Until Concord Reissues McCartney I & II, Possibly In Early 2011, Digital Music Subscribers Should Consult Their Nearest Used Vinyl Bin"/>
I found something at Capitol Hill's Sonic Boom a couple weekends ago that, try as I might, I haven't been able to find on either of the music subscription services I subscribe to: Paul McCartney's 1980 solo record, McCartney II. It hasn't always been this way.
While McCartney's former band has never been available on music subscription services - and only yesterday made their music available on iTunes--before McCartney moved his catalogue from EMI to Concord earlier this year, McCartney II and the rest of his catalogue was available for subscribers of services like the Seattle-based Rhapsody and Zune Marketplace, where customers pay $10 or $15 a month, respectively, to stream unlimited amounts of music to their PCs, smart phones, and mobile devices. In a move familiar to any parent who has rushed out to buy a copy of The Little Mermaid, freshly released from the Disney vault, Concord pulled a few choice titles - including Band on the Run and McCartney I and McCartney II - from subscription services when they took over the catalogue with the intention of re-releasing the music to subscribers at the same time that titles are re-mastered and re-issued on McCartney's new label.
"We want to make those titles, when they are available, the best versions that they can be," says Phillip Bailey, Concord's director of digital and mobile sales. "When you remove the existing titles it creates a little bit of demand and anticipation for what is to come."
The strategy is part of Concord's campaign to not just repackage the Beatle's classic records with bonuses and DVD extras, but to massage his legacy. To that end, Concord plans to reissue newly re-mastered versions of most, if not all of McCartney's records.
"A big part of the re-launch of Paul's catalogue is about his legacy, and what he wants to be remembered for," says Bailey. "He has quite a bit of content as a solo artist that maybe never got the attention that it should have."
The first installment of McCartney's makeover was last week's release of his most well known record with Wings, Band on the Run, which was made available in a host of different packages ranging from $8 on mp3 to $90 in a box set, with DVD extras featuring footage of the band recording the album in Nigeria. Bailey says Concord is eying early 2011 for the next McCartney reissue, which tentatively includes his 1970 solo debut, McCartney, and McCartney II.
"At least half (of the records) we're looking at being able to go back and find extra content in his vaults and see what we can put together," Bailey says. "Sometimes you see a lot of re-issues where they kind of scrape everything together ... and call it bonus content. Ultimately a lot of that content wasn't released for a reason. You're not going to run into that situation (with McCartney)."
True, many artists would kill to write a song as good as a McCartney also-ran. But it's doubtful that listeners - particularly newer, younger, digital consumers - care to see the evolution of Paul and Linda's mullets in bonus footage, or are interested in shelling out for the latest repackaging of a McCartney record. If they haven't heard McCartney already, they're more likely to stumble upon it on a subscription service via their iPhone, or in a used vinyl bin at Sonic Boom for $3.99.