Even from beyond the grave, musicians are being sound-checked and compiled into posthumous albums.
Amy Winehouse has been dead for a little over three months, and her record company is already looking to garner in money with a new record.
Set to release on Dec. 5 the new album, “Lioness: Hidden Treasures,” contains a collection of unreleased tracks that span Winehouse’s career.
Winehouse is one of many artists who continue to rake in revenue in the afterlife. Michael Jackson, Nirvana and Hank Williams are some recent examples of records being manufactured and sold without the artist’s consent.
Fans are always willing to support their favorite musical talents and record companies seem to be exploiting this loyalty.
When Jackson’s album, “Michael,” promised a collection of never before heard songs, fans were eager to have an opportunity to hold onto the moon-walking entity a little bit longer.
“He (Jackson) would not have released anything like this compilation, a grab bag of outtakes and outlines assembled by Jackson’s label,” Jody Rosen, a writer for Rolling Stone, wrote in a review.
This rusty mix of an album will forever be placed next to golden works, which drag down the years of perfection put into a career.
Musicians did not release old material for a reason; it was either not completed or did not meet their creative standards. So to release what was kept from public hearing is going against the wishes of the musician.
“The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams” contains a collection of incomplete songs that were found in a notebook left by Williams after his death in 1953. Artists such as Bob Dylan, Jack White and Nora Jones worked to finish the lyrics then recorded the songs, which made for a library of timeless style and variety.
This is one example that not all posthumous albums are train wrecks. “Pearl,” by Janis Joplin, is another instance where capturing the essence of the departed made for a smoky smooth compilation.
When the albums are being produced to reignite the talent of the lost musician and contribute to the musical library, the quality of the record is plainly heard.
For fans of grunge, the month of September revolved around the deluxe edition of “Nevermind” by Nirvana that was released 20 years ago. The package included four CDs and one DVD containing unreleased recordings by a band that was unable to reach adolescence.
An example of this can be found by looking at the studio collections of rapper, Tupac. Prior to his death in 1996 he had released six albums. After his death, the ghost of Tupac and the music industry behind him added eight more records to his portfolio.
The simple fact that Tupac made more albums, and more money, after his death points to the prostitution of the artist by the pimp industries.
Record companies often wield the sling-shot that launches the premature demise of musicians to stardom. However, if the music industry continues to prostitute the dead for more cash there will be nothing stopping other artists from exiting with the same bang.
The music industry needs to stop promoting dead artists or else we may see Madonna free-falling from a sky-scraper, Justin Bieber cage-fighting a lion, or worse, fans losing their loyalty.