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Do "Deluxe" Editions Equal Fraud?

You know, I understand that the music industry is in crisis.

I understand that any business grows by getting more clients, or making more on the clients they have. But, I'm kind of sick of paying for the same music, over and over again, just to get every track released in an album cycle. Slash's solo CD was the worst. I own six albums, all different, in my attempts to track down all the tracks he recorded. I bought the Classic Rock special edition, the CD single of "Saraha" (this was actually my most expensive purchase), the standard release (not sure why I have that), and two "deluxe editions," which had slightly different bonus tracks and slightly different contents on their DVD, plus a box set that was released last, and contained every possible track that I'd already bought, plus a couple I'd been unable to track down. I also saw him live and bought a double CD of the show that night, and will probably buy the triple CD release of his new live DVD. Where does it end? And, the Classic Rock special editions have become a mixed bag. I recently bought three. The Alice Cooper one had an extra studio track, which is not (yet) available elsewhere. The Chickenfoot and Machine Head releases both came with live tracks, and Machine Head then released their own special edition with two cover songs on it. How is a live track the best they can do for a "deluxe" magazine release? Surely if they have no more studio tracks, they can do a cover or two, and to make me buy two different deluxe editions within a month of each other, is just taking things a bit far. I can't imagine the Classic Rock folks where thrilled when they realized. Bullet for My Valentine have done the same with acoustic versions and on special "tour" editions. It just does not end.

On top of this, is the ongoing trend for "deluxe" remasters, the entire Queen back catalog has recently been given this treatment, and I have literally dozens of CDs I already owned, bought for the bonus content and remaster. The Def Leppard Hysteria one actually had a ton of good content (b-sides from singles), but stuff like the Rainbow remasters had "bonus" content that equated to a lot of half finished studio tracks that were basically unlistenable, and Pyromania had a soundboard recording of a live show that really didn't add much value. Not only that, but they initially came in nice, deluxe packaging, but now they are coming in standard packaging with a sticker that says "deluxe" on it. I'm the first to say that the music industry is fighting for it's life right now. And, some good things are happening: there's a series of box sets that are basically five albums for $12, in original cardboard album sleeves (I know it's cheaper, but it's also cool). I've bought a ton of those.

This is a step in the right direction.

Charging me triple for an album I have, to sell me tracks that are unlistenable, or trying to make sure I buy a new release at least four times, just feels like fraud and they don't help in a world where people can choose to steal music, and do choose to do so everyday. Labels can't prosecute to stop this and they need for people to care enough about music and about the artists to buy their music.

Reader Comments (7)

The record companies continue to put re-releases and deluxe editions out because people continue to buy them. This is especially true of older, established artists who rely on their back catalog for revenue. But generally speaking, if you're not happy with something, or think it's a rip-off, don't buy it! If, on the other hand, you're a completionist and want every release for your collection, then accept that there will be overlap.

It's certainly not fraud because they are up front about what they are selling - tracks are listed clearly. It's just a marketing ploy, similar to what comic book companies started doing years ago to increase sales -- they started printing different "collectible" covers for the same books, knowing that a certain % of their customers would buy all of them for collecting reasons.

And it's not like we're forced into buying them in the first place - we have lots of choice. I pay $10 a month for and can listen to every track that you mention above, anytime I want, wherever I want - 100% legitimately, and the record companies get paid. I don't get to display the CD's or the art at home, but I'm not into that so it doesn't bother me.

By the way, I've been listening to Slash's new double live album (Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy) and it is terrific. Axl may have been the brains & the schemer behind Guns, but Slash was definitely it's soul. Civil War & Rocket Queen both gave me goosebumps the first time through.
November 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbryon
exactly Bryon. the only way it would be fraud is if the labels misrepresented what you are buying. Christian, with all due respect, no one is making you buy these things. You do so of your own free will. If what the labels are doing is bothering you so much, make your voice heard by not opening your wallet.

Now, back to the fraud thing for a moment. I do think that The Who committed a mild form of fraud with their new deluxe and super deluxe editions of Quadrophenia, one of the greatest albums ever made by anybody ever. In the press rlease announcing these new editions, it states that the remastering would be done using the original vinyl mixes. However, listening to the release for more than two minutes reveals that they actually used the remixes that Pete Townshend did for the 1996 re-release. To ardent Who fans like myself, this is tantamount to blasphemy. Pete Townshend, undeniable genius though he is, has very very bad hearing, and should not have been in charge of any remixing/remastering project. In this particular instance, some misrepresentation did take place, and thus a degree of fraud does exist. However, as long as what you purchased is exactly what you were told you would get, no fraud has taken place IMHO.

for bands that I dearly love, I actually am a completist, so I have been enjoying the deluxe editions of classic albums. The five CD box set of King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King" is a perfect example. It is loaded with alternative takes and live recordings from when greg Lake was still in the band. the casual fan I'm sure would find this to be overkill, but I love it.
November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Roadrunner in the 90's were the worst for this. I would buy an album day of release (excited to hear the album); 6 months later a digipack release with 3 extra songs hits the shelves... so I do feel your pain.

I don't think fraud is a fair statement- you know what you are getting, and the price tag. nobody is getting screwed over in that sense.

Deluxe releases are an important source of revenue these days, when so many people steal music. It allows the people who want that physical product the opportunity to get a little more bang for their buck - nicer packaging, extra songs, and often a DVD.

Even itunes now has deluxe versions - you can get extra tracks / enhanced artwork.

At the end of the day, I am paying for the release, and if I want the bonus track I will download by whatever means necessary.
November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike
Hey guys. Thanks for the comments. Fraud is probably a strong word, I just meant that it FEELS that way when I buy an album, and then find out that they kept some tracks back so I need to buy the album again. The Deluxe thing is sometimes great, and I guess they will release something in Deluxe form if the album was significant, and from there they sometimes find there's really not much to add. And yes, it's my fault for buying it. But, the main thrust was meant to be both that the industry is looking to milk old clients b/c they are more likely to buy ( and I am currently buying all the Thin Lizzy Deluxe editions, no-one is forcing me, I just can't help myself ), AND that stuff like the Machine Head I just bought, and the Slash CD, shows that for new releases, the industry is trying to sell me as many copies as it can, and is not content to sell me one. The point about new releases seems to have been lost a little in the discussion on Deluxe editions. And yeah, I got the Slash live yesterday, I had held off on Amazon b/c I wanted the Blu Ray, but as they are still region coded, I was holding out to see if it came locally. I bought the DVD as there was no Blu Ray, but what are the odds that the Blu Ray is released a week later, once again trying to get me to buy the same material twice.
November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I'm into the deluxe stuff, too, but gotta say, Christian, you bring it to a new level of obsessive compulsiveness (don't worry, I began this sort of behavior with Zeppelin and Trick at a very early age).

But, my Metal Friend, I assure you, in the end, it's all dancing on the head of a pin, mining for gold and really winding up with little in return after point. May I suggest you devote some of your $$$ to start your collection of REAL collectables, The Holy Grails of Hair Metal, beginning with "The Aussie Def Leppard", Zambelis. You won't regret it!

p.s. Speaking of Def Leppard, you hastily dismiss the live stuff on the deluxe edition of "Pyromania", in my view, their best album, for one reason, really -- their best song, "Photograph". But this deluxe version gives you yet another reason -- also, one song -- their barnstorming live performance of a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Travellin' Band" with a guest appearance of a smoking Brian May. The whole affair is a study in scorching, overkill Rock Lead Guitar as he does battle with Clarke and Collin, blowing both of them out of the water! Awesome, dude!
November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
It does get old when bands release 2,3, and 4 different versions of albums (CDs). Like mentioned above, some of the older bands support their existence by putting out the same recordings with an added bonus song here and there.

The one that really burned me up was when Reckless Love (a brand new band) decided to release their debut with a few "bonus" songs just months after the original was released. I mean C'mon... You need to earn the right to pull that crap. I had already purchased the first version by the time the "Cool Version" came out. I did want the new version with the bonus tracks... So here is what I did. I went straight to Ebay... I'm all about supporting an artist (new or old) but the hell if I'm going to let a band profit from such a cheap attempt. So, there are actually ways music fans could stand up against this type of thing.
November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRock-It
lol... why do i read this website.
what a clown.
November 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

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