REDUX: The Horror of Format Paralysis

November 18, 2013

This should have had it all, but it didn't
This should have had it all, but it didn’t

When I got home from the trip to D.C. to see Simple Minds, something was gnawing at me that needed attention. Namely, when Jim Kerr surprised his fans with word of a solo album in 2010, hot on the heels of the excellent “Graffiti Soul” album by Simple Minds, it seemed like a throwback to the early salad days of the band when they could release 2 albums of high quality material a year without breaking into a sweat. For a man who had a writer’s block at the turn of the century, this was no small feat.

Of course, I signed up at the artists’ website for the mailing list. The initial freebie download was excellent, and everything seemed to point to the notion that this album would be a corker; perhaps something that I might like even moreso than the admittedly great “Graffiti Soul.” The last time Jim Kerr stepped out of his comfort zone to write with people other than Charlie Burchill on 2002’s “Cry” album, he had released my favorite Simple Minds album since “Sparkle In The Rain.” Even after “Graffiti Soul” I would still make that claim. It just had a freshness that appealed to me.

So you would have to think that I was on top of this album the day of release, right? After all, the lead singer of my favorite band, being on fire with creativity, can’t wait five years for the next Simple Minds album, so he kept the writing flowing and released a solo album shortly after their latest album. How could I say “no?” Well, I did. For almost three years! Bear in mind that I feel that Simple Minds could keep the albums coming at a far more rapid clip for my tastes! Why had I dawdled on this release? Format paralysis!

As is now common there were multiple formats, each offering differing exclusives. Worse, there was not even a single high-priced variation encompassing all of the music in a single package. To get that, one would have to buy multiple releases of the album. What did that  comprise?

Ear Music | GER | CD | 2010 | 0202362ERE
Ear Music | GER | CD | 2010 | 0202362ERE

Lostboy! A.K.A. Jim Kerr: GER CD [2010]

  1. Refugee
  2. She Fell in Love With Silence
  3. Shadowland
  4. Return Of The King
  5. Red Letter Day
  6. Remember Asia
  7. Bulletproof Heart
  8. Lostboy
  9. Nail Thru My Heart
  10. Soloman Solohead
  11. The wait Parts 1+2
Ear Music | GER | DLX CD | 2010 | 0203942ERE
Ear Music | GER | DLX CD | 2010 | 0203942ERE

Lostboy! A.K.A. Jim Kerr: GER DLX CD [2010]

  1. Refugee
  2. She Fell in Love With Silence
  3. Shadowland
  4. Return Of The King
  5. Red Letter Day
  6. Remember Asia
  7. Bulletproof Heart
  8. Lostboy
  9. Nail Thru My Heart
  10. Soloman Solohead
  11. The Wait Parts 1+2
  12. Mr. Silversmith
  13. Karma To This Rain
  14. Sad Stone Child
Ear Music | GER | CD + 7" | 2010 | 0204592ERE
Ear Music | GER | CD + 7″ | 2010 | 0204592ERE

Lostboy! A.K.A. Jim Kerr: GER COLLECTOR’S CD + 7″ [2010]

CD

  1. Refugee
  2. She Fell in Love With Silence
  3. Shadowland
  4. Return Of The King
  5. Red Letter Day
  6. Remember Asia
  7. Bulletproof Heart
  8. Lostboy
  9. Nail Thru My Heart
  10. Soloman Solohead
  11. The Wait Parts 1+2

Bonus 7″

  1. Jet Black The Night
  2. What Goes On [V.U. cover]
iTunes | UK | DL | 2010
iTunes | UK | DL | 2010

Lostboy! A.K.A. Jim Kerr: UK iTunes DL [2010]

  1. Refugee
  2. She Fell in Love With Silence
  3. Shadowland
  4. Return Of The King
  5. Red Letter Day
  6. Remember Asia
  7. Bulletproof Heart
  8. Lostboy
  9. Nail Thru My Heart
  10. Soloman Solohead
  11. The Wait Parts 1+2
  12. Refugee [atmoxic remix]

We’ll discount the vinyl LP variant as it was the same as a the basic CD. We have an 11 track CD, a second CD with three extra tracks, a third CD with a 7″ single on vinyl [never the most high-fidelity of formats] that had two further tracks… but none of the bonus tracks from the second CD. The maraschino cherry on top is the UK iTunes exclusive bundle that had a remix available nowhere else, and none of the five bonus tracks on the second and third CD. Compounding the horror was that the “webstore” on the artist’s website sold none of these directly, they linked to stores in various European locations, all of which were verboten to American me.

This last bit rankled me the most, since I often buy physical formats of material I want from the artist’s directly. I often pay a real premium for this, full retail pricing plus transcontinental postage, but this is sometimes the only way to buy the music I want and I understand that. I always buy the latest OMD singles from their web store. Pricey, but I am assured of getting the scarce physical copies of their singles. The same with Visage. The best I could hope for was a third party selling these as Amazon dealers, but in three years, I only ever saw the basic CD offered there. Getting the iTunes UK bundle, of course, was flat out impossible. Local iTunes only offered the 11 track edition.

So with a fire lit under me from the superb Simple Minds show I’d just seen, I resorted to plan C. The Discogs.com marketplace. There, I found the 15 track CD for sale from an American for $5.oo used. The cost with postage was $9.00. Great for me, but bad for Jim Kerr, since he has agreements that preclude selling of music in his online store. And I still, need the CD/7″ bundle! And it still took me three years to hear this music, which is incredible! I had high expectations for it and it actually surpassed them! I often buy deluxe editions from artists webstores. But generally, there is a “winner-take-all” configuration that includes the maximum amount of music for hard-core fans like myself, usually at a premium. Hopefully not at three figures.

As bad as that is [sometimes it’s great – see Paul Buchanan], at least I can get the music if I am willing to pay the price. When that price included buying three configurations of an album for approximately $50.00 plus postage, I’d much have preferred a single maxi-bundle with everything at roughly the same cost. That would have been fine, and Scotsman Kerr would have had a fair share of my lucre. As it stood now, I waited three years to hear a fantastic album and he didn’t get a cent. Worse, by limiting the retailing of the physical album to exclusive markets out of my territory, there was no way I could have bought this album new, save for the US iTunes 11 track version not exactly high on my list of preferences.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Core Collection, Record Collecting, Scots Rock and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to REDUX: The Horror of Format Paralysis

  1. Cary Berger says:

    well said. remember the days of the multi part UK CD single? I kind of fetishized the format but sometimes you had to buy not only the CD but then all of the multi parts of all the CD singles!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Cary Berger – I also remember buying the German remix variant with 2/3 mixes only in that market… to say nothing about the commercial US CD5… yet not forgetting the US Promo remix CD with one track nowhere else. So for a $14 CD I might end up spending $60 just for all the parts to one single [let’s say from Pet Shop Boys] and after the album campaign was over I’m looking at upwards of $200 just in the singles from the album campaign. Phew! But let me be the first to say that I really miss CD singles! I can’t get worked up about the records, if that, we’ve got right now. Though I have bought all of the OMD singles since they have been back whether CD or 7”/12”. And streaming? Homey don’t play dat!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. negative1ne says:

    Hi Mr. Monk,
    Thanks for reminding me about these releases.
    I just bought the standard album, and have a few of the promo CD singles.

    In my quest to fill and gaps and singles, I’ve been going alphabetically
    amongst my 10-15 prime groups. I am about a third of the way through
    going through and identifying all the singles I want to get, and am missing.

    I have not gotten to Simple Minds, and Jim Kerr yet, so will have to identify
    those at some point. I figure there will be an era, where bands have multiple
    international releases with unique listings. So I will brace myself for those.

    I am currently deep diving into Duran Duran and Depeche Mode releases,
    and there are literally hundreds of items I want, but will start off slowly and
    just identify all the rare, hard to find and priority items first. With the foreign
    variants being last.

    I have vastly slowed down my purchasing for the latter half of this year,
    but I do make it a point to get at least 2 holy grail items every month,
    to make things interesting.

    later
    -1

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – I used to deep dive on DD in the pre-internet era when I had more money than sense. There’s no way I would do it now with access to so much discographical knowledge. Today I was checking out the Japanese “Goodbye Is Forever” sleeves. Crazy! It was actually the first ugly Japanese sleeve design I’ve ever seen, but I’d want that 12″ with obi if I saw one. Sure! Come to think of it, I never thinned out my Arcadia collection like I did with Duran Duran.

      The Simple Minds era where I went off the collection rails was “Cry” in 2002 with all of those German/Italian singles and Jim Kerr doing 20 singles with alias names and DJ collaborations. At the time most of these were Italian only [some being Italian promo only] and damn near impossible to source! Those that were on Ebay were cripplingly expensive. The records are much cheaper now, but it’s the postage that is cripplingly expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

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