RECORD STORE TALES Part 188: “Limited Edition”
In 1994, Garth Brooks issued his 10 million copy selling compilation album, The Hits. On the front cover was an interesting notation: “limited time only”.
Now, I’ve bought discs that were limited edition before and were numbered to prove it. For example I recently picked up #5945 of the “Credo” single by Fish. Even so…that’s a lot of copies out there for a single by Fish. How many copies of a Fish single would be made anyway? And aren’t all singles limited edition? After all, they aren’t going to make more once they’ve run their course, no matter who the artist is. Onto the next thing.
And then of course you have some seriously limited edition items, like that recent Thin Lizzy Live at the BBC box set! I’m not sure how many copies were made, but everybody’s sold out, and now you have to buy it from people asking way too much. Over $250 USD on Amazon right now. Forget it! That is limited edition.
When Garth plastered “limited time only” all over The Hits, it quickly became a joke. We ordered 50 copies of them, and sold most during the first week. We ordered another 50 copies, as Christmas was coming soon. Those sold. We ordered 20 more after Christmas had passed, and continued to order them every week into the new year whenever we sold out. Some limited edition!
10,000,000 people bought it, and I’m sure 99.9% would have bought it without that “limited time” tag. With great pomp and circumstance, Garth then had the master tapes destroyed.
The master tapes to a freakin’ greatest hits album! Who cares?
It was really hard to take the phrase “limited edition” seriously after that. The next release that came out that truly was a limited edition was the Smashing Pumpkins box set The Aeroplane Flies High, but even that enjoyed a second run when the first printing sold out.
So: the lesson here folks is, when it says limited edition, be skeptical! Very few things are, and the ones that really are limited aren’t always advertized as such. Record labels want to make money, right?
Unfortunately, Garth didn’t put this one on his box set!
NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…
Hide the discs!