Charts Schmarts! But…

It’s been a very exciting week here at Penfriend HQ!

The headline: it’s the last day to cast your vote for independent music waving merrily at the mainstream, by picking up your copy of “One In A Thousand” on vinyl (low stock!), CD, cassette (low stock!) or download.

All physical orders made in my shop before 2pm TODAY will be counted, and any digital orders made up until 11.59pm tonight will also be eligible. iTunes / Bandcamp / etc digital sales also count – only if you actually download the download – and 1000 streams counts as one album sale for the charts.


After our midweek result of #5 (!!!!!!) we are in with a chance of a Top 20 album – maybe even Top 10 – which would be a huge win for independent artists and independently-minded music fans everywhere.

This is when the big record label machine starts kicking in and our DIY release has to contend with all sorts of tactics, from price-drops to “buy-again” pleas. Two things that I feel disrespects the people who have so generously ordered and pre-ordered already.

Not here.

Charts Schmarts

Someone asked me this on Facebook and I thought it was worth sharing an expanded version of my answer here:

What do the charts matter, when we’re all perfectly capable of deciding what music we like ourselves? 

A great question! Being in with the chance of a high chart position with a truly DIY release is a reminder that we all have more power than we might think in this world of corporations running the show. I’m a big fan of defining my goals, to be in with any chance of achieving them, but it never even occurred to me to write this sort of thing down.

I didn’t think this sort of thing could happen for someone like me – someone who has funded all my work from saving up money from jobs to becoming fan-funded through crowdfunding and pre-orders, not label / publishing advances, family money or anything else.

Rat went through the major label system with Ned’s and came away with great music and great memories, but that way of working just doesn’t work for most people these days. I’d elaborate, but then this post would be VERY long. Something for a future video, I think…

This week I’ve been hearing from people who usually stream music, who have been choosing to buy vinyl, CD or a download to be part of this incredible team effort. Streaming has its place, but having compared the audio quality of various streaming services against a high-quality download, I’m very happy that these people will get a much more satisfying listening experience. Who knows, they might even be encouraged to buy music from other artists, which means more music can be made in future.

The connection between music supporter and music maker is that direct.

From the artist side of things, having an exciting chart result helps with future album making (both from sales paying us back for production costs, and opening doors for expanding the operation slightly beyond the walls of my bedroom studio), and potentially gig-getting, which all then comes back to offer more things to this wonderful community.

It’s certainly not about impressing the major labels…if anything, it’s to spite them. It’s a message: don’t get too comfortable, and don’t underestimate music fans.

Someone asked me yesterday what I’d do if the major labels came knocking.
My answer: charge them a consultation fee.

Let me be one in a thousand
Live my life and fall asleep
Give me peace – not pushing forever
I’d rather be one in a thousand



I’m proud and very thankful to be a fully fan-funded artist, so if you’d like to stay involved and continue to support the making of new music, writing and videos:

🎁 Get your FREE 12-track album + 31-page PDF zine of stories, photographs and artwork here.

❤️ Get immediate access to my entire digital archive (close to 200 tracks!) plus additional ongoing Member Perks by joining The Correspondent’s Club on Patreon!

🎸 Listen to my latest solo album “Exotic Monsters” and browse my back catalogue.

🎥 Watch my videos for adventures in sound & songwriting.

💬 Chat with me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

See you soon xo

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