'Probably our biggest album of the year': Proper Music talks Q4 Nick Cave campaign

'Probably our biggest album of the year': Proper Music talks Q4 Nick Cave campaign

Proper Music Distribution head of sales Pat Howe has spoken to Music Week about the company’s “huge” campaign for the new Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds double album.

Released by AWAL in the busy Q4 period, Ghosteen is distributed by Proper in the UK. Under its deal with the Kobalt company, Proper also ships the title to European territories, including the Netherlands, Germany and France. 

“It will probably be the biggest album for us this year – it will be huge,” said Howe.

Released physically last month, Ghosteen peaked at No.4 and has sales so far of 30,929, according to the Official Charts Company. Streams account for 12.5% of sales.

The album first entered the charts at No.16 in October after being rush-released to DSPs and download stores. It follows a similar digital-first campaign by Bon Iver.

“Nick Cave wanted to get the album out to the fanbase as soon as humanly possible, but the logisitics of getting the vinyl and CD ready for the same day were impossible,” said Howe. “He is a very physical artist, historically. The sales will be skewed towards physical and it’s a deluxe double LP and CD. It’s the most opulent sleeve he’s done for a while. The indies [retailers] love him – they did particularly well with the last two albums.”

He’s one of those artists who just gets better and better

Pat Howe

Skeleton Tree, released in 2016 by AWAL and Proper, peaked at No.2 and has sales of 78,708 (OCC).

While Ghosteen’s grief-stricken songwriting is not typical of Q4 releases, such as Robbie Williams and Bing Crosby, it’s one of the best reviewed albums of 2019.

“He’s one of those artists who just gets better and better,” said Howe. “He just seems to be at the peak of his powers.”

Cave has also hit a new peak as live performer in recent years, including an All Points East show and a date at The O2. 

“He’s a huge indie artist,” said Howe. “He’s had consistent critical acclaim for nearly 40 years. He’s still making big, interesting records 

“He’s built a fanbase over a period. Because he’s diversified and written novels, he had that broadsheet interest. He’s an important artist. When you look back, there are not many [contemporaries] still performing that get that level of critical acclaim and the sales.”

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