As I mentioned some time ago, Kraftwerk is about to release remastered versions of their albums. Repeatedly delayed, but supposedly, finally, available on November 17, 2009.
However, "Computer World" - perhaps their best album - is only available as part of the boxed set (in the USA).
The reason given is "clearance issues", which Kraftwerk and the labels are unable to resolve.
Generally, "clearance issues" is a fancy way of saying one side or the other was asking for money and the other wouldn't give it up.
If this is in fact the case here, it's not great behavior. It indicates both Kraftwerk and the labels prefer to make the fans pay more than they should, and don't care if a seminal record like "Computer World" is available in decent-sounding form for casual listeners.
The alternative is equally troubling. If money wasn't the issue, it means the intellectual property situation is so busted that no amount of money or legal wizardry could rectify things. Sad state of affairs when both the band and the label - the intellectual property owners - are unable to resolve intellectual property issues.
I am not sure which is a greater indictment of the music business.
It is difficult not to believe this is simply a cash grab on both sides. Typical music industry shenanigans or good business practices, depending on your point of view.
I love Kraftwerk. They're fantastic. But Kraftwerk's post-"Computer World" output is not very good. There are 8 albums in the boxed set. I want 5 of them. But in order to get the 5 I want, I have to get 3 I don't want: "Techno Pop" (also known as "Electric Café"), "The Mix", and "Tour De France" are just not very good albums ranging from tepid to terrible.
I should also note that I currently own (or previously owned) all of these records, in some cases having purchased the vinyl and CD. I've already ordered the box. But the bad taste lingers.