Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Music Vinyl Tracklist Controversy

Vinyl Tracklist Controversy

Kayleigh Swart, Print Screen Editor, discusses the controversies surrounding track-exclusive vinyl in light of recent events.
3 mins read
Written by
Image: Flickr via Jan Tervooren

Vinyl has come back into fashion and people have started collecting them left right and centre. Music artists have jumped onto this and been pushing the vinyl versions of their albums. This in itself is pretty standard, many artists make multiple types of vinyl for their albums, either with different colour pressings or cover art. Collecting vinyl is something that has been around far longer than the artists who are making them today. I don’t see anything wrong with this, people can choose what version they like the best. However, the problem comes when artists start creating track-exclusive vinyl.

So, what does that mean? Track-exclusive vinyl is when a song is only available to listen to if you buy the specific vinyl or CD that it’s on. Which means you can’t stream the song. This idea is something that many popular artists have started doing. Olivia Rodrigo did this when she released four different versions of her album GUTS, and Taylor Swift’s new album announcement has come with three different versions of The Tortured Poets Department. Many people have critiqued these moves saying it encourages excessive consumerism and isolates fans who are unable to buy all version of the album. 

This issue is a complicated one. Some fans will say that they love this idea, that they love collecting each vinyl, and having something unique on each one makes it worth the price. However, the other side of it is that it is frustrating to fans who can’t access these songs and can create a divide in a fandom. Many people argue that these track-exclusive vinyl are just a way for artists to make even more money off of fans. Artists used to make most of their revenue from physical album sales, and in a world of streaming, artists are still trying to navigate how to adapt and make money outside of that. In a way, these vinyl cash grabs come off as artists trying to hold onto the old ways of selling music. And credit where credit is due, because it works. Also, having fans buy physical copies of albums puts them higher in the charts which is great for artists who are constantly trying to break records.

Many people argue that these track-exclusive vinyl are just a way for artists to make even more money off of fans.

This controversy is complex and there is no real right or wrong. At the end of the day, no one is forced to buy vinyl and the only reason they exist is because there is a demand for them. I think these track-exclusive vinyl are only going to get more popular for artists, as we know Taylor Swift often lays the way for things in the industry and once she does something, others always follow.

You may also like

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign Up for Our Newsletter