Released simultaneously alongside their second album, Closer, on 18 July 1980, Joy Division’s Komakino single featured three songs – the title track, plus Incubation and As You Said – yet it was hardly a single in the traditional sense. It came bearing Factory Records’ official stamp (and the catalogue number FAC 28), yet it was issued as a flexi disc, and Joy Division wanted to give it away for free.
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“A social experiment… we would hand it out at record shops”
“While we had been in the studio recording Closer, the idea came up that as we had more songs than would fit on the album… why not put them on a separate disc to go with it?” drummer Stephen Morris wrote in his memoir Record Play Pause, adding that the release wasn’t intended to be a single, “just an additional disc of the extra tracks”.
“Eventually, this Britannia Row control-room discussion between Rob [Gretton, manager], Tony [Wilson, Factory Records’ boss], Martin [Hannett, producer] and myself had moved on to a social experiment to see if it was possible to actually give something away for nothing… We would do a flexi disc and just hand it out at record shops.”