Sunday, October 27, 2013

An open letter to the music industry

This is something that has been annoying me for some time, and I don't really have anywhere else to get it off my chest so i'm writing about it here. Deluxe Editions. Now i think Deluxe Editions themselves are  an annoying and good example of the greed and laziness of the music industry, but at the end of the day, it's your choice, you get the standard or pay slightly more for the softpack and 3 extra tracks.

What I am talking about is those Deluxe - Deluxe Editions, you know, those ones that come out 4 months after the original.  Lady Gaga's 'The Fame Monster'  is probably the most famous example, at the time it was a huge boost to her career, the album that bridged the line between the naff pop of 'The Fame' to the insane brilliance of 'Born This Way'. Yet I never bought this record, it always annoyed me how these great songs came out in a package with a record I'd already bought, Lady Gaga's 'Little Monsters' didn't mind of course, but then they're happy to get anything she puts out*.
Now 5-ish years down the line, everyone's doing it (Ellie Gouldings pulling of this trick was part of what stopped me listening to her). It's annoying to me because if like me you followed Ellie (or any act you'd care to name) from the beginning, you probably saw her supporting someone else first, got to like her, decided to buy one of the early EP's, read about her in one of the hip magazines and once it came out bought her album,  (on CD or for Vinyl for the dedicated fan)

The Deluxe Deluxe edition package only caters to one type of fan, those who might be late to the party, who heard the hype that the early fans caused and decided to join in. Now there's nothing wrong with this, (I bought MGMT's debut a good year after the rest of the world did) not everyone is a hipster, or is in the right place at the right time. The problem is that while the newer fans get a nice package, the fans who bought the records first time round are either going to have to buy a record twice, ignore the new tracks, or rip the new tracks for free. I don't mind these label tactics when for example, the new tracks are sold separately as an EP.  In fact packaging a new EP and album together is a nice way to encourage listeners, but it's when you can't buy the new tracks as a package, that package comes out 4 months after the original with no warning whatsoever that people are being ripped off. Record Labels need to understand that people who supported the bands from the start are the ones who need rewarding, not the bystanders.
For me the final straw is that DAVID BOWIE is re-releasing 'The Next Day' with a hand full of new tracks. In this case it is completely different because as you know David Bowie is one of the most successful, loved and influential artists of all time, he's not going to win any new fans from this re release, as new fans will be more likely turned on by the standard edition or his classic albums. So obviously, when the next Day Extra comes out unannounced around 6 months after the original, who else can it be aimed at other than the Thin White Duke's long term fans? who not knowing that this record was coming out will likely have to buy the same album again? (and may be less likely to rip the racks for free)
With this blatant example of greed and laziness becoming more common, it's time we as consumers told record labels that this is where the line should be drawn


*No offense to the Little Monsters meant of course.

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