Southwest Oklahoma's Resource For News and Entertainment
Saturday November 18th 2017

Taylor B’s Beat: December 2013 Edition

Similar but different.

This holiday season, should you decide to give the gift of music to your loved ones, don’t fall victim to the scam of repackaged or “deluxe” albums.

Music sales have been on the rise, slightly, since 2012. Most of these increases are thanks to digital sales rather than physical ones. According to Eric Pfanner of the New York Times, “Enders Analysis, a research firm in London, predicted in a separate report published Tuesday that a turnaround [in the US] would begin this year, with revenue rising to $5.35 billion from $5.32 billion.”

Even with the increase of digital sales and a decline of 13% in CD sales in 2012, physical sales remain the dominant format for music purchases, according to Drew Guarini of the Huffington Post. To keep consumers interested in music sales, record labels have to keep producing what’s shown to be profitable. Unfortunately for us, best-selling albums continue to reenter the market not unlike that guy in the office who regifts last year’s White Elephant present.

Katy Perry’s blockbuster hit album Teenage Dream produced six multi-platinum singles across 2010 and 2011, five of which topped the Billboard Hot 100. Bafflingly, the album was repackaged as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection in 2012 with seven additional songs. The new edition was called “stale” in an Entertainment Weekly review by Melissa Maerz.

Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded made an obvious reference to its repackaging when it was rereleased seven months later as Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up. Rather than adding to the original track listing, “Roman Reloaded” and “The Re-Up” were included as separate discs.

Unusually, both of Ellie Goulding’s albums have been repackaged so far. Her debut album Lights was followed up with Bright Lights after nine months, and Halcyon was reissued as Halcyon Days nearly a year after its release. All four albums had hit singles in the UK and the US.

Why do record companies continue this trend? Why reissue entire albums with few additional tracks rather than release EPs of new content? Simply put: greed. Albums can be charged at a higher price in both physical and digital stores with more songs and a longer total length than shorter EPs. Especially dedicated fans of popular artists will feel led to add to their collection once again, and unsavvy consumers may be tricked into buying the same album twice.

What can be done to prevent falling prey to this marketing tactic? Simply put, wait before purchasing an album by mainstream artists. Those bands and singers more likely to be heard on the radio in shops and modestly-priced restaurants across the country are more likely to have their work repackaged than independent artists, whose record labels have smaller budgets.

In a store, check an entire section of an artist’s available work on a shelf. If two albums have similar-looking packaging, it’s more likely that one of those is either a reissued or “deluxe” version of the original “standard” version of the album. If all else fails, a safer bet would be to listen to the albums on a streaming service such as Spotify before purchasing, or just ask the intended recipient which albums they don’t already own.

Taylor B, an Army Brat via Fort Sill, would own the deluxe edition of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories if it didn’t cost an entire paycheck.