And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #215: Billy Corgan v Amazon

By | Published on Friday 18 July 2014

Billy Corgan

Billy Corgan rants are ten-a-penny and have a tendency to be quite Billy Corgan-centric, but his latest offering might just raise some interesting discussion points for other artists and record labels. Maybe. Plus, it’s an opportunity to kick Amazon a bit, and that’s very popular these days, isn’t it?

In September, Universal and Corgan are re-releasing the band’s 1998 album ‘Adore’ as a seven disc, 107 track boxset. Because that is apparently something people want. You’ll get the original album remastered, the album in mono (???), demos, outtakes, alternate versions, live tracks and a live DVD. All of which, along with the tracklistings, should have been something you found out from ‘The Panopticon: The Official Smashing Pumpkins Nexus’ (aka the band’s website) on Wednesday. But you didn’t, did you? No, you found out from Amazon. Bloody Amazon.

“Great news”, tweeted Corgan on Wednesday. “‘Adore’ box set tracklist to be announced on later today. Plus information on how to buy signed copies too”.

Woohoo! But excitement soon turned to anger. With a new post just over two hours later stating: “CORRECTION: Amazon decided to break an agreement and post tracklisting of ‘Adore’ first; despite assurances otherwise that asked us to wait. OBVIOUSLY I’ve had [the] ‘Adore’ tracklist for four months, and could have posted anytime. But we try to co-ordinate these releases to balance all [requirements]. So all I can say is that a) never again will I trust such promises and that b) for now on I’ll just do right by SP peeps first and foremost. AND btw, Amazon tracklist is WRONG. I’m just saying…”

Over on the nexus, he elaborated further later, saying: “I spent some time this morning preparing what was meant to be the reveal of the ‘Adore’ box set, for where the real juice lies in it is what sonic goodies made their way on it. Notably, I was prepared to share this information here on The Panopticon as far back as two months ago, but made the mistake of asking the record label if I should wait. And if you saw my comments earlier today, you already know that I’m very upset that an online retailer broke their agreement, posting up the tracks up before we could do it here first AS THEY’D ASKED. The irony being where do you think this kind of information comes from, if not for yours truly?”

He continued: “Now, let me digress here for a moment. The record business as you already know instinctively is quite bad; and some would say music hasn’t been in such a disadvantageous place in the culture since the selling of commercial music began in the early 1900s. And I for one have been very outspoken about what I would say are harmful business practices, the kind which place artists in an exploitative position visa vie their rights and ownership of their own work”.

“Lately though there have been some encouraging signs, particularly in those realms where groups can better own/control/and have some bigger say in how their music is marketed. As an example, The Smashing Pumpkins et al do not own the 90s albums, although technically it says on a piece of paper that we own 50%. But, and this is a big [but], I control any use of that music, and having agreed to this re-issue campaign a few years back I’ve worked tirelessly to provide, pound-for-pound, the best reissues possible. And believe it or not, in most cases I lose more than I spend on those projects. But this is not to say that I’m not grateful, for I am: to old SP, to our great supporters, and those who’ve taken a new interest in the band because of the depth of our ever-growing catalogue”.

Finally, he said: “So in that light you can understand why it boils my blood when ‘ye olde record business stands up and does the same old trample all over what was promised’ because frankly, they’re more scared of their masters than artists on their rosters. Yes, we are just a small operation over here, and unfortunately on a day that started with so much excitement, now I have to field through excuses to figure out what I can trust going forward. Not because I believe in some corporate logo that helps sell plastic, but because of what I’ve laboured to put on that plastic”.

I’m not sure if he ever did work out who was more to blame out of Amazon or Universal for the early tracklisting leak. Maybe it doesn’t matter. It’s not the first time Amazon has been accused of leaking information early. Late last year it was the new Bruce Springsteen album, and back in 2008 it was an Eminem album. Oh, and there was that time the company accidentally sent out 500 copies of Lil Wayne’s ‘Rebirth’. Just this week, too, Amazon Japan was accused of leaking the release date and specifications for the iPhone 6. Though that seems like it was a hoax by someone set up as a third party seller on the site.

It makes you nostalgic for the days when all you had to worry about was individual file-sharing music fans leaking your album details (and your album) before you were ready.

Anyway, should you be interested, here is the full (and correct) ‘Adore’ boxset tracklisting via the only source you can trust with such things, Billy Corgan.