Monday, March 19, 2007

This Years Model: Elvis C Reissues His Records for the 3rd Time (4th Time The Charm?)

A few years ago I gave a paper on how reissuing seemed out of hand and Elvis Costello and David Bowie were cases of how labels were involved in insane (and I would say deceptive) searches for "authentic" albums. In that paper I noted that the logic of these reissues and artists meant that such definitive albums was never achievable. In fact, what we would see is more and more reissuing and, well, guess what? Here We Go again...
Universal Music Enterprises has acquired 11 albums from Elvis Costello's early catalog, with plans to re-release the artist's material via reissues, deluxe editions, compilations and box sets.

The albums acquired begin with Costello's 1977 debut, "My Aim Is True," and continue through "This Year's Model" (1978), "Armed Forces" (1979), "Get Happy!!" (1980), "Almost Blue" (1981), "Trust" (1981), "Imperial Bedroom" (1982), "Punch the Clock" (1983), "Goodbye Cruel World" (1986), "King of America" (1986) and "Blood and Chocolate" (1986).

Although these albums have already been reissued in expanded form by Rykodisc as well as Rhino, UME promises its new versions will be the "definitive reissues." The company also plans to produce limited edition releases for its Hip-O Select imprint, DVDs of videos and concerts and usher Costello's music into new formats such as ringtones.
That last paragraph is the most interesting. While selling the definitive, the company will, in turn, repurpose these mechanicals into other new media domains. I am not so certain that some 50 year old post-punk wants a ringtone of "Watching the Detectives", but I haven't done the research on that. I am certain that if, indeed, that 50 year wants an Elvis C ringtone, it better be the "definitive" version of said song!

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Derek said...

The whole concept of the "definitive edition" of any media text is complete BS these days, but apparently BS that works.

Pete Bilderback said...

Costello seems to exist merely to bilk his dwindling fan base. The guy "reissues" his new albums with expanded editions a few months after the initial release. The man's cynicism is astounding.