Pay For What You Get

With the ever-decreasing success of physical record sales and the onslaught of digital free-bees and bonus material for many artists’ new releases, marketing departments are stretching the proverbial limit nowadays. Even huge artists with worldwide exposure like U2 and Dave Matthews Band are experimenting with new ways to promote new albums in a dynamic marketplace and are digging deep into promotional brainstorming.

The release of DMB’s Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King is just a few weeks away, and several recent announcements have been made surrounding the promotion of the new record including television appearances, bonus materials and different formats for release. The New York Times highlighted the myriad of choices DMB fans have to order Big Whiskey. Pre-orders, iTunes passes, vinyl copies, t-shirts, original art lithographs by Dave Matthews himself, and a benefit concert at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre on the eve of the release (June 1) to be broadcast live on FUSE will ice the cake.

The most expensive of packages, the super-deluxe box set t-shirt bundle (13 Big Whiskey tracks + extra tracks, DVD, photo book, lithographs featuring artwork by Dave Matthews and a copy of Live Trax Vol. 15: Alpine Valley), rings up at around $75. But if you want the vinyl copy, you’d have to buy that separate for about $18. There’s really no one package that includes everything which may have been a well-thought-out strategy to make a few extra dollars. Can fans really afford all of this on top of whatever they might have paid for summer tour tickets? What happened to the $10 CD? Well those days are long gone, and formats will continue to change as technology evolves and marketing masterminds think of new ways to rake in the dough.