Mp3 Killed the Vinyl DJ 4: KV

Kurt Vile: «He's Alright» 7" B-sides [.zip]

Last month, Matador Records released one of the most noteworthy albums of the year, Kurt Vile's Childish Prodigy. The CD and a limited edition 7" could be pre-ordered from Matador.

But once the record was released, iTunes started offering a version of the album with an extra bonus track available only if you purchase the entire album, from them. Similarly, subscription-only mp3 service eMusic now offers a different bonus track, exclusively available through them. (Provided you take up a subscription.)

Now, the Matador 7" has «He's Alright» for its A-side (a song that's available as a hidden track on all versions of the album, in all formats). The B-sides—«Farfisas in Falltime» and «Take Your Time»—are the mp3 exclusives, on iTunes and eMusic, respectively.

To re-cap: a terrific album is promoted by offering mutually exclusive exclusives that benefit the outlets, never the buyer (in a sense exploiting the artist in the process). While iTunes, eMusic and Matador make a marginal, negligible profit, Kurt Vile won't sell more copies of his album. Not less copies, either, but some of his songs won't be heard.

Unless you buy the 7", which you have to listen to at home, on a large and impractical apparatus that requires expensive maintenance and/or a costly model to run properly. And even then the songs will hardly benefit from the uneven tempo of the revolutions, the crackle of the dust, the wear of both the vinyl and the needle, &c. And that's only if you're lucky enough to get a copy out of the limited edition single. (I know, I know; vinyl isn't compressed like mp3s—but Kurt Vile is a lo-fi artist.)

Please do buy the album. With Childish Prodigy, Kurt Vile has given singing-songwriting a good name again. And it won't matter what format you buy the record in, or from which retailer, now that you can download vinyl transfers of the sometime-album tracks here.

And they're good tracks, too. They should be on the CD.

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