Should I buy this "album"*?

All right, this is about music so I’m putting it here.

So first I get a text from Google telling me that Herbie Hancock has a new album out. I get these every now and then, and they are always from artists/authors whose works I have bought, because Google knows everything about me. When I saw the text I thought, wow, all these old guys still putting out new stuff. By old guys I mean guys who were recording in 1963. Paul McCartney, e.g.

I put it into Google to get a track listing. All the tracks are familiar, and they’re all from his first album, so…it looks like it isn’t really a new album. But is it a new version? A new recording?I can’t figure out what’s going on here. It’s the same songs as the original album, which I had (may still have but I haven’t had the means to play vinyl in like 20 years) and I liked them, but at least one song (“Watermelon Man”) has a version I liked better. But the other thing is that it looks like it’s a digital only album* and available only from streaming sites, right now. And either there’s no price or it’s in Euros.

The original was one of my long-time favorites and I miss being able to hear it, so it would be a plus to have it in a format I could actually listen to. But if it’s just a remaster of the 1963 works, why would it have a new name?

If Dexter Gordon was listed as an artist that would be a clue, but it only says “Main artist: Herbie Hancock”

If it was released by Blue Note that would also be a clue, but it doesn’t say who released it.

So, what might be going on here? It almost looks like pirated music, but it’s all so upfront, Google alert and all.

*“Album” is in quotes because seriously, we have gotten way far away from having a bunch of songs by a certain artist or related in some other way together in one media set out in a book with individual sleeves for numerous records with one number on each side of a record. There has to be a better word. It just feels wrong to me to say it.

Google Alert just means that there was a web page published with content you asked to be alerted about. Google didn’t personally curate and verify the content before sending it along. Google does some stuff with music, of course, through Google Play but that’s not the same as Google Alert.

You didn’t specify the name of the album or the service you’re finding it on. If I Google “Herbie hancock new release” I do end up with a result for something called “Little Angel” in a results format that suggests it’s a real album with a real track listing.

If you click the “Label” name, 33x Digital, you get a search results page with the first link taking you to Qobuz, which is a French high-fidelity streaming service with streaming only for France and the UK. If you click on that link you come to a page on Qobuz with all the albums from 33x Digital which are all called “Little Angel” and all have different artists.

From this I deduce that there’s no new music from any of these artists. There might be a legit company in France or the UK that has gotten the rights to create these high-fidelity streamed versions of these songs from these old albums, and release them on Qobuz. But if you’re in the US they’re not available for you.

Google must be indexing Qobuz and adding tracks released there to their music indexing algorithm which is why you see that “Little Angel” album with a search.

But, algorithms can be wrong and/or tricked, and people can be skeevy (or unknowingly and benignly producing that result).

Anyway…no new Herbie.

I thought an album was a collection of things that are in some way related. That’s why I continue to buy albums of songs and to keep photo albums.

Is thisthe album you miss hearing? Amazon has it in a variety of formats.

That’s it. But I keep thinking I’m going to drag out all the albums I haven’t already replaced and get them digitized. This is one of those things that’s been on the to-do list for about, oh, 10 years. My spouse keeps mentioning it, too. And yet neither one of us has gotten around to it. (It is probably cheaper to just get the CD. Looks like it might be.)

Actually the rendition of “Watermelon Man” I like best is on Head Hunters and I do have that on a CD. I liked the whole Takin’ Off album but that was my favorite song and now I have it.

Snowboarder Bo, “album” was the name for the book the things were in, at one time. Now you’re right, it’s just a collection. But I’m old, and while I accepted it for LPs readily enough, I am uncomfortable and fidgety with using it for digital stuff.

ZipperJJ, I have never asked to be alerted to anything. It just started happening a couple of months ago, and it’s always stuff that I have either Googled or ordered from Amazon. Unless I accidentally tripped something, somewhere along the line. Some of them are pretty hilarious because I Google all kinds of weird things for work.

I’ve also been getting those alerts for “new” albums from Google on my phone for some weeks. They came out of the blue, I never told the Google app or Google Alert (is this a stand alone app that can be configured in Android?) to alert me of anything. But as usual, Google matches my preferences very well and those were all suggestions for bands/musicians I really like and often listen to by streaming music via in chrome, so of course Big Brother Google knows. OTOH, most of the actual albums were obscure samplers of old songs (some by the Beach Boys for example), and one was an alert for the “new” Van Morrison album that linked to a website only announcing the actual release date sometime in November.