New Fiona Apple — Was it a triumph of buzz over content? And does that even matter?

The new Fiona Apple record is finally hitting the streets after six years! As we’ve discussed here before, it probably wouldn’t even have seen the light of day without significant support from her audience, even though many of the parties involved are downplaying that to save face.

So here’s an interesting question — does rock criticism matter outside a fan’s audience? Maybe not. If the label’s concern was that they didn’t have a “huge seller” on their hands — and many of the rock critics I am reading concur — does it matter as long as the artist sells enough units to her fan base to keep the snowball rolling?

If you’re unhooked from the unrealistic expectations of a huge record label, how many units would you have to sell to make your album project profitable? 10,000? 20,000? It’s a far cry from going gold or platinum, and it goes to show you that there’s an audience for everything.

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