It’s a sad state the music industry is in. It’s easy to see. We are at a stage where labels and bands have to essentially bribe you to purchase their music. It’s pitiful. We as consumers have started to think that we are entitled to more than just music. We need bribes and a full out experience. Why has this happened? Why can’t we appreciate music for what it is? We are selling this music short by resorting to bribery.

All musicians have to compete against piracy, some choose to embrace it, and some simply do not. No matter their stance, it’s still competition. The route musicians are taking are “Deluxe” packages and other incentives. They will throw in a bonus t-shirt or a few “exclusive” tracks to entice you to buy their album. Should they be forced to succumb to this?

I’ll start with “Bonus” tracks. I despise bonus tracks with a passion. They started as tracks  that were added onto foreign releases due to the time it took for the countries to receive the albums. Understandable, since there could be a months to even a year before the release. These bonus tracks could have been created during that waiting period. We’re at the stage where artists will purposefully scrap tracks from the album and horde them to shill at a later date. It’s disgraceful. What happened to just creating music? Is it a requirement to screw over your paying fans?  Those who pirate these releases get the whole package, while those paying customers get a gimped release because they did not buy it at a certain store? It makes complete sense.

T-shirts seem to be the other big incentive. Most music fans love getting t-shirts of their favorite bands. Including me. Labels and bands have seen our interest and now use the inclusion of a t-shirt as a major selling point. The problem with this, is that bands and musicians are barely getting any money with their releases. Now we are adding another good without a price change? This is not good for bands. They are now losing more money than before. 

The good side of incentives. It exists. When buying a vinyl record you can receive things from a download ticket, unique liner art, a letter, to a zine. These things are basically inexpensive compared to the alternatives. Why do we not have more things like this? Fun extras that do not harm the artist, consumer or the music’s integrity in the long run.

Incentives, are a tricky thing. 

A question for anyone reading this:

What’s your take on incentives? and what are some of your favorite incentives you have received?