ObviousPopCast Episode 17 - Exclusive New Music and More!
"The Latest" on the Greatest Cheap Trick Release! - UPDATE

DO NOT buy the new Cheap Trick CD from Amazon.com!

Cheaptricklatestcov I have always tried to avoid going negative on this site. I rarely bother posting negative reviews, choosing to stay positive and devote the time and space I have here to promoting music and albums that I like. I am now going to make an exception to that...for Amazon.com. The new Cheap Trick album The Latest is a great sounding record and contains some of the best songs they've ever done (including the amazingly fun "Sick Man of Europe"). Cheap Trick have really outdone themselves with this one and I highly recommend it. The problem is the deal they made with Amazon.com. For some strange reason Amazon.com is the only place you can purchase or download the album right now, at least for the next month. It will be available later from other sites and retail outlets. This is a limited exclusive and it wasn't publicized with the news of the release date from what I had seen. They promote the 23rd as the release date, but it's only available from Amazon or via pre-order from the bands site. I could deal with that, the real problem is what you get if you make the mistake of ordering the CD from Amazon (like I did). What you get is a CD-R, not an actual replicated CD. The print in the jewel case that comes with it is so poorly printed and trimmed that I must say I have never, ever, in 23 years in the music industry and with more than 7,000 CD's in my collection seen such poorly manufactured jewel case print. The paper is thinner than the 1 ply toilet paper in a porta-pottie and the booklet pages are all cut to different lengths. My 6 year old daughter could have done it better trimming by hand. The spines on the tray card don't even line up with the spines of the jewel case. This is not a criticism of the design, I love the cover art, there are some cool pics in the book and the disc face art is clean and nice. But even so, the CD is not a professional disc, but a recordable CD-R. In other words, it's made on-demand, quick and cheap. On demand CD's are nothing new, but what is new is an on-demand CD-R with cheap digital print for a new release of a major band. I buy thousands of CD and have been involved with the release of thousands of others and I am pretty sure this has never ever happened. Which is one of the many reasons why I went onto Amazon a week or so ago and preordered the new Cheap Trick CD with no reason to question the packaging or whether or not it would be a professionally replicated disc (or a CD-R that is not the same). I somehow failed to notice the sentence in a tiny font that is right after the editorial review that says, "This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply."
In other words, Amazon is telling you here, in this one sentence made to look like the last line of the editorial review where you'll never read it that it's a CDR so when you want to return it you can't.
This is what I call a REALLY cheap trick.
So here are the questions that remain:
* When the disc is finally released via other outlets on 7/21 will it still be a CDR?
* Is the disc they're selling on their site also a CDR with the same horrible print?
* Will Amazon refund my money and accept the return?
I am trying to find these things out and will post my findings here. When this album is available on iTunes or they finally release it on a professionally replicated disc with professional packaging, it is well worth getting. Cheap Trick is great. This Amazon.com deal is not. If anyone has any thoughts, insight or opinions on this I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.

Comments

tj

Thanks for the heads up... I, too, find nothing more aggravating that plunking downhard earned (or stolen) cash thinking you're getting 'the real thing', only to be let down by receiving one of these sub-standard, pretend products.

Don't get me wrong, I've gone the one-off route for some limited, short run material but hey... I'll tell ya what yer buyin ahead of time.

I don't so much mind if they tell me up front, like they do SOMETIMES on the CDBaby pages, (but even CDBaby only warns me sometimes...)

Rebel & Revolt Tony... Your cause is Righteous... I'll be right dare wit'cha on this crusade... lock & load!

Roy

Yes, if you have a problem with it, why not contact Amazon and get a refund? Oh, and next time, you may want to read the fine print- actually, it was fairly visible- I read it and ordered it knowing that I was receiving a CDR. As for the packaging, I'll reserve judgment on that until I receive it. If I'm not happy, I'll contact Amazon. I've done it in the past and they've been terrific about refunds. Much more productive to do than waste your time crying about it on multiple sites.

Dr. Tony Shore

Roy,

Thank you for the post. First of all, I *am* returning the CD to Amazon and have contacted them as best I can via the automated features on their site. My point was, however, that they're basically saying in that fine print that it is a CDR so don't expect to be able to return it because of that. But that's okay, the print that comes with it is so crappy that I am returning it because of that. And yes, Amazon has always been good to me in the past.

As far as why I am posting and complaining about this on multiple sites? There are a number of *very* good reasons for that... and here are just a few of them...this is why it is important and not a waste of time:
1. First and foremost to warn fellow collectors and fans, because the fine print *isn't* that noticeable. I have already received numerous emails and comments from friends thanking me so they can cancel their orders or because they were about to order. Many people ordered it without seeing that fine print.
2. It is unprecedented. Sure, Amazon and other sites do on demand CD's on CDR's and CD Baby is full of them…but that has always been for indie bands, out of print titles or older and rarer stuff. Not for a brand new release by a major band. This is why myself and many others had ordered it without scrolling down to read the promo blurb about the record which is 2 thirds of a way down the page. Why would I read the promo blurb about a record from a band I love for an album that I've already heard streaming audio from? I've been promoting this album for a while in posts and I even posted the widget. I've been telling everyone this is a great album and promoting it like crazy.
3. Because I have been promoting it like crazy I feel I have an obligation to let my readers, friends and fans know about this (as it is unprecedented for a major new release from a major artist).
4. Because I personally feel slighted by Amazon.com and by whoever set up this deal with them for this release. It is a horrible idea for many reasons, not the least of which is because the majority of people that don't care about packaging or care if it's on a CDR would probably just want to download it anyway. If you don't care about these things, why order the CD? Why not just download it and burn a disc for yourself. It's quicker, more immediate and you still get what you want. For those of us that still purchase CD's because we love the physical product and packaging and for collectors, this is a serious slight by an otherwise reliable company and great band.

I think I am justified in my complaints, and most importantly, we need to get the word out so other fans and collectors don't miss the fine print as I think many are apt to do. You are correct, I should have read the fine print, that was my mistake and when ordering from Amazon.com in the future I will definitely do that for every release. I previously reserved that scrutiny for non major and indie releases. Now that I see they have devalued packaging to the level that it includes new releases by major artists I will not make that mistake again.

- Dr. Tony Shore

Dave

Tony, I think you've made good points and are justified in what you're doing -- especially, as you said, because you yourself have been promoting the CD a lot, and because most people who know you are probably packaging freaks like you (and me).

I think the average fan is so excited about being able to purchase a new release from a favorite band that they're more likely NOT to notice the fine print. Sure, we should be suspicious all the time, but in a situation like this the excitement gets in the way, and, as you've pointed out, there was no precedent for this. You've come to trust Amazon -- wouldn't they want that? -- and now they've pulled a little switcharoo. This is Amazon we're talking about, not some eBay shmuck or some guy selling DVDs at the local flea market.

Dave

P.S. Out of curiosity, I went to Amazon to check it out for myself. The disclaimer is buried about four screens down, under the title "Editorial Reviews". What's up with that? You'd think it would make more sense to put it under "Product Details". Or even better, right near the top of the page.

I'd feel like I'd been hornswoggled, or whatever the heck midwesterners call it, if I'd ordered this thing.

H

I hope this helps:

https://www.cheaptrick.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=e6c97390f0aec53caaef9e534a14bbd5;act=ST;f=2;t=14849;&#top

Please understand that people who see a one star review on amazon automatically assume you are making a statement about the quality of the MUSIC and not the actual physical product.

Peace.

james

Just another example in a long long line of horrible management/promotional incompetence with this band. They can make great music, but today, like 40 years ago, if your band is managed poorly and promoted poorly it is a reflection on the band itself. Management-wise, these guys make Guns-N-Roses look like a well oiled finely tuned machine. I wouldn't trust the decisionmakers, even if it is the members of the band itself, to run a lemonade stand.

dr tony shore

H,

Thank you for posting your comment on my music blog and thank you for posting that link to the CheapTrick.com page explaining the release. However, regarding my 1-star review, I'm reviewing my purchase from Amazon and what I received. The purpose for those reviews is to help other customers get a feel and an understading of what they are ordering before they do. Since Amazon buried the disclaimer line about this being an on-demand CDR in the "Editorial Review" section, and since it is unprecidented for a NEW release from a MAJOR band to be released in this way, I felt it important to let people know and that this warrented a 1 star review. I led off the review by stating how GREAT the music is. Best thing the bands done in more than 10 years or more in my opinion. Which makes the CD-R and print issue that much more frustrating and more of a problem. I have promoted and hyped this album beyond belief, only to be blindsided by this. The decision to allow this to be released "on-demand" without a clearer explenation was a poor one. I'm sure you can see that. I will immediately do a major follow up post with a link to your explenation which I feel is excellent, but some of this should have been made more clear to fans before the June 23rd release date. Also, I'm getting dozens of emails and hundreds of hits to my site, as well as calls from fellow fans all wanting to know if the MT Cheap Trick.com CD's with be replicated CD's with professional print in the jewel case or similar CD-R's with poorly trimmed digital print like the Amazon release? If it's the former I'll order one right now, as will many others.

Thank you for your help and for pointing out that link to the official repsonse. I apologize for upsetting you or anyone else with my review but I think it speaks for itself and I opened by raving about how great the music and album is....but I'm telling you, I have had a record number of hits on this post and from what I can see people are upset about the CD-R release and feel duped. It's one thing for Amazon to release older and out of print titles this way, but not a new release by a major band. At least not without more of an explenation.

All that to say, I am a HUGE fan and can't wait to see them live this summer! The album is amazing!!!!!!!

Sincerely,
Dr. Tony Shore

Dave

So you're catching some flack on Amazon for your one-star review of the CD. People are complaining that you're skewing the overall rating down. If I were checking out the reviews, saw that the project got a bunch of high ratings, and ONE poor rating, I'd rush to check out the one poor rating, just out of curiosity! And as a result, it's more likely that I'd be warded off from buying a flawed product.

At some point (July 21?) Amazon will be selling the real deal, and then you can let fly with a totally-favorable 5-star review.

Dr. Tony Shore

Here's a CHEAP TRICK "The Latest" Update... Amazon was VERY helpful and accomadating and refuded my money immediatley and even made a live and personal call to apoligize. However, ALL the purchases from Amazon AND from the Cheap Trick site will be on demand CD-Rs until the official release in a digipak, available in stores, later this month. So if you need it now (and you do, it's that good), you'll need to download it from Amazon. There is no reason to purchse the CD that Cheap Trick is selling on their site or that Amazon is current selling, because these are on demand CDR's. To get the real thing in good packaging, just wait for the official release in late July and buy it from a store.

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