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locally distributed CDs are so expensive and anyone with a brain would import a cheaper CD from the UK/US. The extra tracks are intended to encourage people to buy the local release instead.
It's a similar situation in Australia.
there's no real singles market in Japan, so they get bonus tracks on albums in place of B-sides on singles.
You'll notice that the 'bonus' tracks often are just the ones that get put out as B-sides over here.
I'm sure there are economic factors too, but my understanding is that's the main one.
and saw a simply red album for well over £25.
simply fucking red.
Must be something to do with that.
But how is digital retailing such as iTunes effecting this I wonder? Surely people would rather spend the equivalent of £8 on a digital album than £25 on a physical one, even if it did have extra tracks?