Stop the madness: exclusive tracks

smashing pumpkins flagStore specific exclusive bonus tracks, like the ones awarded to Best Buy, Target, and iTunes for the latest Smashing Pumpkins record Zeitgeist*, are an insult to consumers and another in a long line of blunders by the panicked record industry.

The motivation here, I suppose, is to make the retailer happy by encouraging customers to get Zeitgeist at Best Buy, and not at Circuit City. In return, Best Buy floats an endcap your way. Maybe even puts a few copies in the checkout line.

But the result is that your customers, the Smashing Pumpkins fans that have longed for years for new material from Billy & co., the ones who have had $20 earmarked for this record for months, the ones who want to own every piece of memorabilia they can, feel ripped off. They want to own, legitimately, every single track. But they sure as hell don't want to buy the record three times to get them.

I'm pretty sure Billy had nothing to do with this decision. And whether or not he's saying so publicly, I really want to believe he's just as pissed as we are. Remember, this is the guy who released what was then believed to be the final Pumpkins album ever online for free as a parting silverfuck you to the recording business.

I don't think the labels really expect people to buy this record three times. I think the error in judgment being made here is an underestimation of how important it is for fans to have everything their favorite band puts out. The people working at these labels are music fans too (at least some of them), but they haven't had to pay for a record in a long time. They're consumers but not customers. And somewhere along the way, they forget what it's like to have to reconcile your wallet with your devotion. And they wonder why people steal music. The only store you can get the TITLE TRACK at is Target.

Your customers, not your retail channels, should always be your number one priority. Long after Best Buy and Target stop stocking music altogether (and they will, sooner rather than later), your customers will still be spending money to consume your product. But not if you keep trying to squeeze blood from their stones.

Go to Pitchfork for the tracklisting(s).

* Bloc Party's A Weekend In The City is another (actually much worse with 12 tracks) offender.

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