Interesting thinkpiece in the today’s PopMatters about how the explosion of alternate versions, deluxe reissues and bootleg recordings could possibly alter and in some cases, diminish our original perception of a particularly beloved piece of music.
This has, of course, been going on since the earliest days of the CD reissue, but as record companies struggle with the new paradigm of anything anywhere anytime, they often release two or three different versions of an individual album within the space of a few months. This is often frustrating to the people who ran out and bought the original version, only to have it become obselete a few months later. Perhaps, though, it brings in those who were on the fence in the first place.
In the meantime, did the fact that I’ve been collecting live Wilco bootlegs for a decade end up enhancing or diminishing the pleasure I got from their recent live album? (Enhancing, but only because I know that Wilco is one of those bands who does something different each time out.) Will the eventual issuing of the Basement Tapes in their full ragged splendor be an event or a ho-hum because nearly everyone who cares already has downloaded or copied all of those dozens of recordings? Barring some new treasure trove, or absolutely perfect sequencing, I’m guessing the latter: not because the music isn’t great, but precisely because it is so great, I’ve already wringed nearly everything from it that I’m going to.