The logic of Bruce Springsteen releasing a Wal-Mart-only greatest hits collection immediately before his new album hits that store’s shelves is a little difficult to parse, except that well, people might pick up both at once and boost Sony’s bottom line in what will likely be a tough first quarter.
Still, and you had to see this coming, there are people that feel selling a product exclusively at Wal-Mart violates Bruce’s pro-worker ethical standards. One poster on rec.music.artists.springsteen summed up the incongruity rather well.
I think the more important question is why would Springsten allow for a Wal-Mart exclusive release? Wal-Mart isn’t exactly known for being all that employer-friendly. I find it an odd pairing. The idealist in me would like to think that maybe this was out of his hands, but knowing the control freak that Springsteen can be, I’d imagine that he’d have a say about it.
While that line of thinking could be argued into infinity, it’s also puzzling that the disc isn’t that great of a deal in the 99 cents a song digital era. Wal-Mart is taking $10 preorders for the disc, but the apparent regular price will be $12.99….for a greatest hits album with only twelve tracks, three of which are from more recent Springsteen albums. The Boss has largely been immune to the endless repacking of his material, but even the 18-track Greatest Hits is often on sale for $10, while the the two-disc, 30-track Essential collection selling for $15 on occasion. Why pawn off an inferior collection (no tracks from Nebraska?) at a poor price on Wal-Mart fans? Wait, I know the answer, but I guess I thought Bruce might be above such a thing.
Wal-Mart Snags Springsteen Exclusive [Billboard.biz]
Greatest Hits (Wal-Mart Exclusive) – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band [rec.music.artists.springsteen]