Pet Peeve #38: Album-Only Songs

A few weeks ago I saw an interesting movie called Drive. One of the best parts of the movie was the music–and the lack there of–depending on what the scene called for. I realized after seeing the movie that I think there was only music in the scenes where Ryan Gosling was driving, perhaps because that’s when he felt the most alive.

The soundtrack is awesome. There are three or four recurring songs that are intense and unique and kind of a mix of modern alternative and 80s pop. I knew as I was watching the movie that I wanted to buy the songs.

But when I hopped on iTunes, I saw that all but one of the songs had the dreaded label “album only.” The same was the case over on Amazon. Thus, to get the four songs I really wanted, I had to buy an album of extraneous sound effects. I’m happy to pay $.99 or even $1.29 for a song, but $14.99 for four songs? Not gonna do it.

Why do some studios do this? Do they really think it makes people more likely to buy the album if they package all the songs together? Rather, I think it makes people more likely to illegally download the songs they want. I don’t do that (really), but I think studios are leaving money on the table as a result.

The whole idea behind digital music is that you get to pick what you like and leave out what you don’t. “Album only” goes completely against that.

I don’t run into this all that often anymore, but it still happens from time to time. What’s the last time it happened to you, and how did you respond?

(Now I’m thinking I should have made this a True Tale of Survival and responded by running around naked. Next time…)

20 thoughts on “Pet Peeve #38: Album-Only Songs”

  1. While Jamey running around naked will solve some of the world’s problems…it will not help in the case of “album only” songs.

    I, fortunately, have not had this problem.

  2. Ha, your last line made me laugh, as I was going to comment today that I’m on DAY NINE without hot water, with nary a loincloth in sight. Take that Stegmaier!

  3. I too, liked the soundtrack from this movie and wanted to download just a couple of the songs. On itunes if you search the name of the song or artist (instead of the Drive soundtrack) you can buy just the song you want. Hope this helps 🙂

  4. My problem, as usual, is with Ryan Gosling. This ridiculous poster presents him as the next Steve McQueen. When did Ryan Gosling become a movie star? Who decided on this? Was there a vote? Are these the same people who decided Justin Timberlake was a star? I need to talk to these people. They’re probably the same ones who let Hootie sing country music.

  5. I think that you are confusing the “whole idea” of digital music with the perks of digital music stores/downloading. The whole idea of digital music is that it doesn’t degrade over time (as any physical medium [tape/vynal/vellum/parchment] will), and it is more compact, to go anywhere. There are lots of perks of digital music, which is why people walk around with Ipods and not 8 tracks.

    There are five “album only” songs on your 20 song soundtrack, for $10. So, really, if they jacked each of the five tracks to $2/song, you get the rest of the album for free. I disagree with your premise that people who are already willing to pay for their music (and you and I both so nievely/piously do) will now be more inclined to turn to lives of crime for a track on a Ryan Gosling movie soundtrack. Instead, I beileve that as consumers, you and I will either buy it, or not get it.

    In my case, I usually suck it up and buy the album.

    • Red–I guess $2 a song just seems like a lot when I’m used to paying $1. And you don’t really answer the question: Why can’t I just buy a single song? Why force people to buy stuff they don’t want?

      It does look like Amazon has lowered the price of the album to $8, and at least one of the songs I wanted is now available as a single. So maybe part of the problem was urgency–I came home from the theater and wanted the songs immediately, whereas I should have waited a week or so after the movie was released.

      • You can’t buy the single song because the people selling it to you think that they can get more out of you by either raising the price of that individual song (often the “single” from an album is priced higher than the rest of the tracks) OR, as in this case, by selling you the whole album.

  6. Jamey,
    Upstream you had asked what other world problems could be solved by you running around naked. Take note of the fact that this blog post went live at 12:03am. Consider for a moment the problems that were already solved within 13 hours of you merely THREATENING to run around naked:
    – By 11:11am you confirmed that 1 of 4 songs was available for single purchase. That’s a 25% yield, just from IMPLIED nudity!
    – By 12:10pm, Red was offering you the rest of the album free. Sure, this is just smoke and mirrors because you’re still paying more per song for the ones you want… but overlook that and focus on the part about stuff being free! That’s a 100% discount (…on songs you didn’t want), without any ACTUAL running or nakedness!
    – By 12:31pm, itself had lowered its album price in response to your post. An internet giant bowed to the MERE IDEA of nakedjamey and changed its price point.

    If your inferred potential nudity is that powerful, I logically conclude that you running around naked would solve global warming, chewing gum on the sidewalk, and prostate cancer.

    Kudos to you in advance.

    • Sarah–Indeed, that seems like irrefutable evidence that there’s a direct correlation between me running around naked and the world’s problems being solved. If I can get a permit for it, I’ll gladly walk around naked full time from now on. (Sidenote: May I wear socks? My feetsies get cold.)


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