Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hot Hits goes digital

At last it seems like the custodians of mfp's old Hot Hits collections have started the process of uploading them to iTunes and similar outlets, for digital purchase. Of course, in some ways this is old news; as long ago as 2010, no fewer than seven virtual albums appeared on iTunes, all consisting of compilations from the ...Hits... and Hot Hits LPs.

This time around it's different though. Although so far there are only two albums available, they are in effect re-issues of Hot Hits volumes 1 and 2  - whole albums in their entirety. They are re-named Hot Hits Plays 1970 volumes 1 and 2, but have the original artwork generally intact:

These are the corresponding LP sleeves:

So it looks like Hot Hits might at last be catching up with Top of the Pops, who made their whole back catalogue available for download, including spin-off albums and even EPs, some years back. On which subject, we ought to mention two other mfp-sourced albums which have been released in the digital format:

The one on the left, Hot Hits Plays Reggae, is essentially the LP below, which was originally called The Wonderful World of Reggae. The one on the right, Hot Hits Plays the Kinks, we are not familiar with - does anyone know if this had a vinyl equivalent?

So that's the good news. Now we have to have a bit of a grumble. Take a look at the cover of Hot Hits volume 1 - the vinyl LP. It sold for 15 shillings, which is equivalent to 75p. In 1970, a single cost roughly seven shillings or 35p, so for just over the cost of two singles, you got a full dozen tunes. And that, in a sense, was what Hot Hits and similar LPs were all about.

Fast forward to 2012, and the download version costs £7.99 on iTunes (50p less on Amazon UK). How does this compare to the price of a "single" - which is to say, the equivalent purchase of the hit version? Well, Amazon has a download of Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime" for 79p. And a download of Shirley Bassey's "Something" for 79p. And a download of Nicky Thomas's "Love of the Common People" for ... well, you get the idea.

So, a Hot Hits album, compared to the original versions, no longer costs just over two tracks, but a price equivalent to a whopping ten! What's more, the individual Hot Hits songs are also priced at... 79p each - exactly the same! Are we complaining? Yes and no. It's great to have these available in the digital format - it's just a shame they are no longer in the budget price category. Still, after 42 years, I guess they could be considered classic LPs nowadays, so what the heck. Get them onto your new fangled iPod and see if you can still tell the difference!

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