03 August 2006

My Hate Is True

First let me say that Elvis Costello has been one of my absolute favorites since 1978 and the release of his second album, This Year's Model, and he has remained on that pedestal ever since.

Having said that, yesterday's announcement that Universal Music Enterprises will be releasing deluxe editions of his first eleven albums has pissed me off to no end. It pisses me off because this will be the fourth time these albums have been issued on CD (to say nothing of their original vinyl/cassette release), and the third deluxe packaging of said albums. First, Rykodisc re-released deluxe editions of Costello's catalog in 1993, and then Rhino did the same a mere three years ago. Those Rhino editions are still in print and readily available at finer record stores everywhere. Now here we are with Round Three of this crass money-go-round.

I find it absurdly hypocritical when the major labels and the RIAA that represents them have been bitching and whining and sueing about filesharers making a small dent in their ANNUAL $800 million in profits, and then they pull shit like this. Unfuckingbelievable.

And hey, as painful as it is for me to report, Elvis Costello himself appears to be a part of the problem regarding his catalog. If you read that linked story, you will find this quote from Mr. McManus, circa 2001, when the Rhino editions were first announced:

"When you've got a record that maybe didn't reach its audience in its time, you have to use a bit of imagination in the way that you present it, to make it seem as if it might be worth investigating now."

Hey, numbnuts - you don't need to re-release these CDs for the third fucking time to accomplish that goal. Here's an idea - why not simply have the record company invest in a bit of marketing to try exposing the music to a new generation and consequently selling the existing versions of these albums?

Is that so hard?

My guess is that around 2011 Sony will buy the rights to these albums from Universal, and re-release a fourth deluxe edition of them. Then, around 2015, the catalog will be sold to EMI for their chance to milk it, and again in 2019 EMI will sell Costello's catalog to Warner, who will release the sixth, and definitive, deluxe editions of these CDs. In between, you can be sure that at least 9 greatest hits packages will be released as well. Listen, it's the only way everyone involved can be sure that these great albums reach their audience.

Remember, kids, the "big four" are our friends.


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