she wasn’t showered with press in the wake of her win. The day after, we interviewed her in NME, as did every news organisation this side of Al-Jazeera, and even they probably did a quick “…and finally”.


By contrast, the record-buying public practically shrugged its shoulders out of its sockets. Sales of ‘Speech Therapy’ leapt by 4000%, according to Amazon, which sounds impressive until you learn that the album had sold fewer than 3000 copies in the preceding three months. And even that fleeting sales spike was not enough to propel the album into the Top 60.

So what happened?

The simple explanation is that the judges picked an artist who, no matter how likeable, and no matter how heartstring-tugging her backstory, simply doesn’t have any memorable songs. Consequently, TV and radio refused to get behind the Mercury decision – possibly out of sheer bafflement more than any commercially-minded resistance to her music – and so the buzz fizzled out no sooner than it had been ignited.

But there is another possibility: the record-buying public doesn’t actually listen to the media anymore. The hype machine (as opposed to The Hype Machine) no longer works. Another example? The Beatles Remasters sold well – but the numbers weren’t as titanic as you’d imagine from the full-spectrum tsunami of coverage that heralded their release. The expected dominance of the chart did not materialise: none of the retooled albums sold more in the week of release than Vera Lynn.

via the always polite RCRD LBL