The 4 R’s : Remasters and Reissued = Real Ripoffs.

So, uh, like, I’m getting a few freebies now. And some of those, are bloody re-issues. Now maybe I shouldn’t look a gifthorse in the mouth or some crap like that, but please. Re-issues are beginning to severely piss me off.

They are not special. They are not gifts to the fan. They are a rip off.

I’ve just received the Remasters version of Biohazards Urban Discipline. It comes, wait for it, wait for it ... digitally remastered. Like my ears can tell the difference! Wasn’t CDs supposed to make the difference? Be so clear. So precise. Hear everything that went on in the studio, including bands inhaling. Now we get CDs that make a difference over the CDs. I don’t think so. Emperor’s new clothes anyone? It also comes with new pictures. Well excuse me while my legs stop shaking. It comes with liner notes. Goody. Even better, they’re courtesy of a Kerrang! journalist. Though it is Morat who’s written views at least I respect. It comes with, and this’ll be the clincher. Demo tracks. Oh yessirree. That’s the clincher. Where’s the tissues someone. That’ll make it worthwhile. But no, no. Hold on to your essentials. Wallet chain that is, cos it should be attached to your wallet, which contains the money that you may be thinking of handing over. It comes with, this is such a killer selling point. A GOLD CD. Wow! You mean like one of those writeable ones. Nice.

Now, Biohazard aren’t the only ones to have had this done, so I’m not on at them. But please, certain labels are trying to cash in. Re-releasing stuff a shit load of times with extra new goodies. It’s taking advantage, and the piss out of fans.

Other labels are taking it on themselves to re-release current albums mere months after their initial release with Bonus Tracks. Look, release them at time of the initial release, or not at all. At least show the respect to the people who bought the CD as soon as it was released by waiting a reasonable amount of time before you do this. You get the impression that some of these labels would try repackage a coffin after the body has decayed, because it has more room and a certain, uh, atmosphere within it.

Combined with the fact that half of the releases by labels these days come with pointless selling points, cardboard embossed slip cases. Fuel cards which act as loyalty cards?!? Well, until the re-issue that is. And shit like that. It’s about time labels actually showed some respect to the people who support them and the acts on their roster.

Iron Maiden get their entire back catalogue re-issued. Again. Some extra tracks apparently. Some extra pics of Eddie. I bought the albums years ago. I’d like some of the CDs, as I’ve lost the albums, or they were caught up in a fire. But, I’m a little loathe cos of the re-issue business.

Even a label I respect, Alternative Tentacles, have re-released the DKs stuff. Don’t know if there’s any difference to them, or if they’d just gone out of print. But why? There is no reason for it.

It doesn’t matter if these CDs are sold at a “special price”. Everyone knows CDs are overpriced as it is. So the special price is only that which they should be sold at in the first instance. Solution? Ok, I’ll give you one. If these re-issues are, “for the fans”, real improvements to what we already have, then work out a system. If you return your original copy to the label or a shop, they give you the new one free of charge, or for an absolutely minimal fee. “Ah, but that will cost too much!”. So that means then, that it IS about money, and not about giving something to the fans. In that case it should stop.

Also of course, one of the damaging aspects, is that the buyer is faced with a dilemma. “Hmmm, do I complete my collection, or do I spend the money on a CD by a new band instead?”. So potentially, the bands of the future suffer as a result of this.

Names? Ok. Roadrunner. Earache. Sony. Those at least are guilty. I’ll watch out for more, and name the parties as I see fit. The few that pass them on can stop my freebies, but hey, as this zine has survived a year without them, that’s not something to bother me.

Yes, it is a business, and yes, labels have to survive. Maybe then the industry should take some kind of action. Instead of putting ridiculous rulings on the length of CD singles, they should place some rulings on the labels.

Treat the people that that matter with respect.