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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Won't Someone Please Tell Me the Answer?

More often than not, a book will have a different cover in different markets. But what about records?

Here's the U.S. cover of Sonic Youth's new album:

And here's the U.K. version:

Ah, you've got a fine eye for design. You're right: there's no difference!

But...why not? If book covers are different in different market, why aren't CD covers?

I'm sure someone can explain this to me...please?


CA McGee said...

It's a trick question -- they have the same cover because they're the same album. Meaning, of course, that they're pressed and distributed by Geffen in both markets.

In most cases where books get new covers, it's not simply for the sake of market diversity, but because the ms. is changing hands between publishers. The new publisher buys not only the rights to distribute the book but also to exploit it however they see fit.

This same situation is not quite as common among music distributors, but in cases where albums are licensed for redistribution, they usually do get new covers.

The example that pops to mind is The Strokes' Is This It?: US cover, UK cover. (Not to mention the UK/European version included a song that was omitted from the subsequent US release.)

Eileen said...

Sure ca has what seems to be a reasonable explaination. However it is because he is a part of the conspiracy. It's all due to a plot by the Catholic Church. There is an albino monk involved too. I would explain more, but George W is monitoring my emails now...

Joseph said...

CA McGee, you are my new hero. Thanks. And go see Sonic Youth this summer!

Anonymous said...

CA touched on this, but with music, the change generally happens with the content itself.

From US to UK, the albums are generally the same(ignoring the Strokes example), though you'll often see extra tracks on singles(or it'll be a two-disc set, sold separately, with the first containing three tracks from the US version, and the second anything missing and usually plus a unique track.)

I'm not sure how exactly the markets work out, but Japanese and Australian versions of albums almost always have at least one exclusive track, which is why they're so valuable with completists. Ref notes on The Fragile and With Teeth at this Wikipedia article (first group that popped to mind)


brian said...

And sometimes records do get brand new covers. Like Mansun's Six. US and UK And not only did the covers change, but songs were completely re-edited for american ears, insultingly. New track order, shorter songs, less peripheral sounds. I can remember a handful of records which this happened in the mid-90s. Imagine that happening with OK Computer.