Billy Corgan Makes Slightly Disarming Marketing Decision

spz.jpgYesterday, the Smashing Pumpkins announced a somewhat-complicated new marketing ploy for Zeitgeist, its first release in seven years: The album will be released in four different versions, with iTunes, Best Buy and Target each getting a different bonus track (for those of you who like to read lots and lots of repetitive text, the full track listings are after the click-through). Pitchfork’s news page interpreted the move as an “eff you” to fans and indie retailers on the part of Corgan:

Billy and company would like you to know that they fully support the extinction of the American independent record store at the hand of large, faceless, little-guy-crushing big boxes. They also support bleeding their fans dry.

Granted, an indie-store edition would have been nice–even if just as a retailer-appeasing gesture–and it always feels icky whenever a band cozies up to the big-boxers. But this is becoming standard practice nowadays, and SP fans are used to getting the shaft; besides, it’s hard to imagine any fans getting “bled dry,” since most of them are likely going to buy one copy and then get the rest of the tracks off some .rar page.

Anyhoo, the different editions are as follows; thanks to The Chronicles of Michael Christopher for the heads-up:

Standard:
01. Doomsday Clock
02. 7 Shades of Black
03. Bleeding the Orchid
04. That’s The Way (My Love Is)
05. Tarantula
06. Starz
07. United States
08. Neverlost
09. Bring The Light
10. (Come On) Let’s Go!
11. For God And Country
12. Pomp And Circumstances

Best Buy:
01. Doomsday Clock
02. 7 Shades of Black
03. Bleeding the Orchid
04. That’s The Way (My Love Is)
05. Tarantula
06. Starz
07. United States
08. Neverlost
09. Death From Above (Bonus Track
10. Bring The Light
11. (Come On) Let’s Go!
12. For God And Country
13. Pomp And Circumstances

Target:
01. Doomsday Clock
02. 7 Shades of Black
03. Bleeding the Orchid
04. That’s The Way (My Love Is)
05. Tarantula
06. Starz
07. United States
08. Neverlost
09. Bring The Light
10. (Come On) Let’s Go!
11. For God And Country
12. Pomp And Circumstances
13. Zeitgeist (Bonus Track)

iTunes:
01. Doomsday Clock
02. 7 Shades of Black
03. Bleeding the Orchid
04. That’s The Way (My Love Is)
05. Tarantula
06. Starz
07. United States
08. Neverlost
09. Bring The Light
10. (Come On) Let’s Go!
11. For God And Country
12. Pomp And Circumstances
13. Stellar

James Iha “Can I Just Come Over To Your House And Maybe Play Some New Stuff For You?” Version:
TBA

idolator
  • Aleb

    I just don’t get the surprise sparked by the bonus tracks, it has been done a lot lately (Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Kelly Clarkson and Amerie, off the top of my head).

    I think I will buy a copy just to have a song called ‘Pomp And Circumstances’ in my collection forever. And I will “get the rest of the tracks off some .rar page”

  • mike a

    Eh, like all the bonus tracks won’t be up on the Hype Machine, like, tomorrow.

  • Jay

    I think a lot more people would have been bled dry if this kind of thing was happening in 1996.

  • beta.rogan

    QOTSA just did the same thing with Era Vulgaris. Best Buy got a cover of “white wedding” while Indie stores got a bonus CD with “The fun machine took a shit and died.” There’s another one too, but I can’t seem to remember it..

  • Jay-C

    Anyone find it odd that the title track “Zeitgeist” is only a bonus track on one version…Isn’t that the one you would want on EVERY version?

  • Al Shipley

    I think it’s even more odd that the Best Buy version puts its bonus track in the middle of the album at track 9 while the other bonus tracks are at the end of the CD.

  • sarahrose

    it’s nice to see that billy corgan still makes music and still lives ten years behind everyone else.

  • Ned Raggett

    I’m with everyone else at the lack of surprise over all this. (As for the Pumpkins and anything ‘independent,’ “Cherub Rock” dealt with that issue a long time back.)

  • brooks

    Wait, didn’t Bloc Party have exclusive bonus tracks for A Weekend in the City at Best Buy, Target, etc.? This is totally nothing to get all bent out of shape over.

  • MC

    @Jay-C: Not if the track isn’t very good…

  • Whigged

    Sure it is, it reeks of commercialism – and whereas Bloc Party is a relatively new act subject to the marketing whims of a major label, you’d think this tactic was above Corgan.

  • toddiet123

    Who cares..the band will bleed the fans dry with a b’sides collection down the road. Of all the releases to come out this year I live in fear of this the most. I really think its not going to be worth the wait sadly.

  • Ned Raggett

    @Whigged: How the hell can it be ‘above’ Corgan when he’s only reviving the Smashing Pumpkins name to get some more cash and attention than he has in some time?!

  • Whigged

    @Ned Raggett:
    You’re right. What I meant to say was that this whole thing is a fucking sham, which I, naively or not, thought Corgan would never pull.

    Even before the gig in Europe a couple of weeks back, I was still hoping for Iha and D’Arcy to be part of the equation. “Please don’t let Corgan pull a ‘Zwan does Smashing Pumpkins’ my Gish-loving self said.

    It’s all one big sourball to me now. I just didn’t know the sourball would turn into Corgan’s nuts.

  • apetulantfrenzy

    No offense, Idolators, but this post TOTALLY mirrors Pitchfork’s near-identical take, posted yesterday. From the big-box references right down to the track-listing at the end. Just noticing…

  • MikeBrownDelendaEst

    Given that the big boxes pretty much demand these kinds of things in return for circular promotion and positioning, I see no reason why people get upset over this. Best Buy basically has a matrix to equate the value of exclusive tracks to monetary co-op. Certainly the band/label aren’t to blame for playing the game. If anything we only have ourselves to blame for buying cds at such crappy retailers, which gives them far more power than they deserve.

  • masterdave

    Don’t you guys get it? THIS is how the major labels think they’ll get people to buy more albums again!

    Clearly, the fans are the ones supporting the music, so making the REAL fans buy 3 different copies of the album is the only way to increase sales!

    This sort of thing was what ultimately and completely doomed the UK singles market,
    Now, you get albums with exclusive tracks that they otherwise would have released as the b-sides to the singles. They’re trying all sorts of extra shit (the worst is a DVD with just a music video on it, as if we haven’t already watched it on YouTube by the time the CD comes out for free) just to convince people that piracy isn’t as good as buying a CD, but they still do not understand what makes the consumer tick. This stuff just ends up pissing people off and strengthening the justification for someone posting mp3′s of a track or albums online illegally. You don’t think the hardcore fans you’re marketing this crap to don’t have friends who will all collaborate and go find one person who’s going to buy it at Target, one who’s gonna get it at BestBuy and one who’s gonna get it at itunes and at best the 3 will share the exclusive tracks amongst themselves, and at worst they’ll be posting the whole things on a forum/blog/whatever before the disc is even in stores.

    It happened with an artist I like (Tori amos) where there was a special itunes track, a special borders track and some other one somewhere, and I still had all the bonus tracks and the album before it even hit stores. I still had to succumb to the NEW scam with itunes where you get acccess to a special concert pre-sale for pre-ordering the album, as well as buying a real copy of the disc since I’m uncomfortable relying on itunes files alone. This is why I barely buy music anymore. I get fleeced on the stuff I actually do want to pay for and it leaves a really nasty feeling in my mind about buying music anymore.

    fuck’em.

  • AquaLung

    @apetulantfrenzy

    I disagree.

    Pitchfork’s reaction was shock and awe. This post is more, “meh.”

    I like how Pitchfork decided to fancy itself the defender of the “American independent record store,” while constantly touting online alternatives like Insound and Emusic.

  • Whigged

    @apetulantfrenzy:
    The reason they look the same is because that is how the press release was laid out, the exact same way with the tracklisting at the end.

    Besides, Idolator is crediting Pitchfork – so what if it’s similar?

  • apetulantfrenzy

    True, I just thought it not only referenced, but piggy-backed. It’s just a little hypocritical for a blog that takes down PF so often.

  • janine

    I like when people live up to their screen names!

  • Hyman Decent

    @janine: Now you have me hoping that you are she.

  • Anonymous

    @masterdave:
    amen, sir. preaching to the choir notwithstanding, you’re absolutely correct. (i dunno about that whole DVD single thing…occasionally, i think someone might want a slightly-better-than-youtube-quality version of a video…)

    the band keeps playing while the titanic sinks, but instead of playing their greatest hits, they’re playing new songs from their reunion album and making the passengers wish the damn boat would sink faster….

    what i don’t get about the pitchfork take is the whole “why this spells doom for indie record stores” angle…the only Pumpkins album i’ve ever bought in an indie store was Gish….SIXTEEN fuckin’ years ago!!! they’ve never made that sort of equation with the COUNTLESS Bjork repackagings by Elektra/Rhino over the past 6 years…

  • janine

    Sorry, not that one. Here, I’ll give you a hint: look for the one with a midget (that’s more than a hint…)

  • Plague

    Why is this even news? The majors have been doing this for most of the year so far- and it’s only going to get worse. Every Brick and Mortar will soon have their own version.
    I’m waiting for the day when every potential buyer will get their own individual disc hand delivered to them by the artist. That’ll save the effin’ day!

  • nonce

    I guess this would upset fans, but if you’re a fan, wouldn’t you find the “Tarantula” leak a lot more upsetting? Or the fact that big box stores are giving them this much attention when they haven’t released a good song in 13 years, and they were only ever a “radio-single” band vs. a album collection band to begin with?

    That said, I would still cough up $$ for a Tori Amos b-sides collection, despite the fact that I could custom-fileshare my own. In both cases, nostalgia is probably driving the viability of these gimmicks more than anything.

  • hummer197933

    hell, bloc party, aqualung, and other had the same thing done to their albums, and did bitchfork complain
    hell
    no

    damn hypocrites

  • katieee

    @nonce: I agree with you on the nostalgia bit. It’s a weak simulacrum of buying 7″s and import CD singles for the b-sides. That used to feel special because you’d have to work to find them (or even find out about them).

    One special version with three bonus tracks – maybe. But this four-version business is just egregious.