Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daylight Robbery

There's always a lot of fuss about a 'new' Bob Dylan release, however much it scrapes the barrel for previously unreleased recordings. The latest volume in the Bootleg Series, 'Tell Tale Signs' is no different - but much of the fuss this time has been generated by those fans refusing to purchase the set. Sony's marketing strategy for this release is at best bizarre and at worst a total insult. They are releasing the collection in three versions - a single disc, a double disc and an inevitable limited edition 3CD set with deluxe booklet. The complete version costs....well, what would be reasonable? At the absolute top end, I'd say £39.99. This turns out to be very wide of Sony's valuation, which puts it at £101.49!!

Is the packaging made of the rarest diamonds?! This is three times the face value of a ticket to see the man himself in concert! There are many other Dylan 3CD compilations in circulation (the first Bootleg Series set vols 1-3, Biograph, various budget packages of the original albums) and none of them cost even close to this exorbitant asking price. It is no surprise that many fans are pledging to download the third disc illegally from torrent sites but this relies on someone being generous enough to shell out for the set and upload it, or for a very unscrupulous journalist to make a political stand.

What do Sony stand to gain from valuing the bonus disc at an additional £80? Is it the best material Dylan has recorded? This seems highly unlikely, however rejuvenated a force he has been since 'Time Out Of Mind'. One wonders what Dylan himself makes of all this, and whether or not he has any kind of control over it. This label is constantly milking the Dylan catalogue for a quick buck. Last year's 'Dylan' best of (also released in 2CD and 3CD versions) made little improvement on 'Biograph' save for some inclusion of later material, including some very peculiar selections. This has just taken the worship of Dylan into the realms of the ridiculous. I shall not be buying the set.

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