How many times does BMG expect faithful fans to purchase the same Elvis albums? Every year they re-issue existing albums with bonus singles or alternate takes and charge $18 (USD).
A fan can't truly "upgrade" their collection because BMG often alters something on the CD so the old version can't be dumped at the used record store. When BMG re-issued "Moody Blue" with "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee," they left off "Let Me Be There" since it's from "… On Stage In Memphis." And maybe I'd obtain the cd for "On Stage In Memphis" except according to Ernst Jorgensen's book; there are 8 tracks from the concert missing on the album. I know that as soon I buy the current version, BMG will put out "The Complete Memphis Homecoming Concert." So the old copy of "Moody Blue" remains in the rack with the new and improved version.
I'm not bitter since I didn't pay full price for the old or the revamped "Moody Blue." Both of them showed up at my house courtesy of the record clubs and their "12 CDs for the price of 1 CD" deal. Both BMG Music Service and CDHQ (a side club of Columbia House) have carried a large selection of Elvis CDs over the years.
While fans groused about BMG putting out the remastered "Blue Hawaii" soundtrack that featured "22 Great Tracks" instead of the original "14 Great Songs" along with four other supped-up early soundtrack albums into the stores. I merely waited a couple months until BMGMS and CDHQ listed them in their catalogues and "rejoined" the clubs.
While CDHQ only allowed you to only pick from single and double cds, BMGMS's online site allowed new members to order box sets as part of their initial seven selections. There would be no budget cut backs to peanut butter sandwiches to afford the "Silver," "Gold" and "Platinum" collections when BMGMS listed them. But the rules of the record club game are changing.
BMGMS has altered its freebie policy so sets of 3 CDs or more are now off limits. Luckily I grabbed the Special Edition of "That's The Way It Is" and "Peace In the Valley - The Complete Gospel Recordings" before they slipped into the "verboten" list. Columbia House recently shuttered CDHQ so to access the Columbia House catalogue; you must sign up under a 12 for 5 deal. This is a shame since CDHQ did a better job at getting the new Elvis titles than BMGMS.
This bad news is tempered by the fact that the clubs have cut back on their Elvis titles. BMGMS once carried nearly 50 titles for their new members to select. Today that total is down to 22. Columbia House has even less at 16 - mostly hits collections. The days of sitting back and getting a massive Elvis collection in the mail are nearly over. I have fond memories of ordering 9 of the 10 "Double Features" soundtracks as freebies instead of spending $150 for them.
Rumors swirl that the 12 for 1 offer at BMGMS will end any day now. If the record clubs retool their membership deals, I will get bitter when BMG repackages all of Elvis' '70s cds with alternate takes and live versions and I'll be forced to pay retail if I care to upgrade my collection. But until that day, I'm joining and quitting and joining and quitting the record clubs to boost my Elvis collection. Since each CD cost me only a few bucks in shipping and handling, I won't complain about ordering revamped copies of "Aloha From Hawaii," "Promised Land," "King Creole," "G.I. Blues"… but that's just my opinion.