People Are Awesome: Elvis Costello Tells Fans to Not Buy His Overpriced New Record

The 57-year-old icon is striking back at his price-gouging record label this holiday season.

Aging rocker Elvis Costello may not be as popular as he once was, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot of fight left in him when he gets angry. Just ask his record label.

Back in April, Costello and his band, the Imposters, recorded a live album and DVD in Los Angeles, which will be released next month as a box set titled The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook. It's the perfect gift for any Costello completist looking to add to their canon, save for one problem: It costs more than $200 for one DVD, one CD, and one vinyl record. In short, it's a ripoff, especially for anyone who had been looking to buy the album while staying on a budget in this tight economy. Luckily for fans, Costello is equally displeased.

In a message called "Steal This Record" posted to his website, Costello implores people not to buy Songbook, the hefty price of which he says must be "either a misprint or a satire." He adds that because his label, HIP-O, will not budge on the album's cost, fans should instead spend their money on Ambassador of Jazz, a new Louis Armstrong box set that contains 10 different CDs yet is more than $50 cheaper than Songbook. "Frankly," Costello adds, "the music is vastly superior."

Back in February, when ticket scalpers had effectively ruined LCD Soundsystem's final show, that band's frontman, James Murphy, beat the scalpers by getting creative. "Don't let the shitbags win," he told fans at the time. It looks like at least Elvis Costello was listening.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user jeffturner

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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