Whenever a musician learns that his or her work is reproduced or sampled without permission, the musician, or his record label, will probably sue the offending artist for copyright infringement. Often, the presiding judge would rule in the original artist's favor and issue a recall on any records containing the infringing work in question. The record would be reissued with the samples removed. This is the case with many hip hop or any other sample-based albums released after 1991 (works produced in the United States and released before the 1991 Grand Upright v. Warner lawsuit such as Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys remain in stores unscathed).
Often times, whenever an artist releases an EP and then a full-length album after that, the EP is removed from circulation. The full-length album usually features some songs from the EP but everything else on the EP is not featured on the album, which means when the EP is removed from circulation, the songs on the EP that are unavailable elsewhere go away as well. This has happened with Imagine Dragons, Icona Pop, Youngblood Hawke, The Mowgli's, Atlas Genius and Of Monsters & Men, to name a few.
You won't find Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory EP in a store. Except for maybe a limited amount in their fan club's online store. They number so few, however, that they sell out again within a week of release and it again returns to unobtainable status. Even worse is the Xero demo tape. The same applies to a lesser extent to LP's other ten fan club releases (of varying quality ).
Most of Evanescence's "first" album (actually a demo tape) is nearly impossible to get hold of, driving die-hard fans crazy as they try to get hold of such rareties as "Even In Death". Copies DO exist, but even those are hard to find.
Many of the songs from Shiny Toy Guns frontmen Jeremy Dawson and Chad Petree's Slyder project, famous due to the Song Association, are only legally available on vinyl.
The Birthday Massacre's first release was two demo CD's. This was when they were Imagica. Less than 200 copies ever existed (and that's the number of both CD's put together) and they were handed out to fans at shows. The songs from these CD's can be found online if you know where to look, but good luck getting your hands on one of the CD's.
Kill Hannah, anything before For Never and Ever. Obviously their songs (every last one of them) can be found on Youtube, but if you want to be able to listen to any on demand, that's trickier.
However, they also try to avert this, as every year Mat Devine hand-makes 100 copies of American Jetset, at the very least. Here are the Young Moderns, on the other hand...
And yet, with 50% of their music being difficult to find, fans still manage to know every goddamn song they'll play at a concert. Even "Welcome to Chicago", an obscure little promo single from 2000, and "Hummingbirds the Size of Bullets" from 1996.
You kind of have to resort to this if you really want to hear The Flaming Lips' Zaireeka and don't have four CD players to play the four discs at once. While there are stereo remixes of "Riding to Work in the Year 2025 (Your Invisible Now)" and "Thirty-Five Thousand Feet of Despair" released as B-sides to the "Waiting For A Superman" single, the band have refused to put out a single disc version because it wouldn't sound right. There are still plans to release a DVD surround sound version of the album though. Until then, well, suffice it to say that there are fan-made stereo mixes of varying quality out there.
Most Shoegazing bands suffered this after the end of the fad. With the exception of My Bloody Valentine, Catherine Wheel, Ride and Slowdive, many of the bands' albums went out of print. This wouldn't be so bad if the Cult Classic status of the craze didn't raise new interest in this music. While some bands are relatively easy to find in used record stores (i.e. Lush, Kitchens of Distinction, The Boo Radleys), some other artists (i.e. Lilys, Moose, Majesty Crush) are damn near impossible to find without paying an arm and a leg. Sometimes even when the recording is available via audio cassette or CD, it's in terrible condition and isn't even worth paying so much for.
Ride's self-released EP Coming Up for Air (consisting entirely of improvisation) had only 1000 copies made.
Pale Saints are another heavily affected band by this trope. 4AD mismanaged the promotion for their albums, and they went out of print quickly. Their albums are hard enough to get a hold of and don't even get started with the availability of their EPs. The worst part is that these guys had a lot of skill and were often critically acclaimed.
Captured Tracks' sub-label, The Shoegazing Archives is trying to make this a non-issue. American band, Medicine's album, Shot Forth Self Living was a notorious gem that fetched high prices in it's original printing. It's been reissued by the Archives with expanded tracks and a bonus disc. Also of note is Arizonan band, Half-String whose several EPs have been difficult to find but now Maps For Sleep, a compilation of all tracks from their EP's, has been issued. In this case, however, it's increased the demand for Half-String's one album A Fascination With Heights was has not seen a reissue and whose price has only increased since the issuing of Maps For Sleep. The Archives plans to move up to lesser-unknown shoegazing acts as the sub-label continues to stir up excitement.
Slowdive has I Saw the Sun, a large number of tracks that have never made albums. The quality of these tracks vary(some are professional, others sound like demos), but include interesting songs such as an electric version of "Dagger" from Souvlaki. Downloadable, but not purchasable in any known form.
Modest Mouse have several EPs from the mid to late 90s that are almost completely impossible to find. They're rarely available for download, had extremely limited print runs, and theories go that even Isaac Brock himself doesn't have the master tapes of said recordings (some of which were even recorded on an answering machine).
The New Zealand garage rock group She's Insane had their self-titled album on iTunes in 2006. There is hardly any way to find the CD anyway.
Want to hear the original version of the Red House Painters cover of the classic Yes hit "Long Distance Runaround"? It's on the long out of print double vinyl of Ocean Beach. Though the song would later appear on Songs For Blue Guitar, many people who have heard the original claim it to be one of the best songs by the band. The later re-recording of it? Many consider it to not be one of Kozelek's best covers. The vinyl can be obtained, but it is extremely difficult, and extremely expensive, usually going for 350 to 700 dollars.
Though the Vinyl Copy of Ocean Beach is the rarest of all the vinyl releases of any Mark Kozelek-related projects, it is far from the only one affected by the trope. Nearly every single one of the albums released by the singer-songwriter are insanely expensive on vinyl and are usually found in bad condition regardless. The only exception is Songs For A Blue Guitar which got reissued on Vinyl a couple of years ago. Any album still on it's initial pressing seems to dodge this trope until it enters it's second pressing. This wouldn't be such a frustration if it weren't for the fact that the vinyl versions of these albums have different mixing, meaning a different listening experience.
The music video for "Summer Dress" was also seldom seen before the days of YouTube, to the point where many doubted to it even existing. The version you can now see on YouTube, however, has subpar audio quality.
There are a lot of demo tapes of the band that contain one-shot songs that would never be recorded again. If you can find any of these tapes, consider yourself lucky. Many of them sell for cheap, the sellers often unaware of their true value.
The early RHP demos from before the well-known 1991-92 demos are considered mostly lost. What remains are 2 or 3 songs that were featured on a rare 1988 interview that didn't surface on the internet until around November 2012. While there are a few tastes given by Kozelek alone on acoustic guitar, it is likely that we will probably never know what those songs sound like with a full band, or if there are possibly more songs missing.
Space's lost third album, Love You More Than Football, and other tracks recorded around that period. Although fans got their hands on bootlegged discs, the album was never officially released.
Garbage have plenty of B-sides, and even considered a compilation of them. Unfortunately, the masters are owned by two labels that were sold, and thus no one even knows where they are. Besides the singles themselves, the only choice to hear them is YouTube or bootleg compilations.
Mindless Self Indulgence has a lot of work out of print and no longer officially sold, especially things from their early days- the only way to acquire them is eBay or similar sites. An example was Tight, their first album. Many songs on it were unavailable anywhere else, but it had a short run- copies online sometimes sold for hundreds of dollars. The album was finally rereleased as Tighter in 2011.
One and a Half by Train is an EP that was released in small quantities to begin with back in 1999. It's still the only way to get several of their songs. Any copies are generally swiped up on eBay the second they appear, but it can be found online at Grooveshark.
As shown on the page quote, in 1992 a small label called Simple Machines issued a tape called Pocketwatch, by Late! - who was actually Dave Grohlon all instruments with a Punny Name ("because I’m an idiot and I thought it would be funny to say to everybody, 'Sorry, we’re Late!’"). As Nirvana grew in popularity, the label became flooded with orders and the master cassettes started to deteriorate. Grohl also refused a request for a CD conversion to keep up with demand. Thus Simple Machines had to discontinue their project of music on cassettes... and Pocketwatch receives many bootlegs and highly priced auctions.
James's One Man Clapping was self-produced in a limited run to raise money (it beat doing medical experiments); copies have been known to change hands on eBay for triple figures.
The Divine Comedy had their Fanfare For The Comic Muse deleted as Old Shame, and Neil Hannon would be happier if it never saw the light of day again.
LSD And The Search For God was a 2000s Californian Shoegazing act who achieved a small cult following outside of their homeland. However, as time went on, and the shoegazing fad became more and more popular, they became more well-known. This wouldn't be a problem had they not broken up in 2009 (though they reunited in 2013 to no new releases) and only had a limited print issue of their 2006 EP. Fast-foward to 2014 and suddenly the price of their EP has skyrocketed to about 600 dollars on average, often getting swiped up pretty quickly. They apparently had some other prints (some vinyl exclusive) that have never surfaced since their (even smaller) print runs.
My Vitriol released a documentary on a limited print to their fan club. Though 10 minutes of the documentary can be viewed on YouTube, the full form hasn't seen the light of day even on the internet. Physical copies are literally impossible to get a hold of, seeing as how nobody wants to put it up for sale (it's an excellently made documentary). It's a shame because judging from the YouTube clip it offered a full explanation as to why it's taken them so long to make a follow-up to their debut album. The reason why only 10 minutes are available for viewing on YouTube is because My Vitriol's record company threatened legal action if the band didn't pull the documentary out of circulation. The 10 minutes are all of the documentary that can be shown without facing said legal action.
No Doubt's "Looking Hot" video featured the band members dressed up as cowboys and Indians (no, not that one). Due to complaints about the portrayals of the Indians, it was immediately pulled after one day. The video (although difficult to find) is still available through filesharing networks.
Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication is almost universally agreed to have been one of the worst casualties of the Loudness War; even the vinyl version did not escape its easily audible clipping issues. However, there is an "unmastered" version making the rounds on the internet that does not have the clipping issues; this is an example comparable to Death Magnetic, above, where the album can essentially only be truly appreciated through piracy. (It's probably not a coincidence that they were both Rick Rubin productions).
Invoked, Mitch Benn wrote "The Hardest Song in the World to Find" about this trope. The reasons for the song's scarcity include flexidiscs made from a rare kind of self-destructing plastic.
The first four albums by Da Yoopers were all released only on cassette, and were taken out of print in the early 2000s. While For Diehards Only and Diehards II compile most of the songs, these are missing many of the interstitial skits, and the songs from the band's debut album Yoopanese were at least partially re-recorded for the former. (For instance, "Smeltin' USA" still has Jim Pennell's lead vocal but new instrumentation.)
"Friends in Low Places" has a third verse that he often sang in concert (basically a more brash rewrite of the second verse). A recording from a concert at Reunion Arena in Dallas made it to VHS in 1992, and later got shipped as a 45. It wasn't until 1998 that most fans got the third verse on the Double Live discs, albeit in a version where the entire crowd sings said verse by themselves. To be fair, it says a lot when half a million people are singing a verse by heart that they've probably only ever heard from previous concerts and/or an obscure VHS.
He sent two versions of his 1998 single "It's Your Song" to radio. One was the live recording from the easily-found Double Live, and the other was a studio version that is now much harder to find.
Another country music example of a "DJ mix" was a combination of the Keith Whitley and Alison Krauss versions of "When You Say Nothing at All", made after Krauss' version was a hit in 1995. The unofficial remix was made at WMIL-FM and never commercially available, although stations across the country played it.
There was a trend in the mid-1990s of making "dance mixes" of country songs to capitalize on the line dance craze (translation: lengthening the song by adding a "breakdown" section in the middle and overall heavier beat). Many of these mixes were not widely released, although you might still hear them on radio now and then.
Also, some country artists today release acoustic versions of songs, which are often heard only on radio (or sometimes in the video). David Lee Murphy did both an acoustic mix and a dance mix of "Loco" in 2004; both were iTunes exclusives that are no longer available. Heck, not even the original version of the song is on iTunes, probably due to the label (Audium) closing its Nashville division about a year later.
The radio version of "Tell Her" by country music band Lonestar, which was completely re-recorded from the original. Even their Greatest Hits Album has the album version, despite having the radio edit of "No News" and a radio-exclusive remix of "I'm Already There" with snippets of phone calls to and from soldiers.
Hank Williams III recorded a CountryMetal album called This Ain't Country. His former label, Curb Records, didn't feel it was fit for release...until he left the label. Then they released it without his permission under the title Hillbilly Joker. Williams responded by telling his fans: "Don’t buy it, but get it some other way and burn the hell out of it and give it to everyone".
For some reason, Keith Urban's Greatest Hits: 19 Kids isn't on iTunes. This means that the only way to get the radio version of "You Look Good in My Shirt"note the song was originally on Golden Road; it was re-recorded and released as a single from 19 Kids due to fan demand is to buy a copy of 19 Kids. And this is hampered by the fact that 19 Kids is actually a re-issue of the more widely available Greatest Hits: 18 Kids with "Shirt" tacked on.
This can also occur if a single gets released but never put on an album due to Executive Meddling. For instance, Country Music singer Steve Holy released five singles between late 2002-late 2005, and none of those five appeared on albums. The first two, "I'm Not Breakin'" and "Rock-a-Bye Heart" (which also had a video), are not legally available online as they predate iTunes Store, but the other three ("Put Your Best Dress On", "Go Home" and "It's My Time (Waste It If I Want To)" are.
Another country example from the 1990s was 4 Runner. They had released "That Was Him (This Is Now)" (co-written by the aforementioned Keith Urban before he became famous), the lead-off single to their second album. Due to corporate restructuring, the album was never released and 4 Runner split up. The only way to find the song is by tracking down the very hard to find 45 of it.
Likewise, Rodney Atkins made his debut in 1997 with "In a Heartbeat", which went nowhere. It took him 5 years to put out a follow-up (and two more to get a full album). In that timespan, "In a Heartbeat" became almost impossible to find, except for the occasional CD copy on Amazon. (It's also been put on YouTube.)
1990s country singer Lionel Cartwright quit before he could release a fourth album for MCA Records. Two of the singles ("Be My Angel" and "Standing on the Promises") made the charts. The former has at least two copies of the video floating around on YouTube, but the latter was not put on that site until much later. Your other option is to buy the hard-to-find 45s of either. "Be My Angel" goes double, since around the same time, co-writer Dan Seals cut it as the B-side to his very obscure single "Mason Dixon Line" and never put his version on a full album.
In the wake of the "Macarena" craze, a group called the GrooveGrass Boyz put out a country version of the song, which was only ever released as a single through a small, short-lived indie label. Your best bet nowadays? Amazon or YouTube, again.
In early 2004, Sonya Isaacs made top 40 on the country charts with "No Regrets Yet". Even though her first album was released despite failing to produce a top 40 hit, "No Regrets Yet" wasn't enough to get her second, Pictures of Me, out (In fact, Lyric Street Records dropped her afterward.) "No Regrets Yet" was never put on iTunes, and one of the only circulating copies is on YouTube. By comparison, another female singer named Ryan Tyler had a #36 hit with "Run, Run, Run" around the same time, and even it is on iTunes (as is the follow-up) although she never got to put out a full album either. On the other hand, songwriter Brett James put out two singles for Arista (the same label Tyler was signed to) in 2001-2002: "After All" and "Chasin' Amy". Neither is on iTunes, and "After All" is nowhere to be found except a single MySpace page.
And in the same timespan, BNA Records put out "Texas Plates" by Kellie Coffey. It made #24, and the album was delayed. After a cover of Luther Vandross' "Dance with My Father" fell short of Top 40, she exited the label with the second album canned. The song never made it to iTunes at the time. The music video is on YouTube, but with very low sound quality and an audio hiccup at one point. She has since put it on iTunes, but in re-recorded form.
Amy Dalley put out singles for Curb Records between 2003 and 2007. Even though three of them ("Love's Got an Attitude", "Men Don't Change", and "I Would Cry") made the mid-20s on the country charts — which nearly any other label would consider reasonable enough for a debut single — Curb Records never put out her album.
Jon Randall had two unreleased albums in a row: Great Day to Be Alive in 1996, and Cold Coffee Morning a year later. The latter had two chart singles, and the former later had its title track Covered Up by Travis Tritt, whose version went to #2 in 2001. There is at least one copy of Cold Coffee Morning circulating for $100, and both of its singles ("She Don't Believe in Fairy Tales" and the title track) can easily be found on YouTube.
John Berry had two albums in a row of unreleased material: Crazy for the Girl had its lead-off single "The Stone" pulled after only a few weeks due to Berry suffering vocal cord issues that left him unable to finish the album, and Better Than a Biscuit, which already had "Over My Shoulder" and the title track on the charts, was pulled because Berry left the label. "Over My Shoulder" at least has a video circulating, but the other two seem to be unaccounted for on the Internet.
Scotty Emerick, in 2003, released a duet with Toby Keith called "I Can't Take You Anywhere". It was to be included on an album for DreamWorks Records, but the album was never released. However, iTunes released a digital-exclusive EP containing that song and a couple others.
Right after it was released, Jason Aldean's "Take a Little Ride" had the line "Grab a little Shiner Bock" replaced with "Grab a couple Rocky tops" because he had just signed an advertising contract with Coors (whose beer cans feature outlines of the Rocky Mountains on them). You might find the odd station playing the "Shiner Bock" version, but most online outlets have only the "Rocky tops" version.
Another single from an unreleased album: "The World Needs a Drink" by Terri Clark. The song, co-written by a then-unknown Eric Church, was slated to be on an album titled Honky Tonk Songs. The album was Re Tooled as Life Goes On, with "The World Needs a Drink" MIA. However, it later appeared on Mercury's 20th Century Masters series. And after that, Clark had "Dirty Girl" and "In My Next Life" from the album My Next Life, which would've been released on BNA Records in 2007.
A weird example is a rare 1996 country single, "Remember When" by Ray Vega. The corresponding album was never released, but it did appear on a sampler CD put out by Maxwell House coffee called Taste of Country. Good luck finding that, though...
Despite being one of the hottest and most prolific country music groups of all time, Brooks & Dunn has at least one: "Sunday Money", a tribute to Dale Earnhardt. It was originally performed at a 1993 awards banquet, and later released (with one verse removed) on a promotional disc sold at Mobil stations in 1998.
In 1999, he put out a parody of Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen" titled "Everybody's Free (To Get Sunburned)". It was never put on an album, so the single has become hard to find.
The two extended plays he released in 2003, A Six Pack of Judd and The Original Dixie Hick, quickly became hard to find as they both had limited runs. The former was also put out by Monument Records right before their country music division closed.
Three later songs, "Illegals" (2007), "Tiger by the Tail (The Tale of Tiger Woods)" (2009 parody of Buck Owens' "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail"), and "Redneck Christmas" (2010 duet with Deborah Allen) — were also never put on an album.
CMT has done a good job archiving most country music artists' videos, but they are by no means complete. Some can be found only on YouTube, while the existence of others is known only through the video listings in back issues of Billboard.
A notorious video that will probably never be shown, not just on CMT, but VH-1 and MTV as well is "Top Of The World" by The Dixie Chicks. A number of factors contribute to this include the extremely depressing nature of the music video, the length of the music video (6 minutes compared the average 3 or 4), and the most of all, the controversy surrounding the band at the time. The video was removed from circulation on VH-1 after viewer complaints of the video's majorTear Jerker material, but someone uploaded it to YouTube in 2008, only for it to removed in early 2012. It now only exists in poor video quality in various places throughout the internet.
When exactly the first country music video was produced has been disputed, with several sources making various claims. Country music historian Bill Malone has made the claim with Don Williams' 1973 single "The Shelter of Your Eyes," while Hee Haw producer Sam Louvillo has claimed the same for his show, with his videos airing four years earlier. In addition, Buck Owens (who later starred on Hee Haw) has said he was the first to produce a country video, for his 1969 hit "Tall Dark Stranger." And, a video of Glen Campbell's 1969 hit "Galveston" is known to exist. Except for "videos" aired in repeats of Hee Haw (the show currently reruns on RFD) the Owens' and Williams' videos have never been aired on TV, at least not since the late 1970s, while "Galveston" has been uploaded to YouTube.
The videos that aired on Hee Haw were not true music videos as they are known today, but rather were of cobbled-together footage of rural settings and/or sped-up stop-action films of people dancing and/or acting goofy, and were used more for comedy than serious promotion of the song it was played under. The concept was short-lived, as several prominent country artists expressed their discomfort with their songs becoming little more than an instrument for comedy.
Laserdance's two Orchestra albums, which were compilations of B-sides and early non-album singles previously only available on vinyl, have so far not been digitally rereleased, and Volume 2 is especially rare, due to its limited printing. There's also the B-sides "Galactica"(from the Laserdance '88) and "Fall of the Wall" (from Megamix Vol 3).
The self-titled album by world music/electronic duo Deep Forest, which featured such tracks as "Hunting" and "Sweet Lullaby". The issue? They did get clearance for samples of a particular musicologist's recordings of indigenous music... but not for all the samples that they used. It did, however, get an Updated Re-release, World Mix.
Daft Punk's first EP, The New Wave, is out of print and can only be found through torrenting or vinyl editions on eBay.
The discography of The KLF (aka The JAMS) was intentionally pulled out of print by the band in the early 1990s, who also burnt much of the money they made from them. The problem is not so much getting hold of the CDs (they sold many copies), it is the fact that their UK CDs were prone to bronzing, meaning that they could become unplayable after a number of years. Pressings from Europe, the US and Australia did not do this and so have become very sought after by UK fans. Vinyl is not prone to this problem, but being heavily played by DJs at the time means it is more likely to suffer from crackles. Luckily, their whole discography has been available illegally for quite some time.
BT's first two albums, Ima and ESCM, and the singles from them, as well as his greatest hits compilation 10 Years in the Life, have yet to be rereleased digitally (or at all), due to legal conflicts between record companies or something like that.
The Coolaid mix of "Quark" was originally only released on the DJ-only vinyl promo, and wasn't publicly released until 10 Years in the Life in 2002, and even then only as part of the nonstop-mixed second CD. That's better than the other promo remixes, which were never commercially released at all.
Dune's single "Heaven" was never officially released due to a lawsuit over plagiarism of A7's "Piece of Heaven". It was leaked onto P2P networks, though.
Chicane's Easy To Assemble album never got a commercial release due to it being leaked and distributed on filesharing networks beforehand. Digital Piracy Is Evil.
Kraftwerk's nearly-forgotten first three albums were never rereleased on CD except as unauthorized bootlegs.
Jean Michel Jarre only produced one copy of his Music for Supermarkets album, then destroyed the master tapes. It was bootlegged via low-quality tapings of the mid-wave radio broadcast. Jarre actually encouraged the listeners to do that. Bootlegging is also the only way to obtain recordings of his concerts in full length. Jarre in China is the sole exception, and it was released in full length because thousands of fans requested it by e-mail.
The electronica label Platipus Records went out of business, thus all their digital releases have been delisted, eg Union Jack's Pylon Pigs album. Your only options now are to buy used or pirate.
So far, only one of Xorcist's albums, Insects and Angels, has been digitally rereleased. Most of their discography used to be available for free legal download, but has since been deleted.
The full unmixed version of "Dude in the Moon" by Dastrix (a short version was featured in Need for Speed: High Stakes) was only released on vinyl, and the record label went under long ago. Same for many of Mike Koglin's other early projects, eg The Argonauts.
"Promise Me" by Sandi Castillo & The Force, only released as a very limited promo back in 1992.
The original version ofMusic/Underworld's "Born Slippy" has never been rereleased, due to the B-side "Born Slippy NUXX" outshining it.
The original 1992 full-vocal version of The Nightcrawlers' "Push the Feeling On" has never been reissued, mainly because MK's dub remixes were much more popular. You can still find the single on Amazon for reasonable prices.
Wax Trip by DJ Inx/Dark House Project, and many other singles and albums published by the long-defunct Sm:)e Communications,such as Peter Vriends's Quadripart Project: Emotional Travelogue and Blue Amazon's The Javelin. Good luck finding a used copy of Wax Trip and ripping it (or a CD-R bootleg), as it was only released as a vinyl as far as I know.
The Empirion songs "The Pain", "What You Are Now", and "Big Time", featured in Test Drive 6, appear to have been created exclusively for the game, and are unavailable elsewhere. At least you can rip them from the disc (I think), if you can find it.
Eurobeat label Delta's Eurobeat Masters albums were delisted from iTunes and Junodownload due to legal conflicts with Avex Trax (the publishers of Super Eurobeat). They are still being circulated in CD form if you know where to look, although they may be a tad pricey. Or you can skirt the law and search for them on filesharing services. They're still available for download on Amazon's MP3 service, however. Probably not for long though.
Orbital's first three albums have still not been digitally rereleased, and The Altogether is not on US iTunes for some reason. At least the Diversions remix EP is on there. Also hard to find are the original version of "Halcyon" (from the Radiccio EP) and the 28 minute version of "The Box" (on the rare single and a rather limited edition of In Sides). There are a LOT of single tracks that remain very hard to find, and the bonus tracks from the vinyl and cassette editions of their first album have also never reappeared in any form.
Both of Vincent de Moor's albums are out-of-print and unlikely to ever be reissued. Moor starts at $32 on Amazon.com,, while Orion City fetches at least $50.
Motiv 8's single "Continuum" was never released except as a DJ-only white label vinyl. Several attempts were made to license it for commercial release, but failed (other than one remix featured on the Remixland compilation). Thus, the only way to obtain it is through methods of questionable legality. A similar fate befell "More than a Feeling", an even rarer promo-only single.
There was a trance remix of Vangelis' "Pulstar" by an artist calling himself Majestic 12 (perhaps an actual member of that secret society?) in 1999, that was never released to the public, although it was leaked and distributed by a few P2P users in the early 2000s. If you're not one of the lucky few who ran across it than, it's Lost Forever. According to Discogs, it did get released on select Dance compilations and it's easy to track down and buy.
This is more or less the only way to obtain Autechre's Quaristice Versions, a bonus disc included with the ultra-rare limited edition of ''Quaristice', which sold out on pre-order. Even more inaccessible is the iTunes Japan-exclusive companion EP.
The Crystalline Effect's second EP was originally called Do Not Open. Pete gave several copies to some friends, and someone leaked their copy. As a result, half the songs on the EP were permanently scrapped and they had to pull some tracks off their second album, then called Hypothermia, and make new songs for Hypothermia. The result: Do Not Open was renamed Hypothermia, Hypothermia was renamed Identity, and there's about half an EP that only exists on the Internet.
Swedish act Chong Lee was technically only supposed to have one song released, "You Wanna Fight", on various dance compilations. An album called "Same Same But Different" was recorded, but not licensed for release and the project was abandoned... until somehow, a single copy of the album surfaced on a Chinese auction site a decade later, much to the surprise of producers Robin Rex and Anders Nyman, since they didn't even have copies anymore.
Cherri is similar to Chong Lee in that she was a Swedish act, produced by Robin Rex and Anders Nyman, who had songs on compilations (in this case, "Come and Get Your Love" and "All I Wanna Say"), recorded an album, and then vanished before the album was ever released. Again, not even the producers have the songs anymore. Almost the whole album has been leaked by DJs with promotional copies, but the leaked track for the album's version of the song "Heart" is incomplete - the only full version of "Heart" floating around is the version from the single release, which is also rare but at least got an official disc at some point.
The various iterations of Binary Finary's 1998 single had a number of different B-sides, including "About Time", "Anthemic", and "Cryogen". None have been rereleased, and most are only available on vinyl.
The rare original 1996 release of Ayla's self-titled single also included a couple B-sides, namely "Ambience" and DJ Tandu & Fact's pre-Ayla collaboration "Stoy Joe", which are unlikely to ever be rereleased. The not too well-recieved 1997 follow-up single Atlantis is equally hard to find. Likewise, the first edition of Nirwana had the track "Celine", which was replaced by "Angelfalls" on subsequent reissues, and has not been seen since. Another non-album B-side is "Outburst" from Singularity, which has also yet to be reissued, possibly due to copyright difficulties, being a remake of Brainchild's "Symmetry"; said single is not featured on the digital rerelease of Nirwana either, nor is the 1999 DJ Tandu remix of his/their self-titled song(re-replaced by the radio edit of the aforementioned original mix).
Vicious Pink's 1986 self-titled album did finally get a CD re-release in 2012, but only in the UK, and it suffered from Loudness War remastering. It also did not include the ultra-rare English Extended Version of "C-c-can't You See"?, only the radio edit, remix, 7" dub and French Extended versions.
Musicdisk, the 2004 professional album by Purple Motion of the Future Crew demoscene group, has long since gone out of print, so the only way to obtain it is through Bittorrent or other filesharing services, or as an expensive used copy if that is possible.
The full 15-minute version of Aphex Twin & Chris Cunningham's "Flex" video. Warning: NSFW.
While a lot of Enya's music videos can be found on YouTube, owning them on DVD is almost out of the question. A release was made in 2001, but only in Europe, South Africa, and Asia. The few that pop up are usually region-locked so people in the US can't even play them. Worse still are the fake copies that pop up on Discogs that demand a pretty penny. Your only hope of owning some of the videos is through a prestigious VHS titled Moonshadows released in the 90s that commands a high price if it's in good condition. There was an even-rarer Laser Disc print of it that featured rare special features of the singer. Even rarer than that is the V-CD of Shepard Moons released in Taiwan. Then there's the deluxe version of The Best Of Enya which included a bonus DVD that featured most (but not all) of the featured videos from the 2001 release. Also missing are the special features from the DVD and Laser Disc releases (which feature some of the rare interviews with her).
Devil Doll, an experimental rock band. Most of their songs were released in small quantities, so finding even one is extremely rare.
Wild Man Fischer's debut album, "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer" is one of the earliest Outsider Music albums and by far his most popular album. That said, since it's release in 1968 it has never been reissued on LP, nor CD. The reason for this is that the album's producer, Frank Zappa, had a falling out with Fischer after the mentally insane musician threw a bottle at Zappa's infant daughter. Luckily he missed, but this made Zappa so insane that he ordered Fischer to get out and vowed to never re-release the album again. From that moment on Fischer basically became an Un-Person to Zappa. He never referred to him again in public and never gave singles from the album airplay whenever he was a guest DJ during radio shows. Fischer arguably made things worse by claiming that Zappa had exploited him and blamed him for the fact that this album didn't become a commercial bestseller. Zappa died in 1993, Fischer in 2011 and to this day "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer" remains unavailable. Bootlegs and old copies however are treasured cult objects.
Captain Beefheart's Lick My Decals Off Baby, despite its critical acclaim, remains out of print due to rights issues, with copies, both official and unofficial, fetching high prices. It's been rereleased on vinyl for the true collectors / audiophiles among us - still not much of a consolation for those who just want a simple CD copy, as the only CD release of the album is from '89 and long out of print, regularly fetching prices of over a hundred dollars. It was eventually made available on iTunes. Not coincidentally, this was shortly after Zappa manager Herb Cohen's death - Cohen allegedly holding the master tapes to ransom for unpaid debts. Although if you want a lossless copy, it would still have to be CD sourced. In 2014 it finally became available on CD again, yet as part of a box set called "Sun Zoom Spark", which also forces you to pay for "The Spotlight Kid" and "Clear Spot" again if you had already purchased those. Bonus CD however is a disc with outtakes.
Mr. Bungle, on stage, performed energetic, mostly cheesy, covers of several songs. The covers included pop ballads such as "Nothing Compares 2U," punk rock standards, the Super Mario Bros. theme, 80s pop tunes, and, in the midst of their feud with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a mean-spirited mock-medley of RHCP hits. The Mr. Bungle covers have been bootlegged and highly downloaded through programs such as Napster back in the day.
Disco Inferno released a series of 5 EPs in the early 90s that are popularly referred to (and bootlegged as) a set but are unlikely to see official release as such due to the EPs being released on several labels.
Adrian Legg's pre-Relativity records releases: Technopicker, Lost For Words, All Round Gigster, and Fretmelt
Leo Kottke's Circle 'Round the Sun and 12-String Blues. This may just be one album, or one is a live version of the other. In either case, it is/they are rare.
When Bob Dylan left Columbia Records in the early 70s for Asylum Records, Columbia released an album cleverly called Dylan of some of the less-usable outtakes (they range from listenable to unexceptional to downright awful). This move was partially motivated by profit and partially by revenge. A few years later, Dylan went back to Columbia and the album has largely been buried, never released on CD in the USA outside the Complete Album Collection box set (though it did receive a brief CD reissue in Europe and apparently can now be purchased through iTunes).
Fans of British Folk Music are massively pissed off that practically all material recorded in the 1970s on the significant Leader/Trailer labels has never been released on CD or online. This is because the owner of the rights refused to licence them to anybody or rerelease the material himself, for unclear reasons despite much demand. He died in 2013, leading to hopes that at least some of it might finally be reissued.
Tim Hardin was a pretty obscure folk singer-songwriter who continuously trapped himself in heroin addictions until his untimely death in 1980, right before he was about to make a comeback artistically. His albums weren't really well-known as is when he was alive. Since his death, however, he has been heavily Vindicated by History due to him having written many late folk staples that have been covered by numerous artists (Rod Stewart, The Carpenters, Red House Painters, etc.). For some strange reason, likely due to the fractured rights issues with his albums (the less reasons stated, the better), his albums are extremely hard to get a hold of if you don't have 50 dollars in your pocket. With the exception of a CD print of his first two self titled albums, CD printings are incredibly hard to get a hold of, with original vinyl printings somehow being even rarer. This makes him one of the few artists who appeared at Woodstock who hasn't had heavy reissues.
Anaïs Mitchell's first album, The Song They Sang When Rome Fell, is completely impossible to find outside of pirating it. Officially, it doesn't even exist; her website's discography section doesn't acknowledge it as ever having happened.
When Slowdance Records, and independent record label, went under in 2008, so did most of its catalogue.
Most small-label or independent artist albums, especially if the record label has gone bust. For that matter, lots of artists even on major labels whose work seriously predated the digital age — mostly just the second- and third-tier artists, but still. Good luck finding, say, a Dave & Sugar album anywhere. And heck, there are even Ronnie Milsap songs that are out of print. Not obscure stuff either; actual hits like "Prisoner of the Highway" are nowhere to be seen on iTunes, and most albums anymore have only re-recordings.
The Spinto Band had a long string of self-released albums before signing to Bar/None records in 2005 and becoming more well-known. At the time you could buy most of these releases from mp3.com, but now they're just floating around the internet. If you do seek the earlier albums out, be forewarned that Early Installment Weirdness abounds for the most part.
Anything by the industrial group Flowerpot Men (not to be confused with the 60's Britpop group). None of their records were released in CD format, and the record labels are long gone.
KMFDM's first album Opium suffered from this trope for almost two decades, as its initial release was limited to a run of 200 cassettes, and the master tapes were lost for a long time (and nearly destroyed by a house fire).
Up Off The Floor by God Lives Underwater is another album that's actually said to have better sound quality as a bootleg. The album was a Lost Episode from 2000 - when it finally saw release 4 years later on Megaforce Records, mp3 compression artifacts were present, which are absent from bootleg versions that were sourced from promos. In addition, two songs from the sessions are notably absent: "Choir Boy" and a cover of David Bowie's "Fame" - "Fame" had been previously released on the soundtrack to the film 15 Minutes though.
In a similar case to KMFDM's Opium, Front Line Assembly's debut Nerve War was only self-released as a promo cassette in 1986, and unlike the former, has yet to see a legitimate rerelease in any form.
One particular song from Rammstein's Live aus Berlin performance was censored out: Buck dich which was...rather controversial, to say the least. (Yes, this is the song where the keyboardist crawls around in bondage gearand the singer pretends to sodomize him.) Only early VHS releases of Live aus Berlin included Buck dich, later releases and the DVD skip right over that song, so the best bet to finding that song is scouring YouTube, if the copyright guardians haven't taken it down.
Nine Inch Nails' release Closure was released on VHS, and a DVD version was planned, with extra content, but scrapped. So what did Trent do? He leaked it onto the internet himself. It is still available if you know where to look.
Ditto the 20 minute short film based on the songs from the "Broken" EP. There's still some debate as to whether or not it was ever intended for official release (mostly due to the Gorn content), but after over a decade of bootlegs, Reznor went ahead and leaked it himself.
Likewise, the full version of the very NSFW music video for "Sin" (that is due to sexual content, not violence) was banned from MTV and most public venues when it was released in 1990 (even though it's rumored that it was shown in some dance clubs during the early 90s). Unlike the Happiness in Slavery video (which was also banned from MTV), most people didn't even know it existed, and it was never leaked. In 1997, a partial version, consisting of roughly the second half of the video was released on the Closure video set, and in 2001, the full version was viewable for the first time on the TVT Records website. It has since been deleted, but is now available on YouTube, where it somehow isn't even age-restricted.
Skinny Puppy's "Worlock" video, due to its extreme Gorn content and laundry list of copyright violations (it was a compilation of scenes and moments that were banned or censored from horror films, released in protest of censorship), was completely banned from TV and commercial distribution, thus bootlegging is the only way to see it.
In the early 80's, prominent producer Fred Catero founded his own label, Catero Records, that specialized in excellent jazz artists and projects that were not as commercially viable as big-label artists. It didn't last long, and the majority of the label's releases were never heard from again (an exception being Cyrille Verdeaux's "Messenger of the Son"), including never getting CD releases.
In one of the most egregious examples of this in music history, all of the albums that Megadeth have recorded from Peace Sells... But Who's Buying through Risk have been officially out of print since 2004. In their place are remix/re-record hybrids where certain tracks are replaced with completely new performances by musicians who have never set foot in the studios they were recorded in, as well as a 2004 Dave Mustaine singing over tracks he originally recorded at varying periods of his life. If you want to hear to hear those albums as they were recorded at the time of their creation with the musicians that they are credited to and released to the public, your only choice is to find them used. The fact that they share the same album art and are consistently tagged as the real thing makes it even worse.
A particularly egregious example among Iron Maiden fans is finding the music used as intro music on the Maiden England Tour (2012-2014). The song is Audio Network's "Rising Mercury", which was notably also used in the trailer for the French horror film The Monk, and It can be bought through their website but is hard to find through file sharing networks and even isn't on iTunes or on any physical releases either.
Patareni, one of the earliest Grindcore bands known, had a huge album discography, none of which ever really got widely reprinted. Several discography CD's were released in 2004, but they were also in low print and sell for a pricey penny whenever they pop up in online stores.
Ozzy Osbourne's The Ultimate Sin hasn't been reissued since 1995, due to legal issues with one of his songwriters over the album. It's not terribly difficult to find compared to some of the other examples, but finding a fresh copy may get a bit pricey.
Body Count's "Cop Killer" became their best-known song due to massive controversy about its lyrical content, but said controversy also forced them to pull their Self-Titled Album out of print and quickly re-release it with a replacement song (a remix of Ice-T's solo track "Freedom Of Speech", appropriately enough). At the time, they were giving out "Cop Killer" itself as a free standalone single, and a live version was later included on their 2005 album Live In LA, but the original studio recording has yet to be officially re-released.
Technical Death Metal Fans will forever scorn the day Gorguts decided to release Obscura on an extremely limited run. After it's acclaim and success, the band never rereleased it on CD. In 2012, the band surprised everyone when they decided to reissue the album... on vinyl. There aren't any rights issues, issues with the label, or even the band themselves, they just like the idea of one of their works being considered a priceless treasure. Copies from the album's printing cost anywhere from 73 dollars for a semi-damaged copy all the way up to 500 or 600-ish dollars for one in good condition. Your best bet is to look in really run-down record stores where many metal fans have found the album in a discount bin, the vendors usually unaware of the album's rarity and value. It is also available on iTunes, though only in 256 bit-rate. This is one of those albums where in order to really appreciate its complexity, you have to be able to hear it in either FLAC or 320.
Obscure but critically acclaimed technical thrash metal band Aspid released one album before dissolving. Extravasation, originally issued in 1992, received no fanfare (possibly due to being from Russia, in Russian, near the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union) until it was re-issued in 2007. However, the 2007 version is slightly sped up, leading the original tracks to be damned near nonexistent.
While limited releases are pretty much to be expected in Black Metal, Portland, OR's Hail have taken this trope to its extreme with their extremely limited CD-R pressings. Most of them have only 30 copies printed. Their first album, Crimson Madrigal, had a much larger 93. Pretty much their only release that hasn't fallen victim to this trope, in fact, is Frozen Grave, which was given a much larger vinyl pressing (of several hundred copies, and with a nearly seventeen-minute bonus track) by label Pesanta Urfolk.
Real Life's debut album Heartland which includes the original version of "Send Me an Angel", has never seen a CD reissue, except as a very limited run in their homeland of Australia. It is, however, available on major MP3 stores. There's also the rare extended promo edition of "Send Me an Angel", which has an awesome piano break not heard in the short version.
All of the Art Of Noise's albums between 1985 and 1998 are astonishingly rare, as their record company went bust and all of the albums are deleted. Don't even get into the B-sides and single edits... a compilation has released about eleven songs out of three albums and their singles' B-sides, and it's the only commercial release there is. Rumour has it that the mastertapes for the albums have been lost.
Donna Summer's 1981 album, I'm A Rainbow, was a deliberate effort to shed her 1970s disco diva image. However, her label, Geffen Records, was unhappy with the result, and the album in its entirety would not be released for another 15 years, despite the circulation of bootleg copies of the album. A small number of the tracks also appeared on film soundtracks during the 1980s. This would also be her last collaboration with famed composer-producer Giorgio Moroder.
Peter Schilling is known in the United States mostly for his single "Major Tom (Coming Home)," but good luck in finding copies of his albums Things To Come and Error in the System, both of which are loaded with spaced-out themes and weren't released on CD.
The track "Don't Worry" from The B-52s album Whammy! was a Shout-Out to a Yoko Ono track of the same name, and the group credited Ono in the liner notes. Ono didn't see it as such and threatened to sue; the B-52's changed it in subsequent pressings to a re-recording of a track from their first album. Only those who had the first pressings of Whammy! have the original song.
Dexys Midnight Runners had three albums released in their original formation years. Searching For Young Soul Brothers and Too-Rye-Aye are regularly reissued and listened to by fans. Their final album, Don't Stand Me Down, however, was a commercial and critical failure, and has thus failed to have any successful print runs on CD. Throughout the 80s and 90s, nobody seemed to really care. However as the band quickly got Vindicated by History people heard some of the songs on YouTube and were drooling over how great the album really sounded. The album runs for about $119 minimum on Amazon and that just seems to be for the Vinyl version. The CDs are somehow even more expensive despite them being more recent. The album isn't even available on iTunes and critical opinion of the album has vastly improved, with it now being named one of the band's shining moments.
The only way to legally obtain the extended version of New Wave band B-movie's best known song, 'Nowhere Girl', is by tracking down the 'Nowhere Girl' EP, which hasn't been reprinted since the 1980s. The short version can be found on the soundtrack to the film 200 Cigarettes, and the song's re-recordings of the song are on iTunes.
Until a few years ago, the concert film Urgh! A Music War, featuring performances by the likes of Oingo Boingo, The Police, and The Dead Kennedys was unavailable for purchase on any digital media, due to rights issues. Currently, there is an official DVD release, of sorts - Warner Archive has an online shop where it's selling an un-remastered, un-restored version as a download or burned-on-demand DVD-R, with the original trailer as the only extra.
Oingo Boingo's farewell concert, titled just "Farewell", is out of print. Before that, there was a VHS and DVD put out. The DVD (as of this writing) goes for at least $77. The album is still available on iTunes and Amazon MP3, but physical copies have also been taken out of circulation too.
Xaman, the second LP by UK cult noise-rock group Skullflower, is a particularly egregious example of this. Not only is the album almost certainly never going to be released due to clashes over mixing between principles Stefan Jaworzyn and Matthew Bower, but the CD version suffers from a defect known as "disc rot", rendering possibly all such copies unplayable by this date. This leaves only the original vinyl album in official circulation, but even this is fairly rare, expensive, and missing several songs. To add insult to injury, it is generally agreed among fans that Xaman is Skullflower's best album, not to mention one of their most accessible releases. Hence, the release only survives in full via file-sharing.
Many of Gian-Carlo Menotti's operas, including Maria Golovin, Labyrinth, and Goya, were shown on TV perhaps once, and never re-released. Labyrinth has yet to have any other recording, and all that exists of Maria Golovin is an LP record released by RCA Victor. Though there was a CD recording of Goya. Likewise, the original radio broadcast of The Old Maid and the Thief has yet to be re-released.
A notable exception to the EP removal phenomenon is Lorde. Due to her popularity, her debut EP The Love Club was simply re-released with the "Tennis Court" B-side "Swingin' Party" replacing "Royals".
Bootleg-swapping was once a vital part of community building in the ABBA fandom, largely because of the sizeable amount of material that remains unreleased. Most of it is from the post-Visitors sessions, like the Chess demos and "Just Like That" (which has gathered hype like a rolling snowball due to its unreleased status). This declined sharply after Universal Music sued ABBAMAIL — the biggest ABBA fan site/organization — for selling unreleased material as a fundraising measure. This fatally crippled the group and its founders, leading to the site's demise a short time later. Yeah, that'll learn 'em.
"No Goodbyes", an alternate version of "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys, was never commerically released (although it was widely circulated via P2P).
Ditto for "Pure Intuition", the English version of Shakira's "Las de las Intuicion".
Lisa Lougheed's Evergreen Nights, which includes "Run With Us", the Theme Tune of The Raccoons (which itself is mostly only available through illegal methods), was only released in Canada on vinyl and cassette, and you can forget about a reissue in any form. It's also only available on Grooveshark.
Before they signed with Hopeless (and graduated from high school), All Time Low had two releases on a regional imprint: The Three Words to Remember in Dealing with the End, an EP; and The Party Scene, a full-length. There were only a thousand legal physical copies made of both CDs. Five of the songs on the latter were re-recorded on Put Up or Shut Up ("Break Out! Break Out!", "The Girl's a Straight-Up Hustler", "The Party Scene", "Running from Lions", and "Lullabies"), but the rest have been out of print for years and are almost never played live, so the only way to hear them is to track down an MP3 download somewhere. In fact, ATL's Alex Gaskarth apparently has the only known physical copy of the former, which suggests that he himself leaked it. "The Party Scene" is incredibly easy to find on the internet for free or for a cheap price, despite there being no legal way to obtain it.
There is one known copy of the album Around The World by Swedish bubblegum band Cosmo4 in existence, in the hands of a music blog owner who reviewed the album. Not even the members of the band have any idea how on Earth he got it, nor do they have copies of the tracks. The record label announced the album's release back in 2007, constantly delayed it until December 2009, and its supposed December 2009 release date came and went without another word. The songs "Peek-A-Boo", "What's Your Name", "Mexico", and "Adios Amigos" are fairly easy to acquire due to receiving official single releases. Other songs are harder to come by, but they're out there if you look hard enough - they're mostly available on Thai bootleg compilations. Two songs, however, "I Think We're Alone Now" and "What's Not To Like", remain non-existent.
Sinatra Jobim, the second collaboration between Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, produced only a vinyl test pressing and 3,500 8-track tapes. When the collaboration fell apart, Warner Bros. issued a recall to retailers. At least five tapes escaped the recall and are still out there, but they're ridiculously expensive. However, the complete track order of Sinatra Jobim was reproduced on 2010's Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings as tracks 11 through 20.
The Beach Boys' Summer In Paradise may be one of the most hated albums of all time, but it is also one of the most sought after CD's in existence. Having sold a reported less than 10,000 copies upon release (and forcing their publisher to go out of business), the album was actually fairly quickly pulled off the shelves. It's said that there are less than 1,000 copies in circulation, though you could probably easily find them in a thrift shop by accident.
In 2001, Katy Perry (under her birth name, Katy Hudson) released a self-titled contemporary Christian album. The record label went out of business and only about 100 copies were sold. The album is not currently available through any legal means, and copies sold on the secondary market sell for several hundreds of dollars.
While the 2010 box set Michael Jackson's Vision claimed to have collected all of Michael Jackson's music videos on DVD, there were some notable omissions:
The biggest one was the Short FilmGhosts (1997) — only VHS and Video CD releases exist, and those didn't even make it to North America (the best one could do was tape it from MTV or VH-1 over 2001-02). The DVD box set does include the condensed version used to promote its title song. (It's possible that Jackson's estate is uncomfortable with the content, as the short is a blatant Allegory for the child molestation charges leveled at him in The Nineties, and such issues are the kind they and Jackson's fans would rather people forget about.)
Two videos made for songs he did with The Jacksons, "Torture" (1984) and "2300 Jackson Street" (1989). Granted, he didn't appear on screen in the former (a waxwork of him served as a stand-in instead).
"Whatzupwitu", a 1993 Eddie Murphy song he made an appearance on. This may or may not have to do with the fact that a 1999 MTV special voted it the third worst music video of all time.
Back in 1993, "Who Is It" got the same treatment in North America to promote an MTV "make your own video for this song" contest, while overseas viewers got an actual video directed by David Fincher. The Fincher version is the only one that's appeared on compilations.
Also, while the original music video for "Blood on the Dance Floor" was included, a remix was included instead of the original song.
Pink Floyd's Masters of Rock went out of print before the transition to CD, and many of the songs on it are original singles that were only ever released individually, or on Masters of Rock. However, being a compilation, all songs from the album are available on other Pink Floyd releases. The reason its collectable and demands high prices from Pink Floyd completists is because it includes a rare radio edit of the song "It Would Be So Nice" and alternate mixes of the songs "Julia Dream" and "Apples and Oranges".
Sound Horizon's early albums were published as doujin works and therefore only had a very limited run. While all of the CDs are available for illegal download online, physical copies sell for hundreds of bucks on Yahoo! Auctions Japan, and they will probably never get an official reprint.
Surprisingly for a band as commercially successful as Yes, their 1994 studio album Talk is very scarce, having only been printed once before the label went bankrupt, and once again in 2002 by a different company that acquired the rights. Every other Yes album is a click away on sites like Amazon, but Talk requires finding a used copy at inflated prices.
Bad Religion's second album Into The Unknown will most likely never make it to CD, although this is actually a deliberate case of Canon Discontinuity on the part of the band themselves (see its entry in Old Shame for details on why). That said, it has been reissued on vinyl... But is only available as part of the box set 30 Years Of Bad Religion, which features records of all 15 studio albums the band had released up to 2010.
Amen's Join or Die (also known as Buy American on some releases), the album that Virgin Records refused to release, was later released by the band's own label, but only for about 2000 or so copies. None of the songs on the album have been released ever again (except a couple on a live album) and even the band themselves said that fans who didn't have it were better off getting it through "other means" than waiting for a reissue.
Rocket From The Tombs were a proto-punk band that formed in 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio and broke up a year later without getting much attention or getting a record out. Later, bootlegs of live shows and rehearsals started attracting a bit of a cult fandom, particularly because the band spun off into the better known acts Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys (both bands recorded their own versions of Rocket From The Tombs songs). There was finally an official release in 2002 when indie label Fire Fidelity issued The Day the Earth Met the Rocket from the Tombs, collecting material from said bootlegs into a 70 minute CD. Said CD didn't have great sound quality, but it helped bring about more interest in the material: Enough so that the band reunited the next year, with Television guitarist Richard Lloyd replacing the late Peter Laughner, and finally released their first proper album Rocket Redux, featuring new studio versions of their 70's material.
The Screamers were one of the earliest punk groups to prominently use synthesizers, they got some notable press coverage and sold out shows in their native Los Angeles while they were together, and they have been cited as an influence by bands like The Dead Kennedys. They also never officially released any recordings in their six years of existence: They planned on making their first "album" a series of music videos (though this idea was decided on years before MTV was around), but broke up before this could be finished. Target Video officially released a dvd of a live performance from 1978, but otherwise one has to resort to bootlegged concerts or rehearsal tapes to hear them.
As mentioned below, many old-school rap releases tend to get hit by this trope hard, due to the legal issues that emerge from sampling other records, the tendency for late 70s/early '80s rappers to perform live more than record, getting screwed by the label, and more.
Eminem has quite a few of these, often related to his early work. Generally speaking, if it is an Eminem release before 1998, it will fall under this trope.
Eminem's 1996 debut album Infinite was this trope twice. It was practically impossible to obtain legally, due to a very limited release in the Detroit area before he got famous. For a very brief time in 2009, Infinite was legally released as a free download on 50 Cent's website. It has since been taken down, and Eminem is unlikely to rerelease it due to it him publicly referring to it as Old Shame.
The Slim Shady EP, which saw the emergence of Eminem's "Slim Shady" alter-ego and helped him get signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath label, has never been rereleased since its 1998 release. Some of the tracks eventually became part of the Slim Shady LP, but the majority of the album has not been rereleased.
The Straight from the Lab EP is this if you don't live in Europe. Originally a seven track bootleg mixtape, nine other tracks, from varying sources, were thrown on for a European release by Universal Music in late 2003. While a few of the tracks got official releases as Encore bonus tracks("Love You More" or "We As Americans") or as part of D12 World("Come On In" was retitled "Six In The Morning"), most of them are only available through downloading.
Run-D.M.C.'s "It's Tricky" was briefly pulled from circulation in 2005 due to copyright infringement from sampling The Knack's "My Sharona". It was quickly back in print, however.
Pharoahe Monch's 1999 album Internal Affairs is a particularly gear-grinding example - widely regarded as a classic, highly accessible, and far and away Monch's most successful solo record, but has been out of print since 1999 because of disputes with his label and sampling issues.
Hip-Hop collective OFWGKTA have an absolutely massive discography (one fan has counted over 500 songs), but new fans will have to resort to torrents to get over half of it - so many of their albums have been taken down from their original upload sites (anything uploaded on LimeLinx, for example), as well as many unofficial mixtapes and collections not having an official upload in the first place means the tapes must be circulated.
The Beastie Boys' first single was a song called "Rock Hard" that was based on an obvious AC/DC sample repeated throughout the song. AC/DC denied the Beasties permission to include the song on their greatest-hits CD and as a result, the song, which was one of the greatest Beastie Boys songs, can only be attainable through original copies or bootlegs.
You may know that Shaquille O'Neal has released several rap albums. Shaquille O'Neal Presents His Superfriends, Vol. 1 was going to be one of them, originally scheduled for a 2001 release which never materialized, and Shaq's rap career never continued. An All Music reviewer somehow got a hold of the album, but only a few singles remain of this album. While Shaq is often So Bad, It's Good on the mic, the album also had guest verses from other rappers such as Common, Black Thought, and Nate Dogg. Two singles ("In the Sun" and "Make It Hot") and a video("Connected") are all that remains of this project, and they were never given anything other than a promotional release.
Several artists have had songs(but not the albums they were released on) get relegated to Canon Discontinuity.
Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle is a beloved West Coast classic and is very easy to obtain - unless you're looking for the original 1993 release which had "Gz Up, Hoez Down", which was removed from all subsequent pressings due to sample clearance issues. Unlike some of Snoop's other shelved songs, this one hasn't been rereleased in some form.
Similarly, most fans of Nas have never heard "Braveheart Party" from his Stillmatic album, because it was Exiled from Continuity in 2002 at the request of Mary J. Blige, who sang the hook for the track. Like the Doggystyle example above, "Braveheart Party" can only be heard on the original 2001 pressing. The song is somewhat of a Big Lipped Alligator Moment both thematically and in terms of quality on Stillmatic, though, so this case didn't cause as much fan backlash.
The reissue of the Quad City DJs' Get On Up and Dance album unfortunately omitted the dance/techno remix of "Come On and Ride It (The Train)", possibly due to legal issues. Or maybe because "nobody listens to techno anymore".
Much of Nujabes' music is out of print in the United States. If you intend to order a Nujabes album on Amazon, be willing to pay at least $50.
Some of the attempts at digitally releasing Nujabes' music outside of Japan have often run into this, partially due to legal disputes between Hydeout Productions and the foreign partner. Albums such as Metaphorical Music have been released on iTunes and then removed extremely quickly, for example.
Snoop Dogg's debut tape, a 1991 release entitled "Over the Counter" has never been found in full.
Due to the fact that much of it consisted of extremely amateur, low-fidelity recordings, the Insane Clown Posse has neglected to re-release a majority of their Inner City Posse catalog, save the more professional "Bassment Cuts" album and "Dog Beats" EP. One of the other albums ("Intelligence and Violence") only circulates in bootleg form, while others ("Enter The Ghetto Zone", the "Ghetto Territory" EP, and an alleged album called "Bass-Ment!" that even their autobiography fails to mention) have never emerged. Likewise, the two homemade singles recorded as the JJ Boyz, "Party At The Top Of The Hill" and a prototype "Southwest Song," may not even exist anymore.
Many, many early Hip-Hop acts have essentially been lost to the mists of time, being groups that did not actually record music, instead simply playing live shows. Thus, we know that (for example) Darryl C & The Crash Crew were fairly popular at one point, but we have very little of their music.
If it wasn't for YouTube a lot of old school hip-hop videos (and old skool vids in general) would have been lost into the ether. There isn't a VH-1 Classic for urban music videos. There was BETJ but they only played a few token old skool vids, Same with Centric. Even then Hip Hop was persona non grata. But YouTube was a great source for old school urban music vids....Excluding the whole WMG thing of course.
The original version of Jay-Z's "Wishing On A Star" was only released on the UK version of Vol. 1...In My Lifetime. Although various rereleases have included remixes, the song itself fits this trope for the rest of the world.
King Avriel, in response to a fan's Tumblr question about a downloadable version of the teaser version of Freedom, encouraged people to watch it on YouTube to increase her exposure, but also gave express permission to "totally DL it illegally so you can bump it in your headphones".
Neil Young's first "Ditch Trilogy" album, Time Fades Away, was released on vinyl and is the only Neil Young album that hasn't been reprinted anywhere, due to poor mixing and Neil Young's dislike for the album. His second "Ditch" album On The Beach was also out of print for a while, but that was rereleased three decades later.
The Dixie Dregs were an acclaimed Southern Rock/Jazz Fusion outfit from Florida founded by legendary guitarist Steve Morse. They released six studio albums between 1977 and 1982, and then disbanded. While their first three albums have been re-released on CD by Capricorn Records, their other three, done with Arista Records, haven't seen print since the 80's.
Peter Gabriel, in the early 1980s, recorded versions of Melt and Security with all of the songs sung in German. Some fans prefer the German albums over the widely-released English-language versions. The German albums, out of print and import-only, can fetch high prices on Amazon.
The Desert Storm remix of MusicStyx's "Show Me the Way" has never been released on any format, nor has it been heard on the radio since March, 1991.
There are countless "DJ-only" remixes that don't get released to the public.
The reason why this version hasn't been released is because Styx themselves hate it. The remix was done without their permission and they didn't like that the song was being used to state a political message. Eventually, they had the remix pulled from stations.
Another Styx example: Even though they occasionally perform the song "A Criminal Mind" live with their new lead singer, Lawrence Gowan (who originally recorded it during his solo career back in the 80s), none of their albums contains a cover of the track. The ONLY WAY to hear Styx and Gowan singing "A Criminal Mind" is to head over to YouTube or check certain concert DVDs... and most of the YouTube clips were filmed with cellphones, so the audio quality isn't all that great anyways. Oh, and the DVD versions ALWAYS use the shortened version of the song to fit it in the 5-minute mark rather than its actual length (7:02).
Almost all of The Beatles' music is available on CD, but although a couple of songs from their 1962 Decca session were included on the The Beatles Anthology 1 set, others such as "Love of the Loved" are still only available on bootlegs. After 1991, most of the American Capitol Beatles albums went out of print. The ones issued in 1963 & 1964 got reissued in a limited edition boxset, which is likely out of print by now. Because of lack of demand, the others weren't. The latter were rescued by the official Beatles Capitol Box Set.
How come you can buy all of The Beatles' music, but not the videos for songs like "Strawberry Fields Forever"? Because Apple Corps, the corporation that manages The Beatles' copyrighted materials, is slow and inefficient and has strange priorities when it comes to group productions. For instance, before the 9/9/2009 remasters of the band's discography, most Beatles songs (the exceptions being the ones present on the 1 compilation) had not been properly remastered since 1987.
Strangely, Apple Corps has posted 30 second clips of the remastered music videos (they're on this channel if you want to see them) but can't be bothered to release most of the full videos.
Let It Be is an especially annoying case. It was last legally released in 1991 (VHS and laserdisc). If it is released again, it will likely not be the same edit as was first aired in theaters. And, geniuses that Apple Corps are, they released the remix tie-in to the film, Let It Be... Naked, teased us to think the film would be coming out shortly, but didn't actually release it! (it got available for some time on Netflix, though)
The video for "Hey Bulldog" has been put on iTunes. The others aren't so lucky (yet).
There was one album covering an interview between Paul McCartney and Rolling Stone magazine, released in 1980. It was recalled the day after it was issued for copyright reasons.
The Thrillington album, which is Paul under that pseudonym doing an orchestral version of the RAM album, has not been legally available in CD form until the 2012 Deluxe Edition Box Set of RAM album.
The Concert for Kampuchea, organised by Paul and released late 1979-early 1980, is out of print these days. It doesn't help that this is a charity concert album that failed in its cause. (Kampuchea was where Cambodia is.)
The Wings concert film Rockshow is considerably harder to find than Wings Over America, the live album for that tour. Paul is officially remastering and rereleasing both the Wings Over America album and a DVD of Rockshowin May 2013.
The original 1982 master recording of Buckner & Garcia's Pac-Man Fever is owned by Sony, who has no plans to re-release it on CD. Thus, the version that's currently circulating is a re-recording that was made for K-Tel, those infamous purveyors of "re-recorded by the original artist" CDs.
"Too Dizzy" was deleted from all reissues of 1987's Never Let Me Down. Bowie historian Nicholas Pegg theorizes in The Complete David Bowie that it's Old Shame for Bowie because of its lyrics. It's supposed to be a Silly Love Song, but the lyrical monologue by a man to a reluctant woman who already has a lover carries the Unfortunate Implications that he's a stalker willing to physically harm her to get what he wants.
Toy, which featured re-recorded versions of some very early singles, was never officially released due to copyright issues, but leaked online in 2011 and can only be obtained through file-sharing sites.
While most of David Bowie's music videos have been legitimately released on one format or another, there are exceptions:
All the videos he made as part of the Hard Rock group Tin Machine over 1989-91 were left off of his compilation programs. The good news is that EMI uploaded videos and clips from the multi-song featurette promoting the group's first album to YouTube's VEVO service; the bad news is that they didn't release the second album, so they couldn't do the same with its videos. There's also a concert video, Oy Vey, Baby — Tin Machine Live at the Docks, that was only made available on VHS.
"China Girl", "Loving the Alien", and "Day-In Day-Out" all suffered censorship cuts to varying degrees. The only way to find the original versions of them is to track down their initial (or, in the case of "Loving the Alien", first two) appearances on VHS.
There is an alternate version of the "Fame '90" video that has a substantial number of different clips — some of which are from Pretty Woman, as the song appeared on its soundtrack as well as his 1990 Greatest Hits AlbumChangesbowie. Created for VH-1, this edit does not appear on compilations but has turned up on VH-1 Classic.
Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page was recorded by The Yardbirds in 1968, but the band didn't like it, and broke up soon after. Epic Records released it (with some strange crowd sound effect overdubs) in 1971 to capitalize on Jimmy Page's recent success with Led Zeppelin. Page successfully sought legal injunctions against the album, taking it out of print and making it the rarest Yardbirds album ever. It only saw one limited release on CD in 2000, which sold out almost immediately.
Forty Licks, the most comprehensive Greatest Hits Album by The Rolling Stones, has been out of print since 2008 due to rights issues. Though a more comprehensive one, GRRR! came out in 2012, and even included one of the four new songs from Forty Licks (even if its cover is lamer).
Buckingham Nicks, the album Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks made in 1973 prior to joining Fleetwood Mac two years later, has never had a legit CD release and likely never will.
Two Steps from Hell, X-Ray Dog, Audiomachine, Epic Score, Immediate Music and other trailer music production companies do not make their music available to the general public. A lot of the general public are fans of this type of music. Do the math.
Ditto for Extreme Music, producers of "Sweet World", ie the Geico Robot Song; several other songs featured in In The Groove; quite a few songs from Ad Bumpers on [adult swim]; that whistling tune from the infamous Enzyte commercial...
Two Steps from Hell have caved a little and released 2 commercial albums containing some of their most popular work. Additionally, Thomas Bergersen, one of the two composers for the company, released a public album under his own name.
Another well-known backing music from commercials that has never seen official release: the fiddle background music on Tom Bodett's "We'll leave the light on for you" radio ads for Motel 6.
Similar to the above example, Canadian TV network Space (rough Canadian equivalent of Syfy) has been known to make trailers using obscure music. The US version of Being Human is a good example; in 2012-2013, the advert for said show was so popular due to its use of a very sexy R&B/chill/jazz tune that contains the lyrics "What happens tonight, it's alright, it's okay/Because we're never ever gonna see the cold hard light of day", but nobody has found it yet. The 2013-2014 version was also popular due to its use of a trip-hop song with eerie keyboards and the line "I don't wanna lie/I'm not like everyone", which can be found on iTunes and is called "My Condition" off the compilation Velvet Ears Fifteen. That commercial was also replaced with a. New one using a blues-rock song, and that one hasn't been found.
Their advert for Salem features a metal song that nobody has been able to find yet.
Soundtracks in general; they're released usually a short time during and after the release of its corresponding work; and then disappear for good. If the medium isn't a game where you can extract sound files, hope that you can find the music on YouTube.
Most film scores on CD are like this, due to getting limited print runs on boutique labels such as Varese Sarabande and Intrada. One of the rarest soundtrack albums ever is the Varèse Sarabande CD Club issue of Basil Poledouris's Cherry 2000, which tended to go as high as $1,000 in auctions. Poledouris himself didn't even have a copy, he gave his to John Waters (who loved the score and got Poledouris to score a pair of films for him). Prometheus later released the score in a pairing with Poledouris's No Man's Land, so such costs are no longer a factor.
The networks producing Horatio Hornblower miniseries never released the show's epic music score, no matter how badly its fans begged for it. And boy, did they beg! The best fans can do is to rip the sound off the DVDs or searched on-line. There are files to be found, but there are always some inevitable background noises. Sigh.
The Muppets' tie-in albums have been hard to come by for many years.
There's never been a CD release of The Muppets Take Manhattan soundtrack. And in the decades since its aforementioned Sony Wonder release, The Great Muppet Caper's soundtrack has been MIA. (Averted with The Muppet Movie, which finally saw a rerelease of its soundtrack in 2013.)
In general, music videos that were tie-ins to movies can be tricky to track down, especially if they fall under the trope Video Full Of Film Clips. If the DVD release of the movie doesn't include the related videos (inevitable if it's a Vanilla Edition), a fan's best hope is to track down video compilations of the artists who performed them — provided the artists warranted such compilations to begin with — and hope that rights issues to the clips didn't keep them off those.
Almost all of the bands signed to Extasy Records in the first round (1986-1992), including even some material (media interviews, some live shows that were never released officially, commercial appearances, and various ephemera) from the early eras of the breakout successes X Japan, Luna Sea, and Glay.
X Japan, Luna Sea, and Glay at least have most of their discographies with at least some versions of their songs and performances available for sale (though without piracy, you will find very large holes in each - specifically alternate versions, songs that were written by Taiji Sawada for X Japan, and the like will generally not be there). D'erlanger and Tokyo Yankees have even less in print/available legally outside of Japan but there is some. Ex-Ans or Der Zibet, for example? If you don't live in Japan and like going through old shops, you have to pirate.
Material related to the bands has also been deleted from Youtube due to both copyright trolling and news stations on which interviews were broadcast complaining. It's to the point that if you want to preserve the history of Visual Kei or the works of any of the early bands that didn't hit extreme popularity, piracy is a must.
Good luck finding any of Freddy Wexler's music to buy/download, besides one freaking song. Some hardcore fans have put up YT videos of some songs (obviously not for download; if you're going to ask them, good luck getting a response), but the quality is...well, it's Youtube. There were songs on his Myspace, some on his Purevolume, and some that nobody seems to have heard of, save a lucky few. Plus, some of his songs that are on multiple sites are actually separate versions.
For example, "Dance" on his Kidd Kraddick-supported website (which is long dead) sounds completely different from his Myspace version...which is now missing.
For comparison: both Backseat Goodbye and Freddy Wexler have been around since 2004, made roughly the same amount of music (assumedly), both unsigned/indie, and Backseat Goodbye has over 100 songs on iTunes (and 50 on Purevolume, a lot of which can be downloaded for free) while Freddy has one on iTunes and four on Purevolume (none of which can be downloaded for free).
Not to mention that Wexler's gone by 4 different band names in 6 years (yes, ALL the same band), while BG has had its one band name, plus a side band or two.
Most early Filk Song tapes, such as those released by Off Centaur Productions in the 1980s, are unlikely to ever be issued again. Rights are again the problem, with many of the publishers, composers, or performers hard to locate. Further problems are from songs based on properties owned by third parties (Star Wars, Star Trek, etc). At the time the tapes flew under the radar, but the rights owners might cause problems with any attempted rerelease.
Vinyl, tape, and CD singles; there are many, many that never made it to proper compilation releases, although some of them are the difference of a few seconds, and others are rather questionable mixes. (Some specific examples that come to mind would be the Spanish version of "Hey Mickey!" on the alternate vinyl 12'' single, or "European Queen" and "African Queen" by Billy Ocean.) There's an enterprising fellow online who owns a lot of these releases from the 80's on vinyl and is dedicated to making high quality rips of them to share; other than that, your best bet may be eBay.
The second Twenty One Pilots album, Regional at Best, is no longer available to buy anywhere. This might have to do with the fact that the band was signed to a label soon after its release and several songs were re-recorded for their next album, Vessel, but the fact remains that if you want to listen to Regional at Best in full, you have to either find it on Youtube somewhere or get it illegally.