It's tough for a die-hard fan to keep up, and some have been
frustrated by the seemingly endless stream of repackaged reissues.
On Amazon.com earlier this year, several Elvis Costello fans
complained that it was no longer possible to be a completist. One,
Thomas D. Ryan, figured he had spent enough to finance a Hawaiian
vacation for a record-company exec and his family, just based on
the reissues he'd purchased. "Nowadays," he wrote, "I simply stand
by, amazed as the repackaging craze continues unabated. By my
count, the above named collections represent the 10th and 11th
recompilation of Elvis Costello's 'hits.' I'm not saying they are
bad collections. The booklets contain song lyrics, which is a nice
touch, especially for the older material. Naturally, the songs are
great and I should know, because I bought each of these tracks at
least a half-dozen times already. If you still don't own them, then
go ahead and buy them. You will enjoy them. I, however, will stare
at my room full of Elvis-related plastic and acknowledge [that they
are] the reason that I never made that trip to Hawaii myself."
Even Berkowitz sounds frustrated at the chaotic state of the music
industry today. Big-box retailers, he says, aren't likely to carry
anything other than the greatest-hits package of a group like Sly
and the Family Stone or Lou Rawls or Teddy Pendergrass - artists
Legacy has reissued or will reissue soon.
While putting out reissues doesn't require the original-recording
cash outlay, Berkowitz says there still is "a substantial expense.
If it costs us $60,000 to get that record out, and then the cost to
make each one, where do they go?" he asks. "Where do we sell them,
with record stores getting smaller and smaller and smaller?"