Subtitled, “And if you don’t, we’re gonna fuck you anyway!” Major label monolith additionally seeks to redefine the term “rare.”
By Fred Mills
Although a number of media outlets initially ooh’d and ahh’d over the Universal Music Group’s announcement that it would be repressing “rare and deleted records” on vinyl (Pitchfork, for example, greeted the news like it was a middleman p.r. agent for the label), excitement gradually gave way to cynicism (such as at Revolt TV) when the actual implications started sinking in.
To recap: according to Billboard.com,
Uvinyl, the London-based “home of Universal Music vinyl,” recently launched a re-pressing initiative they call The Vinyl Project which [is characterized as] a “crowd-funded vinyl service.” The “crowdfunding” portion of The Vinyl Project, however, would seem to amount to a conditional preorder…If a slab garners enough interest, then the orders will be filled, people will be charged, and everyone pleased.
The Project’s homepage also touts “sought-after deleted records to be re-pressed”… After filling out a sign-up form on the Project’s homepage and confirming participation, respondents are then directed to a survey about the forthcoming service, the completion of which will earn them a 20% discount on a “specially selected vinyl range at Uvinyl.”
As Billboard also points out, however, albums like Cat Stevens’ Tea For the Tillerman (a mainstay of used bins across the planet) and Bjork’s Biophilia (released a mere two years ago and actually designed to be an immersive digital experience that an LP can’t replicate), while technically deleted, aren’t necessarily “rare” or even “sought after.” You can view the complete list below, which includes such bazillion-selling “rarities” as Slowhand by Eric Clapton and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road alongside GenX and Millennial catnip like Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged and Sonic Youth’s Goo. Hardly the stuff of collectordom.
Worth additional note: while some may cheer to imminent availability of some admittedly much-cherished albums, within the context of the current surge in vinyl sales (the Led Zeppelin catalog is reportedly slated for remastering and reissuing in time for Christmas 2013, in fact), the whole disingenuous notion of preorders-disguised-as-crowdsourced-artifacts i(“crowdsourcing” being quite the hipster buzzword, eh?) is also a means by which Universal aims to totally bypass the traditional middleman in its business model – the record stores, who as the major labels’ de facto “customers” have been the ones propping up that business model since time began.
In doing so, Universal is basically telling those stores, many of the regional indies and local mom-and-pops who have been at the forefront of the vinyl resurgance, that they can go fuck themselves because they intend to sell direct to consumers in the future.
Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman
Cream – Disraeli Gears
Def Leppard – Hysteria
Cat Stevens – Teaser & The Firecat
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Def Leppard – Pyromania
Eric Clapton – Slowhand
Supertramp – Crime Of The Century
Sonic Youth – Goo
Bjork – Biophilia
The Jam – All Mod Cons
Nirvana – MTV Unplugged
Sting – The Dream Of The Blue Turtles
Jackson 5 – ABC
The Temptations – Cloud 9
Erykah Badu – Baduizm
Grace Jones – Nightclubbing
Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
Jackson 5 – Going Back To Indiana
Michael Jackson – Got To Be There
Michael Jackson – Ben
Michael Jackson – Forever Michael
Motörhead – Ace Of Spades (Picture Disc)
Paul Stanley – Paul Stanley (Picture Disc)
Cream – Disraeli Gears (Picture Disc)
Pulp – His ‘n’ Hers