As long as the blog currently has gone to All-U2-All-The-Time for the time being let me just go ahead with yet, another post…
In a previous post I briefly mentioned the film “Linear” by Anton Corbijn which is being released as part of the deluxe versions of the album on Tuesday.
I already posted a little bit about it but in case you skimmed here are the links again because it truly does deserve its own post:
And what follows are some stills from the film courtesy of suckingrockandroll.com
These are some beautiful stills, and even without the benefit of motion, perfectly capture the mood of the new album. I’m really very curious and excited to see what he’s done.
My problem? Well, the only way to see this film, legally, is to purchase the digipak set, which is currently $25.99, at Amazon. That seems like a fair price for an album and the movie, right? Wrong, because the movie you are getting is a digital download, for play only on your computer, unless you can convert to a DVD format and further degrade its quality.
Have you ever watched a movie on your computer? It sucks. First of all, unless you have a really sweet set-up, there’s no couch available. Secondly, unless you have a really sweet set-up, you’re probably stuck watching it on a screen 20″ or less. Thirdly, unless you have a really sweet set-up or are on an airplane, it for the most part totally sucks. Oh, I already said that.
Look at those photos again. Click through and look at the other photos on the suckingrockandroll website. Does that film look like it deserves to be seen on a computer? Fuck, no. It looks like it needs to be seen on a nice flat-screen, in surround sound, with pure, couch awesomeness, a favorite movie snack in one hand, and a friggin’ Rum and Coke in the other. Or at least a glass of Merlot. Or maybe a special high-quality beer. Or maybe… Well, you get the idea.
So how to make this happen? Maybe a DVD of the movie? Oh yeah, that’s just a little too much to ask unless you have
– wait for it… wait for it…. –
…Sixty-Seven Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents… And that’s the Amazon price. Chances are your local retailer’s going to be more in the $100 range since the list price for the DVD set is $95.98 according to Amazon.
Maybe I’m just out of line here, but I do recall purchasing the mid-range, deluxe edition of their last album and it was somewhere in the $30 range and that included a DVD. Did DVD manufacturing prices somehow go up in the last five years? Or maybe somebody got a little greedy. You think?
“Well, Smirk, technically speaking you are wrong. The digipack is actually a higher quality product with 17.2 percent more pixels per square inch than your standard DVD…” Bullshit. If they cared about the technical quality of the film they would have a Blu-Ray version.
If I was Corbijn I would be personally insulted that U2 recommends poor people, or people on budgets, watch the film on tiny computer screens. This would be akin to selling their album only on hissy-scratchy cassette, unless, of course, you have $100, and then you get to listen in CD quality sound.
Buck up, U2, I was gonna buy, but now I’m not. I’m sure I will stumble across it elsewhere. And since I’m stuck watching it on a computer anyway, why bother with the “official” version.
Overall, it finally leads me to wonder exactly what U2’s internal marketing stats look like, because I almost guarantee that they have an in-house survey unit and statisticians that know exactly what the average income of the U2 buyer, and the technical prowess of the average U2 fan, which I would suspect on both counts is higher than average.
Ultimately, as much as I like them, U2 is no longer just a band, but a business, which just like any other business has a product to sell. And it has been this way for quite some time, probably since the absolute success of The Joshua Tree. And I also understand how much piracy has cost not just U2, but the entire music business. But, a hundred dollars for a DVD? Do they really have to be so transparently shameless?
(So as not to be a total spoil-sport, I will commend them for marketing the cd-only edition with no extras, at only $8.99, but my guess is this is only in response to piracy, not as any favor to their buyers.)
For love or money?
In the words of one of the ladies at one of the U2 message boards around the web, a huge U2 fan, “Ugh… Marketing like this is beginning to make U2 feel a little alien, and that’s a profound disappointment.”