‘Brilliant Live Adventures’: Bowie Factory Jams | Culture


David Bowie, at a concert in Vienna in 1996.
David Bowie, at a concert in Vienna in 1996.Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

One of the many intuitions of David Bowie was his understanding of the value of the file. Something that took shape in his willingness to store everything he owned (and discreetly acquire material that was in other hands), which was evident in the wealth of the traveling exhibition David Bowie Is. Above all, he invested good money to get the masters of his recordings that he did not yet control.

That explains why Bowie is surely the best-represented First Division artist in editions. In truth, it has little competition: bootlegs of Dylan seem an initiative made over their reluctance, the Rolling Stones barely inquire into their record library, McCartney only thinks about his strategy of remaining for history as the beatle cooler, Neil Young goes — as always — to his ball.

Since 1989, after agreeing with Rykodisc, Bowie has been concerned with making his work accessible. A panorama that was refreshing with expanded reissues, boxsets chronological and the addition of performances on the BBC, demos, live shows. Precisely in this last category is the most recent posthumous release, Brilliant Live Adventures, which raises doubts that the creator’s approach is currently being respected.

They will see: Brilliant Live Adventures there are six albums, recorded between 1995 and 1999. Each disc, available on CD or vinyl, was released about a month apart (the last one came out last Friday). It was designed as a set: a cardboard box was made to house each format, which had to be purchased separately; These boxes are usually given away, but not here. Second problem: the purchase became a stressful experience. In their eagerness to eliminate intermediaries, they were only sold at a certain time in the artist’s own shop and the mail order service of Rhino, the collector’s arm of Warner Music.

Portada de 'Brilliant Live Adventures'.
Portada de ‘Brilliant Live Adventures’.

I speak in the past tense, since they were sold out in a flash. The runs were limited, which is to say, ridiculous for an artist of Bowie’s stature. Many copies quickly passed to the resale circuit, where their price – already high from origin – multiplied. Result? Much outrage.

Right, not exactly missing discs live Bowie on the market and the content of Brilliant Live Adventures is reaching the platforms of streaming. But that was intended for the hard core of his followers, who are not necessarily millionaires and who now feel mistreated.

I do not doubt that the concept of Brilliant Live Adventures It will be celebrated among marketers: creating a sense of scarcity, monetizing something at minimal cost (in the 1990s, concerts were routinely recorded from the mixing desk). However, I want to believe that Bowie would not have approved: the waste of sending six (seven, if the damn box is included) instead of one, the attack on sonic ecology of ignoring retailers. That he, too, was betting on the democratic convention that underlies the pop industry: broadcasting music at a reasonable price for a reasonable period of time.


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