Wal-Mart: No "Utero"

Rolling Stone - November 11th, 1993.

Wal-Mart censored In Utero

By Jancee Dunn.


There are a whopping 3,500 music titles stocked in an average Wal-Mart, but Nirvana's In Utero is not among them. Nor will it be in the aisles of Kmart. The two stores, among the nation's largest retail chains, have refused to carry In Utero because of it's album art, which sports an anatomical diagram of a woman on the front cover and models of human fetuses on the back. However, according to Wal-Mart spokesman Trey Baker; "We weren't making any kind of statement. That title won't be available because we choese the ones that we believe our customers want. That's the same if it's mops or music or clothing."

The fact that In Utero entered the Billboard charts at No. 1, moving 180,000 units, didn't seem to faze Baker. "We really have a different person that shops with us," he says. "We have more country-artist titles than any other category. Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks sell a lot better for us than Nirvana."

Although Wal-Mart did stock Nirvana's first widely available album, Nevermind, the chain had made news before when it opted not to stock Guns n' Roses' multiplatinum Use Your Illusion 1 and 2. "There have been a couple of high-profile instances like that," explains Baker.

An insider at Geffen, Nirvana's record label, is unruffled by Wal-Mart's unpopular choice. "For a record like Nirvana's, Wal-Mart and Kmart won't matter too much in the overall sales picture," he says. "Most of their fans don't buy records there." Now, even if they wanted to, they can't.