I promised I would report on Neutral Milk Hotel's Soundscan numbers for the U.S. version of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea on Merge so here it goes. I can't give out actual numbers but I can tell you their sales according to the NIELSEN SOUNDSCAN report this week have increased a total of 52% post Pitchfork review.
To give you a better idea of the bands sales history, I reviewed scans for this record spanning back just about a year. I can confirm NMH has had an incredibly steady and also respectable number of sales from week to week but in this entire amount of time there has been only one remarkable sales spike. It’s no freak accident; PFM just happened to give this very same record a perfect 10 the week before.
All you non-believers who claim Pitchfork doesn't hold that much power and influence over their audience please take note of this: The proof is in the numbers. In Soundscan terms 52% isn't a super duper mega impressive leap forward, like a video in rotation on MTV hot poop of the week impressive but it is still pretty damn good for a record that is so old it's practically 1/3 the age of the average PFM reader.
On the flip side these very steady weekly sales to date reflect that of a classic hit record, not major label huge, but rarely seen in the temperamental and trendy indie market. These numbers were in place long before the PFM re-view and I expect now that the review is not a blaring front page feature NMH’s freshly packed snowball of popularity will melt back to the respectable weekly sales it has been maintaining all along.
Fifteen seconds of fame is fine and all but its clear to me now that Neutral Milk Hotel didn’t really need it. This is a great example of a quality record still finding it’s way to new fans the old fashioned way, on merit alone.
What I wonder now is how long it will take for a demos or some rarities NMH collection to make it’s way to the record racks by the Holiday season. All joking aside how far off could a reunion be… all the cool (and less talented) kids are doing it.