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When the music's over, rerelease, reshuffle, repackage, remix, and remaster it
on 11 November 2011
How many times should I pay for the same music? is a question which many fans of classic rock must have pondered from time to time. I don't know how many releases there have been of the Doors albums, which I should add, are all essential for any classic rock/psych collection (including the under-rated Soft Parade, maybe not as brilliant as the others but still better than many other bands' best efforts), but I stick with the versions I bought around the mid-90s and refuse to ever pay more money for the same albums. I don't criticize all these rereleases with often poor bonus tracks as that is the only logical way to market music by non-existent bands and dead artists. There is a finite amount of material recorded and the only way to generate income is to continuously repackage, reshuffle, remix, or rerelease in different formats exactly the same material. But my advice is not to fall victim to these strategies. In the decades to come we will no doubt see many more rereleases, in the audio formats still to be invented. At some point, mp3 will be declared to be outmoded by some new audio type offering far greater sonic clarity, and old fans will be urged to update their collections once more to keep pace with technology. Those people who also had the cassette or even minidisc versions of these albums should be fuming, for one thing the music industry has always insisted on is that the price you pay for the music is NOT the price of the plastic, but the right to own those songs for private use. Theoretically, this should mean that once one has paid for the right to use the songs privately, one should be entitled to trade in the versions of the same albums in other formats for a reduced price. However, as we all know this does not happen, and would be considered unthinkable. Thus, fans continue to fork out cash for exactly the same material, while the value of the old versions of the CDs falls to zero, which is clearly intended. As a fan of many classic bands like the Doors I refuse to buy into this scheme, except in some rare cases when the bonus tracks are especially interesting, which is not the case with the Doors CDs unfortunately. I rather spend my money these days on discovering new music, mostly by the many contemporaries of the Doors who went unnoticed at the time, but many of whom released some great music. My Doors discs may not have the sonic clarity of the new releases. But anyone who knows even a little about the human brain and ears knows that one's ears always 'adjust' to the level of sonic quality, that after a while, whether you're listening to vinyl, cassette, 8-track, minidisc, CD or mp3, your brain filters it so ultimately it all sounds the same - and it's the music itself which you focus on.