When Sonic Youth released the celebrity-curated compilation album Hits Are for Squares exclusively on the Starbucks label and at their coffee shops, it was only a halfhearted nod to the mainstream from the iconic indie band. Kim Gordon even held on to some indie cred by saying they only did it because Starbucks is “less evil than Universal.” Well, it’s been a year since the release and, according to Lee Ranaldo, their “sell-out” record is also their most difficult to buy.
“We did a record with Starfucks … er, Starbucks,” Ranaldo told The Quietus’ Luke Turner. “When we put it together we thought it was going to be the biggest sell-out of our career. At the time we did it, Starbucks was the only company in America that had figured out how to sell records when all the labels were falling on the floor. But by the time ours came out … it’s the rarest record we’ve ever released. It’s impossible to find in the shops. I don’t know how many they made — literally a few hundred.”
I looked around the net a bit for the album and he’s totally right. There isn’t even a single used or new copy on Ebay. Is some Starbucks employee hoarding a few thousand boxes of Sonic Youth CDs or did the company simply flake out on pressing the album? Perhaps they didn’t take kindly to be called “squares.”