Avril 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