Official: The Music Industry Has Eaten Itself

The music industry is notorious for attempting to repeatedly persuade consumers to pay out money for "special editions" of the same content: remasters, deluxe box sets, alternate takes and iTunes exclusives abound. But when we reach the stage when an MP3 rip of performer's own vinyl copy of their record has become a saleable item, the shark hasn't just been jumped: it has been reduced to mincemeat.

This is what has happened with minor UK folkie Nick Drake. Drake recorded just three albums in his short lifetime, but that hasn't proven any barrier to labels repeatedly flogging his archive. The discography for Drake at Wikipedia lists eight separate compilation albums — almost three times the number of actual albums he released. Those compilations include random home recordings and demos, but it's still a major stretch to have turned three albums that didn't sell that well at the time of their release into a four-decade career.

I'm enough of a music tragic that I understand wanting to own every possible variant recording. But even I would draw the line at one of the inclusions in a recently-announced vinyl re-release of Drake's third actual album Pink Moon. Specialist blog Super Deluxe Edition reports that as well as offering FLAC and MP3 downloads (a nice touch), the release also includes "'dubbed from disc' MP3s – in other words a vinyl rip – of Nick Drake's own copy of Pink Moon 'played on a period record player for added authenticity'".

This leaves me speechless. You want that "vinyl sound"? Play the remastered vinyl. You want high-quality audio? Download the FLAC files. You want to hear a vinyl rip of a specific copy of the album played on a specific record player? You need to get a sense of perspective.

Granted, this is being sold as a bonus add-on to a relatively pricey vinyl re-release, not as a standalone object. But it sets a ridiculous precedent in an industry that already looks highly ridiculous. Your thoughts?

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    They wouldn't sell it if there weren't people to buy it. Nothing to get upset about.
    Some people just really like Nick Drake. I wouldn't call him that minor. I bet you more under 40 year olds own a copy of Pink Moon than they do 'Peter, Paul and Mary' albums.

      Possibly -- but I bet you Peter Paul & Mary sold more records overall purely based on their successful period in the 1960s.

    Better to get a new cover of Pink Moon by a renaissance music ensemble:

      Its terrible - give me the real thing anytime.

    I like the idea that one day we might be able to buy several copies of the exact same MP3 but with different embedded album cover art. Woo! bring on the good times!

    EDIT: Sorry, did I say "buy"? I meant "borrow, for a price"

    Last edited 21/12/12 3:27 pm

    Vinyl? Pah. Get a CASSETTE.
    Leave on the car dashboard in the blazing sun for a month, then play IN THE CAR while someone drives at the speed limit, and record the result to mp3, for the "real on-road experience"

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