Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga reissues: Super awesome bonus fun, or money-grubbing ripoffs?

Two of pop culture’s reigning blonde music-makers are out this month with reissues of their big hit albums: Taylor Swift’s repackaging of Fearless is available today, with six new songs and a bunch of behind-the-scenes videos; Lady Gaga will send her Fame Monster to stores on the hella-crowded Nov. 23 — it’s got eight new songs and will be available in a $114.98 superdeluxe format that includes an “artbook” with photos, posters, paper dolls, and a lock of the Lady’s hair that doubles as a bookmark. Seriously.

But with artists having such a difficult time finding ways to monetize their new content (if not their hair) in today’s hyper-internetted music industry, are fully-packaged re-releases of relatively recent material really a worthwhile enterprise? Or (as long suspected) are they a crassly commercial, increasingly futile attempt to wring more cash out of loyal fans? The existence of iTunes changes the game here somewhat — you could skip all the extras on Fearless 2, for example, and download only the new songs that interest you for $1.29 a pop. But since both of these women are veritable founts of creativity, why not just rhyme up a few more diary entries (in the case of Swift) or have a couple more fever dreams (in the case of Gaga) and put out a whole new album? Why insist on making those of us who still value physical product rebuy the stuff we’ve already purchased in order to get to the fresh morsels? You tell me, Mixers. Who’s buying?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Bruce Springsteen’s Hall of Fame performance still on after tragedy causes Kansas City cancellation
CMJ Music Fest: ‘next big thing’ bands do NYC
Warpaint: The Music Mix recommends
‘Once’ more: The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Photo Credit: Swift: Jill Bednar/PR Photos; Gaga: Robin Wong/PR Photos

Comments (29 total) Add your comment
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  • wakeforce

    thanks to Limewire, not me!

  • Ed

    I can’t stand reissues. It feels like a ploy, and it’s punishing loyal fans who actually bought the album the first time around, and now they have to buy it again (or buy the songs indpendently). I wish the artists would just rerelease a new album. I know it’s hard to make money on albums for the music companies, but these reissues feel wrong…they feel like they’re taking advantage of the honest and loyal fans.

    • AJ

      I have always felt this way about reisusses: You are punishing your biggest fans, the ones who rushed out and bought your album the first week. Extra/new/bonus materials should be available ad-hoc.

  • Dzmitry

    Why hasn’t Slezak posted Adam’s CD cover? He is all over Kris Allen and is ignoring Adam – what gives??

    • crispy

      My guess is Slezak wants to confirm that glittery abomination is legit before posting it.

  • Snarf

    In the case of GaGa, I don’t understand why she didn’t write and record 2 or 3 more tracks and release a new album. Even with Swift, she could have released an EP (remember those?)

  • Chris

    Gaga wanted to release a whole new album, but her label wanted her to keep releasing singles off her album, so she had to compromise.

  • Tim

    Cynical, fan-soaking cash-ins. Tacky.

  • Alex Q

    The “Fame Monster” side of GaGa’s reissue is basically an album, mini conceptualized and everything (each track symbolizes a “monster” she’s faced in her life over the years). GaGa’s reissue seems more fully realized regardless (new cover shots, two discs), where Taylor’s just seems like a studio rehash to milk some more money out of her incredibly popular album (six new track, intermixed with her old stuff). In that spirit, I’ll be buying GaGa’s “Monster” (mainly because I think she’s the future of pop music), and skipping out on Swift (I do think “Fearless” was one of the best albums of the past year, regardless of genre).

  • MJ

    In most cases, it’s out of the artist’s control as music is often owned by the label/publishing house and the label releases music when and how they please to make more money (i.e. Tim McGraw’s latest hits cd that went unapproved by McGraw). Musicians make money touring, the record companies off albums. So instead of blaming Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, blame the money-grabbing record labels (Big Machine and Interscope, respectively).

  • Harry Peters

    They’re both ok I guess. I’d really like for the both of them to make a little Harry Sandwich if ya get my drift.

  • masurix

    I picked up the Taylor Swift one, it had some really nice content and I’m a big fan. 17 bucks is pretty cheap.

  • Via

    I hate reissues for the same reasons already expressed. I understand some artists are basically forced into releasing them, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be forced into buying it.

  • Ryan

    Luckily I got The Fame as a gift, so this is really the first time I’ll actually buy a Lady GaGa album.

  • Crichton

    It’s crass! If artists/record labels/execs cared about the fans, they would do what Sugarland did: release the “special edition” a week before the regular version came out. That way, no one is forced to decide whether to buy 2 copies of essentially the same disc. Another reason I love Sugarland!!

  • @ImStillToni

    In all honesty, I haven’t purchased an album (or CD lol) in more than 12+ years. IMO a reissue works if there is new content, which Gaga has. I don’t blame her for the reissue – she’s been out for almost 2 years and it took the mass public almost 1 year to get into her…so why not reissue the original album, add some new songs, pics, and trinkets? More power to those people who can afford the $115 to buy it.

  • Muffy

    They just want your cash!

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