That’s right, YOU!
Put down that copy of Fleetwood Mac’s seminal album ‘Rumours‘ now. No, I don’t care if it is the 2018 remastered edition with bonus tracks of outtakes of Steve Nicks clearing her throat and additional CD of never before released live version of songs from the album from a show in New York. You already have three copies of it at home, you don’t need another one. Why not come over here and take a chance on something you’ve never heard of before? Hell, why not ask the assistant at the counter if you could hear a little bit of it?
Now, obviously there’s a bit of poetical license being had here. A completely imaginary situation that we’ve put you in, but fear not, there is a question that relates to the above ramblings: Are constant re-releases of classic albums harmful for newer artists? Are new versions of old albums, like our hypothetical (albeit it slightly ridiculous) version of ‘Rumours‘ preventing people from listening to something new?
Now, it would ridiculous to suggest that ownership of updated versions of classic albums is inherently bad. Any self respecting music lover will most likely have a good selection of classic albums and quite rightly so, as to have a catalogue of the musical creations that have brought us to where we are today. However, there is a growing amount of re-releases of old products for seemingly little reason other than to make more money, which is obviously the main objective of any industry, you need only look into the gaming or movie industries to see a similar patter of reboots and remakes, although it could be argues that at least in the field of movies, you have to start from the ground up as far as actual creation goes.
It could even be argued that the constant flow of orchestral reimagining of iconic back catalogues could even be put into the pot here. This is not to say that hearing a completely newly created version of old work is not in itself enjoyable, the 2015 release of a series of hits from the legend that is Elvis Presley with a full orchestra (a musical aspiration of the King had that he very famously didn’t carry out in his lifetime) was an absolute delight to the ears, but it started off a domino effect of more of the same, including a further two sequels of more Elvis tracks released in time to dominate the Christmas music sales.
To make a further comparison, in 2017, an identical concept was used to remake a series of Aretha Franklin hits. It would be impossible and utterly ridiculous to say that Aretha is anything short of a Goddess in the world of funk, r&b and soul music. However, fans of Ms. Franklin, delighted as they may have been, could well have missed out on a modern game changer to their beloved genre in the form of ‘Drunk’, a masterpiece creation from Thundercat, released in the same year. Not to say that the former was a direct block to the latter, but imagine if it had received the same level of mainstream attention. Would that not have been a massive win for the creative level of the music industry?
To summarise, it is safe to say that things probably aren’t going to change any time soon. When the money keeps rolling in, businesses aren’t going to suddenly stop the practices that keep the profits coming in., which is completely fair. However, it is down to we music loving people to ensure that we keep supporting new music, both large and small releases, to make sure that artists can keep channeling their artistic visions into our ears.
The original point still stands though. YOU DO NOT NEED ANOTHER COPY OF RUMOURS!
Also, here’s a song from that Thundercat chap I mentioned earlier. Enjoy…