Reissuing CDs unfair to paying customers
September 12, 2005 —
Unlike a lot of people I know, I buy a lot of CDs. I'm not into copying or burning my music - I like the real deal, artwork and all.
Normally, when I'm at the store, I don't wander the aisles looking for CDs that I already own. Why would I? I don't love CDs that much, where I would buy multiple copies of the same album. But that's what record companies expect me, and everyone else, to do.
I am referring to a recent trend that is not only irritating but also unnecessary: reissuing CDs in expanded editions.
Basically, this means that a CD will be released just like any other normal CD. People will buy the CD, enjoy it, maybe even listen to it with friends.
Then, a short time later, the current Best Buy flier will announce that the same CD is being re-released with one, two, even three or more bonus songs. But if you want those songs bad enough, you have to go out and buy something you already own.
Like many college students, my pockets are not overflowing with tens and twenties just begging to be spent and spent fast. If that were the case, I would say re-release as many CDs as possible - I'll buy them all.
But I can barely afford to buy the originals, and now I'm expected to buy them twice over?A perfect example of this greedy scheme is the Jessica Simpson album In This Skin.
After radio stations wore out the singles "Sweetest Sin" and "With You" from this disc, someone decided they had better throw some more songs on there and put it back on the shelves.
We would all love to lay the blame on those money-hungry record companies for that decision, but we know from watching Newlyweds that Jessica recorded those songs willingly and specifically for the reissue.
Similarly, hot R&B sensation Usher re-released his platinum album Confessions with 21 tracks compared to the original 17, including the previously unreleased hit single "My Boo."
Now I don't particularly love Jessica Simpson or Usher, so these reissues did not affect me personally.
But just a few weeks ago, the increasingly popular band the Killers re-released their debut disc Hot Fuss with three additional tracks. I have barely even listened to the original version - I guess I should have waited to buy my copy.
Reissuing CDs wouldn't be such a big deal to me if I could just be reimbursed for the original copy that I bought with my own money. If I could trade in that original and get the reissue, even for just a few dollars more, I would gladly do so. But this service is generally not offered.
Or maybe, those of us who buy the originals could obtain an access code to download the songs from the band's Web site.
A lot of CDs these days come with these codes where you can download exclusive tracks - why not put the codes toward helping the suckers who buy CDs on the release date.
Someone somewhere must think they are doing me and the listening public a favor.
If I look at it their way, they are offering new material from today's hottest musicians so that I don't have to wait until the next full album to get my Modest Mouse fix (whose album, The Moon & Antarctica, got the reissue treatment).
But if I look at things my way, they are not really thinking about the best interest of the consumer. If that were the case, instead of reissuing CDs with bonus tracks, we would be treated to full CDs of new and rare tracks. At least that way we are getting a complete package of new material, not just two songs tacked onto something we already own.
I know that this alternative is plausible - just last week I bought a Ween CD that meets this very description, and I enjoy all of its twelve songs.
And the best part is, I didn't have to buy a third copy of Chocolate and Cheese to get them.