Music, Tech

Buried Treasure

Record Player

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Back before music downloads were included in the singles Top 40, before downloads at all, we’d buy a song we liked as a single rather than wait for the full album, tempted by the bonus b-side and the CD era even better as they tended to have up to four tracks on a disk rather than the two of a vinyl single. This of course meant lots of B-sides, which after track 2 should have been C and D-sides but anyway since downloading took off you often tend to just get the one song, probably because people just choose to play the single on a streaming service.

There were, and are, though many artists whose leftovers from an album production are that good that they could make up a standalone album by itself, hence the occasional B-sides compilation cropping up.  Elbow’s “Dead in The Boot” is a very good example, as is REM’s “Dead Letter Office”.

There are though artists that have never released the b-sides and rarities collected together, or they’re difficult to get hold of, and I’ve recently found that Amazon comes in handy. In the early 2000s there was a group called Lemon Jelly who produced wonderful electronic and sampled music, often with folk, jazz and other musical influences. Their three albums never seemed enough so I wondered, last year, if any of their singles or EPs were on Amazon. I was overjoyed to find that many were and even better they were even available as MP3s. I was able to buy, over fifteen years after the last album, at least another LPs worth of what to me was new music, all of it as great as the albums I’d already got.

So yet again it’s amazing what you can find waiting to be rediscovered.

Standard
Business, Music, Society, Tech, Uncategorized

Rebooted Music – Buy, Buy and Buy Again?

Many CDs

Many CDs

Sometime in the early 2000s I bought an REM album, in a record store, and on the sticker on the case I saw the words “DELUXE EDITION” and made the mistake of not inspecting it closely. It turned out that the rest of the (much smaller) words on the sticker said “also available as a”. Hmm.

Since then I generally check if an album has a deluxe version at release but generally I don’t tend to buy albums until they’ve been out for a while, which is helpful these days.

The reason being the trend of artists (or perhaps the labels more accurately) releasing a deluxe version six months or more after the first release and expecting fans to buy the whole album again. Some bands do it right, releasing an EP after the main album and reissuing the original packaged with the extra tracks for those who are catching up but more often than not they don’t.

One noteable current example that is being commented on regularly on the radio station I listen to is Ed Sheeran’s “X” which I bought when it first came out, it’s now also available as a deluxe version and a deluxe-deluxe (Wembley) version too, with different extra tracks.  The same was true with both Ellie Goulding albums I have, there are many others I’m sure.

Our modern methods of listening to and buying music kind of makes this a moot point these days, you could just buy the extra tracks from Amazon, Google Play or iTunes, often for less than the deluxe CD but if you want to have the actual album in your hands it can get a bit pricey.

Once you’ve enjoyed an album it’s nice to be able to get just a little bit more but doing it that way, while benefiting the labels, is just going to be bad for the artists as even if the reissue isn’t their choice it’s them who often get tagged as being cynical money-grabbers.

Standard
Gadgets, Music, Tech

HBCD

Compact Disk

This could make me feel old but I’m not going to let it.  This year the CD celebrates its thirtieth birthday.  I was seven when I watched the famous demonstration on Tomorrow’s World of how you could spread jam on it (clean it off) and it would still play.  They didn’t mention that it you cleaned it with anything more scratchy than a swan’s tail feather and then played it in a less than perfect CD player it would skip more than, oh I don’t know, a bush kangaroo.  But in those early days Sony and Philips’ shiny new disc and player were the future of high quality, high fidelity digital music in a time where computers still had mono screens and games consoles still had faux-mahogany cases.

Today MP3 downloads and streaming services like Spotify are said to sound the death knell for CDs, like those same hypnotic discs were meant to do for vinyl.  I still buy most of my music on CD because I like the experience of getting a new album, opening the case, putting it in the CD player and listening to it all the way through while looking at the booklet.  Once it’s on the computer it’s all to easy to skip tracks and shuffle it with all the other albums.  But then I’m the same with books.  Sales may fall but I’m sure there will be plenty of people like me willing to buy them for some time still.

So happy thirtieth you little iridescent disc you, many happy returns, or should that be repeats.

Standard