Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Robin Zander and the Case of the Magically Disappearing Solo Album

Catch this if you can...
This has got to be the worst album release strategy ever.

About one year ago, it was announced that Cheap Trick vocalist Robin Zander would be releasing a country-tinged solo album appropriately entitled Countryside Blvd.  To be honest, the description didn’t exactly sound like something I was going to love, but I adore Cheap Trick and consider Zander to be one of rock’s finest voices.  Were he to sing the phone book, I’d listen through at least the Bs.  Since then, the album has been delayed numerous times.  Most recently, it was announced that it would see the light of day as a digital-only release yesterday, April 5, 2011.  This made a certain amount of sense to me: this album is not going to be a sales champ, so maybe cutting out the hassle and expense of physical release wasn’t a terrible idea.  Sure enough, when I got up yesterday morning, there it was: $7.99 for the album on Amazon MP3.  Since I was on my way out the door, I made a mental note to buy once I was home and would be able to listen.

One problem with that strategy: by the time I got home a few hours later, the album had been pulled from sale, both on Amazon and iTunes.  A quick spin through Cheap Trick’s official message board confirmed that some folks had been lucky enough to purchase it before the window closed.  No official announcement as to what had happened was available.  For this fan, the whole thing was frustrating beyond words.

Honestly, I don’t know what to think.  Between the constant release delays and now this fiasco, I can only surmise that someone must think this album is a grade-A stinker.  Naturally, this makes me even more curious to hear it; I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to figure out what this says about me.  The whole thing is truly mind-boggling: even if yesterday’s cyber-release was an error, why not continue to sell it once the cat was out of the bag?  Enough of them seem to have been bought that eventually somebody’s copy will end up in a torrent or on Rapidshare or a similar service.  Cutting off the legitimate profit stream and leaving the thing only in the pirates’ waters makes less than no sense.

All of which leads me to a shameless grovel: if you are a Cheap Trick fan who managed to get your mitts on this download yesterday and feel like helping a brother out, please hit me up.  This isn’t about trying to get something for nothing: had it remained available, I was perfectly ready to pony up the cost yesterday.  Likewise, once it’s legitimately available again, I’ll be sure to pay my way.  But right now, I’m annoyed and intrigued…

EDIT: Since acquired.  Available here, at least for the time being.  Full review tomorrow Friday.

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