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Us and Them?

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timburlane View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 30 2012 at 12:45

I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how many copies of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” I’ve bought in my life. I know I’ve owned it at least three times on vinyl an then either worn it out, lost it or lent it to someone never to be seen again. When it comes to CD copies it’s probably even more especially since the band, or actually their record label, like to re-master and re-issue it every fifteen minutes.

 

Take the latest incarnation. Three different editions - “discovery”, “experience” and “immersion” - have been released, the first being a pointless re-master, (yes ANOTHER one), of the album without any extra tracks, the second featuring an extra disc with a really interesting live performance from 1974 and the third being a multi-disc behemoth with surround sound, DVD, quad and stereo versions plus more extra tracks and some other bits of tat. The re-master is of value only to people with bionic ears as far as I can tell, certainly compared to the previous one. The sound quality is excellent but then it always was so why buy it? I don’t have the gear to play quad or 5.1 surround mixes and I’m unlikely to be getting it anytime soon so that stuff is of no interest to me but there are some tantalising demos and stuff from the aborted “Household Objects” project which I’d love to hear… but not enough to pay eighty quid!

 

Now Pink Floyd can’t possibly need more money, (although I’m sure they won’t say “no” when the royalty cheque arrives – I wouldn’t), but EMI clearly find themselves in rather more straitened circumstances because it’s the company which is behind the reissue campaign. Or should I say “campaigns”? These days they start as soon as an album is released and go on long beyond the working or even natural life of the artist. The way I heard it EMI’s attitude can no longer be described as “so happy we can hardly count” as an increasingly bloated and moribund record industry struggles to appease it’s shareholders and struggles with a massive change in how we procure and consume music.

 

So what do they do? They get round their boardroom table and tut and shake their heads and then they come up with the brilliant idea of selling stuff they’ve already sold to people who have already bought it. “Which are the products that have kept us in fat bonuses in the past?” they ask. “Why can’t they do more stuff? Or, even better, why don’t we just save money on all those expensive production costs and punt the stuff they’ve already done and call it a ‘heritage’ or ‘anniversary’ or ‘collectors’ edition? The credulous public has always fallen for that gag, especially when we dress it up in pretty packaging!”

 

And this is the point of this rant. I’m tired of it and I would like them to stop. Perhaps it’s time that these big companies faced up to the fact that the WELL HAS RUN DRY and it’s time to take some risks and invest in new talent or simply give up. In this day and age I don’t believe that death of the majors would be a huge problem. Artists are already finding new ways to gain exposure and sell their music and small independent companies manage to make a living whilst also treating their artists with significantly more fairness and respect. It seems to me that the only thing we stand to lose is vast sea of mediocre drivel which has always been the stock in trade of popular music.

 

Of course artists would have to rethink their expectations as well. I have no problem at all with the death of the whole culture of “stardom” because this is where the artist allows the record company to screw over both themselves and the public. It may not be a universal attitude but a significant number of young musicians in particular don’t want to make a living they want to be “Famous” they want to be “Stars”. They don’t just rehearse their songs they rehearse their acceptance speeches and interviews. They don’t just work on honing their performance skills and song craft, it has to be media skills and public profile and to some these fame-management skills are more important than the real business of being creative.

 

Although I’m no great fan of their music, I’ll take Radiohead and their wilful adherence and commitment to creativity at the expense of super-stardom over the self-satisfied self-regard of tired old acts like U2 any day of the week. I hope Thom Yorke and his pals never succumb to the temptation to give us endless re-mastered reissues and if they find interesting archive material I sincerely hope they put it out as such on its own merits, not as some add-on to an old album in new packaging. I’m not especially keen on latter-day pot-Fish Marillion but I have total admiration for the way they’ve kept the band growing and thriving by rejecting the old music business model and pioneering a new one of their own. They maintain a career and they have their artistic self-respect and credibility. Acts like these are craftsmen and women, not stars.

 

So, here’s to the collapse of the music industry, an end to stars and the re-emergence of the musician as a craftsperson.



Edited by timburlane - January 30 2012 at 12:47
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2012 at 13:00
I've got some sympathy with your expressions. I first bought dsotm, for example, in something like 1977 in vinyl. I then bought it on cassette tape when I joined the Air Force to listen to in my dorm. Then, with the advent of the digital era, I got it on CD. Three times is more than enough, I think.

The trouble is, of course, the continual development of new technology, and most people who got the album on vinyl will want to play it on their shiny new surround sound home cinema system.

That deals with the downside.

The other points to make are:

1. You don't have to buy the reissues. If enough people didn't, the record companies wouldn't bother releasing them.
2. To be fair, although i am not a big fan of reissues, remasters & etc., many of them do contain unreleased material, never heard before, so are a completists essential purchase.
3. I actually think that the advent of the digital age has been good for music. it has allowed many bands to release material that would never have been picked up by the old major record labels. That, BTW, is another reason why they rely on the cash cows of old artists.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2012 at 14:17
Yeah but that box set is really tempting...
The Dark Side Of The Moon - Immersion Box Set  

LOL

But I totally ;understand where you are coming from.  If you've heard an album over and over and over, do you really need a new edition?  There are a few that I have gone from the vinyl to the badly made CD to the remaster to a version with 5.1.  A good 5.1 remix can actually be fun to hear after you've had the album ingrained in your brain.  A deluxe edition can be fun for the newbie.  But yeah, at some point you just have to stop and move on.

By the way, it is my sad duty to inform you that Radiohead (or at least their old record company) has put out deluxe editions...





Edited by Slartibartfast - January 30 2012 at 14:35
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Post Options Post Options   Quote timburlane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2012 at 14:45
DOH! Big smile  good job I'm used to feeling like an idiot!
 
tim
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2012 at 14:55
Originally posted by timburlane

DOH! Big smile  good job I'm used to feeling like an idiot!
 
tim

That wasn't a slam but just funny.  I have been tempted by the OK Computer box set. LOL

brine

PS even better, I just got into Radiohead in the mid 2000's and now I need to get boxsets???   Whhhyyyy???? Angry


Edited by Slartibartfast - January 30 2012 at 14:59
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 09 2012 at 10:03
Hi,
 
I'm not a great fan of these re-releases. But then, I was there ... and saw it in its original form, and the CD and everything else, for me, is just a copy.
 
There is another thing here, though ... not many people will know or remember this at all. The American version of the LP was nowhere near the crisp and clean quality of the English LP, and you could hear a lot of the far out small details that otherwise you never heard before or were not intelligeable previously. When I heard a remastered version, you think I heard a better version of the original English LP? ... NOPE! All I heard was more separation of the right and the left digitally to appear to make it more "organic" or room sounding, and in the end, it took away the "whole experience" because it came off in my ears like ... all of these guys are on separate wavelengths doing a solo and no one is playing together!
 
It was the same thing with the Beatles and it started with Sgt Pepper's I think. The English pressing was vastly superior and gave credence to all the rumors and funny stories ... the American pressing just suggested another bunch of radio songs for the AM radio!
 
For me, though, and I think this is important, it is not about the "remaster" unless your  name is Mike Oldfield, and it will be a totally different "experience" listening to that same piece of music. I can handle 5 or 6 versions of Tubular Bells a lot easier than I can yet another version of DSOTM that is not even close to the originals that you can listen to on the old bootlegs ... when Syd Barrett was screaming all over a bunch of priests and noise makers ... which David Byrne and Eno had fun with later in antoher album, but without Syd! And Holger Czukay went even further by actually using the Pope doing his thing with the music! ... no kidding!


Edited by moshkito - February 09 2012 at 10:04
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Blacksword Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 26 2012 at 04:19
I have two copies of DSOTM. One vinyl, one CD. The CD is just a bog standard old CD. It sounds excellent, but then it's an album I'd only listen to once every couple of years, so I see no value in investing in further remasters. I don't have the space in my flat to accomodate any more CD's. That's no exageration!



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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Jester Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 12:13
I have 3 copies of DSOTM.
First time I bought in vinyl, some years later with the cd explosion I had to buy it in order to listen the crystal clear
sound (?), and lately I bought the 5.1 remastered edition Well, that last one is surely a great experience!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 12:22
What I hate is when they release a deluxe edition with multiple CDs/DVDs but then refuse to make a bare bones single disc edition available. Not all of us have $30 to spend on one album.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 12:41
I'm sure the guy's not around any more, but that was an excellent opening post.  Although I think it's a bit naive to expect the majors to "call it a day" just because they've gone artistically bankrupt., I can sympathize with the sentiment.  I personally rarely buy new remasters of old material, unless I really wasn't satisfied with the old one.  (ex. I just replaced my 80s pressing of Atom Heart Mother with the 2011 remaster, and I'm glad I did!).  But I know a lot of people who impulsively buy every new issue to the point where they reach panic levels.  It's not easy being a Floyd fanatic.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barbu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 13:07
Vinyl (bought and sold)
Cd 1st pressing (bought and sold)
XX anniversary
Shine On
Immersion
Discovery

Can't wait for the 50th anniversary edition.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barbu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 20 2012 at 13:18
Last night i dreamed my DSotM 50th anniversary edition arrived:


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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 20 2012 at 13:19
Talk about a box set!  lol
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Post Options Post Options   Quote someone_else Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 20 2012 at 13:37
They have the habit of selling the same stuff over and over again. I quit.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 23 2012 at 22:25
The thing I hate about the new Floyd editions as well as the recent Queen re-releases is that there is a wealth of unreleased stuff out there for both bands, and if you're going to ask me to pay anywhere from 15-120 bucks to buy the same thing again, the least you could do is fill up the second disc with all the unreleased material, so that at least I'll have it without the bootleg quality.  At least the Crimson remasters do this to some extent, releasing a lot of previously unreleased songs, jams, etc.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2012 at 06:22
Originally posted by Barbu

Last night i dreamed my DSotM 50th anniversary edition arrived:



LOLLOLClap

Thats the box set for the Hawkwind complete vinyl and CD collection... coming to a CD store near you. Buy or Die!
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