Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Cheap Trick Album: Issues With Amazon Exclusive Release

My good, old friend Dr. Tony Shore feels he got screwed by Amazon.

[T]he real problem is what you get if you make the mistake of ordering the [new Cheap Trick] CD from Amazon (like I did). What you get is a CD-R, not an actual replicated CD. The print in the jewel case that comes with it is so poorly printed and trimmed that I must say I have never, ever, in 23 years in the music industry and with more than 7,000 CD's in my collection seen such poorly manufactured jewel case print.

Most of you don't know Tony but he has to think something is pretty gross before he talks this way. He lives in a sort of permanently agitated state because he gets so excited about the music he loves, be it new or old. Talking about what sucks doesn't really interest him.

Read his whole post to get the rest of the story, but what it boils down to is that Amazon got a whole month of exclusive distribution for the new Cheap Trick album, The Latest and they appear to be fulfilling orders with CD-R's in cut-rate packaging. If you have been reading my blog in recent months you know how I feel about mainstream CD pricing, so I have to be 100% behind Tony on this. If a die-hard like Tony pays full price for physical media of a major release he or she should get a the full professional treatment.

It's one thing for independent artists or labels specializing in experimental music to sell CDRs, especially since they tend to be up front about it. And, strictly speaking, The Latest is an independent release. It is on Cheap Trick's own label, Cheap Trick Unlimited. But let's be serious; if you have tracks on Guitar Hero and Rock Band and you record with the likes of Steve Albini, you can afford to go with a decent print shop for your jewel case cards.

According to the band's Wikipedia article they also had an exclusive arrangement with Amazon for their live DVD, Music For Hangovers, although it seems unlikely that they shipped DVD+/-Rs.

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