Bowie "Ziggy Stardust" Ryko CD trade-in program

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by phmlpn, Sep 15, 2021.

  1. phmlpn

    phmlpn Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    fulton, ms
    Back in 1990, when Ryko rolled out its David Bowie reissue program, among the titles was, of course, "Ziggy Stardust".

    For this one, Ryko took a unique approach: fans could send Ryko their RCA CD of "Ziggy Stardust", and get a (then) new Ryko issue of the album, free of charge. The premise was that their issue of "Ziggy Stardust" was "the way it should have sounded".

    Of course, Ryko had failed to mention that the RCA "Ziggy" CD was a collectors' item, as well as the rest of the Bowie RCA CD's.

    Now, my question is: did anyone here take advantage of the program? If so, what are your thoughs, 31 years later?
     
    sharedon likes this.
  2. aphexj

    aphexj Sound mind & body

    In 1990? They were out of print for a couple of years maybe but surely not yet rising to the status of collectors' items...
     
  3. Whizz Kid

    Whizz Kid Forum Resident

    I don’t recall this… was out of the loop at the time… but it that’s true, it may explain the relative scarcity of the RCAs.

    That’s assuming that Ryko acquired and disposed of them… not just hoarding them as a future “investment”.
     
    mr.datsun and elgoodo like this.
  4. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Location:
    Planet Earth
    "Collector's item" is indeed a bit of a stretch. Yes, the RCAs had been out of print for a while but there was no www to accelerate prices on the secondary market yet.

    If one took their "old" - the medium itself was still quite new - CDs to a record and tape exchange - this is strictly referring to Germany but I don't think the UK could have been that different - they got 30% of the original retail. In the case of a full price disc (then 30 DM) this would have been 10 DM while the shop would have resold it for 20 DM. An RCA probably for 25, 30.

    So an offer to swap an "old" disc 1:1 for what was supposedly a superior sounding mastering wasn't such a bad deal back then. At all. What did Ryko do with those "Ziggy" RCAs? Unload them at a used store. :evil:
     
    mr.datsun likes this.
  5. elgoodo

    elgoodo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    I definitely remember this. My guess is they got a lot of takers because of the bonus tracks on their version. It also prevented that consumer from making a direct comparison, which would have showed them up.
     
    ricks and WMTC like this.
  6. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect The prose and the passion

    Location:
    Winchester, UK
    Unwrapping the Sound and Vision box set and playing the CDs was one of the biggest disappointments of my audio enthusiast life.

    Tim
     
    ricks and villiers terrace like this.
  7. Fruff76

    Fruff76 L100 Classic - Fan Club President

    How is the rykodisc a good sounding version of this album?
     
  8. Eric Weinraub

    Eric Weinraub Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    Of all of Bowie's Ryko releases, I have all of the studio albums that Ryko released with bonus tracks including the metal case for them, most of the compilations, 1 of the Gold CDs , and all of the vinyl. The CDs were just that CDs. I've never found CDs to be all that fantastic sounding. The vinyl is better but doesn't compare all that well against my original UK pressings. Am I planning on getting rid of any of my rkyo items, not in my lifetime.
     
    WHMusical likes this.
  9. Eric Weinraub

    Eric Weinraub Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    More important than the sound was collectable packaging that the Ryko release of this. It came in a deluxe long box, deluxe inner box, and deluxe booklet. I wish I had kept my deluxe long box.
     
    Fruff76 likes this.
  10. Colocally

    Colocally One Of The New Wave Boys

    Location:
    Surrey BC.
    I doubt very much they were offering the box set version of Ziggy, just the standard retail copy.
     
  11. Eric Weinraub

    Eric Weinraub Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    It wasn't a 'box' set version. The standard version of Ziggy as it was released (you all remember long boxes) came in a standard long box and the limited in a fancier long box. Inside was the same deluxe purple inner box with larger booklet.
     
  12. Colocally

    Colocally One Of The New Wave Boys

    Location:
    Surrey BC.
    There was the box with the booklet and there was a jewel case version with just a fold out sheet, in the same style to the other Ryko CDs.
     
  13. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    There is zero chance Ryko was "collecting" the old RCA's as an investment. They were trying to win customers for future releases by essentially saying, "Hey, we get it, you already bought this album. On CD. Just a few years ago. But we are so convinced that what we can do with this music is so obviously superior, we'll let you trade in your old CD to get it." They figured everyone who traded in their RCA would be blown away by the Ryko and then in future they would not hesitate to replace their old AAD CDs with new remasters. And they probably sincerely thought that their CD was better.
     
    Merrick, JuanTCB, WMTC and 1 other person like this.
  14. RAZORMADE

    RAZORMADE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I love the RYKO Bowie releases! CD or LP.
    These are my preferred versions of the albums.
    It's just unfortunate they didn't issue "Scary Monsters" on LP.
     
    WeeSam, fortherecord and bmh5879 like this.
  15. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Location:
    Planet Earth
    In all fairness: The Rykos were well received in 1990/91. People bemoaned the bare bones approach of the RCAs while the Ryko discs came with fantastic bonustracks and colorful foldout booklets. I don't remember reading anything bad about them back in the day. I sometimes wonder if they sounded "different" to early 90's ears and listening habits or if - normal! :uhhuh: - people back then simply didn't have the equipment or knowledge some members are having today. :whistle:
     
  16. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    You need both: :edthumbs:

    The OG RCA (WG or Japan) for Sound (and Vision)!

    and

    The Ryko reissue for them five killer bonus tracks!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    cheers,
    :cheers:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    maui jim and phillyal1 like this.
  17. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    The RCAs were definitely not collector's items back then. I'm guessing that the reappraisal didn't happen until the mid-to-late '90s at the earliest. They didn't become what they are now until the 2000s. Nice of Ryko to offer this trade, though. I don't like the sound of those CDs, but they really went all-out with them in every regard. :righton:
     
    Neonbeam likes this.
  18. vinylrec

    vinylrec Senior Member

    Location:
    Delaware, Ohio
    What a bizarre promotional campaign. Send your RCA in for a Ryko? I wonder if there was mention of this in ICE magazine?
     
  19. rikki nadir

    rikki nadir Gentleman Thug

    Location:
    London, UK
    I remember vividly a record fair in Central London in the early 90s in which a British dealer was selling many of the RCA titles at a premium price, and an American dealer was asking rather loudly 'what's so sweet about these, they are just the old versions!'

    So maybe it was a culture/location thing.

    I would agree that it was some time later - several years - that the RCA titles became widely known as in any way desirable.

    In the mid-90s, I got my RCA Bowies (Lodger, Young Americans, Fame and Fashion) for less than the price of a couple of pints of ale in sales in the Virgin megastore and the flagship HMV store within walking distance of where the record fair mentioned above took place.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    WeeSam likes this.
  20. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Good point. I'm sure there were individuals who knew these would be coveted and treated them as such. For most people, though, they were ugly-looking and a bunch had errors, so when the new ones with bonus tracks and a lot more clarity came out, they consigned their ugly old CDs to the sell pile. And I bet, twenty years later, some of those same people were scrambling to re-buy those same copies they dumped!
     
    Dave and rikki nadir like this.
  21. ribors

    ribors Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Very cool marketing idea. It would be great to do that nowadays and instead of trading in now collectible 80s CDs like those RCAs, how about we trade in our lousy remasters from 20-25 years ago and get some new deluxe version for free? How many Peter Mew Jethro Tull remasters do I have to send in to get a Steve Wilson Jethro Tull remix on the house? :)
     
  22. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    With how desperately labels are trying to get rid of CDs, you send them 10 and you'll owe them a Steven Wilson remix! :laugh:
     
    rikki nadir likes this.
  23. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons to be cheerful Part 1

    Location:
    Dutch mountains
    Here's the press kit that mentions the unique trade in program

    [​IMG]
     
  24. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Exactly! I remember hearing in those days that the first generation of CDs were all cut flat from the same copy tapes that 80's LPs were cut from and how it was discovered afterward that that was a "mistake" and the CDs all sounded terrible and people were returning them in droves saying they weren't as good as the LPs they already had and etc. It's a bit bewildering now that I occasionally pick up one of those old 80's CDs and they sound fantastic on my system. I think labels just told us that CDs needed to be remastered to sound decent and we all just accepted that. I know I've read interviews with mastering engineers who have said outright that they think flat transfers sounded terrible and were the wrong way to do CDs.
     
    no.nine, mozz, fortherecord and 2 others like this.
  25. jfeldt

    jfeldt Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF, CA, USA
    I’m hoping they find the pile of traded in RCAs someday, just like they found all the buried Atari ET games out in the desert (though hopefully the CDs aren’t out in the elements somewhere :) )
     
    sonnyrock and rikki nadir like this.

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