Adding a few more tracks and repackaging an album is often a gamble
The deluxe album trend has seen an increase in popularity in popular music over the last couple of years. It’s a way for artists to extend an album’s length by adding some tracks later after the initial release. Some artists have profited from releasing a deluxe album while others have seen their record affected negatively, but at the end of the day it’s more of a gamble than people think.
When deluxe albums were first around, artists were releasing special editions of their albums, which contained other recordings and live versions of songs. Nowadays, you have artists, especially in the hip hop field, that have been re-releasing full records just days or weeks after the initial release, calling them deluxe albums. Usually, a deluxe album contains two to four bonus tracks, which is a reasonable amount of added songs. However, artists like Lil Uzi Vert and NAV have both released 14-track deluxe albums following up the release of their 18 track album.
An argument can be made that this is just too much music. For example, listening to a NAV record on its own is painful, but he should be locked up in jail for dropping another horrible album a couple of days after the release of Good Intentions. Unless you’re a stan of the artist, I don’t understand why someone would release another project right after dropping a long-awaited album.
A reason as to why artists are leaning towards dropping deluxe albums is that releasing more tracks equals more money in their pockets. By releasing a deluxe album, it creates an opportunity for artists to have two album-release sale weeks instead of one, which can be a good way for them to generate more money off of streams and to give more visibility to the initial record as well. With shows being cancelled due to COVID-19, artists have struggled a bit more with making money since performing live is usually their main source of income. The solution to this is to release additional tracks to their records in order to make a little bit more money. Whether it’s Pop Smoke with Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon and Faith, Lil Baby with My Turn or even Aminé with Limbo, they all benefited financially by releasing longer deluxe albums.
An important point to keep in mind about deluxe albums is that when an artist releases one, it will likely have a negative influence on the overall quality of the record. Some songs don’t make the final product for a reason. They might not have been as strong as other tracks or maybe didn’t fit the overall aesthetic or theme of the album; other times the tracklist was already bloated. If the bonus songs added to the record don’t add much to the overall experience, it will sadly drag the quality of the project down.
While it is fun for fans to have additional music from artists they enjoy, it is also fun for artists to financially profit even more from their music. Releasing a deluxe version of your album is always a gamble since it can severely alter your record’s perception and drag the quality down by a fair amount. In the end, it’s not a risk worth taking for artists because overall, it will have little to no effect on how the album will be remembered.
Graphic by James Fay