A post on Costello's website appropriately entitled "Steal This Album" (perhaps he's also a System of a Down fan) advises fans to steer clear of a 3-disc, 1 DVD, 1 vinyl record collection of a live concert in L.A. from April 2011.
Although he describes 'The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook' as a "beautifully designed compendium" that finds his backing band "the Imposters in rare form," Costello and Co. object to the $202.64 retail price.
"Unfortunately, we at www.elviscostello.com find ourselves unable to recommend this lovely item to you as the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire," the biting post declares, also opining that the price tag must be an "elaborate hoax."
This made me realize how little control an artist may have over the marketing of his work. From a legal aspect, I have to wonder if Costello's statements violate any part of his contract with the record label. And certainly a cynic migh suggest this makes for fine publicity for the album.
But I don't think so and in my opinion, Costello's statements speak more to those artists who are quite happy to mass-market "Best Of" compilations and collect the royalties. Of course, this might be the difference between talents such as Elvis Costello and Thomas Dolby, who seem to work for the sake of their art, and others such as Elton John and Barbra Streisand, who really should just have "Ltd." and "Inc." after their names.
Welld one, sir!