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Why Exactly is London Grammar Outselling Katy Perry in the UK Album's Chart?

Let's see shall we...

by Lauren O'Neill
13 June 2017, 12:06pm

Hi, everyone. Here are the aspects of the promotional campaign for Katy Perry's album Witness (or singles relating to it) that I, personally, am aware of:

  • a massive disco ball thing in central London that you could plug your headphones into to hear the first single of her current cycle, #wokeanthem "Chained to the Rhythm" (whereby the Rhythm is The Man, man)
  • a four-day-long promotional livestream where you could watch Katy Perry at any hour of the day, including when she was sleeping, as part of which she did an interview with Deray McKesson and sort of apologised for her past cultural appropriation
  • various live performances including one where she did these movements on SNL with Migos.

Here are the aspects of the promotional campaign for London Grammar's album Truth Is a Beautiful Thing (or singles relating to it) that I, personally, am aware of:

  • a TV spot I saw during last night's episode of Love Island.

What I am saying, therefore, is that in my experience – and friends, I consider myself a fairly switched-on young person who is avidly #engaged in social media – there has been a lot more furore around Witness than there has around Truth Is a Beautiful Thing. And yet.

And yet.

The UK Official Chart Company reports today that London Grammar are so far outselling Katy Perry, and look to take the Number One spot on this week's chart. According to their calculations, London Grammar have combined sales of 31,000, a good 18,000 ahead of their nearest rival Glen Campbell. Katy Perry is languishing further down the chart, currently languishing at Number 5. Not great for a global star on her fifth album.

Why might this be? I guess there are a few factors. Firstly, London Grammar are pretty good, and also a British act, so there's no reason why their music wouldn't be more popular than Katy Perry's right now, which has been an extremely mixed bag over the course of the Witness cycle. But when we look at Katy specifically, more reasons reveal themselves. Potentially, pop purists aren't won over by Katy's dancier new sound. That new sound is also slightly more 'grown-up,' so the younger fans (and by this I mean the children who like her music, and whose parents are likely to buy it on CD for them) who'd have likely enjoyed her in the past may also have tapped out. It also doesn't help that Katy's campaign for the album – which seems entirely based on her new woke persona – is actually mostly just annoying.

It's great, of course, that her eyes are finally opening up to The World and she wants to share that with The People, but it's difficult not to feel like it's coming off a bit performative, especially when all the other pop stars with a Twitter account learned about cultural appropriation a few Coachellas ago.

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

(Image via YouTube)