The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Brenda Is Always In The Way

Time for a quick rant. Now that Virgin Media have finally taken away the cable on my front lawn – o frabjous day – I’m moving down the list of irritations, from major annoyance to minor niggle.

The thing that is annoying me today is this: when pop stars stick exclusive bonus tracks on albums in other countries. I find that annoying. Because if I like a pop star, then I like to own everything they have released. I’m obsessive like that, loyal, a completist. It’s a trait that is good to encourage in one’s fan-base; you want the fans to collect the b-sides, the cover versions on charity compilations, the box sets of demos.

But how is one to maintain a complete collection if pop stars insist on releasing things that it is impossible to buy. I realise why they do it, it’s because if you release an album in one territory after it’s already been available elsewhere in the world, you want to give added value, particularly if the domestic album is more expensive than the import. I understand that. But that is no excuse for not making those ‘added value’ tracks available to those people who want to own them elsewhere. It’s just encouraging file-sharing and depriving the artist of revenue. I’m not saying it has to be available immediately, just within a reasonable time period, by some legal means.

For instance, I really like Marina & The Diamonds. They, or rather she, is probably my favourite ‘current artist’ and no, I don’t know why I’m putting that in quotation marks either. I bought her album The Family Jewels on iTunes, thus entitling me to the eponymous title track as a bonus (it’s not part of the canonical album). But I’m still missing ‘Seventeen’, a track only available in the US and Japan. It’s not been released in the UK as a b-side or anything. You just cannot buy it for love nor money.

Next defendant – Mika. His first album, Life In Cartoon Motion, released in some territories with the track 'Erase'. Not available in the UK. Second album, The Boy Who Knew Too much. Released in some territories with the track 'Lady Jane'. Not available in the UK.

And finally – well, I’m sure there are dozens of other examples, but I’m stopping with this one – Sparks, who I discover, a mere 3 years after buying their album Exotic Creatures Of The Deep, released it in Japan with the additional track 'Brenda Is Always In The Way', not available in the UK (well, it might have been on a 7" single but what is this, the middle ages?).

Ah well, if these pop stars don’t want my money, it’s their loss. Silly sods.

ADDENDUM: Seventeen and Lady Jane have since been made available via amazon.

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