Steal This Book, er, Box Set!


Elvis Costello goes
out on a limb (of marketing panache).


By Fred “Abbie” Hoffman


Somewhere at this very moment an enterprising Elvis Costello
fan is prepping a cache of FLAC files for upload. reports that with Costello’s mega-expensive
($203.00), limited edition (just 1500 copies) The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook  set to drop via Hip-O on Dec. 6, Costello
himself is suggesting to fans that instead of buying that collection they opt,
instead, for the less pricier – and in Costello’s words, “vastly superior” –
Louis Armstrong box Ambassador of Jazz. In a blog post at, the musician, writing as “The Right
Reverend Jimmy Quickly,” bemoans the high ticket price “as either a misprint or
a satire.”


“If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at
this time of seasonal giving,” writes Costello, “we can whole-heartedly
recommend, Ambassador Of Jazz“- a
cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with
the name “Satchmo” but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by
one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis
Armstrong. The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American
dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is
vastly superior.”


Rolling Stone notes that Costello “isn’t the first artist to advocate
illegal downloads of his music. Artists like System of a Down and Kid Rock have
publicly encouraged piracy of their music over settling for pricey distribution
routes, but Costello’s move has surfaced as an unexpected and deliberate snub
to his label. Many have said, though, that the move has become a sort of
reverse-psychology promotion for the set in spite of the singer’s dismissal.”


Decide for yourself. At any rate, word has it that some or all of the parts
of the Costello box are slated to be released separately next year. Meanwhile,
though, The Return of the Spectacular
Spinning Songbook
[Super Deluxe Edition] [1 CD + 1 DVD + 10″ Vinyl EP]
is up for pre-order at Gift wrap is available.



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