This news piece from Reuters makes me wish more fans would make a commotion. It proves that there are fans who still buy physical product and care for the audio quality.
The issue in question is a series of reissues Rhino Records released for New Order earlier this week. Fans bought them but realized the audio quality is not up to par, with some claiming that a few of the tracks on the bonus discs are sourced from vinyl. While using records as a master is not a bad thing, this is New Order we’re talking about, a group whose master recordings are still in existence. The albums in question are Movement, Power, Corruption & Lies, Low-Life, Brotherhood and Technique. The same albums were reissued in England and throughout Europe last month, when fans discovered some of the errors on the discs. Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly), the masters used for the UK remasters were sent to Rhino and what Americans are hearing are the exact same discs as British fans. (In the past, individual countries could create a unique master for a particular release, so that a pressing in Japan may sound very different from the one in the UK. These days, the same “clone” of an album is used throughout the world.)
New Order’s Peter Cook made a statement on his MySpace page claiming the reissue process was a mess, and that no one sent him or the other members of the group test pressings in order to have a bit of quality control. The articles goes on to say that Rhino released a statement indicating “We are now in the process of correcting the problems, but it should be noted that due to the age and condition of some of the original source tapes, the sound quality may vary”. Warner Japan had planned on creating limited editions for these new reissues, but since it seems they were going to use the same masters as the UK and US discs (as is customary these days), the Japanese reissues have been officially canceled.
All parties involved will eventually allow fans to exchange their discs when an official announcement is made.
If you’d like to see an updated forum thread on the errors found in these reissues (“300 and counting”), head over to NewOrderOnline.com.