JAIMIE VERNON – ALL YOU NEED IS CASH

This week Apple Records/Capitol Records released the 14 album/16 LP Beatles vinyl boxed set. It’s the band’s entire in situ output while they were together (and alive) housed in a monolithic cardboard time capsule that is not unlike a black hole version of the Tesseract cosmic cube seen in the movie ‘The Avengers’. So what’s so amazing about this latest ad nauseam repackaging of the same material previously released as re-mastered CDs in 2009 and 2010? Well, it has bigger pictures…and, um, it’s on 180 gram vinyl…and um…the audio has been tweaked once again to compensate for the limitations of black PVC…and um….that’s it. In other word there is no difference.

But there are tens of thousands of fan who’ll pay between $300 and $400 for the privilege of buying it, listening to it once and then sticking it on a top shelf (the only place it’ll fit in your house) until it collects dust until such time you get sucked into buying the next Apple Records scam which will be MONO versions of these same albums on vinyl – also of the exact same re-treaded studio content. You will pull the current boxed set off the shelf and compare the audio quality to the oldest releases and the newest of the new and pound your Facebook page, your Twitter feed and any number of audiophile bulletin boards to bitch and complain and grouse about how they substituted the mono version of “She Loves You” with a stereo re-edit or the version of “I’ll Cry Instead” with the extra loud tambourine has been replaced with an alternate Japanese re-mix from 1965; All the while wearing a big neon sign on your forehead that says “SUCKER”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1MCjoCmw0I

The Beatles vinyl box is nothing more than a trophy for bragging rights by a dying Boomer generation. It holds no intrinsic value unless you’re 12 and have never heard The Beatles or ever seen a piece of vinyl before. I hear people whining about how this generation is filled with material greed; But little Johnny won’t be out selling chocolate covered almonds to raise the funds to buy this (or bugging Mom & Dad to miss an SUV payment to do it for them). He knows the songs are but one illegal download bit-Torrent file away if he wanted The Beatles’ 256 song oeuvre; No, it appears that it’s OUR generation that has the material greed. There’s a tactile need to OWN things. Something to show for our hard earned money. Like the guitar player that invites you to his house so you can see his collection of 23 guitars. It looks impressive, but at the end of the day you can still only play one of the damn things at a time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XutwkruACsA

Record labels have been scamming fans since someone figured out how to make “live” albums that aren’t live. It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s preying on the vulnerable, the gullible and the vain. It’s a multi-million dollar business in a business that has run out of ideas and most of its core audience. You know how many albums Justin Bieber has released? ELEVEN. You know how many he’s recorded? THREE. Seven of these are repackaged/remixed/re-interpreted versions of his debut. Innocent little Tweens have been herded into consumer frenzies by a powerful marketing machine. There is no new product. Hell, there isn’t even a new idea in repackaging that product. Artificial demand wrapped in the words “Limited Edition” is all you need to convince a ‘true’ fan that they need something so they’ll fit it with their peer group. The “I WANT” generation has does so to keep up with the Jones’s (or the Snookies)  – regardless of whether it’s practical or even makes any sense. And don’t even get me started on the culpability of an industry that’s standing on the grey line between facilitator and predator.

We’re obsessed with pop culture. With its place in our lives and most especially how it’s regurgitated, prissied up and sold back to us like it’s new. And we get excited about it each and every time. But some clever marketing folks have figured out how to mine that desire even before we know we want it. No longer do we need to rely on K-Tel or Ron Popeil to sell us useless home gadgets to clutter our drawers, closets and shelves. Our home shopping gene, super-sized via Ebay, does it for us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXE5CynXr4A

‘The Avengers’ is the biggest box office movie this year – and currently the third largest grossing film of all time. The barely spartan Blu-Ray/DVD package released only a few weeks ago has sent fans running to buy it – despite it having nothing but a mini-documentary, outtakes and deleted scenes as bonus features [“SUCKER”]. That’s the cock-tease. They know you’re also going to shell out for the multi-disc version in the new year that will contain behind-the-scenes production info and complete interviews with the cast along with a sneak-peak of ‘Iron Man 3’ (now in production). [“SUCKER”]. But wait…that’s not ALL! There’s the upcoming 2013 Tesseract Blu-Ray pack that comes in a bullet-proof suitcase, has a glowing cube like the one in the film, S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel files on each character from the movie, documentaries on each character, and the prequel films that tied together to provide background stories for The Avengers film itself as a 10 disc set. [“SUCKER”]. And there’s more! Plans are also under way to include all that and four MORE discs in a scale model of the film’s flying Hellicarrier. 14 discs of shit you’ve already seen before! [“SUCKER”]. And just think…when the sequels of ‘Iron Man’, ‘Thor’ and ‘Captain America’ materialize they’ll do it all again. This is all before ‘The Avengers 2’ ever hits theatres. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUyuveZZsS4

I have in my personal home entertainment collection an 8 movie boxed set of Star Trek films on VHS.  It was an awesome gift from my wife. It’s never been opened. Why? Because VHS because extinct. DVDs took its place. All of it was repackaged with remastered visuals not long after…and then again…and then again. I think it’s on its 5th generational repackaging. I just don’t like Star Trek that much. It’s the reason I’ve been reluctant to ever buy the massively comprehensive ‘Twilight Zone’ TV show archive. Every time I pluck up the courage to invest they repackage it, re-format it and drop the price.  I think I’ll just wait until everything comes on a memory stick and save myself the shelf-space and the wallet abuse.

I don’t own many ‘collections’ of things. Not anymore. I found feeding my family and paying my rent a sobering incentive to unload all my out-dated media formats. I just don’t listen to music or watch movies/TV shows like I once did. And when I did it wasn’t en masse. My attention span negates any marathons that might include pulling the content from a boxed set of any kind. Though, I do admit to having rented a few from Blockbuster when they were a going concern – especially on content that could only be seen via cable TV networks that we don’t have access to. ‘Dexter’ Seasons 1 thru 3 was my last such foray. And now you can’t do that at all anymore. An industry that bet all their enchiladas on a consumer base that grew indifferent and impatient to obtain their favourite films/shows killed the rental business. Now the content farmers are desperate to find ways of dissuading illegal downloads by creating retro formatted content. Vinyl is the new download prevention security feature. It’s only a matter of time before the visual medium industry puts everything back on VHS. And you’ll be inclined to re-purchase it all again. SUCKER.

PS – ‘Hoarders’ is on the line…they want to talk to you about your [*cough*] “collecting”.

Send your CDs to: Jaimie Vernon, 180 Station Street, Suite 53, Ajax, ON L1S 1R9 CANADA

Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 16 years. He is also the author of the recently released ‘The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia’ and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ is now available at Amazon.com

3 Responses to “JAIMIE VERNON – ALL YOU NEED IS CASH”

  1. Leave my 23 guitars out of it!

  2. Does a collection of DBAWIS blogs on Amazon count as repackaging? I do like your blog but I have limited closet space as well.

  3. your so well liked up in rossport but hated at terace bay.
    remeber that next vacation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: