Secret tracks on CDs

Why do record labels insist on adding ‘secret’ or ‘bonus’ tracks to CDs? You know the ones, they aren’t listed on the cover notes, and appear if you leave your CD playing after it has finished. After a period of silence – 10 to 20 minutes seems common – along comes another track.

It’s not that I object to the tracks themselves, I object to the need to ‘manage’ them. Am I supposed to sit reverently in silence waiting for the artist to deign to play the last bit of music? Am I supposed to drop what I’m doing and fast forward until I hear music? (Oh, and then skip back a bit in case I missed some) Am I supposed to hit stop and never hear these tracks?

And when I rip them to my iPod (Which is, of course, a legal grey area. Ha!) I have to put up with some stupidly large ’30 minute’ track that contains ages of encoded silence. As I’m listening along in jukebox mode, suddenly the music stops while some prat of a record label decides that 20 minutes of silence are on the menu.

And the labels wonder why CD sales aren’t booming.

The trigger for this rant was Jarvis, which contains the bonus track ‘Cunts are still ruling the world’. In order to have some MP3s to listen to on the train, I’ve just had to spend half an hour ripping (and then editing) the CD, which is a task my computer usually achieves for me before the album’s finished playing the first or second track.

Thank you Mr Cocker, and Rough Trade Records for providing another reminder why I just don’t bother buying CDs any more. At least you didn’t put a root kit on it. I do have to remember to check the labels on every CD I buy though – just in case it suggests ‘special software’ will be needed on a PC. There are days when that means I can’t be bothered to buy CDs…

Rant over.