Special edition album releases are doing my head in because the stores are littered with them; Emeli Sande – Our Version of Events: Special Edition, Lana Del Rey – Born To Die: Paradise Edition, Rebecca Ferguson – Deluxe Edition… it goes on and on.
I get the reason why they exist, to extend the product life-cycle of an album. To get a few extra sales and re-ignite interest in an album which by now is more than a few months old and sales have started to dip. However, music is not the same as your average product. When I buy a Kit-Kat I consume it there and then. So when they release a White Kit-Kat it has no bearing on my previous purchase. I do not intend to keep and enjoy my Kit-Kat for weeks so yes, the new flavour will probably re-ignite my interest in Kit-Kat is it was starting to wane.
When I buy a CD, I do expect to keep it for weeks, months and years to come. And all these “Special Editions” are just a slap in the face and poke in the eye for being a loyal music fan. When an artist I like releases an album, as a music fan I will buy it as soon as possible as a show of support for that artist. So when they release a “special edition” six months later it really is like the record labels and music industry are treating me like a Muppet. I can imagine the execs sitting round a big table laughing at all the poor souls who have pre-ordered an album saying, “look at those fools, little do they know wait six months and there’ll be special edition with five more tracks… mwhahahahaha (or other evil laugh)”.
It is not as if these songs are newly recorded. The majority existed when the album was first released they just didn’t make the final cut. Any way you look at it, the biggest fans are really being screwed over by selfish execs looking for more sales while they await a follow-up album.
I am not one to rant and not offer a solution and for this there is a very simple one. When someone buys the first release of an album, insert a code so that when the special edition, which you (the label) already knows is being released in November, I can purchase the additional tracks (as a download) for say £1.50. It is that simple. Then I would not feel like you were throwing squirrel poop out of your Audi TT at me each time I buy an album.
Alternatively, as some artists do already, release the “special edition” at the same time as the original album and let us decide which we want to purchase; £7.99 for regular edition, £9.99 for the special edition. Let us decide for ourselves instead of punishing the loyal fans for putting an album at #1 in the charts in its first week.
I understand the business side of this. I’m pretty sure when the “special edition” is released there is a significant bump in sales. I am also pretty sure the loyalist, die-hard fans will purchase it again. However, it is such an immoral practice for record labels to treat the people who keep them afloat in such a degenerate way. The labels will moan about people illegally downloading yet they choose to punish those who go out and buy or download their albums legally. It makes no sense!
The whole practice gets me incessantly angry. As a person who over the course of a year will buy close to a couple albums a week, this Christmas really opened my eyes and I will be Spotifying a whole lot more next year… and we all now how little money you get from Spotify in relation to an album sale!
Record Labels – FIX UP!