If there are any readers of The Second Disc from outside America, I’d like you to do us a favor. Go to iTunes or Amazon and download the bonus tracks included on the digital versions of the a-ha deluxe reissues. And enjoy them, please. Because American fans cannot.
Not long after the release of the Web-exclusive deluxe editions of Hunting High and Low and Scoundrel Days, a-ha’s official site announced that the digital editions of each title would include four additional bonus tracks, including some vinyl-only remixes and more unreleased demos. Graciously, the story said “Rhino.com (USA) will have both Deluxe Editions available digitally this week, complete with bonus tracks, which will be available a la carte.”
However, nearly a month after that promise, there’s been no movement. The reissues were only made available digitally this week through Rhino.com, but no bonus tracks are to be found. After inquiring with Rhino, they sent The Second Disc a message: “We hope to have these tracks available soon. Please stay tuned to www.rhino.com (and sign up for the newsletter on the front page of the site) for any developments.”
Fans of old and new music have to go through this a lot. The label will release an extra track or two with a digital version of a record as an incentive to buy the record instead of downloading. But for people willing to pay for physical copies, this is hard to deal with. The tracks are rarely able to be downloaded on their own, and no self-respecting fan would pay another $10 for one track if they’ve already bought the proper physical album for about the same price. This looks even more shortsighted on the catalogue side of things, where most fans invest in physical media entirely, and rightly feel a bit slighted if a few extra tracks are going to be available digitally. (We can see a storm brewing should the digital bonus tracks on the upcoming Apple Records reissues not be made available individually.)
We ask you, dear reader: how do you view the seemingly necessary evils that are digital bonus tracks? How would you alter their place in the music-buying process if you could?