Why Does Avril Lavigne’s Label Have To Make Things So Complicated?

Apr 25th, 2007 // 41 Comments

avrilll.jpgAvril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing may be the No. 1 record in the country this week, but were her sales numbers inflated by listeners’ desire to hear Avril sing that she’s not just “the mother… princess,” but “the motherfucking princess”? A MySpace blog post about one Avril fan’s attempts to buy the explicit version of Thing is making us wonder, since it was through that post–and nowhere else–that we found out Lavigne’s label, SonyBMG, is only making the uncensored version of the album available to those who pony up for the pricier CD/DVD edition:

Yesterday I went to buy Avril Lavigne’s new record “The Best Damn Thing” (shut up) for $9.99. They also had a “deluxe limited edition” that featured a bonus DVD for $16.99. I have no interest in paying extra for a DVD I will never watch so I passed, opting to buy the single disc edition instead.

When I popped the record into my CD player I was surprised to hear that I purchased the edited version, the record wasn’t labeled as edited so I thought it was just a mistake. I walked back into Best Buy and asked to exchange it for the uncensored version, they said I couldn’t because it was already opened.

The customer service manager came and I told her my story. She went to get a copy of the unedited version for exchange and came back with the $16.99 version saying that it was the only one that was unedited and that I could pay the extra $6 and get the uncensored 2-disc edition. I then asked if they had any of the uncensored single discs in stock in the back and she said that they didn’t have any unedited single disc versions. Thinking this was bad business practices on Best Buy’s part because they would only stock the uncensored version at a higher price, I walked out of the store with my crappy, edited version of the album.

Wanting to make sure my shit was in order before I sent a complaint to Best Buy, I decided to stop off at the other music stores in my area to see if they were selling the single disc, uncensored version. To my surprise, they weren’t. Apparently the only way to get the true version of the album is by paying the extra $6 for the deluxe edition. Seriously. RCA/BMG/Sony are forcing the customer to pay extra to get the uncensored edition of the album.

Frustrated, I drafted a complaint letter and sent it off to the people at RCA. For an industry that is constantly complaining that downloading is killing them, these guys are sure quick to screw the fans who go out and purchase records on the first day of release.

I can tell you one thing’s for sure, I won’t be buying anything on RCA/BMG/Sony ever again. I will, however, download the shit out of them.

Way to go, SonyBMG! Clearly, you still have not learned the “try not to screw the consumer” lesson that we thought they’d have gleaned from the whole rootkit debacle of 2005. (And let’s give a few points to Best Buy, too, who stood their no-returns ground even though their customer had no clue what he was getting.) You’d think that, in a time when record sales are in the crapper, the music business can’t really afford to alienate people who actually feel like buying records–especially when those records are among the biggest titles your label will be offering all year. But we’re glad to see that Sony BMG’s attitude toward its customers is, like, so whatever–and that attitude is driving even more people to downloading.

The Best Damn Thing? Far From It. [Kent's MySpace blog, via The Velvet Rope]
Earlier: Who Charted?: Avril Lavigne Spits All Over The No. 1 Slot

  1. rogerniner

    no the RIAA won’t be dying anytime soon. see, because of the marked fall in album sales, they can no longer afford the drugs and hookers, which was detrimental to their health. now that they are forced to live a meager, and somewhat “sober” lifestyle” they will take up jogging, aerobics, and finding more and better ways to screw us.

  2. catdirt

    god that is SO AWESOME. i love sonybmg. they are NOT going to pushed around by anyone- declining sales or no.

  3. coreyander

    I’m sorry, but someone who buys Avril Lavigne’s music can’t seem to figure out the big fucking deal over Arcade Fire? One is derivative crap and the other is progressive and creative. I’ll let you guess which is which.

  4. The Bigger Unit

    I will say, I enjoyed Arcade Fire’s “Funeral” immensely, but have been a little disappointed with “Neon Bible” thus far. Maybe I need more listens to it. Anyone in the same boat?

  5. coreyander

    @The Nature Boy: I think it is understandably difficult to meet the standard set by ‘Funeral’, but ‘Neon Bible’ is still a much better listen than 95% of the crap out there (cough, cough, Avril…)

  6. AcidReign

    …..I ran into the same crap when I tried to buy a copy of Pink’s latest for my wife and kids. Like an idiot, I bought it while grocery-shopping at Walmart. There were more bleeps than music in the thing. Getting an uncensored CD proved to be a LOT of trouble. I’d rather my kids learn swear words at school or from music than from me, anyway!

  7. BillRocksCleveland

    @The Nature Boy: I’m with you on Neon Bible. It’s bloated and overproduced. There’s no subtlety and the members show zero restraint. It seems every song attempts to be bigger than than the one that proceeds it. This makes for a really tiresome listen. Oh, and I thought Funeral was excellent.

  8. Al Shipley

    So, uh, shouldn’t the clean version be called The Best Thing?

  9. chocomel

    it would be absolute genius is if the edited version came packaged with one of those mature content/parental warning stickers.

  10. thewriteguy

    hey my comment about arcade fire was actually meant to be read only by the editors of idiolator. (it says when you register for the first time that they want you to write something funny or whatever to them in order for them to grant you registration — unless i misread the instructions.) that said, i was kidding about arcade fire… well, sorta… i gave them a listen thanks to idiolator, but remain mystified as to what the big deal about them is.

    for the record, i bought only 4 tracks off of ms. lavigne’s new album. does that help to make me look a little less uncool to you cats?

  11. mackro


    I don’t mind The Arcade Fire. But why must they get mentioned in EVERY GODDAMN MUSIC THREAD on the ENTIRE GODDAMN INTERNET?

    (I’m actually not upset at all, but I’m hyperbolizing to make a point. “The Arcade Fire problem” should be given a Wikipedia entry.)

  12. Xenu

    @mackro: If you don’t mention Arcade Fire in every goddamn music thread on the entire goddamn internet, in seven days, your phone will ring, and then you’ll die. Keep the thread running…

  13. zibby

    Say, anybody make it to the secret Arcade Fire show in Brooklyn last week?

  14. The Bigger Unit

    @Xenu: I was merely contrasting the quality of “Funeral” to “Neon Bible”. People can hate whatever the hell they want, so calm down and stuff.

  15. riggs

    Umm…anyone who buys this record really deserves this kind of treatment. That whole thing about a fool and his/her money…Unless the individual in question is 12. Anyone over that age has no excuse.

  16. leevilgenius


    Yeah, it is stupid business. But, it is business. If they want to offer products the public doesn’t want, does that make them any different than millions of other businesses that didn;t fulfill customer needs and saw the customers leave?

    < <"I'm not sure why the public is convinced they deserve what they want when they want it."

    Because it’s our money? >>

    No, because you are convinced they should offer it to you how you want it. Clearly, to someone at SonyBMG, Avril saying “Motherfucker” is worth an extra $7.00.

    Should you be able to buy it unbundled? In fantasy world. The real world is companies bundle shit together, sme you might want, some not, not just music companies.


    And that person then went to the local record story to confirm whether it was available in the format he/she wanted. I got no inkling that the person was using the store for anything other than research. And, fuck that.

  17. Xenu

    @thewriteguy: Shhh! We know Arcade Fire sucks, but the Symbionese Recreation Army will come strangle you with their earbud cords for saying it out loud!

    The Nature Boy: Can’t someone hate both Avril Lavigne and Arcade Fire? “Progressive and creative”? Try “pretentious and overblown.”

    Coming tomorrow on Idolator: Quebec synergy éxtraordinaire with our exclusive Avril Lavigne/Arcade Fire mash-up!

  18. westartedthis

    the consumer has a right to know what they are buying, yes, yes, i agree, but…

    something that’s getting lost in all this: we are talking about intolerable differences between the clean and dirty versions…of avril lavigne songs. what year is it? how long have i been asleep? it’s like something out of “idiocracy.” “hey, i saw that new hilary duff movie and they censored out all the FUCKIN’!” WHAT?

  19. RepentTokyo

    @coreyander: some people just don’t like arcade fire dude, just relax and deal with it.

  20. RepentTokyo

    @Xenu: Luckily, she’s not from quebec.

  21. Xenu

    @RepentTokyo: Aww, man, why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?

  22. essayem

    You should know that Wal-Mart only sells edited discs. That is not news. Also, too many of you give all the credit to Sony/BMG for selling mostly edited versions–Avril, like her or not, has sold what…10 million albums in the US alone, she definitely has a say in how her albums are sold. This album in particular, for those of us who unabashedly enjoy “Complicated” and one or two tracks from the second album, is targeted directly to the underage crowd. Big deal. Look around on the disc and you should be able to see that it’s edited.

  23. Hamm Beerger

    @leevilgenius: “It is business.” You don’t think it’s a stupid business practice to make people pay extra to get the explicit version? After all the whining the record labels have done they should be falling all over themselves to get any money at all.

    “I’m not sure why the public is convinced they deserve what they want when they want it.”

    Because it’s our money?

    And what the fuck does the library have to do with this? This is a story about a guy (girl?) that tried to by an album and simply couldn’t, at least not without getting the DVD.

  24. leevilgenius

    So the major labels are evil… Geez, stop for frigging whining already. It is business. I’m not sure why the public is convinced they deserve what they want when they want it. We’re talking about pop music. And, fuck off for using your local record store as a library.

  25. sparkletone

    I have never heard of such a brutal and shocking injustice I cared so little about!

  26. howwhitemyshirtscanbe

    Ten bucks says SonyBMG paid an accountant to figure out whether they’ll make more money by sucking up to customers, selling records at low prices, and losing them all to downloading slowly, or kicking customers around, selling records at high prices, and losing them all to downloading quickly, and this Lavigne experience is simply what the shareholder value told them to do. Anyone working for SBMG want to chime in anonymously and confirm, or deny on the grounds that SBMG management isn’t nearly that clued in?

  27. coreyander

    @RepentTokyo: Clearly, “dude”, some people don’t like Arcade Fire – my point was that I think their recent album (referenced by thewriteguy and The Nature Boy) is much better than Avril’s. This is a music blog, remember? That’s what we talk about here!

  28. Trackback

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  29. GCMP

    I’m sure the RIAA’s next step will be to sue you for not buying the more expensive, uncensored version as well: after all, you already have most of it, and did you pay the $16.99 they’re asking? No – thief! (By the way: can no one here do math? $16.99 is $7 more than $9.99…not $6. See? You’re being fooled by the ubiquitous 9-pricing tactic…)

  30. Liese

    Okay. I’ve just stumbled across this site while looking for accounting jobs..clearly got sidetracked.. and I’m so glad people started a topic about Avril-wannabe britney-Lavigne. Although I care ’bout people getting ripped off-Shakira’s double cd released later with bonus dvd, Pink’s new bonus edition, Mariah’s rerelease (are we noticing a pattern?) I dont care about Avril at all. To whoever wrote the comment ’bout Avril being punk… WHAT?????!!!!!!! Are you ten by any chance? If you are then sorry for being mean but the girl is POP!! She’d get bottled off the stage at any festival in Britain she has bleached her hair and is doing A MOTHER******* DANCE ROUTINE IN HER VIDEO!!! NOT punk.. She thinks slating Britney gives her credibility but it makes her look like a little child. She also started smoking to try and look cool. Saddo.
    Ps you have to pay me $7 for the uncensored version of this message. I’ll be taking card details later…..
    Liese x X x

  31. Liese


    I discovered pink had released a new version of her cd with a bonus dvd. artists do it all the time. I’m passed caring but I need to say that Avril Lavigne is a manufactured britney wannabe who now looks like a barbie doll. I’d love to slap her.

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