Elvis Costello Tells His Fans 'Steal This Record'

from the this-price-is-crazy dept

The price at which labels want to sell music and the price customers are willing to pay are often two totally different things. Yet, as we talk about this price disparity, we very rarely consider the price at which the artist wants to sell the music. This point of contention has come to a head with the release of Elvis Costello's latest music collection. In a post titled "Steal This Record", Costello states his album, "The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook", just plain costs too much.
Unfortunately, we at www.elviscostello.com find ourselves unable to recommend this lovely item to you as the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire.
Yeah, I would say that $202.66 is a joke. For that price you get 1 CD, 1 DVD and 1 Vinyl EP. That's it. You would think that for that price you would get a lot more, but no. along with other memorabilia including a coffe table book and autographed commemoration card. But still, if the artist thinks even with those extras the price is just way too high, then perhaps he is right. I can imagine how frustrating it must be for Costello to try and get the price changed with no luck. This is one of the downsides of working with a label.

After hitting a brick wall with his label, Costello has decided to take drastic measures to get his point heard. He is suggesting that his fans avoid buying the album and instead buy something he feels is far superior and cheaper to boot:
All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless but rather than detain you with tedious arguments about morality, panache and book-keeping - when there are really bigger fish to filet these days - we are taking the following unusual step.

If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving, we can whole-heartedly recommend, "Ambassador Of Jazz" - a cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with the name "Satchmo" but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived - Louis Armstrong.

The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior.
That is quite a show of humility. Not only does he suggest Armstrong's album as a better buy for the money, he also gives Armstrong props for making better music. This is a pretty good endorsement and according to Amazon, "Ambassador of Jazz" is already sold out. So people are listening. Perhaps the end goal here is to get the label to admit that it screwed up the pricing and to soon change it. However, if even the artist cannot get the price changed, what hope is there for a consumer boycott?

We talk a lot about the need for artists to connect with fans as a way to give them a reason to buy. Here, we have an artist connecting with fans and asking them to avoid buying. You would think that this would be counter productive for the artist but this move shows that Costello has the best interests of his fans in mind and will do anything to protect them from unscrupulous business moves. That is certainly a reason to support an artist.

If you really want to support him, Costello gives his fans other options if they really want this album but don't want to pay the current asking price:
If on the other hand you should still want to hear and view the component parts of the above mentioned elaborate hoax, then those items will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, assuming that you have not already obtained them by more unconventional means.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    I just figured out what they are upto! They are using standard industry accounting, wishful thinking, and they are looking to sell 500,000 albums at $200 USD ... to Silence Techdirt for a year. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Jack Valenti (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 11:49am

    Words of Wisdom

    I say to you that Hollywood is to creativity, freedom, and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    It's a whole lot more than just a CD, DVD, and LP. I'd say for a limited collectors edition a price hike is justified. And this isn't something you can just steal - there's more to it than just music, and just the kind of "reason to buy" that is preached on this site. I'm sure they can unload a mere 1,500 of these. I'm not sure why Elvis is complaining.

    Amazon says: "The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! is a 3-disc (CD, DVD, 10" vinyl EP) live box set, recorded over a 2-night stand at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12, 2011. Limited to 1500 copies worldwide, each set is individually numbered with a special commemoration card autographed by Elvis Costello. This super deluxe package includes a 40-page hardcover book packed with candid photos, a tour diary of Costello's musings from each tour stop, a 20" x 30" concert tour poster and a limited edition postcard. The CD was recorded from both nights' performances at the Wiltern, shows which The Los Angeles Times called "the kind of uniquely invigorating experience that warrants a buzzword all its own: inspiring." The DVD is from Costello's show on May 12, 2011, and includes a special guest appearance by the Bangles, plus bonus footage including behind-the-scenes moments captured with the Imposters as well as extra performances not included in the main set of the show. The 10-inch vinyl record features four songs only available in this set. All this is housed in a lavish box with a working spinning replica of "The Spectacular Spinning Songbook" on the front cover! Only 1500 copies were printed and autographed so don't miss out."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 11:52am

    NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/music/Elvis-Costello-Dont-Buy-My-225-Boxed-Set-134660643.htm l

    "Just in time for the holidays, Elvis Costello has a new $225 box set for sale -- and he's telling fans NOT to buy it.

    The singer says $225 is just too much to pay for "Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook," even if it does come with three CDs, a vinyl record, a concert DVD and a 40-page coffee table book."

    BUT Zach sez: "For that price you get 1 CD, 1 DVD and 1 Vinyl EP. That's it."

    BLATANTLY WRONG. CORRECT YOUR ARTICLE.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    Blatantly wrong indeed, the post is titled "Steal this Record", not album. Of all the lowdown dirty deceitful tricks Mike has pulled, this one takes the cake!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Re:

    It's a whole lot more than just a CD, DVD, and LP. I'd say for a limited collectors edition a price hike is justified. And this isn't something you can just steal - there's more to it than just music, and just the kind of "reason to buy" that is preached on this site. I'm sure they can unload a mere 1,500 of these. I'm not sure why Elvis is complaining.

    This is a good point. It does sound quite a lot like Trent Reznor's "super deluxe, limited edition" package.

    But, to be fair, when Reznor launched that, he did so AT THE EXACT SAME TIME as he released all the tracks under a CC license.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".


    Um. At the top of his page, he certainly seems to say "Steal This Record"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    Hey Blue, hate to break this news to you, but the position of Web Sheriff has already been filled. Maybe you can apply for Jr. Deputy or something.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    I hope his label sends Mr. Costello the bill for every pirated song.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    SlinkySlim (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    BLATANTLY STOOPID. PLEASE CORRECT YOUR INTELLIGENCE.

    www.elviscostello.com/news/steal-this-record/254

    Nutter.

    blind, fact, garbage, watching.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Re:

    Thanks for the update on that. I had missed that part of the Amazon description.

    However, I think the point still stands that Costello thinks the price is way too high and should be lower. That is the main point of the article.

    Armstrong's box set gets the buyer 10 CDs and a ton of collectibles for a lower price. So it is pretty clear why Costello would be upset about a higher price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    I have corrected the product listing. As for the "Steal" part, Try reading the article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Clearly Costello doesn't care about artist rights. I'm ashamed that he would try to kill the music industry this way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    dutch coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    reznor

    so it's still evil if a record company is learning the "reasons to buy" method?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    As for the contents of the box set, I have corrected the article based off of Amazon's product listing which states there is only 1 CD not 3. I think NBC New York misinterpreted that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    Re: reznor

    I think Costello understands it pretty well. He just thinks that over $200 is too much.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Mr. Costello Gets It...

    But then again, he always has. I have a bunch of his albums, and like him as a musician, but I've always been impressed with him for more than just his music. He understands the business -- far more than most of the crap being pushed as "modern pop." He seems to understand that people aren't going to shell out $225, even for a limited edition set (although I suspect people will buy it, just not the numbers that the industry believes will.) But he is bringing his fans attention to it, and some will go out and get it.

    I will, of course, wait. And I hope that he makes it available through means outside of the traditional labels so that I can buy it without having to give a dime to the labels. I will not steal it, despite his blanket request to do so, but I hope he is reading this at some point and realizes that at least some of his fans are interested in his work, but won't buy it on principle unless he makes it available in such a way that our money isn't used to steal money from the label's customers through lawsuits and destroying the Constitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Nathan F (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    That would require the label to actually explicitly tell the courts how many copies of the song were truly pirated, something they have always claimed they can never do they just make up broad amounts of cash 'lost'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    You dumb fucking idiot. Not only does the title of this piece on Costello's official website specifically say "Steal This Record", it's in the URL for Christ's sake.

    Seriously, do you go out of your way to look stupid?

    BLATANTLY WRONG. CORRECT YOUR COMMENT.

    Idiot....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    "If on the other hand you should still want to hear and view the component parts of the above mentioned ELABORATE HOAX" (emphasis mine)

    I wonder who else managed to read and comprehend that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    I hope his label sends Mr. Costello the bill for every pirated song.

    That's kind of stupid.

    I'm in the sign business and that would be like me sending one of my customers a bill because one of their employees put a hand written "Out of Order" sign on their bathroom door.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Elvis Costello's got the right idea

    Cut the price in half and it wouldn't be a problem.

    For $100 I got the Bioshock 2 game, the Bioshock 1 vinyl, the Bioshock 2 CD, and the concept art book. Signed lithographs aren't nearly as expensive as one would think. I got Robert Picardo's signed lithograph for $5 (and that's F'n Star Trek).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re:

    This sounds like the record labels trying the same trick as some of the indy artists who made money on this sort of plan.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    This would be an epic troll fail except for the fact that I'm convinced that in your sick little brain you actually do hope this and believe it to be the correct thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Elvis Costello's got the right idea

    Uh Bioshock on vinyl? I thought it would take atleast a cassette tape.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re:

    Yes, nothing could possibli go wrong with that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: reznor

    I agree.

    The way he compares his to the Louis Armstrong collection supports this. I think he is saying; Look you can get this awesome collection for $150 or 1 record of mine for $220, don't be stupid, the collection is a better value.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    And now, so quiet, eh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    Did you get a boner when you read that, Masnick?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re:

    Barbara...meet Streisand...

    Mr. C is a cunning one.

    I liked him before this, I like him more now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, the sad part isn't the price or what you get for it, but that apparently the artist has no control over this. I'm sure Reznor had complete control.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Rob, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re:

    I wonder who else managed to read and comprehend that?

    Costello fans, I suppose.

    But if you ask me, it sounds like he wants to bite the hand that feeds him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Self promotion through employer defamation? Is he trying to start a career in politics?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    He'd be able to read the articles better if he had $100M to blow on a better business model.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    Obviuosly you now absolutely lost patience with "out of his mind" and I must say, it took really long.

    I would never have had the patience to stay civil as long as you have and for that I applaud you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Elvis Costello's got the right idea

    I had Bioshock on vinyl. Tore the hell out of my PS3's Blu-Ray drive. Still, one of the best games I almost played.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    out_of_my_mind, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 3:35pm

    Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    OOTB - dont you get tired of getting smacked down day after day after day?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    out_of_my_mind, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    Re:

    "Self promotion through employer defamation? Is he trying to start a career in politics?"


    Maybe he has tiger blood. WINNING!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    Did you get a boner asking that question? That was rhetorical by the way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    markzip (profile), Nov 29th, 2011 @ 4:18pm

    UPDATE: He has a "clarifying" post up

    A subsequent post entitled "Let's Mke Things Sparklingly clear" contains the following rather wonderful paragraph:

    If you should still want the component items in the above mentioned elaborate hoax, they will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, unless you are one of those pirates who imagines they are evangelists or that other peopleís rights absolve their own thievery, in which case this is between you and your dim conscience.
    \
    So that's his record company AND the pirates told, then.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Paddy (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:56am

    Itís even worse in the UK, where we get stung for an extra £57 over the conversion from the US price, bringing the UK price to £213 ($332).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    @ "Dark Helmet": Actually, that was a trap to get someone to admit that piracy = stealing. However, I lost interest.

    But was still worthwhile to draw YOU out with more vulgarity! Your little jihad to hound me is ALSO quite telling of character. After seeing your needless but vicious attacks on mere comments NOT directed at you, I wouldn't hire you, nor publish you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 1st, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    "But was still worthwhile to draw YOU out with more vulgarity!"

    Hahahahhahaha! Yeah, it was a trap by saying that nowhere did Costello say to steal the album. Riiiiiight. More like you proved yourself to be a complete fucking moron and now you're trying to tapdance your way out of it. Sorry, not buying it. You're dumb. Just own it.

    "Your little jihad to hound me is ALSO quite telling of character."

    And your complete inability to read an article and understand the most basic concepts of the internet, economics, and basic English is quite telling of what I've suspected for a long time: you're a pathetic little person that couldn't pass a dog's IQ test. Nice try with your excuses, though. Come on, dummy, just own your stupidity. It'll be fine....

    "After seeing your needless but vicious attacks on mere comments NOT directed at you, I wouldn't hire you, nor publish you."

    Then I'll rest easy knowing you have neither the intelligence nor the ability to put yourself in a position where you could hire or publish anyone at all. Thankfully, since I'm both gainfully employed and published, I guess I don't have to worry about what insignificant pedantic morons like you think of me, now do I, poopy-pants?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    What a reliable little robot you are. Here's another taunt to provoke more vulgarity. Your spewing chases off decent readers; been a while since female poster here...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 1st, 2011 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: NOWHERE DOES COSTELLO SAY "STEAL".

    Hey! An entire sentence that followed the English language! You should print this out and put it up on your refridgerator!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This