Known Johnson

October 29, 2008

Bootlegging the bootleg

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 12:13 pm

From this article about Bob Dylan’s recent Tell Tale Signs, comes this annoying, but funny bit of truth about that ultra-expensive three-disc edition that I ranted about a while back:

Allegedly, when a journalist asked someone from Dylan’s “camp” about the ridiculously expensive 3-disc set, he was told that they were confident the music would eventually reach all fans through illegal downloads.

Well, Bob and “camp,” it did! I guess when the theme of the series is “bootleg,” what else can you expect?

As for that set, I can sum it up easily: it’s a study in diminishing returns. Disc 1 is spectacular, a fantastic album in itself. Disc 2 is, well, a little less solid. And disc 3, the exclusive addition to the ridiculously expensive, mostly pointless “deluxe edition”? I’ll put it this way: I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. To me, it looks like they shuffled the lineup so there were a few essential studio tracks on disc 3 that die-hards would have to have, and stuck a few live tracks on the other two discs in their places, but swapping them around would have made disc 3 easily ignorable by a lot more people. It’s kind of scummy, if you ask me.

I paid $14.99 for my two-disc set at Best Buy, and I was willing to pay a bit more, maybe even twice as much, to get that third disc, which is still WAY over what it costs to produce three CDs worth of material, especially stuff that was already paid for by previous albums they were created during, but I’m not going to complain about that. I’m only complaining about the sickening markup on the big set. They gouged fans because they knew they could, and that’s wrong. Why am I not angry about paying $75 for the upcoming Steven Wilson solo album? Because I know at least part of it is completely out of the artist’s control – the $25 shipping fee, which brings the cost of the set to $50, which is entirely reasonable for two CDs of new music and a DVD of surround-sound music, footage, etc., plus what is reportedly a very lavish, massive book to house it all, which all reportedly weighs in at nearly four pounds. Now, ask yourself, if this can be done for $50, what exactly are you paying for with the Dylan package? I don’t want to be nasty and say “greed,” but . . .


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