With Lana Del Rey re-releasing Born To Die this week and Nicki Minaj scheduled to release Pink Firday for a third time next week, we’ve decided we’ve had just about enough of album re-launches and thought we’d abuse our position of power and have a wee moan about it all.
With Lana Del Rey adding a not inconsiderable eight new tracks, it’s forced Lana fans to re-buy the entire album. The same situation is thrust upon fans of many artists, as they must re-buy the album simply to gain access to the new tracks that their favourite singer’s just unleashed on the charts.
To say that this is more than a little unfair is a rather enormous understatement. Instead of simply releasing the new tracks as an EP or holding them back for another full album, which could be then bought by fans who want the fresh, new material, the early adopters are forced to re-purchase the entire record.
This therefore, massively punishes the artist’s devoted fans who ran out to the record shops (or more accurately hopped on iTunes) and snapped up the album when it first hit the shelves. Those are more than likely the same people who are going to get tickets to see the singer live and might even buy the merchandise. These are the people you should be rewarding with exclusive content, not holding it back for the Johnny-come-latelys that benefit from the current trend of reissues.
Let’s get this straight. We’re not against the notion of doing a ‘deluxe’ version of your album, it’s the same sort of strategy that the videogame world uses for its releases and makes a whole lot of sense. But if you’re going to do that, you have to do it from the very beginning. You can even charge more for it and not many eyebrows will be raised.
Doing it months after the fact though just rings as a cynical attempt to fleece their adoring public.
This in particular rubs true with Lana Del Rey. Eight tracks is nearly a full album, why not wait for six months, write four more and then release another full album in what would then seem remarkably speedy fashion? The answer is easy. The record industry wants your money now, wants you to keep talking about their singer and keeps wanting you in their pocket.
Nicki Minaj’s resissue next week is just as bad. Actively calling out her fans to re-buy it and claiming her favourite material is on this new disc is just about as blatant a cash grab as you can get.
What these re-releases does though is simply give ammunition to pirates and those more on the fence about purchasing the album in the first place.
The threat of the album you’ve just purchased becoming quasi-obsolete within less than a year has become a real risk with chart topping artists, leading to more fans waiting around for the reissue before deciding to put down their hard-earned cash.
These additional tracks being held behind a major pay wall will also simply drive annoyed and aggravated fans to illegally augment their existing purchase, getting the additional songs via sneaky methods that the music industry will never truly eradicate.
This isn’t a new thing though, but the increasing numbers of ‘special edition’ reissues is becoming on the verge of an epidemic in the mainstream music industry. If they want to keep doing this, then the answer is simple. You either release the new work as an EP, like many much smaller singers and groups already do (as they truly understand the importance of fan loyalty) or let those who’ve purchased the new album upgrade for a nominal fee.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith