Whenever a record label goes out of business, its albums get stuck in copyright limbo until someone acquires the rights. Major labels may have deleted those albums from their catalogues due to poor sales.
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 thanks to ex post facto).
Biz Markie was at the center of the Grand Upright case, where Gilbert O'Sullivan's publisher (Grand Upright) sued Warner Bros. Records (Markie's distributor) for sampling his song "Alone Again" without permission. The offending song was removed from his album I Need a Haircut.
The Avalanches' album Since I Left You is an awkward example, since they did clear the samples, but only for Australia, since they didn't believe that the album would be as successful as it was. The current version of the album drops a lot of samples from the original version, and the vocal samples integral to the album's hit, "Frontier Psychiatrist" needed to be rerecorded.
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.
Normally, whenever a classical composer revises any work, usually an opera or ballet, into its "definitive" form, the "original" work is eventually replaced. Examples include La gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli, Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko, Prodaná nevěsta by Bedřich Smetana and the 1899 version of Sleeping Beauty.
Before circa 2003, if an artist recorded one album for a major label, only to get dropped, that album may not be legally available to download or stream. Your best bet is to buy a used copy for less than a dollar, or if it's really rare, well into the hundreds.
Napster, Deezer and Tidal have album request forms for music that isn't available on those services.
Most film soundtracks from before 2003 are out of print and not available digitally for licensing reasons. If they are available, some tracks will be "album-only" purchases or grayed-out on streaming services.
Most 'limited edition' albums with demo, remix, or bonus songs could fall into this category if they have a small run. This also applies to vendor-specific or event-specific bonus tracks (e.g., bonus tracks available only on copies sold at Target, Best Buy, etc.).
Foreign albums can be impossible to obtain outside of their source country in physical format. If they are available, they can get ludicrously expensive, as are many Japanese albums in the United States.
As a rule, the albums of most small labels, indie bands, and genres that have a small audience will have a very limited production run, making it very difficult to impossible to obtain them.
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.
Albums subjected to the Loudness War when remastered generally become cases of this, as the louder version supplants the original as the most commonly (or only) commercially available version. Generally a listener's only workarounds will be paying for a used copy of an old release or piracy.
Albums made by indigenous artists invariably fall into this as they are typically self-released and have a very limited run due to the very small audience for them.
Fan club exclusive music tends to fall into this trope, as it's usually made in limited quantities and fans being fans, don't tend to want to give them up.
Vinyl collectors often find this to be a massive annoyance. There's several factors that can make an album difficult to obtain on vinyl.
First off is the obvious small-print run. When an album was released by a small-time artist that only released a limited number of copies, you can bet fans will scour as many resources they can just to find anyone who has a copy.
Modern albums are usually not that difficult to get on vinyl... provided they were released before the resurgence of their popularity in the early to mid 2000s. If you're looking for an album during the height of CD popularity (circa 1992 to 2003) when vinyl was considered a dead medium, you'd be lucky if you can get a copy of an album if it even got a vinyl pressing to begin with. Sellers are aware of this and will often sell these records for nearly quadruple (or more) of the price that they originally purchased them for. Even worse is when buyers on Discogs find a gem for real cheap just to find that it may not even be fully playable based off of the item description.
Older albums aren't much better. Buyers will find that many famous albums will get ample re-issues, but the downside is that they sometimes have remastered, sometimes inferior mixes. This leaves original pressings of albums by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and many others fetching prices of upwards of 30 dollars when in good condition, regardless of how common they are in the market.
Sometimes an album that never got a vinyl release will finally get one... only for it to be a limited edition that will never again become available.
Sometimes a band will release multiple "Greatest Hits" albums. This means that sometimes, the "newer" Greatest Hits album will supplant the older release, putting it out of print, meaning any exclusive tracks on the older ones (unless they themselves became hits) may not be on the "new" one and make said tracks harder to find.
In 2008, there was a massive fire at Universal Studios that completely destroyed an unassuming vault in the backlot — a vault that just so happened to house over 100,000 master recordings of albums (or 500,000 songs) released by Universal Music Group. Since Universal is one of the Big Three record companies, this means that the work of absolutely massive numbers of 20th century artists, from huge stars like John Coltrane or Joni Mitchell or Nirvana to lesser-known bands, are now effectively in this status forever.note Obviously vinyl, CDs and digital versions exist, but the original tapes are gone forever, so the albums can never be remastered, re-released in higher fidelity than what existed in 2008, or in many cases re-released at all, and if those songs leave circulation in the market — not all that unlikely for lesser known or smaller-press records or just weird copyright tangles — that's it.Bryan Adams confirmed that he had to remaster one of his albums from a backup copy.
Just take a look at the HUGE list of impacted artists. Inevitably there are going to be at least two artists you care about on the list, and a great many important/seminal recordings were lost to the fire, including Aretha Franklin's first-ever recording (from when she was a singer/soloist in her father the Rev. C.L. Franklin's church choir) and a recording by Martin Luther King Jr., not to mention the entire set of masters by Buddy Holly. And it includes countless tracks that have never been released; it is believed the totality of the losses will never be completely reconciled. To say this is the most heartbreaking loss of music in popular music history is almost an understatement.
Some artists on the list actually have their masters surviving, including Amy Grant, John Coltrane and Eminem.
Universal insisted that only a few artists were lost in the fire, and that the losses were all overestimated.
Five artists (including the estate of Tom Petty) sued Universal for the loss of their tapes, but the case was dismissed.
MySpace accidentally (and/or "accidentally") deleted every song uploaded onto its site from 2003 to 2015 — some 53 million of them. Hope somebody ripped them at some point! 500 thousand songs were recovered (from a research study, of all things), but that's just a small fraction. While many of those songs probably ended up elsewhere, including YouTube, at some point, the existence of what hasn't made it there is entirely dependent on whether or not the original artists still have copies.
Jellyfish's song "Ignorance is Bliss" has been relatively easy to find since its inclusion on their 2006 best-of album The Best hits compilation, but the version on that album is not the mix that was originally released on the White Knuckle Scoring compilation released by Nintendo in 1991.
The Neighbourhood's I'm Sorry... EP was one of the few exceptions to the EP removal rule (see above), being re-released without the songs "Female Robbery" and "Sweater Weather". Eventually those songs were added back to the EP.
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 ).
Both the Hybrid Theory EP and Xero demo tape are now rescued from this after being included in the release of Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary compilation.
Most of Lostprophets' discography is out of print and no longer available on digital music services such as Spotify. The music video for "Somedays" will never see the light of day after lead singer Ian Watkins was convicted for sex crimes against children.
The original 12-track version of Feeder's debut album, Polythene, was deleted after the album was re-released with new song "High" and "Change" (originally from the "Stereo World" CD single) added but with "Waterfall" left off and opening track "Polythene Girl" remixed by Chris Sheldon. The current digital version on iTunes and Spotify is the original album (featuring the original mix of "Polythene Girl") with "Waterfall" omitted and "High" and "Change" (sourced from their respective singles releases) slotted in where they appeared on the re-release.
Throughout 2018, BMG/Echo re-released some of Feeder's singles.
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 Song Association via Grand Theft Auto III, 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 like Lush eventually got their albums reissued, and others are relatively easy to find in used record stores (i.e. 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.
Even My Bloody Valentine themselves invoke this trope with their early discography and EPs. The band has removed their music from Spotify except in the USA and Canada. In March 2021, the band re-uploaded their music onto digital services.
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).
Even though all of the Red House Painters albums have seen re-release on vinyl, the same cannot be said about frontman Mark Kozelek's latter project, Sun Kil Moon, which nearly all the releases pre-Benji fetching hundreds of dollars even in poor condition.
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.
The analog masters for their debut album were also lost for a time, with the singles that appear on their Absolute Garbage compilation being painstakingly remastered from a backup safety DAT recording. The masters were relocated in time for the album's 2015 reissue - The deluxe edition of said reissue included seven b-sides from the album, plus two less rare songs that nevertheless weren't previously available on proper Garbage albums note "#1 Crush" from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack and also available on the Greatest Hits AlbumAbsolute Garbage, and "Kick My Ass", a Vic Chestnutt cover from the tribute album Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation The reissue of Version 2.0 in 2018 also managed to bring back the b-sides from that period.
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.
Fungus Amongus, the debut album of Incubus, was last released on a now out-of-print CD in 2000. The band has been vocal about it being a major Old Shame for them, admitting that the album only got re-released because fans demanded it (legal issues with Sony Music may also be holding up future reissues as well). It's fondly remembered for the cult hit "Take Me to Your Leader," which Incubus has performed and considers it the only decent track in the whole album. When the album somehow made its way on Spotify, "Take Me to Your Leader" was the only song that could be listened to.
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 some major fan favorites. Any copies are generally swiped up on eBay the second they appear. It appeared on Grooveshark for a long time until the website was shut down.
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 Im an idiot and I thought it would be funny to say to everybody, 'Sorry, were 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.
Their 2004 compilation The Collection averts this, being the only time certain recordings have appeared on a James release, on CD, or even on physical media.
The Divine Comedy's first album, Fanfare for the Comic Muse, was amateurish Jangle Pop that significantly differed from their later material. The album was 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).
My Chemical Romance's first album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, went out of print when Eyeball Records closed down. The rights are currently owned by Reprise Records and they have re-released it on vinyl frequently and digitally, but CD copies are still quite pricey.
Although nearly every Coldplay song can be easily found on iTunes, the one release that has yet to see any kind of rerelease and is possibly even rarer than Safety (which is rare as shit to begin with) is their promo cassette "Ode to Deodorant" which was made way back in 1997 and contains both the title track "Ode to Deodorant" and an alternate version of "Brothers and Sisters". Neither of these two songs have been rereleased, although they might be available for viewing on YouTube.
Pavement's debut EP "Slay Tracks: 1933-1969" is looong out of print and is limited to 1000 self-released 7" records. Copies can fetch upwards of $300. Thankfully, every song on the EP is available on their compilation Westing (By Musket and Sextent).
Nearly everything by Not Drowning, Waving that isn't called Circus tends to fall into this trope given the band wasn't exactly very marketable with their genre defying music and distinctly original sound.
Some songs that were on the initial vinyl release were left out in the transition to CD. In particular is It Slowly Goes, which was originally on the vinyl of Cold And The Crackle and has erroneously been left out of all subsequent rereleases. This also happened with some of the songs from Another Pond which seemed to get a new track listing with every rerelease until it was fixed with the 2007 rerelease... Until that version became this trope (see below).
Also, in regards to the transition, some songs had to be rerecorded since the masters were deteriorating. Such was the case for The Little Desert whose subsequent rereleases used alternate versions of Blackfish Creek and Empty Trees and Buildings. If you want to listen to the original versions, you'll have to track down the original vinyl, which fall into the indie rule of having small releases, so uh... Good luck!
Their early singles were only available on 7" vinyl and are hard to find, making them hard to listen to. In particular is the ''Hunting For Nuggets" single which is the only way to listen to "Away".
Triple subverted in the case of Moving Around which was for the longest time out of print ("Happy As Can Be" was rereleased on David Bridie and John Phillips Projects although that too is difficult to track down and was an alternate version to boot). Finally in 2007, all tracks from Moving Around were rereleased with other rarities on the second CD release of Another Pond... Until that version quickly feel into this trope... Until it was rereleased on iTunes for a scant $14!
"The Kiap Song" single (not the vinyl promo version) contains a few songs that haven't been rereleased and is quite difficult to find.
Supposedly, according to the David Bridie fansite Follow The Geography, there was a pre-release version of Tabaran on cassette that was exclusively released in Papua New Guinea that has alternate track listings, alternate song titles and a bonus track that hasn't been rereleased on any other releases. Good luck ever finding a copy though, as it's incredibly rare.
Thankfully averted with their rarest releases. The soundtrack to "Hammers Over The Anvil" (simply titled "Hammers") and especially "Live At The Butchers Picnic" (which is rumoured to only a release of 50 copies) were digitally rereleased on bandcamp. Although you can try and track down the physical releases, you'll need the patience of a saint just waiting for a copy to turn up...
The last album released by Australian band Goanna appropriately called Spirit Returnsnote Sprit Returns is (probably) a Call-Back to Goanna's first album Spirit Of Place was released waaaaay after their previous releases (Sprit Returns came out in 1998 and their previous album Oceania came out in 1985) due to the fact that Goanna had disbanded due to Shane Howard's disillusionment and subsequent focusing on a solo career that eventually eclipsed his involvement with Goanna. As such, their brief reunion to record one last album didn't garner a lot of attention then and the album has not been rereleased since. Consequently, the album is incredibly rare, with used copies easily commanding $100+!
Morrissey's 2014 album World Peace is None of Your Business was pulled from sale after three weeks following a disagreement between the famously opinionated singer and his record label at the time. The album was removed from all digital sales and streaming sites at the same time. While copies of the album aren't impossible to find, it hasn't been re-printed from its original worldwide run. Morrissey promised fans that he'd find a new home for it before the end of 2014, but that didn't happen. By the time Morrissey released his next album, 2017's Low in High School, a re-release of World Peace had yet to materialize.
Meat Puppets' Forbidden Places and No Joke!, two of their three London Records releases, are out of print - for years the albums also weren't available to stream anywhere either, but in 2021 both hit Spotify.
The Smashing Pumpkins album Zeitgeist was removed from digital providers because of negative reception from fans.
Since Weezer's Green Album never had a deluxe edition unlike The Blue Album and Pinkerton, the b-sides from that era are hard to find without shelling out extra money for the exceedingly rare Japanese and second UK versions of the "Island in the Sun" single. One such B-Side, "Oh Lisa", is only an exception because it was also included on a WWE tie-in album - WWE Tough Enough 2 is available in full on Spotify, and used copies are pretty common.
The Angus version of "You Gave Your Love To Me Softly" was taken off of streaming services, so you'll have to track down a copy of the original soundtrack album to listen to it since all subsequent releases of the song use a version recorded during the Pinkerton sessions.
BennyHester's debut album, "Benny" was a 1972 album recorded on the obscure Vegas Music International label with members of Elvis Presley's "TCB Band". However, shortly before the album was released, a fire broke out that destroyed the United Recording studio and the finished masters; with only a handful of copies surviving the fire (and thus being sold for quite a few pretty pennies whenever they turn up on sites such as eBay). The music is available on most download and streaming services sourced from Benny's own copy of the vinyl LP.
Much of the early catalog of DeGarmo & Key is very rare on CD and a lot of the surviving copies of the music on CD have disc rot rendering the discs unplayable due to poor manufacturing by Discovery Systems. Vinyl and cassettes are more common in used record stores and online than playable copies of the albums on CD. The titles that have the most disc rot include "Straight On," " No Turning Back-Live," and "D&K"'s original CD pressing, although there are copies of "Communication," "Mission of Mercy," and "Commander Sozo and the Charge of the Light Brigade" that have disc rot. The same situation applies with a lot of early Christian music on CD. Much of the out of print on CD music if it had been digitally mastered is available on iTunes, Amazon, etc. as downloads and at logosbookstores.com on CD as CD-R on Demand which are not as in demand as the pressed CD's of the albums.
Aureliano in Palmira by Gioachino Rossini is one of his least performed operas. Amazon has some recordings, but good luck if you want to see it on the stage.
Zaira failed miserably at its premiere in Parma, and it is seldom heard among Vincenzo Bellini's works, even on Amazon, where several recordings exist in small numbers. Now because he salvaged the score for I Capuletti ed i Montecchi...
Buondelmonte, the opera staged instead of Maria Stuarda thanks to Executive Meddling, is widely considered the Old Shame of its composer, Gaetano Donizetti. There are only a few offerings of it on Amazon (even then, they're very rare and none have the full opera), and the only available score is the composer's manuscript.
The output of Ferenc Erkel is quite difficult to find outside of Hungary. Most albums of his works, vocal and instrumental, fetch prices beginning at $8.99 on Amazon but generally fall in excess of $20.
Ditto the works of Stanisław Moniuszko beyond Poland. The minimum an album of his works will cost on Amazon is $9.99 but most of them are also over $20.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's three "incomplete" operas and his "comedy with music" have seen CD releases, but only Zaide and Der Schauspieldirektor (the mostly spoken comedy above) have CD's in large numbers on Amazon, albeit mostly of highlights. Lo sposo deluso and L'oca del Cairo, however, aren't so lucky, as the former has only six results and the latter only four.
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.)
There's also their 1997 video compilation It's About Time, Eh!, which went out of print ages ago. It contains the otherwise-unreleased song "Camp Go for Beer" and a re-recording of their late-80s song "Diarrhea" which later resurfaced on their website and on the album Songs for Fart Lovers.
"Weird Al" Yankovic is an exception to the EP rule (said EP being 2009's Internet Leaks), as all five songs on it also appear on Alpocalypse. However, his unreleased songs (such as "Snack all Night" and "Chicken Pot Pie") will probably never see the light of day.
His other EP, 1982's Another One Rides the Bus, is another exception to the EP rule, but it's still nearly impossible to find due to having been distributed by Al himself on his own short-lived label (Placebo Records, which he formed solely to distribute the EP) using funds borrowed from his mentor, Barry "Dr. Demento" Hansen. All five songs can be found on his 1983 self-titled debut, but the only song that wasn't rerecorded was "Another One Rides the Bus", meaning that the original versions of the four other tracks on the EP are incredibly hard to come by (the EP version of "Happy Birthday" was later released on the greatest hits box set Permanent Record: Al in the Box and a few scattered compilation albums).
His 1996 concert/documentary "There's No Going Home" (originally aired on the Disney Channel) has also never officially seen release. The CD of "Running With Scissors" includes 14 minutes of it as a cd-rom extra, but no home media release as of yet.
Austen Tayshus is most well-known for his comedy skit "Australiana" (otherwise the best-selling single in Australia despite not even being a piece of music). However, his later stuff (including a mixture of skits and experimental songs) are very hard to come across and his records sell at slightly-high prices on eBay. Also, don't expect to find "The Comedy Commando" (Australiana's actual B-side) on YouTube or other places!
"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.
There was a trend in the mid-1990s of making "dance mixes" of country songs to capitalize on the line dance craze, usually by amping up the rhythm section and adding a "breakdown" near the end. Many of these mixes were given little to no physical release, although you might still hear them on radio now and then.
David Lee Murphy's 2004 album Tryin' to Get There quickly went out of print, as the label (Audium) went out of business less than a year later. This then became a double example when he put out remixes of lead single "Loco" as part an iTunes exclusive called The Loco Tapes. There is no trace of these remixes online anywhere, so anyone who downloaded The Loco Tapes better hang onto their MP3 files. (American Country Countdown is known to have played one of the remixes at least once.)
Some country artists since the Turn of the Millennium have released acoustic versions of songs. These are very often given a digital-only release, available only through copies of the albums sold at certain stores, or used only in the music video.
Before their debut album came out, they self-released a live extended play. While two of the songs ("Heartbroke Every Day" and "When Cowboys Didn't Dance") were later re-recorded for their debut album in 1995, the other four songs are entirely unaccounted for anywhere.
Many of their Turn of the Millennium crossover hits received remixes for different formats: "Amazed" and "I'm Already There" both got pop remixes, and "Tell Her" was entirely re-recorded for its release to country radio. None of these remixes was ever made commercially available outside now-obscure physical CD singles of "Amazed" and "I'm Already There". Even their Greatest Hits Album has the album versions, despite having the bowdlerised radio edit of "No News" and another remix of "I'm Already There" called the "Message from Home Version" with snippets of phone calls to and from soldiers and their families.
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: "Dont 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 version of "You Look Good in My Shirt" commercially available is the original recording from 2002's Golden Road, and not the re-recorded single version that appeared on 19 Kids six years later. 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 was also originally true of the radio remix of "Where the Blacktop Ends", which was completely re-recorded from the original; although unavailable for many years, said remix is available on 18 Kids.
This can also occur if a single gets released but never put on an album due to Executive Meddling or radio rejecting the singles. For instance, 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), were 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. Finally averted in 2016 with "I'm Not Breakin'", which was put on a compilation album called Best of Steve Holy.
4 Runner has several examples:
Their debut single "Cain's Blood" has a B-side called "Ten Pound Hammer", which did not make it onto the album but was later recorded by both Aaron Tippin and Barbara Mandrell. The only way to get 4 Runner's version is through the 45 of "Cain's Blood".
Their second album One for the Ages was never released due to their label closing. Lead single "That Was Him (This Is Now)" had made headway on the charts, but has since become nearly impossible to find. However, it does circulate on YouTube.
In 2003, they reunited to do an A Cappella rendition of "What Child Is This?" While it got some radio airplay, it was never made available in any other form except for a music video on the director's YouTube channel, and it was never put on an album.
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 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. Cartwright's version later appeared on an MCA compilation titled Untamed and True, but it was only released in Canada.
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 released two singles for Arista Records in early 2004: "Run, Run, Run" and "The Last Thing She Said", both of which are on iTunes despite Tyler never releasing an album.
On the other hand, songwriter Brett James put out two singles for Arista Records in 2002: "After All" and "Chasin' Amy". Neither is on iTunes, and "After All" was completely unaccounted for online until 2021.
Also from late 2003, 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's second RCA Records album Great Day to Be Alive was never released, although its title track "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" was later Covered Up by Travis Tritt in 2001. Randall then signed to Asylum Records, where his only disc for the label, Cold Coffee Morning, was also shelved despite the title track charting in 1999. The latter can be found for a high price on Amazon.
John Berry had two albums in a row of unreleased material: Crazy for the Girl (1997) had its lead-off single "The Stone" pulled after only a few weeks due to him suffering vocal cord issues that left him unable to finish the album. He then planned to release Better Than a Biscuit in 1998, but exited the label despite both the title track and "Over My Shoulder" having made the charts. "Over My Shoulder" at least has a video circulating, but the other two seem to be unaccounted for on the Internet.
In 2003, Scotty Emerick released a duet with Toby Keith called "I Can't Take You Anywhere", which Keith himself had also recorded. It was to be included on Emerick's debut 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, but she was dropped from the label instead.
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, especially since it shares its name with a country music review site.
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.
His 1996 Christmas single "Grandpa Got Runned Over by a John Deere" was backed by a parody of Tim McGraw's "I Like It, I Love It" called "I Hate It, So Shove It", written about the O.J. Simpson trials. This parody never appeared on an album, and outside a single magazine column, there is almost no evidence that it even exists.
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.
Four 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"), "Redneck Christmas" (2010 duet with Deborah Allen), and "Luke Bryan" (2014 parody of "Blurred Lines" featuring Colt Ford) were also never put on an album. "Illegals" was not available anywhere until someone uploaded the music video to YouTube in 2018.
Much of Ronnie Milsap's material was out of print for a long time, meaning that even hit singles such as "Prisoner of the Highway" or "Button Off My Shirt" were not available on outlets such as iTunes. This was finally averted in late 2014 when all of his RCA Records albums were reprinted in a box set.
One-Hit Wonder Heartland released three singles between 2007-09: "Once a Woman Gets a Hold of Your Heart", "Slow Down", and "Mustache". The first of the three charted, but none were released to iTunes. Of the three, only "Mustache" can be found anywhere, albeit in the form of a music video.
Another one-hit wonder with a single that does not circulate anywhere: after reuniting in 2011, The Lost Trailers released "Underdog" and "American Beauty". Both made top 40 on the country charts, but neither circulates in any known form other than a music video.
When Clint Black's Equity Music Group went under in 2008, a lot of material from its roster disappeared:
Survived: Black's two studio albums for the label (Spend My Time and Drinkin' Songs & Other Logic), Little Big Town's The Road to Here, Carolyn Dawn Johnson's Love & Negotiationnote likely due to it being partnered with Angeline Entertainment, Kevin Fowler's Loose, Loud & Crazy
Released but out of print: Black's Long Cool EP (which included the single "The Strong One"), Laura Bryna's Trying to Be Me; Carolina Rain's Weather the Storm and a few non-album singles ("Let's Get It On", "American Radio", "Weight of the World"), Mark Wills' non-album single "Hank"
Never released: Shannon Lawson's Big Yee-Haw (whose two charting singles, "Smokin' Grass" and "Just Like a Redneck" are equally impossible to find)
The Oak Ridge Boys' 1991 album Unstoppable went out of print so long ago that Shazam doesn't recognize lead single "Lucky Moon" despite it being a Top 10 hit.
Clint Daniels also had this happen twice: his 1998 debut album for Arista Records was canned despite its singles "A Fool's Progress" and "When I Grow Up" making the charts, due to Arista Nashville undergoing a restructuring. Despite this, a few promo copies exist. He later moved to Epic Records where he put out "The Letter (Almost Home)", which also failed to produce an album. Daniels ultimately switched to songwriting, where he has been more successful.
It's not clear if Michael White's debut album Familiar Ground ever saw physical release or not, as no reviews of it were ever written, and all circulating copies appear to be promo copies (as indicated by having a notch in the CD jewel case). Lead single "Professional Fool" made it to #32 on the country charts, and Warner (Bros.) Records' Vevo channel has an official upload of the music video. He also supposedly had a lead single to what would have been a second album, "Country Conscience", but only a 45 seems to exist of it, and it did not chart. White has also been more successful as a songwriter.
Similarly to the Equity example, the abrupt closure of Category 5 Records in 2007 after only a year in business seems to have taken with it nearly everything the label released in its short life. A few individual singles remain on iTunes: "Direct Connect" by Craig Hand, "Tennessee Girl" by Sammy Kershaw, "I Love Women My Mama Can't Stand" by Jerrod Niemann. Three other singles — "Wake Up Dancin'" by Odiss Kohn, "All Kinds of Beautiful" by Shauna Feagan, and "The One That Got Away" also by Jerrod Niemann — do not appear to have ever been released. Curb Records grabbed Donovan Chapman's intended Category 5 album for digital-only release based on the strength of lead single "House Like That", but the other three full albums that did get released by Category 5 (God's Country by George Jones [in association with Jones's personal label, Bandit Records], Honky Tonk Boots by Sammy Kershaw [from which "Tennessee Girl" was the lead single], and The Storm by Travis Tritt) are all out of print. Tritt later reacquired the rights to The Storm in 2013 and re-released it with some bonus material, but it still hasn't found its way to iTunes. Jerrod later released all of his Category 5 material independently also in 2013 as the album Yellow Brick Road.
Another example from Clint Black: while between labels in 2003, he released the Iraq War-themed "Iraq and Roll", which was exclusively available as a download from his website. Although a few radio stations spun it, it quickly vanished, and the only traces of it online are karaoke versions and lyric databases. However, the Wayback Machine did capture the MP3 of it.
In 2007, Carrie Underwood performed a cover of The Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You" on the American Idol charity special Idol Gives Back. The song was only available for a short period on iTunes, with all singles sales donated to charity. Due to strong sales, the song got all the way to #6 on the Hot 100 before it was withdrawn, and it has not been legally available anywhere since.
All of Eddy Raven's discography is out of print, including big hits on RCA Records such as his Signature Song "I Got Mexico". Most of what circulates on digital outlets is just a cheap "best of" album consisting of re-recordings. Your best bet is YouTube.
In 2008, Alabama lead singer Randy Owen released a Solo Side Project titled One on One. There is absolutely zero trace of it online, including its two singles "Braid My Hair" and "Like I Never Broke Her Heart".
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 single) and "Fall of the Wall" (from Megamix Vol 3).
Italo Disco trio My Mine(of "Hypnotic Tango" fame)'s 1985 album Stone(known as Can Delight in Japan), though it did have a CD edition, has not been reissued in any format since then.
Copyright and streaming rights issues forced Drum Corps International to discontinue its Fan Network, which had Finals archives dating back to 1974. Also, their DCI Store was reduced to selling only existing inventory of its Finals recordings, resulting in most seasons being sold out. If youre looking for those old DCI performances (especially prior to 2010), youll either have to know someone who has already purchased the recordings, look for them on sale on the internet (and have plenty of money ready when you do), or go on YouTube (before the videos get pulled).
Also, video for the 1981 DCI Finals was never officially recorded; the only officially recorded 1981 performances are from the DCI Midwest Championships. Audio recordings were released of the Finals performances, however.
Non-finalist corps suffer even more from this, as most of them never saw official video recordings, and audio recordings are very hard to find.
This trope especially applies to shows that change music during mid-season (only shows from Finals week see official release). Examples include 1976 Madison Scouts ("Shaft", Pick Up the Pieces) and 1980 Santa Clara Vanguard (Caravan).
Looking for video footage of the last couple of minutes of the 2011 Madison Scouts A New York Morning show, when they performed Empire State of Mind? Youll have to get that from fan recordings. Due to music rights issues, DCI has blacked out the video portion of that show from all official recordings.
Copyright issues have also resulted in whole portions of recent shows being muted or excised altogether. Notable examples include portions of the Cadets 2012 12.25 show; the K-Pop portion of the Blue Devils 2015 Ink show; Macrotus from the Cavaliers 2015 Game On show; and the title song from the Boston Crusaders' 2017 "Wicked Games" show.
Drum Corps Associates did not officially release videos of its Finals performances until 2000. Most videos prior to then either come from local television broadcasts or fan recordings. And like DCI, there is no more Fan Network, and more than a little luck is needed to find Finals videos.
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.
In late 2020, the band announced a series of 6 compilations to be released to digital streaming platforms - thus far there's been Solid State Logik 1, a compilation of single a-sides, and Come Down Dawn, a remixed/re-edited version of their album Chill Out with some of the more prominent usage of sampling removed.
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. And if you're aiming for the 2-LP vinyl edition of either album, prepare to shell out at least $100 for a complete copy in good condition.
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 vinyl remixes, which were never commercially released at all.
The Extended Movement EP, which includes unmixed versions of the otherwise UK-exclusive tracks "The Hip-Hop Phenomenon" and "Fibonacci Sequence", had a very limited distribution run via college campuses in 2000.
Dune's 2000 single "Heaven" was never officially released due to a lawsuit over plagiarism of A7's "Piece of Heaven", which also completely blocked the release of the Reunion album that it was supposed to be on. The single 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.
He intentionally only produced one copy of his Music for Supermarkets album, then destroyed the master tapes. The record was played at a gallery for a month, played on Radio Luxembourg (and that was and still is AM) one single time and then auctioned. When it was on the radio, Jarre said to his listeners, "Pirate me!" Many did that, but except for a promo excerpt on Planet Jarre, all you'll ever get of this album is some copy of an analogue tape recording from AM radio.
Bootlegging is also the only way to obtain recordings of most of his concerts in full length. Jarre in China is the sole exception that was rather easy to get, and it was released in full length because thousands of fans requested it by e-mail after being disappointed by the shortened Live in Beijing DVD. The only other exception is the Concert pour la tolérance, but this show was only released in France and on LaserDisc. Fortunately, the entire LaserDisc video is on YouTube. Sometimes, concerts got official releases of recordings which were shortened and/or largely re-recorded in the studio. Others didn't get any at all. Most concerts until the mid-1990s are only available in full length as audio bootlegs, they're usually recordings of radio broadcasts (a popular Paris La Défense bootleg is stitched together from the Europe-2 broadcast and the VHS audio track because there's quite some talking or playing jingles into the music in the radio broadcast). From around that time on, video bootlegs got more and more sophisticated, they were sometimes even shot with multiple cameras, and they were absolutely worth getting. For example, Warrior Video produced an uncut alternative to the official Oxygen In Moscow video (albeit without the Making The Steamroller Fly documentary) and provided full video footage of both 12 Dreams Of The Sun concerts which have never seen any official album or video release.
As for pre-Oxygène material, the situation has been improving since 2003 when Francis Dreyfus re-released the Les Granges Brûlées movie soundtrack from 1973 on CD, much to the rejoicing of the fans. The original record had become a sought-after rarity after Jarre had become so famous that a fandom had developed around him. A bootleg record (!) had been produced, but it's now a sought-after rarity of its own. From its predecessor, the demo compilation Deserted Palace, only a few tracks were re-released on Essentials & Rarities while the rest still can't be obtained legally unless you're both lucky enough to find a copy and rich enough to afford it. Essentials & Rarities also made the super-rare single La Cage/Erosmachine (only 117 were sold, and several years ago, Jarre himself had trouble finding one) and the collaboration Hypnose legally available to a wider audience for the first time.
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 of Underworld's "Born Slippy" has never been re-released, probably because its B-side "Born Slippy.NUXX" outshined 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.
Speaking of Blue Amazon's Javelin album, the most widely available version does not include "Trip To Heaven", which was only available on either the rare 3-LP vinyl edition (whose parts are usually sold separately) or the two-CD Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition.
The Empirion songs "The Pain", "What You Are Now", and "Big Time", featured in Test Drive 6, were apparently composed exclusively for the game, and thus unavailable elsewhere, although "Big Time" (mislabeled as "The Pain" in-game) eventually got released on the Deluxe Edition of Resume, 20 years after the game's release.
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. 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 Radiccio EP (including the original "Halcyon") and the 28 minute version of "The Box" (released as a rare single and on a rather limited edition of In Sides), along with a LOT of single tracks, 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 only released on a few limited DJ compilations, although according to Discogs, they are easy to track down and buy. It's also available as an Amazon MP3 download, though only in radio edit form.
Vangelis himself has such an immense creative output that if he wanted to release all of it outside of what it was made for, he'd dump at least two or three new albums onto the market per month which he understandably isn't too keen on doing. The only way of catching a large chunk of his music is by finding copies of recordings from wherever it was used. In fact, before the release of the 1989 Themes compilation, that was the only way to obtain any of his post-Chariots of Fire movie soundtracks at all, including Blade Runner. The highly popular "Main Titles" from the latter weren't officially available until the film got a soundtrack in 1994—after a good decade of huge demand from his fans who were fed up with n-th generation cassette tape copies (or having to watch the film on VHS just to listen to the soundtrack). And even then, the minimalist opening was omitted, so the full version was still bootlegged until The Collection from 2012 included it.
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 1995 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 1997 follow-up single Atlantis did eventually get a digital release, but not including the "Orbiter" and "Launch" mixes from the vinyl edition. Likewise, the first edition of Nirwana had the track "Celine", which was replaced by "Angelfalls" on subsequent reissues, and has not been seen since. "Ayla (DJ Tandu Remix)" has also mysteriously not had a downloadable release, and on the iTunes edition of Nirwana, it has been re-replaced by the radio edit of the original 1995 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).
Both albums of the trance artist Cellsite System, Between Frequencies(1999) and Mind Into Matter(2001), were only released through the long out of business Ibogaine Music and Management label. If you're lucky, you just might run across a copy in a used records store, as no online distributors appear to carry them.
In Death It Ends' Gnosis was released exclusively via pre-order for 48 hours from March 14 to March 16, 2016, and the band has stated that they have no plans to rerelease it in downloadable form. Likewise, the free digital single Obsculta was only available for two days in April 2016.
Freaky Chakra's first two albums, Lowdown Motivator and Freaky Chakra vs. Single Cell Orchestra, have not been reissued on iTunes or other digital music services. Mint copies of the former fetch $176 on Amazon, the latter $81.78.
Transa's 2003 double album Chronology includes most of their prior discography, but a number of singles and b-sides, such as "Interphase", "Enervate", "Carla's Theme", and "Astro Dawn", didn't make the cut. Chronology itself has fallen victim to this trope in recent years, and goes for EUR 66.95 ($73.76) on eBay.
All of German darkwave group Illusion of Light's discography was self-released, mostly on CD-R, and their website no longer exists, the domain having been taken over by a Norwegian fashion site, so their albums are nearly impossible to obtain by legal means.
Some of the most acclaimed early Eurobeat songs (late 1980s-early 1990s era), including ones sung and/or written by Clara Moroni and Dora Carofiglio, are very difficult to legally acquire. Few are found in compilation or mix CDs from Japan and Europe, most of them out of print, or digitally released. Because the genre was marketed in fewer regions than the preceding Italo Disco genre, vinyls are scarce even in online markets and can fetch high prices.
The original video for Macintosh Plus's memeticvaporwave tune "Lisa Frank 420/Modern Computing" was struck down on YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment due to the song's unauthorized sampling of Diana Ross's "It's Your Move", although another user, Sun Levi, made a Fan Vid for the song utilizing clips of early CGI short films. Worse, the currently available (streaming only) version of the Floral Shoppe album on Bandcamp is missing three tracks, including "420", likely also for copyright reasons, and the physical edition has been banned from sale on Discogs and possibly other websites.
Machine in Motion's sole full-length, The Motion Factory, was never released except as a limited demo tape or promo CDr, and the two singles that were commercially released, "World in Fascination" and "Color in the Rain", are long out of print and exorbitantly expensive.
Techmaster PEB's Bass Computer, in its original form, is permanently out of print, due to its extensive use of samples that would require clearance in the wake of the Grand Upright Music LTD. vs. Warner Bros. Records Inc. copyright case just five months after its release. The Updated Re-release, Bass Computer 2000, has most of the samples removed and four tracks deleted entirely, thus most fans consider it a poor substitute for the original.
Most albums on the spacesynth label Hypersound Productions, who went defunct in 2014, are now only available through second-hand sale or illicit filesharing.
Digital Explosion re-released a handful of their classic tunes on the Greatest Hits AlbumInstrumental, but good luck finding the rest of their back catalog such as "Hardcore of the North" and "High" (featured in In the Groove 1 and 2, respectively), most of which was hosted by the late MP3.com and other long-defunct websites.
Freestyle artist Precious's only full-length album, Big Girls Don't Cry, is practically impossible to find, having exactly zero listings on eBay and the Discogs marketplace, along with being "currently unavailable" on Amazon.
Good luck obtaining Sonique's original 1998 version of "It Feels So Good", which has never been legally rereleased, and is apparently blacklisted from YouTube by its copyright holders; all subsequent uploads labeled as the "original" are actually the breakbeat remix from 2000.
The Epic Journey Mix of Kristine W.'s "One More Try" was only released on vinyl in 1996, and is not included on the digital maxi re-release or any of her remix albums. Fortunately, used copies are fairly abundant on Discogs and eBay. Her debut single "Head Games" is also legally unavailable, though most of her other early material has since been rescued.
In 2016, Smash Mouth released a song called "Love is a Soldier", an attempt at electronic dance music which did not go over well. The song was eventually wiped clean from pretty much everywhere, perhaps either due to embarassment or from its negative reception. Those who still want to hear it will have to torrent it.
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, after its release in 1968 it was not rereleased on LP or CD for over 40 years. 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 angered Zappa so much 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, with "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer" still unavailable. Bootlegs and old copies however are treasured cult objects.
The album finally received an official CD release (sourced from a vinyl copy) in 2016, after Zappa's wife Gail passed away.
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.
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. The former is a studio recording released in 1971, while the latter is a live recording released in 1969. Nine of the eleven tracks on Circle 'Round the Sun originally appeared on 12-String Blues. Both are extremely rare and have not been reissued since their original release.
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, 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.
Gregory Alan Isakov's debut album Rust Coloured Stones remains very difficult to track down as it released in small quantities and any copies that do turn up tend to be swiped up very quickly (often in excess of $100). To add salt to the wounds, it's the only one of his albums that isn't on iTunes, so good luck ever listening to it.
In the same vein, getting a physical copy of his second album Songs For October is an uphill struggle too (at least that is available on iTunes though).
Hell, getting a physical copy of any of his albums isn't easy (especially on vinyl), since he's a pretty low-key artist.
One of the very first releases by Mumford & Sons was an EP called "Love Your Ground" which was never commercially released and is very limited in quantities (especially the 10" vinyl). Any copies that do surface tend to command $200+ (and again, even more for the vinyl). Thankfully, most of the songs were rereleased for "Sigh No More" and the rest can be viewed on YouTube.
Another early release is the "Lend Me Your Eyes" EP which is perhaps even rarer than "Love Your Ground" and can get even more pricey ($400+).
Trout Fishing In America has four pre-fame albums: You Bore Me to Death!, Hot to Trout, Yes, the Fish Music, and Stark Raving Trout, which were released between 1979 and 1988. All four have long since gone out of print, but some of the songs were reissued digitally as The Dusty Dozen in 2019.
The 1974 children's album Spin, Spider, Spin: Songs For A Greater Appreciation of Nature by Patty & David Zeitlin and Marcia Berman has never been reissued in modern formats, so your only hope outside of digital piracy is to find a second-hand vinyl copy. None of the songs have been uploaded to YouTube, aside from the title track, which was rereleased on the 2006 compilation Fuzzy-Felt Folk.
When Slowdance Records, and independent record label, went under in 2008, so did most of its catalogue.
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.
A lot of early Augie March singles and EP s can be difficult to track down owing to the bands obscurity at the time. Mind you, when they do show up, they don't tend to be very expensive, rarely going above $20.
Rocketship's A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness is considered one of the quintessential albums of twee pop. While it is available on most digital music stores, CD and vinyl copies fetch a very pretty penny.
Incredibly obscure band "Hertzsprung Gap" only have one officially released album called "Peninsulas You Thought Were Islands" and a small handful of singles. Good luck ever finding any copies though.
Are you a fan of My Friend The Chocolate Cake and want to hear the live version of John Cain Avenue or Yandoit? You'll have to track down the bonus disc edition of Brood and that's no easy task.
Before Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Mangum was part of a short-lived band called "Synthetic Flying Machine" whose only official release was a cassette called "Heaven is For Kids". The cassette is incredibly rare and remains a sought-after item for diehard Mangum fans.
The Australian Indie Rock band "Winterbourne" have currently released 2 EPs that can be found without too much hassle. What you might not know is that before them, they were a street band whose first real release was a self released EP called "Hometown" that is extremely difficult to get a hold of now. A few songs on it were included for the All But The Sun EP, but other tracks like "Hometown" and "Smiling" are very difficult to listen to now.
Literally days after releasing their second album Pageant, queercore duo PWR BTTM were hit with allegations of sexual assault and abuse. The controversy grew so big that their record label Polyvinyl dropped them like a hot potato, deleted Pageant from distribution, and pulled their music from every streaming retailer, while offering refunds and donating all of the album's proceeds to anti-rape charities. If you want to hear their music, you'll have to find it via torrents or buy their CDs, which are growing more expensive due to them being both fairly recent and almost immediately going out of print.
Canadian indie pop artist Jana Jana's sole album, Typical Girl, was only self-released through her website, www.janajana.com, which has long since shut down.
Most of the work from Mars Argo has been deleted due to the messy break up between the two. Only three videos remain on their original YouTube channel, and most of their songs are missing from their bandcamp. A quick YouTube search can find you (most) of their old stuff.
In January 2018, jangle revival band Ultimate Painting announced their fourth album, Up!, was due for release in April. A few pre-release copies on vinyl and CD were made, a single was released.....and it was cancelled. Why? Because the band suddenly announced its breakup in February. Rubbing salt in the wound is that those who did manage to get a physical copy have stated it's the band's best album to date. You can find it digitally if you know where to snoop, but those who want it on vinyl or CD without paying tons of money are SOL.
Anything by the industrial group Flowerpot Men (not to be confused with the 60's pop 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 Missing 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.
This isn't even scratching the surface of Rammstein's lost tracks over the years. For example, for their first album, Herzeleid, the songs Jeder Lacht, Schwarzes Glas, Alter Mann, and Tier were cut. All of them were played in their earliest concerts in 1994, when the band was unknown to anyone (as their first album came out in 1995), but thankfully high quality bootlegs been released to the public... in 2019. Studio mixes theoretically exist of Alter Mann and Tier, which are radically different to their final releases years later, but they haven't been found, while Jeder Lacht and Schwarzes Glas were released on separate promo tapes, albeit with less than 10 copies of each produced.
Want to hear the version of Los with the entire band playing and singing along? Hope you bought the XXI vinyl release for 300 euros when it came out, because it's out of print and you're not finding the song elsewhere.
Nine Inch Nails' rockumentaryClosure 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. There were also two attempts to upload the full film onto NIN's official Vimeo account, but both times it was taken off soon after.
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.
"Deep" was made solely for the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider soundtrack, and hasn't been released on any official NIN album. The music video however is on YouTube, but anyone wanting to own the song themselves is going to either track down the sountrack or the song's promo single.
The websites and material in relation to 42 Entertainment's Alternate Reality Game for Year Zero are now closed, replaced with either an overview page from 42 Entertainment's official website or an error page. The only way to access them now is through the Wayback Machine and fan-made mirrors and uploads.
Remix.Nin.com was a subsite of the official NIN website where fans could upload remixes of songs and download multitracks for certain NIN tracks (and a few others, including some How to Destroy Angels tracks and two tracks from the The Social Network soundtrack). After the NIN site was relaunched in 2016, all the subsites were removed, including Remix.Nin.com. Fortunately, all but a few of the remixes were reuploaded to Internet Archive, and the multitracks can still be found elsewhere on the internet.
The only version of "+Appendage" currently available is an instrumental on The Fragile: Deviations 1. The original version with vocals was only ever released on the cassette version of The Fragile (1999), and is completely absent from the definitive vinyl edition of the album.
Skinny Puppy's "Worlock" video, due to its extreme Gorn content and laundry list of copyright violations (it's 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.
± The Violen[t] Vocation[s] ±' debut (and likely only) album, Savage, Anger, Revenge has been delisted from iTunes, Amazon Music, and other digital download services, and though it is listed on Spotify, appears to no longer be streamable there either. Their website has also expired, so no chance of obtaining a physical copy.
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.
After Keith Jarrett completed his massive concert cycle in 1976, released as the Sun Bear Concerts, he performed a concert at the Nippon Budokan venue on December 12, 1978, which was broadcast in February of 1979 on Japanese radio. This concert was released at one point but has been long unavailable, and information about it is extremely hard to come by. A few people have floated it on the internet in bootleg form, and it is highly recommended by this writer.
Harder Than You and Gumbo Millennium, the first two albums by Funk Metal group 24-7 Spyz, have been out of print since their first label In-Effect folded in 1992.
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 either find them used or hope they one day properly remaster and release them on anniversary editions (Peace Sells & Countdown to Extinction had this done for example). The fact that they share the same album art and are consistently tagged as the real thing makes it even worse.
Also, when it comes to their cover of "These Boots", it gets even worse. Lee Hazlewood objected to the cover (which replaced certain lyrics), so later pressings of "Killing Is My Business" had the song removed. It was restored on the 2002 reissue/remix, but all the "replacement" lyrics were bleeped out, then again with the 2018 "Final Kill" release which included the full song uncensored...but was a more faithful cover of the song replacing the gag lyrics recorded back in 1985. Your only chance to get the original version is to find an original pressing (which is getting rare).
MD .45 was a short-lived Dave Mustaine side-project whose already out-of-print album The Craving received similar treatment as part of the 2004 remaster sessions: Original singer Lee Ving's vocal and harmonica parts were replaced with new vocals and guitar leads by Mustaine. According to Mustaine, this was because the vocals and harmonica were missing from the multi-tracks, but he also saw it as an opportunity to introduce the material to Megadeth fans.
The album finally got an officially sanctioned remaster in 2015 (the iTunes version)/2016 (in FLAC through the official site). It's significantly more dynamic than the previous officially available of the album, although not as dynamic as most of the Guitar Hero remixes, but will probably reduce fans' reliance on this trope regardless.
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.
Judas Priest's 1997 album, Jugulator is out of print and no longer available digitally.
The other album from the Tim "Ripper" Owens era, 2001's Demolition, is still available for digital sale. Neither of these albums was included in the physical Complete Albums Collection. Demolition can be explained, as the boxset was released by Sony and Atlantic Records (a Warner label) owns said album.
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 its 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 ml 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.
It finally got re-released on CD through Century Media/Season of Mist in 2015, and metal fans the world over rejoiced.
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.
Stratovarius tends to release multiple bonus songs for each of their albums that are often only obtainable in limited runs. Although this was alleviated with their release of Intermission, their later bonus songs are difficult to find, especially in the US. Nemesis has a Japanese only release and Elements has releases only available in France and Japan, making single bonus tracks very expensive. The special edition tracks are even harder to find. Elysium, for instance, has three bonus tracks that were only available on a record single in the special edition and they have not received a digital release.
The first two demos of Italian band Prophilax titled Viaggio nella Dimensione Anale and Voci dall'Oltrechiavica were only recorded on cassette, and most likely won't see the light on the internet due to its frontman not wanting to hear himself like that again. Though, all of these songs were recorded on Nerkiology, but some comedic sketches and alternate recordings of classic songs are now tought to be lost forever.
Slipknot's self-titled album originally featured two tracks relating to what Corey Taylor thought was a real life abduction and murder - "Purity" is named after its victim, Purity Knight, and its intro track, "Frail Limb Nursery", samples audio relating to the case. The problem was both the sampled audio and any info about the case were taken from the website Crime Scene - Crime Scene was effectively an early Alternate Reality Game, meaning the story and any related multimedia was entirely fictional and therefor subject to copyright. The creator of the site threatened to sue unless the band either pulled the album entirely or just did a re-release removing the two offending tracks - naturally, Slipknot went with the latter. Eventually "Purity" made it back to the 10th Anniversary Edition of the album without "Frail Limb Nursery" as a lead in: Presumably "Frail Limb Nursery" had to remain cut because it had unlicensed samples, but "Purity" was able to be reinstated because it isn't neccesarily copyright infringement just to write a song inspired by a work of fiction.
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; there's a torrent going around with an almost complete discography, and their first/last company ZTT have released practically everything they have, to the point of releasing a four disc compilation of studio off-cuts, but that's your lot. Rumour has it that the mastertapes for the albums have been lost.
This one's been partially rescued! A re-release of the band's second album (and first album under China Records) is scheduled for May 2017, and it includes all B-sides and out-takes from that period.
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. Critical opinion of the album has vastly improved, with it now being named one of the band's shining moments. (The album is now available on iTunes, though the bonus tracks found on some reissues are absent.)
The only way to legally obtain the original version of New Wave band B-movie's best known song, 'Nowhere Girl', is by tracking down the 1980 Nowhere Girl EP, which only had a limited pressing of 850 copies, or the also limited 1988 compilation The Dead Good Tapes. The short version can be found on the soundtrack to the film 200 Cigarettes, and 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 usually goes for more than $100 used. The album is still available on iTunes and Amazon MP3, but physical copies have also been taken out of circulation too.
Option 30 was a small-time 1980s New Wave band from Pennsylvania that at one point had a pre-Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor on vocals and keyboard. In 1997, after Reznor became famous, a label called Shriek Records released a CD of Option 30's demos and a college radio interview to cash in on NIN's popularity. The CD was limited to 1,000 copies before Shriek Records inexplicably disappeared off the face of the Earth. As the CD was released without the permission of any of the band's former members (including Reznor), it is unlikely to see a rerelease in the near future.
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.
Xaman, and three other early Skullflower albums, were finally re-released in 2013 as part of the "Kino" series.
The Japanese noise-rock/psychedelic rock band Les Rallizes Dénudés are possibly the ultimate example of this trope, as they have never officially released any material. All the available releases are bootlegs, though it's rumoured that band leader Takashi Mizutani is secretly behind and/or has approved some of them. However, since Mizutani also takes Reclusive Artist to extremes (owing in part to a hijacking incident in which a former band member was involved; it's not even currently known whether Mizutani is still alive), it will likely never be known for certain. The band barely even recorded anything in the studio after The '60s, apart from one brief attempt in 1980, owing to some unpleasant experiences the band had in its few abortive attempts at making a studio recording (the band was particularly dissatisfied with the sound quality of the recordings).
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 a cover of The Replacements' "Swingin' Party" replacing "Royals". Eventually, all the tracks from The Love Club were added to the "Extended" reissue of Pure Heroine.
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 commercially released (although it was widely circulated via P2P).
Ditto for "Pure Intuition", the English version of Shakira's "Las de las Intuicion".
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 Cosmo 4 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 release was cancelled (due to Sinatra having second doubts about the album's sales potential), 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, 7 of the 10 tracks were included on Sinatra & Company the next year and 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.
Taylor Swift's 2019 hit duet "ME!", featuring Brendan Urie from Panic! at the Disco, originally began its bridge with the infamous line "Hey kids, spelling is fun!" Perhaps as a result of the criticism, Swift removed the line from the final version that appeared on Lover. If you want to hear the song with the chant, you best scour your radio stations, watch the music video on YouTube or track down the song's vinyl single.
In 2016, Mandy Jiroux made a song called "Insane" that was heavily derivative from the Blind Melon single "No Rain," but not a formal cover. Following a complicated and unique lawsuit centering around what exactly Melonhead had or hadn't authorized Jiroux to do, the song was ultimately ordered by the court to be purged from everything, and is now largely impossible to find anywhere online.
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 VH1 over 2001-02). The DVD box set does include the condensed version used to promote its title song.
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 (and not without good reason).
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.
And that's not even going into the myriad of unreleased songs that have circulated online via leaks; this article from the Lost Media Wiki has a pretty thorough list of the unreleased tracks that we know exist, specifically marking the ones that have and haven't been either leaked or officially released posthumously.
2009's Celebration DVD set features most of her music videos, but it doesn't include any of the videos (plural) for 1983's "Holiday", either due to Old Shame or simply relegating them to Canon Discontinuity. The three versions varied wildly in quality, and are nearly unknown even by diehard fans. The first is a Performance Video where Madonna and her two backup dancers perform beside a pool backed by a miniature waterfall. The second is the same as the first, except overlaid with garish special effects. The third (and most likely well-known) is another performance video that takes place in a studio, where Madonna and her dancers perform in front of a man dressed in pajamas and watching them. Confusing things further is that the live performance in the Truth or Dare documentary was referred to as the "official" music video, but doesn't appear on the Celebration collection (instead, the "music video" is her performance from Top of the Pops in 1983). According to this interview with the song's composers, Warner Brothers never officially produced a music video for it, leaving the status of the (likely unsolicited) three videos in a weird limbo.
The extended music video for "Lucky Star" (which repeats the chorus several times and has much more footage of Madonna writhing around) hasn't been officially released since its inclusion on a promo video in 1984. Copies pop up on YouTube every so often.
The alternate U.S. music video of "True Blue" was the result of a contest winner during MTV's "Make My Video" contest in 1984, but was never officially released on any VHS or DVD.
Songlines, the music video compilation film by Alphaville, had a limited theatrical run in Germany, and hasn't seen an official release since its original VHS and laserdisc printings in 1989. Unfortunately, copies are nearly impossible to find secondhand, and versions on YouTube are either low quality, watermarked, or both.
An entirely different alternate music video for the Jason Donovan song "Every Day (I Love You More)" exists, which was filmed on the same set as in the music video for "Sealed with a Kiss" and tells the story of how the Australian heartthrob fell in love with a girl while he was working in a beach hut. While the later music video was the one released and promoted, the earlier music video fell into obscurity for unknown reasons. The closest thing to seeing the actual alternate music video for this song is a few behind-the-scenes photos that were taken for a Jason Donovan annual book from late 1989-early 1990 (?) Other than that, the video is hard to find and it is actually unknown if it aired or not before it was replaced by the later music video we're used to seeing.
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".
"Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegetable Man" are two Pink Floyd songs that have never been officially released and only appear in bootlegs. They are notable due to being the last songs completed with Syd Barrett. Barrett was already off the deep end at that time, and the surviving members of the band feel that those recordings poignantly illustrate his drug-induced insanity.
The Early Singles released as part of the Shine On box set remains the only way to hear some of their early B-sides on CD and can fetch a mean price, usually in excess of $50.
The band's early rarities were released in November 2016 in a box set called The Early Years, which features the first official releases of several tracks and in higher quality than they've ever been offered before.
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 its distributor Victory Music went bankrupt, and once again in 2002 when Eagle Rock 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.
When Genesis' albums were remastered in 2008 and 2009, they became subject to Loudness War issues which, while not as severe as those on some other reissues of classic rock releases, nonetheless sucked a large amount of dynamic range out of the music (which, as any Genesis fan will tell you, was a large part of what made their music so interesting). Unfortunately, these versions have displaced the earlier, more dynamic versions as the most commonly available versions of the albums, making the band's work fall into this trope.
Pure Reason Revolution's EPs In the Realm of the Divine and Valour EP are pretty much impossible to find, used or otherwise. As such, songs like "Sound of Free", "Human Zoo", "The Clearing", "Tempest" and "Gaudete", are currently only accessible on YouTube.
The Grateful Dead is very likely the Trope Codifier for music. They have an official live discography numbering in the hundreds of releases, but they are the most thoroughly documented live band in the history of recorded music, with literally thousands of shows recorded in soundboard quality. Tape trading among the fan base (Deadheads) is so prevalent that one of the bands shows, the May 8, 1977, performance at Cornell University's Barton Hall, was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry before it had even been officially released (it was ultimately given an official release for its 40th anniversary). The widespread tape trading resulted in several other shows gaining an almost legendary mystique, and has very likely contributed to demand for those performances and boosted the bands sales as a result. Indeed, some writers have credited Deadheads tape trading as being equally responsible for the bands revival in commercial fortunes during the late 80s as their hit Touch of Grey was, since the boom in tape trading occurred around the same time; in all likelihood, the two factors had a symbiotic effect.
Like the Dead, Phish has allowed taping at their concerts since the 1980s and has an official taping and trading policy on their website. Tapes of these concerts helped spread the word about the band in the 1990s, and were a major reason for the growth of their fanbase in that decade. The band never played the same setlist twice and regularly peppered their shows with unique jams, and as a result, tape collecting became a hobby for many fans. While copies of these concerts once spread through cassette trades, audience recordings can now be found through various online means including streaming services and torrents, all of which the band are totally fine with.
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 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.
Ska Punk group Downfall's only album Ready for Action is a Missing Episode that, for complicated reasons, will likely never see official release. Although the band were extremely short-lived, they're notable for bridging two more well-known bands: They were formed by Tim Armstrong, Matt Freeman, and Pat Mello shortly after the dissolution of cult favorite Ska Punk band Operation Ivy, and Armstrong and Freeman would soon move on to form Rancid. A poor quality version of the album eventually started circulating online - a reportedly much better remix by Brett Gurewitz, for a scrapped release on Epitaph Records, exists but has yet to leak. Their only officially released output is limited to appearances on punk compilations, and only the songs "North Berkley" and "My City" were ever released on CD. There's also a bootleg of one of their few concerts note they only ever played live together three times, notable for including a few original songs that were left off the album as well as a cover of Op Ivy's "I Got No".
Let Them Eat Jellybeans! was a 1981 Hardcore Punk compilation issued by Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label notable for featuring songs from Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Black Flag, and others. It was only ever issued on LP, and is likely to never be available digitally or on CD except for in bootleg form - according to the Alternative Tentacles official site, Black Flag won't give permission to use their music, another unnamed band featured on the compilation had a "falling out" with Jello, and Jello has declined to reissue it with two missing songs. Most of the songs featured on the compilation are otherwise available in some form; However, the version of Black Flag's "Police Story" is an otherwise unreleased version with Dez Cadena on vocals note as opposed to the Damaged version with Henry Rollins or the Everything Went Black version with Ron Reyes, and Dead Kennedys' "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" is also a different recording than either the single version or the version heard on In God We Trust, Inc.
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 re-release 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.
RunD.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 Allmusic review noted he had improved as a rapper on the album, which 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.
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, usually 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, due to sketchy business on the part of foreign partner.
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 VH1 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 re-releases have included remixes, the song itself fits this trope for the rest of the world.
Most of De La Soul's discography has never been available online note except for a very brief period in 2014 when the group made their entire discography available for free due to legal issues regarding sampling. According to the group, the samples were only cleared for physical distribution, meaning digital sales or streaming would require a renegotiation with all parties involved. When these records were owned by Warner Bros, the group claims the label was uninterested in dealing with the issue, and while things seemed hopeful when the masters were acquired by Tommy Boy Records, the group was unable to come to an agreement with the label about their share of the revenue, once again preventing a proper digital release.
In August 2021, Tommy Boy was acquired by Reservoir Media. De La Soul announced on Instagram that they were re-negotiating with Reservoir to re-release their catalogue.
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".
A version of Keith Sweat's 1996 crossover hit song, "Twisted", featured a backbeat sampled from Marvin Gaye's 1982 hit "Sexual Healing". "Twisted (Flavahood Sexual Remix)" ended up played as often on the radio as the original version (particularly on CHR and Rhythmic stations), but as of 2020 has never been given an official release on its own. The only way to really listen to it, outside of the occasional throwback playing on radio stations that used to play it in the first place, is YouTube.
After having being convicted of all charges in his Brooklyn trial in September 2021, YouTube terminated R. Kelly's official channel, removing many of his music videos and promotion videos from the site in the process, aside from reuploads from other users.
Fairy Tales, the sole studio album by girl group Divine, has been out of print since Red Ant Records went out of business. The album features the Billboard #1 hit "Lately".
The original version of PM Dawn's "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" is out of print due to its sample of "True" by Spandau Ballet. The only version of the song that's available is a re-recording by their cousin, who now owns the group's name.
Freudiana, released in 1990 under the name of Eric Woolfson (but often credited to The Alan Parsons Project), has never seen any sort of official re-release, not even on streaming services.
The Sicilian Defence, also by The Alan Parsons Project, was recorded in 1979 but has never seen the light until its release in 2014, however only as part of the Complete Albums Collection box set, as a bonus CD. Because of that and its experimental, atonal nature, it will probably never be released on streaming services, vinyl or even as a stand-alone release.
Generation Terrorists, the debut album by Manic Street Preachers was quickly repressed with the dialogue sample from A Streetcar Named Desire at the start of "Little Baby Nothing" removed due to a copyright claim.
The album was remastered in 2012, again without the aforementioned sample.
Most of Bob Seger's albums prior to 1975's Beautiful Loser are out of print and may never be released again as long as Seger is still alive, because Seger has made his displeasure to those albums well-known. A select handful of those albums, including his debut LP Ramblin' Gamblin Man, Smokin' O.P's and Mongrel have seen limited distribution on CD (and consequently, making those as rare as the original vinyl issues) in the early 90's, but are not as widely available as his post-mid-late 70's career. This means that the original studio version of "Turn the Page" (included in the out-of-print Back in '72) and his anti-Vietnam anthem "2 + 2 = ?" have become valuable rarities (the latter single was given a reissue vinyl, exclusively from Third Man Records). Seger was one of the last major music stars to release his back catalog to streaming, and even then Ramblin' Gamblin' Man was his only pre-1975 album to make its way to Spotify and Apple while Smokin' O.P's is back in print as a remastered CD reissue.
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. While the German-language version of Melt is mainly a straight re-dub of the vocals, the German version of Security has some other differences: The songs are presented in a slightly different order, certain songs are give a noticeable "not-remix", one song was re-recorded to include an exclusive coda and some tracks run either longer or shorter than their English language counterparts.
The Desert Storm remix of Styx'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 several items are still hard to get:
Some of the songs they performed at the 1962 Decca audition were included on the The Beatles Anthology 1 set, but the rest are still only available on bootlegs.
The U.S. albums released by Capitol Records went out of print after 1991 (except for the Magical Mystery Tour LP, which replaced the U.K. EP as the canonical version). The albums from Meet the Beatles! to Rubber Soul, excluding the A Hard Day's Night soundtrack, were issued in two box sets as The Capitol Albums in 2004, both of which are now out of print. Every unique U.S. album was eventually issued in The U.S. Albums set in 2014, but those mostly used the same mixes as the 2009 remasters of the official U.K. albums, much to the annoyance of U.S. purists who are stuck with tracking down the 2004 box sets (which used the Capitol master tapes for everything), an unofficial CD of Yesterday... and Today with the unique U.S. mixes and/or original copies of the albums to get the proper U.S. mixes (added echo, Duophonic and all).
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 was available for some time on Netflix, though.)
A rather large number of songs the band wrote were only performed live. Some of this circulated for years as bootlegs before finally being released officially, some of it is still available only as bootlegs, and some has apparently never been recorded. (The band's longest song, "Sweet Sister Ray", which runs for over thirty-eight minutes, falls into both the latter categories; it is available only as a bootleg, and it is not available as a complete performance, since the song "Sister Ray", to which it is an intro, was not captured in its entirety during the sole known recording of "Sweet Sister Ray".)
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 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 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" is missing from ALL reissues of 1987's Never Let Me Down, including the Loving the Alien (1983-1988) box set, an otherwise comprehensive collection of Bowies recordings during that period. Bowie historian Nicholas Pegg theorizes in The Complete David Bowie that it became 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 198991 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 VH1, this edit does not appear on compilations but has turned up on VH1 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.
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.
Prior to 2015, The Doors' first two post-Jim Morrison albums, Other Voices and Full Circle, were only legitimately released on CD in Russia. The only way for people to obtain either one was through iTunes, but neither the fansnor the band could've cared any less about them. They were finally reissued in 2015 as a 2-CD set.
For those of you who want songs from Los Bravos but are disappointed to find compilations with only one, maybe two, of their songs (mostly "Black Is Black"), your best bet is to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, etc. Full albums of their songs are almost exclusive to their native Spain.
Due to being from Czechoslovakia, the only way for the Western world to hear the Matadors in the 1960's was through radio stations in East Berlin. Finding their music is still rare even on Amazon.
The Idle Race, a late '60s band that once had a young Jeff Lynne, has had little success even to this day. Even a "Best of" compilation fetches a minimum of $15 on Amazon.
The Scottish band Marmalade definitely counts. Yes, it's hard to get anything of theirs on Amazon under $15.00.
The music video for "Once" was only ever released as an internet exclusive in 1998...so you can probably guess how well it looks by today's standards. If a higher-quality version does exist, then it has either been lost to time, or never been released (and given it was a song from the aforementioned Van Halen III, it's unlikely it'll be unearthed any time soon).
The Cult released a box set called "Rare Cult" (not to be confused with Best Of Rare Cult, which was a collection of B-Sides) which was a 6 CD set that contained outtakes, demos, alternate mixes and the (at the time) unreleased album "Peace". A lot of stuff from the boxset hasn't been rereleased and can only be obtained here. As a result, it tends to demand a hefty price, usually upwards of $350.
There was also another version of Rare Cult containing a bonus CD with alternate mixes of some of their songs that is even rarer.
Even rarer still is The Demo Sessions box set, which contained several unreleased demo versions of their songs. It was limited to 3000 copies and could only be bought through Beggars Banquet's online shop. As such, it is a highly prized rarity amongst Cult fans and can cost upwards of $500!
After Spotify took their songs down for an unknown reason, Critical Zone seemingly went extinct.
NateWantsToBattle's Pokémonparody albums never got physical releases and have been removed from services like Spotify and iTunes. While you can still listen to their songs on his YouTube channel, there's no legal way to get actual copies of them.
HIM's earliest music is sometimes shrouded in mystery. The only thing they released prior to their debut full-length album was the EP 666 Ways to Love: Prologue. Until the From Lashes to Ashes vinyl re-release, it was only available on 1,000 CDs released in 1996. And that's to say nothing of their first two demos, one of which is heavily bootlegged and the other of which only their lead singer has a copy of.
The 2005 and 2006 remasters of Talking Heads' studio catalog by Jerry Harrison & Andy Zax haven't been in-print since 2009; since then, whenever a new CD copy of a Talking Heads studio album shows up on the store shelf, it's guaranteed to be a re-pressing of a CD release from the 80's.note These are identifiable from actual 80's CDs in a few ways: the re-pressings lack the mirror band that was standard for Warner Music Group CDs for the 80's and much of the 90's, have mirror center hubs instead of the standard clear, and use a black media tray on the jewel case (as opposed to the more typical dark gray) with the "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo replaced by a blank rectangle. These re-pressings also only ever utilize the "banner" label design; if you encounter a Talking Heads CD with a "target" label, it's guaranteed to be an original 1983-85 pressing. This is notable because it's extremely unusual for something like this to happen to a band's back-catalog. Typically, it's the older releases that go out of print, with the most recent remasters being the ones that stick around.
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 201213, 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 201314 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.
And that's not counting soundtracks that when available on streaming services, are incomplete. For instance, Godzilla - The Album is missing six tracks, including two Breakaway Pop Hits (Puff Daddy's "Come with Me" and The Wallflowers' cover of "Heroes") and the Foo Fighters original "A320", which Dave Grohl said is his favorite composition ever.
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 search online. There are files to be found, but there are always some inevitable background noises. Sigh.
The All Sounds of Final Fantasy and II soundtrack originally included four Dummied Out songs from Final Fantasy II (Battle Scene 3, Dungeon (Reused as The Magic House in Final Fantasy VI), Airship Theme and Shop Theme), and the only release with these four songs is it's Japan-only 1st release in 1989.
Much to the dismay of many 2000s kids, the song "What Dreams are Made of" from The Lizzie Mc Guire Movie is only available on a 2003 CD. Though the song is available on YouTube (but sung in a higher key for copyright reasons), only cover versions exist on iTunes and Spotify.
The Muppets' soundtrack and tie-in albums have been hard to come by for many years.
The likely reason the original vinyl compilations, The Muppet Show and The Muppet Show 2, weren't simply transferred to CD is because Sony didn't want to pay extra for the rights to certain songs covered by the performers ("Time in a Bottle", etc.) and the numbers featuring guest stars Peter Sellers and Bernadette Peters that appeared on the second album.
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 re-release of its soundtrack in 2013.)
The live-action commercial for Metroid: Other M uses a musical cue that has never appeared on any official album related to any of Nintendo's properties, and has a string-based orchestral melody that progresses from a soft ballad to a rock-infused final verse. Most fans have created their own versions of the track via recording software, and a remixed/remade version was made available as "What's Past Is Prologue" (a nod to one of the lines said in the trailer) by Theophany on the Harmony of a Hunter tribute CD, no official version has ever been made available, and track is only available for internal use according to Nintendo's PR division.
In general, music videos that were tie-ins to movies — be they a Video Full of Film Clips or Movie Tie-in Music Video — can be tricky to track down. 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 they exist to begin with, and hope that rights issues to the clips didn't keep them off those. Among those that have never seen official hard copy releases:
Bryan Ferry's "Help Me", the song intended for the end credits of The Fly (1986) that due to concerns of Mood Whiplash was relegated to background music in one scene. In a related issue, since it was not included on the soundtrack album, the sole CD release of the song was as part of the 1988 Ferry / Roxy Music compilation The Ultimate Collection, and that version is edited down from the original single release.
The Michael Bolton version of "Go the Distance" from Hercules. Disney's DVD releases of the film only feature Ricky Martin's Latin American Spanish version (since he was the trendier name by the time Disney moved into the DVD market).
Do you prefer the foreign-language versions of the Rhythm Heaven vocal tracks? Tough luck, because due to Nintendo only releasing Rhythm Heaven soundtracks in Japan and only including the Japanese-language tracks, the non-Japanese versions have yet to see an official release of any kind. For this same reason, they will also never receive extended versions.
The music video for the Make It Sweet! version of MilkCan's "GOT TO MOVE! (Millennium Girl)" was originally released on Gamespot. However, the page that initially hosted the video is now a dead link, and the only copy of the video can be found in a low-quality upload on YouTube.
At least a third of Descent 3's music was not included on the OST, although Jerry "Autopilot" Berlongieri released a few such songs as MP3's; sadly, most sites carrying the files are long since defunct. Worse are the completely unreleased songs that have to be pieced together from the game's Variable Mix audio files.
Lisa Lougheed's Evergreen Nights, the soundtrack album to The Raccoons, was only ever released on vinyl and cassette. It appeared on Grooveshark...and then disappeared from the internet once the website was shut down. It was finally reissued on vinyl in 2019, thanks to the format's resurgence. There are also several songs from the show, including the original Stephen Lunt version of "Run With Us", that have never been released to the public at all.
For some reason, most of David Bridie's soundtracks have been rereleased on his bandcamp site except for his award winning soundtrack to the 1999 film "In a Savage Land". If you want to listen to it, you'll have to track down the out-of-print cd. Not only is it rare, but also pricey, typically going for $50+.
The score to the live action version of Ghost in the Shell, by co-composers Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe, was offered up for pre-order on numerous music websites and download services, but was then suddenly canceled by distributor Lakeshore Records after promising a March 2017 release. Fans reached out to Paramount and Lakeshore, but none returned a sufficient answer (if any answer) for its cancellation. It could be tied to the film's poor performance, but some suspect it was an issue with legal clearance. In spite of their silence, fans took to the internet and created a petition for its release. After more than a year of bootleg rips, Balfe would end up releasing the entire score for free in a lossless .WAV format online]].
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie's Soundtrack was planned to be released, but for lack of popularity, the CD was stopped in pre-orders. Nowadays, the soundtrack is wanted by many fans, but only a short version of the theme song "Look-a-Like" was ever released.
Due to the record label losing the rights, The Terminator's licensed songs, such as the iconic "Burnin' in the Third Degree" from the dance club scene, are unavailable on current editions of the soundtrack album. The Tryanglz, the Fake Band that performed said song and two others ("You Can't Do That" and "Photoplay"), also recorded six more demo tracks for an artist album that ultimately went unreleased, thus they are only obtainable via bootleg.
Cirque du Soleil's Crystal has not received a soundtrack release, perhaps due to red tape entanglement with the record labels of the pop songs that it features covers of, such as U2's "Beautiful Day", Beyoncé's "Halo", and Sia's "Chandelier".
The US version of the original Gran Turismo featured a remix of TMF's "Five Miles High" (retitled "High") that has never been released separately, not even on the game's limited-release OST. Since the game music is not RedBook CD audio, it can't be ripped in the traditional manner either.
The presently (legally) available edition of Max Payne 3's OST, for some reason, is missing two tracks, namely "Blasphemy", the second Stadium BGM; and "Severin", an instrumental of a previously released HEALTH track.
John Williams fans get this. Imagine the disappointment fans had on buying the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom soundtrack album and finding its fantastic end title piece wasn't included. As any Williams fan will tell you, the film version is very different from the album version. It also wasn't on Concord's Indiana Jones: The Complete Soundtracks Collection which included remastered and expanded versions of the first three movies' soundtracks.
One of Frozen II's trailers has a particularly epic rendition of the series theme "Vuelie" sung by Aurora that has not been released on the soundtrack or elsewhere.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer had two soundtrack albums focusing on licensed songs used in the show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale Music from the TV Series - both are out of print, but the former is easier to find on CD. Radio Sunnydale actually had two versions, and both of those are out of print: Three songs from the US version couldn't be licensed in other territories for various reasons, so to avert Bad Export for You, the UK, Latin America, and Australia got a version that was almost twice as long (21 tracks as opposed to the 12 tracks on the US version). Most songs from the soundtracks are available digitally on their own, with the exceptions being score pieces, and, most notably, the theme song as performed by Nerf Herder.
"Radar Radio" from Top Gun was only released as a B-Side to the US 7" single of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away", and has never appeared on any editions of the soundtrack album, nor is it legally available in CD, cassette, or digital format.
The soundtracks of Pokémon: The First Movie and Pokémon 2000 are both out of print. The first film's score is still available, and its soundtrack is only available on Napster anymore, albeit with a few tracks missing.
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, released in 2011, is next-to-impossible to get your hands on legally. About half of the album's songs were rerecorded and rereleased on Vessel, to the point where the band themselves consider it a demo album, and they signed to Fueled by Ramen right after it was released. Unless you want to fork over a ton of money on an auction site like eBay, you'll have to rip the songs from YouTube.
Most doujin music without digital releases/re-release suffers from this trope once the print run ends, which is very small. That is if the releases are not event-only releases. It certainly does not help that most of them are unavailable outside Japan. In fact, searching for digitally pirated copies, YouTube uploads or some obscure streams will result in failure anyway if no one ever uploads them. Some concrete examples:
ShinRa-Bansho has many event-exclusive singles. Some of them are intended for re-release on the Synchrocompilation series later on, but the bonus CDs are not so lucky.
There is a HUGE number of post-punk bands from the 70s-80s that are incredibly obscure. Most of the bands from the era did what they want and disappeared afterwards. These were known only in local circles, were signed to a small label and released albums with an extremely limited pressing. Nowadays you have labels that reprint this material, such as Dark Entries and Minimal Wave, but, again, they tend to choose a limited run, so it's almost pointless. A few kind hearts share these songs - often hidden gems.
A good example of a lost album is "Space Museum" by Solid Space. That one was a cassette from 1982, and the band was comprised of two guys who have since gone on to do other things. Their music was full of references about Doctor Who. After more than 25 years, they finally got the recognition they deserved.
There is also a song by the band You Peghead You from Australia, extremely unknown since they only played a single concert. Crystal Castles sampled that on "She Fell Off", and one of the theories is that Ethan Kath downloaded an MP3 on a music blog many years ago, as there is no info available on the Internet about You Peghead You except for one site about Aussie post-punk.
There were also a lot of strange, experimental Japanese artists who made music in that time period. The general audience doesn't know anything about them, but those who are in the scene put the songs up for download somewhere. The legendary label Vanity Records has a catalogue of sought-after records that are sold for upwards of $500.
"The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet", which went viral in 2019, is another great example of this. The only known copy to predate it being uploaded to the internet in 2007 is a second-generation mixtape made from a recording of a radio broadcast sometime in the early '80s.note The mixtape was digitized in 2004 but was not destroyed and, surprisingly, was found to still be in good condition when it was tested in 2019. Other than the original taper and his sister, nobody has ever verifiably been proven to have ever heard the song before it was uploaded online. The radio station it was probably recorded from has not preserved the physical media it used for playback at the time, so even if the song is found on the station's program logs there might not be any other surviving copies of it. Consider that: one teenager who happened to start recording a song he liked the sound of on the radio just might have saved it from total obscurity.
The album "Dreamin' with Def Leppard" might be the only "lullaby renditions" album that is performed by people from the original band. The CD is out of print and extremely hard to find, even online. It is also no longer available on iTunes.