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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > Reissues/archives: Why can't artists and labels do it properly (and should they hire the fans)?
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Thread started 11/02/18 9:41pm

databank

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Reissues/archives: Why can't artists and labels do it properly (and should they hire the fans)?

I hear people complaining about the way the Estate does things, and I was the first to complain with pretty much everything they did except P&AM83, but I also hear ppl praising, for example, the Bowie stuff, except that the Bowie stuff ain't that great either.

.

Let's compare the reissue programs of 4 artists I know well:

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Prince: one fake single edit on 4ever, PR Deluxe not comprehensive + technical issues + posthumous tinkering on one track, NC2U posthumously tinkered, original version of TCI still unavailable (and I believe the original Prince '79 is only there on HDTracks).

.

Bowie: the box-sets are far from comprehensive: the singles discs contain quite a number of poorly reconstructed and fake single edits in lieu of the originals, lots of remixes and alternate versions are missing, as well as one entire show on the last one, and there were technical issues as well (on Heroes and many single edits, including poorly done needledrops).

.

Kate Bush: the upcoming boxet is everything but comprehensive, with tons of stuff missing (a whole live show and countless non-album tracks). Granted, this was probably Kate's call not EMI/Sony, but she could have considered doing a comprehensive box-set once and for all, for posterity and let's get it over with.

.

Eurythmics: the 2005 box-set missed a number of non-album tracks (not to mention all the single edits and quite a number of remixes) as well as the live albums, and Peace was totally remixed (Lennox and Stewart claim they don't remember doing it, so they probably weren't much involved in the whole project).

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I also remember reading a review of Peter Gabriel's So remaster complaining that several non-album tracks/alternate versions were missing. And I'm sure there are many other similar cases (not to mention Zappa who tinkered his own rereleases, but that was for artistic reasons).

.

The thing is how do we know those releases have missing tracks, fake edits and other issues? Because the most hardcore fans know what is out there. Ask them to track down a clean old 7'' and make a clean needledrop if the masters are lost, they'll do it. Ask them for a list of each and every bloody edit and mix of every track, they'll provide it. The work me and Princevault are doing for Prince has been made by others for most major artists, you have similar sites for Bowie, Kate Bush, etc.

.

So that leaves me with the following question: there are people who are qualified to do the job, who know what exists and what should be included much more than the labels and, probably, the artists themselves (who probably forget the rarest releases and aren't always involved in edits and remixes). Those same fans will, of course, complain every time something is wrong or omitted. Why not hire those people, if only as advisors? Why do labels insist on hiring people who may be professionals but do not know the artist's discography very well and make mistakes, which leads to doing it wrong all the time? And, most importantly, why does it seem impossible to get an artist's complete discography, to the rarest promo, released, since hardcore fans hunt rarities and want to have them.

.

Bill Laswell, at least, was smart enough to hire his best discographer to manage his PR and online presence, including the Bandcamp official store!!

[Edited 11/2/18 21:44pm]

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #1 posted 11/03/18 1:39am

unique

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remember the record BUSINESS primary aim is to make a PROFIT for shareholders, NOT to make music or do any of the things you just mentioned

if they thought hiring fans would help them make a profit, they would

in a lot of cases the record companies don't give a shit, artists may not give a shit, or the artists don't want certain things released for various reasons. in other cases record companies don't want to pay more money for people to look for rare things they don't think important, then pay more to master or remaster them, so the SDE's are usually based on what's readily available at reasonable cost

often artists will have falled out with the record companies so the legal battles and squabbles from that result in gimped releases. it's just like an older employer from the past asking you to help them fix something you did years ago when you fell out big style and hated the employer with a passion. you would be unlikely to be particularly willing to help unless the money was right, but labels don't tend to throw money around so easily these days, so instead of spending money they make do without instead

if the work would result in profits, they make do this, such as the beatles. or if the artist has control and has money and has a vision of what they want, then you may get some good stuff

most people don't care about getting every little last peice of music and edit and remix, and the record companies know this. it's only a tiny percentage of hardcore fans that typically want that from any artist, so people doing these projects will miss things out for space reasons. the more cds the bigger the cost and ultimately less people who will buy. some of these box sets are crazy prices now. a 2cd set that's less complete will sell considerably more than a more expensive 4cd set that's more comprehensive

just remember it's about MONEY not music

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Reply #2 posted 11/03/18 2:56am

NorthC

And to add to databank's post: the fans will even do it for free! This was done with a Jerry Lee Lewis box set that came out a few years ago. A friend of mine who was a rock & roll fan helped compile it together with others from various places. I believe there was even a rock & roll fan from Russia involved. So it does happen, asking the fans for help.
[Edited 11/3/18 2:58am]
I may disagree with everything you say, but I will defend your right to say it.
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Reply #3 posted 11/03/18 3:05am

NorthC

And I will once again name Bob Dylan as an example of how it's done. Take The Cutting Edge (studio sessions 1965-66). There's a
Double CD
Double LP
6 CD Box set
18 CD box set containing everything recorded during those sessions including false starts, studio talk.
The new Bootleg Series also features the complete recording sessions of the Blood On the Tracks album from 1974.
[Edited 11/3/18 3:07am]
I may disagree with everything you say, but I will defend your right to say it.
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Reply #4 posted 11/03/18 5:43am

jaawwnn

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Artists owe us nothing. Some artists come around to the idea of archives, some are totally against it. If an artist doesn't care then I'd agree they should probably outsource to someone with an archivists mind rather than an ad executive but some artists just want the money later in life.

Superdeluxeedition's explanation of how he put together the Paul Young Boxset is a good read on a balancing act done well:

http://www.superdeluxeedi...cbs-years/

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Reply #5 posted 11/03/18 8:01am

lastdecember

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It’s a business, all of the artists you mentioned are on labels and have them doing things. I can remember way back when artists like a billy Joel or Elton would put out a greatest hits set and a few songs that were hits were not on the album and people didn’t understand that labels still want you to buy the catalog as opposed to this new greatest hits, it’s a business which is why they don’t want a bunch of opinions. The often mentioned 4Ever compilation was put out as a business move, holidays, Princes death still on the minds of the public, it’s basically the hits set edited down, the label could care less that we had Moonbeam Levels as a boot for decades . Look at Queen now, back in the spotlight again worldwide including America now, this soundtrack they put out has songs that the fans have bought about 50 times already but the business move was put the live aid set on there which has not been on a release yet though it’s also been a boot for ages. The labels don’t care what you want.

"We went where our music was appreciated, and that was everywhere but the USA, we knew we had fans, but there is only so much of the world you can play at once" Magne F
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Reply #6 posted 11/03/18 10:04am

Empress

NorthC said:

And I will once again name Bob Dylan as an example of how it's done. Take The Cutting Edge (studio sessions 1965-66). There's a
Double CD
Double LP
6 CD Box set
18 CD box set containing everything recorded during those sessions including false starts, studio talk.
The new Bootleg Series also features the complete recording sessions of the Blood On the Tracks album from 1974.
[Edited 11/3/18 3:07am]

nod
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Reply #7 posted 11/04/18 1:02pm

MickyDolenz

lastdecember said:

The labels don’t care what you want.

That's not always the case. Andrew Sandoval is usually in charge of The Monkees reissues and Rhino Records (which is part of WB) has been doing their stuff since the 1980s. Sandoval also put out a book about the group with recording dates, public appearances, and filming schedules.

http://prince.org/msg/8/411576

For 65 years straight, the #1 genre in music, selling wise, was rock n' roll worldwide. Last year (2017) in June, it got de-crowned by hip hop. Hip hop is the #1 genre. It's hip hop - rock - country - pop or pop - country. ~ Pras
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Reply #8 posted 11/04/18 1:14pm

MickyDolenz

jaawwnn said:

Some artists come around to the idea of archives, some are totally against it.

When the Genesis box sets came out around 2008, there were a couple of B-sides that Tony Banks didn't like and so they were left off. There's also a set from 1998 called Archive 1967-75 that had previously unreleased songs, live versions, and alternate takes. Peter Gabriel re-recorded some of the vocals, because some of them didn't come out that good because he was wearing a mask during concerts. Steve Hackett overdubbed new guitar parts too.

For 65 years straight, the #1 genre in music, selling wise, was rock n' roll worldwide. Last year (2017) in June, it got de-crowned by hip hop. Hip hop is the #1 genre. It's hip hop - rock - country - pop or pop - country. ~ Pras
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Reply #9 posted 11/06/18 4:42am

lastdecember

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MickyDolenz said:

lastdecember said:

The labels don’t care what you want.

That's not always the case. Andrew Sandoval is usually in charge of The Monkees reissues and Rhino Records (which is part of WB) has been doing their stuff since the 1980s. Sandoval also put out a book about the group with recording dates, public appearances, and filming schedules.

http://prince.org/msg/8/411576

By in large it will depend on the artist and what the label has access to, and also what is in good condition to release. I mean look at the Beatles Anthology One, that should never have been allowed to be put out, but that fan base will buy anything and its the biggest fan base. But things on there early cavern days were awful sound and performances. Also the re-working with John Lennon's voice I cannot believe Yoko pushed that out, it sounded awful too. I think it is going to be years and years before people see PRINCE stuff come out that they are looking for. It's all in the way it is handled, some estates and artists like QUEEN are masters at this kind of thing, and to be honest there is very little saved up from QUEEN they pretty much put it all out.


"We went where our music was appreciated, and that was everywhere but the USA, we knew we had fans, but there is only so much of the world you can play at once" Magne F
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Reply #10 posted 11/06/18 10:00am

NorthC

MickyDolenz said:



jaawwnn said:


Some artists come around to the idea of archives, some are totally against it.



When the Genesis box sets came out around 2008, there were a couple of B-sides that Tony Banks didn't like and so they were left off. There's also a set from 1998 called Archive 1967-75 that had previously unreleased songs, live versions, and alternate takes. Peter Gabriel re-recorded some of the vocals, because some of them didn't come out that good because he was wearing a mask during concerts. Steve Hackett overdubbed new guitar parts too.


Dammit. That's a very bad idea. Archive releases like that are supposed to show us the creative process an artist went through. You spoil that when you start messing with them.
I may disagree with everything you say, but I will defend your right to say it.
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Reply #11 posted 11/06/18 10:51am

databank

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NorthC said:

MickyDolenz said:

When the Genesis box sets came out around 2008, there were a couple of B-sides that Tony Banks didn't like and so they were left off. There's also a set from 1998 called Archive 1967-75 that had previously unreleased songs, live versions, and alternate takes. Peter Gabriel re-recorded some of the vocals, because some of them didn't come out that good because he was wearing a mask during concerts. Steve Hackett overdubbed new guitar parts too.

Dammit. That's a very bad idea. Archive releases like that are supposed to show us the creative process an artist went through. You spoil that when you start messing with them.

My view too.

On the other hand as a creative person myself I can understand the desire to rework stuff and correct flaws, or the embarassment one can feel at the idea of your audience seeing/hearing/reading a defective product.

Certain writers also reworked early novels years after the original print and now the originals are very hard to get, entirely replaced by the reworked version.

But if you're important enough an artist for an archives project, those corrections replacing the originals on the archives project totally defeats the purpose.

Besides, those artists know those original recordings are all over the internet and already owned by fans, so why not just give it to them? Who can believe anyone spending the money to get the latest Bowie box-set don't already own a copy of Too Dizzy (a track deleted from the 1987 album)?

.

Of course when it's the artist themselves dealing with the reissue it's complicated because you want to control your canon. Milan Kundera once said that as far as he was concerned, his canon was the books published by Gallimard and that any other thing he may have written isn't to be considered as a part of his work.

.

The Paul Young story shared by Jjaawwnn is more about curating unreleased material than rereleasing the existing catalogue in better and homogenic sound quality. In that case, unless you're gonna go for a huge boxset, you're not gonna release 25 alternate tryout mixes and edit of a song (though this would be feasable on a dedicated online store, but it's a project for the future, and as explained the transfers are costly). To make things more complicated, the artist, in that specific case, was involved.

.

Now when the artists are either dead or not involved because they don't care, and when it's about compiling the already existing catalogue, I fail to understand the "it's for money nor arts" arguments. Once again, whomever was gonna spend their bucks on a 3CD+1DVD Purple Rain Deluxe set would have purchased a 4CD+1DVD set, which would have been enough to include the few things that were left off it in terms of previously released material. I mean, the average listener did not care for FOUR versions of Let's Go Crazy on the set, so whomever does want to have album + edit + extended + live will want to have the rare edit or extra live version as well if they exist. Whomever is gonna invest a fortune in a 10 CD David Bowie or Kate Bush box set will buy a 14 CD-box set just as well if it provides a truly comprehensive collection. It's even possible that some fans won't bother precisely because they know there's stuff missing.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #12 posted 11/07/18 12:59pm

luvsexy4all

NorthC said:

And I will once again name Bob Dylan as an example of how it's done. Take The Cutting Edge (studio sessions 1965-66). There's a Double CD Double LP 6 CD Box set 18 CD box set containing everything recorded during those sessions including false starts, studio talk. The new Bootleg Series also features the complete recording sessions of the Blood On the Tracks album from 1974. [Edited 11/3/18 3:07am]

better than metallica???

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Reply #13 posted 11/08/18 11:38am

NorthC

^Dunno. I'm not into metal.
I may disagree with everything you say, but I will defend your right to say it.
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Reply #14 posted 11/08/18 11:56am

Cinny

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databank said:

Prince: one fake single edit on 4ever

Which was it? "7"?

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Reply #15 posted 11/08/18 3:17pm

luvsexy4all

NorthC said:

^Dunno. I'm not into metal.

no..the way THEY remastered everything

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Reply #16 posted 11/08/18 8:06pm

databank

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Cinny said:

databank said:

Prince: one fake single edit on 4ever

Which was it? "7"?

Let's Work.

Was 7 a fake, too? eek

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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