Features

Saturday Deluxe / 23 November 2019

Pet Shop Boys to call time on CD singles?

Yesterday the Pet Shop Boys announced another single from their forthcoming album, Hotspot. ‘Burning The Heather’ features Bernard Butler on guitar and had already been made available on YouTube etc. but it will be coming out as a ‘proper’ single on 13 December. So far so good, but the unfunny joke in this Christmas cracker is that the ‘single packages,’ as they described them, do not include a CD single.

This is significant because since Neil, Chris and Parlophone first got on board with CD singles (with 1987’s ‘It’s A Sin’) ALL of their singles that were released physically in some shape or form have come out on CD. The boys have been remarkably loyal to the format and fans and collectors – myself included – have looked forward to adding to the large collection that has grown over the past 32 years.

It has been an interesting journey, where in the early days the CD single normally repeated the track listing of the first UK 12-inch vinyl, and more often than not came in a simple card sleeve. ‘Always On My Mind’ was the first CD single that – for some reason – was offered in the thin plastic ‘mini-jewel’ case although with ‘Heart’ – the final single from 1987’s Actually – they reverted back to the card sleeve format and stayed with it for quite a while. The CD for ‘Left to My Own Devices’ (like the cassette, seven-inch and 12-inch) came double-sleeved with that yellow outer wallet and by 1993 and ‘I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing’ the record company was releasing TWO CDs for every single, and IWNDTKOT came in that very lavish double plastic wallet.

This was the start of an era where one CD would be ‘mixes’ – for dance fans – while the other would contain the seven-inch version of the song, one or two new tracks and maybe the odd rarity. In the case of IWNDTKOT the brilliant ‘Violence (Haçienda Version)’ was included on CD2 along with the equally good Sasha Remix of ‘West End Girls’. The 1990s continued like this, although at some point the card sleeves were ditched and mini-jewel cases became the norm.

Into the new Millennium and things changed again (probably due to chart rules). Two CDs were still being issued but with songs like ‘Miracles’ and ‘I’m With Stupid’, one disc would now replicate the seven-inch single (boring!) while the other CD would be what our friends in America like to call a ‘maxi’ single which would likely contain at least one remix and B-side or two. The odd DVD single make an appearance as well. Incidentally, ‘Integral’ from 2006’s Fundamental was a rare ‘download-only’ affair, with no physical format issued.

The popularity of downloads started threatened the CD single (and all physical formats for singles) but after their move from EMI to ‘label services’ company Kobalt the Pet Shop Boys continued to release CD singles.

Two CDs were now long gone, but by this point, they’d all but given up on having a ‘hit’ and so chart rules were rather irrelevant, allowing them the freedom to issue massive 9-track CD singles for songs like 2013’s ‘Vocal’ and ‘Love Is A Bourgeois Construct’ – although they did attempt to penetrate the singles chart with ‘Thursday’ which is why that CD of that release included the radio edit of the song and less than 20 minutes of music in total. The strategy didn’t work, and the single peaked at 61 in the UK.

With the last album Super, the lines were blurred, to a degree, with regards to what constitutes a full Pet Shop Boys single release. ‘Inner Sanctum’ did get a 12-inch vinyl but it really felt like a promo but ‘The Pop Kids’, ‘Twenty-Something’ and ‘Say It To Me’ all came out on CD and in the case of ‘Twenty-Something’ the CD was the ONLY physical format! ‘Undertow’ sneaked out under the radar as a freebie if you bought the 2017 edition of the Annually book.

This year’s ‘Agenda EP’ was issued on compact disc, as was last month’s Dreamland, so all seemed good for the CD buying Pet Shop Boys fan, until yesterday’s announcement. There are only two ‘formats’ for the single packages and they are as follows:

Digital
1. Burning the heather (radio edit)
2. Decide
3. Decide (CYA remix)

7-inch vinyl
1. Burning the heather (radio edit)
2. Decide

It’s great to have a new B-side, but this will be the first time a PSB B-side hasn’t been available on CD at the time of release. Surely the 3-track digital bundle would have made a perfectly satisfactory CD single so it’s hard to understand the logic. CDs are incredibly cheap to produce (especially in simple card sleeve packaging) so this is a worrying development.

Perhaps the next single with have mixes galore, two new songs and the format will return, but it’s sad that they’ve felt the need to not bother with the CD for ‘Burning The Heather’. The Pet Shop Boys have seemingly flown the flag proudly for physical product for so long, why would they bother to ditch it so late into a brilliant career? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.


Wham!’s Last Christmas to be issued on white vinyl seven-inch

While the new George Michael song apparently isn’t considered good enough to be worthy of a physical single release, that’s not stopping Sony reaching for the file marked ‘predictable’ and deciding to put out Wham!‘s festive classic ‘Last Christmas’ as a seven-inch single on white vinyl.

This is all designed to support the promotion for the Last Christmas movie and soundtrack, which is fair enough, but in true Scrooge-like fashion Sony and George Michael’s team can’t be bothered to put anything new on the single, which contains just the familiar seven-inch version of ‘Last Christmas’ and the edit/remix of ‘Everything She Wants’ on the B-side. If you are going to appeal to collectors, at least give ’em something a bit extra to make the effort and expense worthwhile. Nearly two million people have bought the single already in the UK!

At least back in 2015, when ‘Last Christmas’ got a coloured vinyl 12-inch reissue for RSD/Black Friday it included an unreleased instrumental version, which while not earth-shattering, showed that someone tried to do something a bit extra. This time, there’s nothing much of interest.

And it’s only available online via the Last Christmas D2C (direct-to-consumer) store. The minimum shipping you will pay in the UK for this £8 seven-inch single is £5.46 for First Class post. Tracked and Signed is £8.13 while ‘courier’ is £10. Blimey.

Of course it would be nice to see ‘Last Christmas’ get to number one (finally) but I seem to remember Andrew Ridgeley being actively against that campaign not too long ago, but now the film is out and he has a book to promote, maybe that’s all changed!

84 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 23 November 2019

  1. Pingback:Pet Shop Boys / Burning The Heather 7″ | superdeluxeedition

  2. fan says:

    Thanks for this,and for your comment’s answers

    you are a light in the spotify darkness

  3. Gerd says:

    “burning the heather” 7″ exclusive at JPC in Germany, Austria, Switzerland!

  4. Harcourt Fenton Mudd says:

    Wham! Last Christmas 7″ WHITE vinyl also appears to be available from amazon (£8) ….with what might possibly be FREE POSTAGE………….. pre-order only at the moment:

    https://amzn.to/2R78eZB

  5. I refuse to buy downloads. I want a physical product to hold as I listen to the music from CD or vinyl (and it doesn’t matter if it’s 7″/12″/CDS/CDM/LP/CD/DVD). A physical product contains also information from the song (writers/producers/copyright/engineer (Pete Gleadall:-)), and so on). Downloads are for people who only hear the music but not listen to it! Music is an experience!

    • John 79 says:

      I Totally agree with you Fre, downloads are not for me either,I like to hold and enjoy the full experience of a physical product.

  6. noyoucmon says:

    If you think 180-gram vinyl sounds better than standard vinyl, you’ve fooled yourself or someone else has fooled you.

  7. Stevie B says:

    A fan since 1987. I would prefer CD singles to ANY other format but to be blunt what PSB have released recently has been SO poor I’ve only bought the downloads and only then more out of loyalty than an actual liking of the music. I’m not willing to pay £11.00 for a 12” single or £8.00 for a CD single with approx 20 minutes worth of substandard music on it.

    Releasing singles as downloads MUST be the cheapest way of releasing music and PSB are heading down that ‘download’ only route (and milking it for all it’s worth (see my comments on the new ‘single’ and their iTunes shenanigans).

    Maybe they’ve done a Coldplay (actually no I’ll take that back ‘cos they’ve just released a 53 minute ‘double’ album on 2 x 12”)… sorry….maybe it’s an environmental statement? Less plastic (CD’s surely must be a nightmare to recycle… plastic waste bin or metal?).

    Anyway, I’d rather have the crappy stuff released on download only, they shouldn’t even have bothered with the 7” single. Sure the ‘B-Side’ MIGHT be brilliant but at the end of the day DO WE REALLY NEED AN UGLY PIECE OF ARTWORK/BLACK VINYL or a CD single that in all likelihood will hardly get listened to?

    ‘Agenda’ is an embarrassment to PSB’s catalogue and I wish they started stopping physical releases with that one.

    When a fan (and I AM a fan) can’t be arsed buying your music because it’s either too expensive or too weak it’s time to rethink the ‘product’ you are releasing, Guys.

  8. paul wren says:

    There is some crap being talked on here about vinyl sound quality. 140 gram vinyl is just as good as 180/200 gram, it’s just that people think they are getting better quality when the LP weighs more so the record companies put out heavier pressings. Quality turntable/amp/speakers equals high quality vinyl playback sound – there is almost no limit on what can be extracted sound wise from the groove depending on your budget. Digital sound is often limited in comparison.

    • Gareth Pugh says:

      Is it (I think?) Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason who doesn’t want their catalogue pressed on 180g because he feels 140g actually allows a 12” record to slightly ‘settle’ on a turntable under its own weight and residual flexibility, getting you a better sound? I’m not really an audiophile (my hearing is okay but not stellar) but I think on my set up, really well cut 180g discs do sound better than 140g. The new OMD ‘Souvenir’ 3-LP singles compilation sounds amazing – which surprised me, I was a bit wary of where they had crammed 7 tracks onto some sides that sound quality would suffer but no – sounds really deep, fresh and ‘spacey’

    • John McCann says:

      Dont forget £400 for plug and power cable, makes a huge difference to sound quality.

  9. Shane says:

    I just for another book that includes the cd. Dont let me down PSB

  10. MüllerMüller says:

    The Japan cd of the album HOTSPOT has two bonus tracks – but there is no further information today….

  11. Gareth Pugh says:

    I remember Depeche Mode not releasing a 12” format for their Peace single a decade or so back – despite their being a ton of remixes across its 2 CD formats – which broke a chain going right back to their second single in 1981. However, that turned out to be a one- off (and I’m prepared to bet, based on what’s happened so far with Dreaming of Me and one or two other early singles’ cassette or 7” double packs being made into 12” formats that didn’t actually get issued as such back in their day) the 12” singles box set for ‘Sounds of the Universe’ will plug that gap when they get there). So this might not be the real end of the PSBs CD singles tradition. We’ll have to see how the rest of the Hotspot singles campaign plays out to be sure..

  12. Luke says:

    Had a hard time to collect the CD singles from Electric and Super. Finally got them all this year, but it was long overdue since (2013 & 2016). If it’s true that PSB won’t release CD singles anymore, then I’ll refuse to further collect them. It’s CD for me and not vinyl or even downloads.

    • daveid76 says:

      Dreamland was the first cd single of the x2 era for me apart from the ones with Annually. I chose a bad time to start! I’ve been buying the 12 inch singles instead. Now they release a 7 inch only!

      Vocal and Bourgeois must have set you back over 100 quid!

  13. Roland says:

    Wham! Last Christmas 7″ is now for sale at Amazon in Germany.
    It’s also listet at Amazon.co.uk, but currently unavailable. It might be next week.

    What I’m really hoping for is the right LC Version. What they did with the LC Soundtrack is a shame. I would have thought that they took so much “care” about the product, but they didn’t. The song speeds up at 1:03 and my ears are bleeding.
    Paul, maybe you know right persons to contact and tell them about this unbelievable fact.

    Greetings from Germany

  14. Stuart says:

    Trouble is the cost. Dreamland cd single was £8 and 5 tracks. A “normal” 7-inch single is around £10, which is stupid money (imho) for a format that used to be significantly cheaper and so was then decent value. I used to buy a lot of singles, most bands I liked never got round to albums, but I cant remember the last time i bought one. My opinion, but I feel that cost and restrictions on content seem to signify the 7-inch a dead format.

  15. -SG- says:

    Not really their best single choice, a bit like releasing “The Calm Before The Storm” as a single. So perhaps it does not deserve a CD release. They also released “We’re All Criminals Now” as a download only b-side. Many fans laughed at the irony, as they downloaded it. So nothing totally new, there were loads of promo only remixes out there over the years, so not having it in hand is nothing really new. Still a bit of a waste. There is obviously a misjudgment of the audience here, as releasing everything on CD is the preferred format of longtime PSB fans. Perhaps they will learn their lesson here, as they miss the opportunity to sell to their fanbase, who will likely just skip it or stream it if it is not on a physical format. At this stage, they would do better to preorder their CD singles a month or two in advance and have the singles made to order. Instant sale and no overstock and no middleman. Or simply sell a subscription 4 singles for x amount and then there is the surprise factor along with the CD component. Streaming and vinyl left for the charts etc.

  16. Glenn says:

    Sad to see this news re PSB. I have been collecting them since the 80s and my personal preference is CD first, vinyl for mixes not on CD and digital as a last resort. Would be nice to see a change of direction here and get a CD single or at least a 12″ with all three tracks. Sad to see this as it was the recent OMD ‘single’ that didn’t get a proper release.

  17. Jurg says:

    I think the artists (and music industry) are shooting in their own foot (again). I travelled to Ethiopia a few months ago. A bought a few CD’s (Ethiopian reggae, not available here) in a recordshop. But you could buy it also digital. Then they would put it on a USB stick for you. How much money goes to the artist and music industry that way? Well … nothing! Digital music is so easy to distribute and so easy to copy. (I know … in the old days you could copy on a cassette but there was always a loss of sound quality). I don’t buy digital music. I need physical product. I buy old vinyl when the music is still not available on a remastered CD. The CD is my favorite. I mostly bought maxi CD singles when the extra’s were good. For instance Heather Nova had CD singles with acoustic versions, two or three b-sides, live tracks … .I believe CD singels were killed by the industry when they were filled with 4 or 5 awful remixes of the same song. The only downside of the cd is the format. It could have been sold in a gatefold cardboard sleeve (with the title on the spine) as large as a 7” vinyl so you can read everything and still adore the artwork in your hands.

  18. Rich P says:

    Please Neil and Chris – release a CD single. Us collectors have been devoted for years and years. I have a huge PSB collection (it’s massive) which I have enjoyed collecting since 1985 and I know you don’t owe us anything – you have given us so much over the years. Burning the heather I love as a song – all looking good for the new album, so please, even if it is limited through the website – let us have a CD single!

  19. Dr Volume says:

    None of the bands I collect have made a CD single in years but I absolutely get why you’d want to complete that run of CD singles in your collections, so this does seem an odd move by PSB. I checked on Discogs and ‘Agenda’ will set you back 45 quid on the resale market – which suggests that there aren’t boxes of unsold CDs of previous PSB singles gathering dust and the demand is there.

  20. Brian F says:

    I was gutted at the news of no cd single. I have been collecting too. That’s the one thing they have been consistent with. The sudden decision for a 7 inch vinyl is fine, but a bit random as the last 7 they released was “Leaving” from Elysium in 2012. I seem to think this is some kind of hoax to taunt collectors. I pre-ordered the 45 anyway. Maybe PSB see this as an “Inner Sanctum” not an official single release.

  21. Frank says:

    It annoys me that so many artists are now releasing mp3s as well as vinyl and cassettes, but for some reason can’t seem to include CDs?!! I am an avid cd collector! I still want CDs dammit!! I don’t buy artist music anymore unless it’s on cd!

  22. David says:

    Hey, I still have my CD’s, but let’s face it…the format is pretty much gone. In the US, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a “new” CD single for sale. A proper, stand-alone single is also done for, in this age of streaming. Yeah, Drake can now have 16 “singles” in the charts, from the same album. The rules have changed, and as much as I don’t like it…it’s the world we live in. It was a great run, while it lasted…

    • noyoucmon says:

      @David: This is like saying vinyl is dead because you don’t see many 45 RPM singles anymore. The format may not be in your local supermarket anymore, but it is not “pretty much gone.”

  23. Gregory says:

    Streaming CD quality audio to listen to music is now a reality, as downloading CD quality files.
    You want a physical product anyway ? You get a seven inch single with a size that is still larger than what a CD has to offer.
    So on one hand you have the best audio quality you can hope for and on the other the best sleeve format available (what would be the point in getting a larger image on a 12inch when the photograph is all blurry ?).
    Best of two worlds. What is there to complain about ?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I don’t understand your logic. A seven-inch is ‘better’ than a CD because it’s diameter is 2 inches longer?

      • Gregory says:

        What I mean is that what makes a physical product interesting is the object per se much more than the actual audio content. Of course the audio content is the main thing that made you buy the physical in the first place. But from today’s perspective you don’t have to listen directly to the media available with the physical product. You have every option to listen to the same music that is available online.
        For example, I purchased New Order’s Music Complete box set a few years ago. It was fun to listen to the coloured vinyl discs. But with that release came a voucher that allowed me to download the same music in hi-res format. Now I can have the box set in my hands while listening to the files that have a much better sound quality than the vinyl discs.
        So my point is: you can have PSB’s 7inch single in hands while listening to the digital files that will be available. With that in mind, for me it is better to have a 7inch sleeve in my hands than a 5inch cardboard CD sleeve…

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          I think most people still like to listen to the music from the actual item myself. I really don’t see the point in buying vinyl and not playing it. Or CDs for that matter. All this ‘better quality’ stuff is so subjective. Most people listen to bog-standard streams from Spotify, which isn’t ‘better quality’ than CDs or playing a well-pressed and mastered vinyl record on a decent turntable.

  24. jen says:

    i am disappointed in no CD single. i don’t like 7 inch vinyl. I LOVE 12 inch vinyl but 7 inch is poor!! i have bought all psb cd singles, this is a major disappointment!!

  25. daveid76 says:

    Just to be clear, Agenda’s CD was also only available via Annually a la Undertow.

    I think it’s too early to judge what’s going on here. It could just be that they thought the single deserved only a minimal release. It’s not exactly remix-friendly. Perhaps resources are being held back for the next single which I suspect will be “You are the one”. If that gets the full cd and 12 inch release then we know that Burning the Heather’s format is a blip rather than the end of PSB CD singles as we know it.

  26. mino gagliardi says:

    People are stupid!
    PSB releaased their cd singles in 2 many formats in the past and now they decide not to do that anymore! Point taken!
    George Michael’s new single is epic but they have to boost the OST including it on that otherwise none would buy it but a GM’s postumous single could sell like hell! Point lost!

  27. eric says:

    the real problem is that people are used to listen to crap sound on mp3 or vinyl. The urban legend about the cd sounding metallic comes from the early years (83 for those who were born) when vinyl masters were used for CD , and sound engineers didn’t know the medium. So logically treble were enhanced for vinyl that naturally lose them, so CD was “over treble”. Cd is superior from the specs point of view to any non lossless compress format.
    Even if HD files could save us, you are under the thumb of music industry licensing contract, si you music can dissapear any day from the Streaming/download services. At leat you own a CD and its content/
    Times of mediocrity all around now..fast food, fast music, fast sex, LOL

    • wayne hill says:

      Great post. I agree with everything you just said.

    • Mark says:

      I agree with your statement about early CDs but your statement that CD is sonically being superior to vinyl is only your opinion. Vinyl can sound amazing but it is more sensitive to pressing quality for sure. I have a high end system and use vinyl, FLAC and FM! When I compare vinyl to 24/96 FLAC using the same master the differences are actually very small but I tend to prefer vinyl.

      My preference is vinyl when available, although I’ll send it back if the pressing is poor, then I’ll look for Hi Res FLAC (24/88 or 24/96) if vinyl is not available, then a lower res FLAC (16/44 or better) and then finally only buy CD as a last resort but if I get the CD I’ll rip it to FLAC and then give it away to someone else.

    • RMJ says:

      Eric, I beg to differ.
      Lumping mp3 with vinyl is using the two opposites to prove your point. The problem with cd’s fading now in favor of vinyl and streaming is not just the convenience of digital but also the poor quality of recordings with sound destroyed by Loudeness Wars which make digital sound hard to listen to. I admit that vinyl has a “fad” factor but until recently vinyl did represent a better quality sound (although my recent purchase of OMD “Souvenir” vinyl proved to be a digital to vinyl transfer with bad sound there too).

      I am disappointed with the quality of recordings that are released by PSB lately too and for some reason the argument made is that the loudness is not the artist’s decision but the record company’s. Do they not have a say in this at all?
      R

    • mattNYC says:

      yup. streaming is only renting. physical is owning.

  28. Normand says:

    Wow! Here in Canada, we never had this single. In 1985, Columbia issued the B-side as an A-side with on B-side the song « Like A Baby ». No « Last Christmas » at all! And import vinyl in those years was above all for extended 12’’ and some LPs that weren’t available in North America. So, even if I was lucky to find the Black Friday edition in 2015, I ordered this 7’’ for these two great songs on one « little piece of plastic with a hole ».
    Thanks, Paul!

  29. mike says:

    i am very disappointed in 7 inch vinyl. i am not a fan of 7 inch vinyl. i would prefer a 12 inch vinyl which has much better sound quality. and of course, want a CD single. i would have bought both a 12 inch vinyl and cd. cd singles are great!!

  30. mike says:

    i am very disappointed in 7 inch vinyl. i am not a fan of 7 inch vinyl. i would prefer a 12 inch vinyl which has much better sound quality. and of course, want a CD single. i would have bought both a 12 inch vinyl and cd.

  31. MFG says:

    I grew up buying CDs in the ’80s and ’90s. Still have hundreds of them. But I never warmed to CD singles. I never felt like spending the money on them, like I did for CD albums. Didn’t care for extended remixes and such. I was happy when musicians would release compilation albums of b-sides and other non-album tracks (see: Incesticide, Pisces Iscariot, The Masterplan, among others), in case I missed any great songs from the CD singles.

    Nowadays, I think of my CDs as archival storage items, in case my digital files ever get corrupted. I’m more likely to buy a CD single these days just to have a hard backup for a non-album song. Helps that I have more money to spend these days, plus most used CDs are so cheap once you find them.

    • Mike.C. says:

      Hi. Some of my oldest CDs no longer play. I think the claim that they will last a lifetime may be incorrect. You might want to rip those older CDs before they degrade and no longer play.

      Here’s an interesting article;

      https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mg9pdv/the-hidden-phenomenon-that-could-ruin-your-old-discs

      • MFG says:

        True, some CDs may degrade, so “archival” may not be the best word to use. Still better to have factory-pressed hard copies as a backup option, then to have no hard copy at all.

        Also, as the article notes:

        ‘…discs are much more likely to survive over long periods if they’re handled correctly and stored in good conditions. “These studies have shown that a well-made pressed compact disc can last many decades if stored and handled properly,” she noted, adding that “discs that are stored in harsh environmental conditions with elevated temperature and/or humidity will have shorter expected lifetimes than discs stored in more controlled conditions.”‘

        So yeah, I try to take good care of my CDs, and hope for the best. :-)

      • noyoucmon says:

        @Mike.C: This is such an overhyped “phenomenon.” Every few years the story comes around again and people toss it around like it’s gospel and every CD is bound to self-destruct. I’ve bought thousands of CDs since 1988 and not a single one has “rotted.” It’s so statistically insignificant as to be a non-issue. If you live in the tropics and you house is so humid it’s damp, some problems could occur, but for most CD owners it’s not going to be an issue.

  32. Joe Mac Pherson says:

    I’ll never understand the appeal of vinyl. I bought my first 7″ inch single in 1965, and my last vinyl LP in 1987. I still recall, so well, how I purchased 4 or 5 U.K. import albums that were never going to receive U.S. releases, and I was vising Boston, Massachusetts. When I returned home to L.A., I couldn’t wait to hear these albums- starting with the double LP set, Nico: Live Behind The Iron Curtain. I owned a very fine stereo system. I put the record on and all too soon, I heard the record skipping. I was furious because I was home in L.A., the record store was in Boston and by the time I actually returned home from a 2 week trip, the record store receipt’s return date for defective music had expired- plus, Boston is on the other side of the continent of North America.
    It got worse, when another brand new, never played before import vinyl LP had surface pops.
    THAT DID IT.
    I went out, bought a brand new CD player and never looked back. No more surface noise, or crackle, or skipping, or hearing the music slowly wear out over time as a record needle took it away. One by 1, as soon as every vinyl LP I owned was available on CD, I bought the CD version and traded away all of my vinyl records. Now I own more than 2,500 CD’s.
    You might think this is a lot, but there was a time when it was over 4,000 CD’s. My taste does change, in some regards.
    I’m never, ever going back to vinyl. I remember the bad old days. CD never gives me those instant moments of despair. If you’re wondering, what were the first 2 albums to play on my CD system? a-ha: Hunting High And Low, and The Church: Starfish.
    I still love both of these bands!
    And, the Pet Shop Boys!

  33. Lee Cook says:

    I’m not happy I’ve collected every cd and 12 inch vinyl that they have ever done and now it’s stopped it’s not fair on proper collectors

  34. John Lloyd says:

    It is sad that PSB have seemingly ditched the format, but for the number of times they’ve put a remix out that’s digital only they’ve surely banged a few nails into the coffin themselves. Of course, so much fuss was made of OMD’s fortieth single – and yet there was never a solitary hard copy to be had. So it’s not a single in my mind – much as you say ‘Burning the Heather’ is not proper, yet.

    Of course, the biggest killer of the singles chart and singles themselves was the Chart Company, who spuriously changed all the rules as your article shows. It started when we had two 40-minute CDs for every release, until the labels decided the charts were too dancey trancey and wanted exciting stuff like Oasis and Kula Shaker to sell. So everything got leant on until basically one 20-minute disc was your lot. I have much less ready cash now than in those days, but I’d kill for the chance go back in a record store and spend six quid for a pair of discs, or even a fiver on the 99p 2-track, the 1.99 3-track and the 1.99 DVD single combo, only to find there were promo-only remixes to curse about afterwards.

  35. Pavel says:

    I’m really very upset with the news that the boys won’t release a physical single.
    It’s a wreck of a long time strategy..

  36. Alan says:

    I don’t mind the lack of a CD single, as long as the exclusive track was included on a deluxe edition of the album. It’s long been the norm for albums to be released simultaneously in two editions – standard and deluxe – and I’ve always seen the additional tracks of the deluxe issues as what would once have been b-sides. If PSB did this then great, but I’ve not heard anything to say this would be the case.

    If “Decide” and future b-sides don’t get a CD release at all, then I’d rather they abandon b-sides entirely.

  37. Marco says:

    Last Christmas…
    Post and package to Germany 16€
    So, 24€ for a 7inch – no thanks

    Burning the heather sold from PSB Homepage costs 14€ inklusive p&p, not cheap, but okay.

  38. Gisabun says:

    I have always been a “physical” fan. Unless an album is unavailable on CD, I don’t purchase digital tracks.
    I dislike buying a Cd just for 1 new track [found in compilations]. Would of preferred a CD single with maybe an extra unreleased track or two.
    I don’t believe vinyl will ever overtake CDs. 52 million CDs sold in the US last year, less than 17 million vinyls sold.
    Remember that to keep the cost down, some vinyl releases have less tracks than the CD version to keep the cost down.
    Which brings me to the other point. You buy a CD for $12. You want the same vinyl edition it will cost you $30.
    [And then there is the convenience of listening to an album without having to change the vinyl (side) every 15 minutes or the scratches or the size.]
    I found the marketing schemes of CD singles at one point were getting ridiculous. Some CD single had 2 or even 3 editions [a way to increase the chart ranking] and even briefly we had DVD singles.
    Then of course you had CD and vinyl releases where each had a unique tracks.
    Can you really call guying a single digital track a “single” [if you go by the original definition when 45 vinyls came out]?

  39. Don says:

    As far as physical media goes nowadays I think vinyl has it’s collectors that also go to the records shops that are left. CD is probably being replaced by digital as only the media changes but not how the content creates sound. A CD in the end has digital files on it. Sound wise or experience wise it doesn’t change dramatically.
    But maybe they just try this out to see if vinyl or digital will sell more now one of the options is gone.

  40. Peter m says:

    I’ve been buying CD albums for over 30 years & still do
    But CD singles I could probably count on one hand.

  41. Kiki_ says:

    That’s a shame… while artists are boring us recently with the return of the poor quality tapes (let me laugh), the fact that new vinyl pressing are very low quality (and what to say about 180g – 200g vinyl pressing, while a good quality record should be 140g to get the most beautiful sound ! We could talk also on the awful RSD pressings that are just nightmares to listen to!) , The CD format is disappearing… The download, streaming and all those kind of virtual things just means the end of collecting, and the end of recognition for artists… Listened once and then forgotten!

    To the PSB team : Please be kind, rewind ! We are still waiting for big boxes full batch mixes singles from Please to Fundamental era ! And no virtual sh*** ! Also please see back from a few month, when the unpredicted success of Steps’ return “Tears on the dancefloor” led them to make a single box of their recent album available on CD format …

    • John McCann says:

      The weight of a record has nothing to do with the sound quality Kiki,the groove is the same regardless,in fact a heavier record Will sit better on a turntable, records just got thinner about 45years ago to save money, about 5years later they stopped laminating the record covers,and I don’t think they could ever return to laminating them,dont think the machines exist anymore.

  42. martin farnworth says:

    As for as the possible end for PSB CD singles i can’t say I care too much. The last one I bought was I’m With Stupid. Of course it must be disappointing for hardcore fans collecting everything. Regards to them being cheap to produce I would add it’s possibly doesn’t take much time/effort to produce them either.

    To be cold about about they must sell so few copies that only a very small number of fans will be alienated. If I were one of those I doubt i’d still be buying the digital copy instead. But don’t think anyone could be too critical of PSB after all supporting the CD single format to the extent they have.

  43. Paul Nesmith says:

    The rot set in when HMV ceased to stock CD singles about a decade or more ago,it was a really frustrating time for me as i have been a loyal CD single collector since the early 1990s,i was always excited about new releases as i knew there would be usually CD1/CD2 with a number of non album tracks,mixes and new artwork and occasionally they would become collectors items,i still have a huge collection which include many tracks never released again

    The 1990s was the CD single heyday with Britpop propelling sales but unfortuneatley numbers have been on the slide since the 2000s and lets be honest the format is increasingly resembling the wax cylinder in this digital age,its just evolution im afraid,i bet people were moaning when that old format was becoming obsolete and 78s coming in,there will always be resistance during times of change,we just have to accept it as a part of life and the new Pet shop boys single not sold on physical format is no loss because it is basically garbage

  44. Michael says:

    I don’t think that Burning…. was ever meant to have the full physical release, it was just meant as a taster, so the fact that they are releasing a 7” is as far as I’m concerned great. I’m quite certain that the next single will have a cd single release.

  45. Dom says:

    Shame it’s not coming out on CD but perhaps they consider 7″ a more apt physical format given the guitar “indie” nature of the track. Clutching at straws I know, after all there were two for.ats for Dreamland. You are probably aware of this Paul, but there’s an extended version of the Hacienda Violence mix, that unfortunately has never seen legit release. It was unearthed on an ‘official’ demo tape so is a genuine alternative version. It is on YouTube though

  46. Jules Chance says:

    There are going to be two exclusive tracks on the Japanese version of Hotspot. If one of them is slated to be this new track ‘Decide’, it may explain this decision, as if the track was already available it will dent sales in the Japanese market.

  47. Dave Westbury says:

    I’ve thought for a long time that the vinyl revival might not be as good for the music industry as everyone was predicting. Looks like it’s about to kill off the CD. Who’d have thought it all those years’ ago when CDs originally killed off vinyl? RIP CD

    • Gary says:

      RIP cd….perhaps for the time being. Not so long ago it was a case of RIP vinyl! When they’re a few years older the current ‘youth’ will doubtless have the opportunity to purchase the music of their younger years. Admittedly it will cost much more, come with some tat, maybe be in an entirely different format but then some whizz kid will suggest a cd release….now there’s an idea….

    • ken.e says:

      I think that the CD is being killed by the reduction of devices that have a CD player. My latest laptop has no CD and the car has no CD player. I have no reason to buy a CD anymore as there is no place left to listen to them. Instead I stream new music. I am not a fan of streaming, in some respects I lose a connection to the music and artist.

      I think vinyl is keeping physical media alive which is good.

      • noyoucmon says:

        @ken.e If keeping physical media alive is good, then why not have a dedicated CD player? You seem to like vinyl, but cars and computers have no turntables, so how do you manage?

        People who got rid of their CD players were shortsighted to say the least, and I hear about it all the time.

    • Chris says:

      Big Black thought it back in 1987 when they released their compilation CD “The Rich Man’s Eight Track Tape” (referencing the demise of the 70’s “next big format – the eight track tape” and featuring sleeve notes stating that the CD would be one day be obselescent!

  48. Rufus says:

    Interesting considering some “newer” acts who appeal to teens who have probably never bought a CD single before, like Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers and Ariana Grade have all released CD singles for recent hits, some in special limited edition packaging – and of course old Mariah releasing a CD single of All I Want for Christmas to try and get it to #1 finally. So I don’t think the CD single is completely dead, but perhaps the commercial appeal of PSB is?

  49. David Anthony says:

    I also enjoy obtaining cd singles, but I have recently been downloading the singles and then burning them to cd format for my personal collection…in a nutshell, where there’s a will there’s a way!

  50. James says:

    Perhaps they’re going to give away this on CD with the next Annually like they did with Undertow.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Why not say that then?

      • Steven Alan Broderick says:

        Agenda was only released as a giveaway with Annually 2019, only the 12″ and digital bundle came out on release so perhaps this development is not as doom and gloom as your article intimates.

        • Gareth Pugh says:

          Steven Alan Broderick may be right here: Annually 2017 was the only way to get the CD single format of ‘Undertow’ and 2019 the CD for Agenda. I do wonder if they might issue a CD format for ‘Burning the Heather’ with Annually 2020. Tradition dictates that would be out April 2020 and by then I expect we’d have had the third ‘Hotspot’ single come and go, but you never know. I did have the same thought as Paul, namely that you could pretty much put those 3 tracks from the digital package onto a CD and there you go, job done (if they really want to flesh it out a bit, at no extra effort, they could add the 5m40s album version to it).

    • musicoloog says:

      Indeed Paul.

      To be honest I am not really interested in the Annually books, only in the bonus cd-singles/maxis…
      I hope they will include a digital booklet with the download, so I can produce my own cd-single/maxi. Their switch to Kobalt…well, I’m not very happy how they handle the PSB releases. It looks like they’ve never known that PSB fans are true collectors…

      A 7” release…great, but asking over 10 GBP and that’s without p&p… I have to pass…

  51. Tim-Meh says:

    Not an observation on the PSB, but I loved the CD single. The golden age was definitely in the 90s as effectively pretty much every single I bought was a four track ep and essential for bands who really cared about their b sides (Suede, Blur, The Verve, Oasis, Therapy…) I can’t recall the last time I actually bought one so the PSB are perhaps the last bastion of the format. I don’t get why artists don’t release more especially new bands as they’re cheap as chips to produce but I guess its all to do with demand from the younger ‘what, no vinyl’ generation.

    • Gareth Pugh says:

      Honourable mentions to Depeche Mode and Erasure who have also kept loyal to commercial CDS up til now – the former, perhaps surprisingly, even after their move to major label Colombia (and in fact, as recently as 2013, were still recreating the early 2000s model of two separate formats – a 2-track and a maxi), and the latter have even produced special slipcases or boxes to keep the series of CDS for a given studio album together. But sure, they manufactured conservatively – the CD single of Sometimes 2015 was rumoured to have been only 2000 copies worldwide and a lot of die-hard fans missed out – at one stage copies went for &60-70 on eBay.

  52. RJS says:

    The CD is definitely dying. A lot of independent labels that I used to buy from (LITA, Finders Keepers, Trunk, etc.) have abandoned the format. To be fair, they did favour vinyl when it was unfashionable. Up until a couple of years ago, supermarkets would have hundreds of CDs for sale but now in the super-sized Sainsburys near me, it’s just the Top 20. The future seems to be Vinyl or streaming. Unthinkable 10 years ago.

    • Ash says:

      True, but it seems to me vinyl is just a fad that seems to have suddenly got some ’emperors new clothes’ weight behind it. A sort of ‘hey if we make it cool and trendy people will buy it’. I love the CD and I expect it will survive but as a niche medium until some people decide its ‘cool and trendy’ again.

    • noyoucmon says:

      @RJS: Light in the Attic has NOT abandoned the CD format. Just look at this past month’s releases from the label and you’ll see plenty of CDs.

      I don’t know why it is so tempting and fun for people to make baseless claims about formats dying when they simply are not. CDs may not be the overwhelming format of choice for most consumers, but in no way are they “dying.”

      • RJS says:

        You’re right, not LITA specifically but AwCmon (see what I did there?), if you have a look at their website where they distribute music for a whole host of independent labels, CD release are sometimes few and far between. Numero Group recently announced that they will no longer be releasing CDs and Mr Bongo and Far Out have put out some vinyl only releases recently. If you’re into mainstream reissues and what I refer to as supermarket releases (Adele, Coldplay, Sheeran, etc.), then there might still be some milage left in CDs but there seems to be a growing assumption that if you don’t buy vinyl then you’re not a fan of physical product and you’ll be content to stream. I don’t own a single piece of vinyl and have thousands of CDs but the writing’s on the wall for the format.

    • smorrissey says:

      The future is vinyl…lol you wish, the only future here (pretty much present) is streaming. If CD’s dye compeltely vinyl go with them.

  53. Paul Taylor says:

    Started ordering the Wham! single yesterday as I thought £8 was a good price. Got to checkout – postage £5.15.
    If Record Store/SOV can send. 7″ single for £1.75 then I’d be curious to know what this one is being sent in.
    Needless to say order didn’t proceed

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