Released on the 7th March in 1983 by Factory Records, New Order’s Blue Monday is currently ranked as the best selling 12inch record of all time in the UK, 1.16 million in total (over multiple releases) and 700’000 of those were on its initial release and if the story is true, each and every copy of those first print records actually lost them money.
The cover of the 12inch was designed to look like a floppy disc (for those too young to know what these are, they were big 5.1/4inch sized discs that you’d save your work on if you were posh enough to be able to use a pc back in the early 80s)
Designed by Factory Record’s designers Peter Saville and Brett Wickens the design was a die-cut with an inner silver sleeve and the sleeve cost so much that Factory Records actually lost money on every record they sold!
Tony Wilson, the founder of Factory Records was noted as saying he reckoned they lost 5p for each record but due to the belief that nobody expected Blue Monday to be a commercial record, nobody expected the extra cost to be an issue!
How much did this graphic design error cost?
If the 5p quote from Tony Wilson is correct, then that would equate to £35’000 for the initial first print of 700’000 (if no-one realised in time and didn’t request a cheaper version from the printers after the initial run)
Peter Hook (bassist for New Order) is quoted as saying the sleeve cost 10p more than the record would recoup so that would mean they lost potentially £70’000.
Whatever the actual cost was, it’s a great story of a very iconic record.
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