Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On budget-reissue packaging

Pliable, some time ago, wrote about the declining standards of one label's budget reissues.

It's a shame that a Warner property is putting out bargain sets with such shoddy packaging. That's doubly true when you consider that Warner put out the reissue of Daniel Barenboim's Bayreuth Ring (originally on Teldec). I have praised it here before, but that set really was the gold standard for bargain reissues -- as it contained reprints of the original books, which were, in that case, most excellent for what they are.

I understand that the economy isn't great and record companies need to squeeze every last bit of blood from long-ago-amortized recordings, but let's maintain some dignity, shall we? Look at the Warner Ring or the RCA Living Stereo sets. Nothing extravagant about the packaging, but there was nothing shoddy about it, either. ECM, a UMG property these days, more or less, put out the excellent 1986 Standards Live by the Keith Jarrett Trio (Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette), as part of its Milestones series. The disc is pretty much the same -- if not the same -- as the original release, but it's in a cheap paper sleeve. Now, I'd rather have the disc than not, but I'd most like to have the disc in quality packaging. The major labels need to understand that a reissue series will never become great based on its packaging, but it might become crappy that way.

Just a thought.