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Redundant Music

Mike Sudhalter  |  September 12, 2007

What's the point of listening to the same song on different discs? I'm not always sure, but record companies know that loyal listeners will buy the same music, packaged with a slight tweak.

Garth Brooks is the king of duplicate music marketing. He can sell an album that might have one or two new songs and over a dozen hits. Heck, the guy can sell the same CD with six different "Collector's Edition" covers. Funny, how 10 years ago we were all fooled to think they were collector's items. Now, you see them in the bargain bin at used record stores.

What about those artists who release Greatest Hits packages twice? I'm not talking about people like Alan Jackson who have two volumes of hits packages. Trisha Yearwood released a Greatest Hits package Tuesday plus two new songs. I'm not buying it because I bought virtually the same album 10 years ago? Tracy Lawrence and Tracy Byrd pulled similar stunts.

Do we really buy albums for the music or as collectors' items? If we just bought it for the music, all record stores would close because online downloads are cheaper. Maybe that will happen one day, but I hope not.

As fans, we want to have the actual CD itself with the booklet and everything. I've never bought a digital booklet, so I couldn't tell you the first thing about them.

There are plenty of reasons I want new songs. Maybe there's the acoustic version or the live version that I don't already have. Taylor Swift recently released on itunes a radio edit of "Teardrops on My Guitar". I like that song enough that I might just buy this radio edit version.

I think downloads have taken the air out of the 'Greatest Hits plus two or three new songs' marketing ploy, unless the digital music stores disallow the purchase of the new songs without buying the entire album. I wouldn't put it past them.

Then, there's the times when I have an artist's greatest hits packages, and I think about buying some of their other albums. This has happened a lot with George Strait. I own his Strait Out of the Box set, but I sometimes see his older albums and decided whether I want them. My decisons are usually based on how many songs are included in the box set and the quality of the ones that are not.

At least one artist has moved on to a fresh new idea. On a trip to Target today, I realized Kenny Chesney wants to sell me his new album and a T-Shirt. Now, they're all new songs, but what if the consumer already has a T-Shirt from the artist.

Finally, onload download stores need a new rule. If I buy a single before the artist's full album comes out, I should get a dollar discount off the album.

:: Posted at 1:56 AM by Mike Sudhalter ::
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