Reasons for reissue
New audio formats
Recordings originally released in an audio format that has become technologically or commercially obsolete are reissued in new formats. For example, thousands of original vinyl albums have been reissued on CDs since introduction of that format in the early 1980s. More recently, many albums originally released on CD or earlier formats have been reissued on SACD or DVD-Audio.
Beginning with Pickwick Records, which acquired the rights to reissue many of Capitol Records' non-current albums at a low price in venues other than record stores, several record companies started "budget" or "drugstore records" subsidiaries to sell their deleted items at lower prices.
When one record label buys out another record label or acquires an individual recording artist's back catalogue, their albums are often reissued on the purchasing label. For example, Polydor Records reissued many of James Brown's albums which were originally released on his former label, King Records. King Records had itself previously reissued albums and singles by Brown that were originally recorded for its subsidiary label, Federal Records.
Strong or weak sales
Recordings are reissued to meet continuing demand for an album that continues to be popular after its original release. In other cases, albums are reissued to create interest in and hopefully revive the sales of a release which has sold poorly. For example, the heavy metal label Roadrunner Records is notorious for reissuing their artist's works' only months after releasing the original album. According to US music magazine Billboard, reissues target "casual consumers who hadn't picked up the album when it was originally released, as well as obsessives who need to own every song in an artist's catalog."
In the late 2000s to early 2010s, reissues of studio albums with expanded track listings were common, with the new music often being released as stand-alone EPs. In October 2010, a Vanity Fair article regarding the trend noted reissues and post-album EPs as "the next step in extending albums' shelf lives, following the "deluxe" editions that populated stores during the past few holiday seasons—add a few tracks to the back end of an album and release one of them to radio, slap on a new coat of paint, and—voila!—a stocking stuffer is born." Examples of such releases include Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster (2009) following her debut album The Fame (2008), and Kesha's Cannibal (2010) following her debut album Animal (2010).
Special, Limited and Commemorative Editions
Some recordings are reissued to celebrate their popularity, influence, or an anniversary of the artist or the recording.
Track controversy and revisionism
Some recordings are remixed and reissued in an effort to erase prior band member's contributions. Two such examples were Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. British girl group Sugababes reissued two of their studio albums in a similar manner; Taller in More Ways following Mutya Buena's replacement with Amelle Berrabah, and Sweet 7 after Keisha Buchanan's replacement with Jade Ewen.
Common additions to reissued albums include:
Reissues and certification
For the purposes of quantifying sales, an album's original and subsequent releases are counted together. For example, if an album sold 300,000 of its original release and 700,000 in subsequent reissues, it would be entitled to platinum certification. However, the musical contents of the original disc must remain the same on a reissue for it to count towards certification.
Some record labels specialize in reissuing recordings originally released on other labels. Three of the biggest reissue labels are Rhino Records, Hip-O Records, and Legacy Recordings. Each of these companies reissues material from the labels of a major music conglomerate: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony BMG, respectively. Collectables Records is another prolific reissue label that licenses recordings from other labels.
- Lipshutz, Jason (November 4, 2014). "Beyonce's Platinum Edition: Feeling a Twinge of Disappointment About The False Rumors". Billboard. New York. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- "With Ke$ha, Gaga, and Taylor Swift, It's All About the Art of the Tease". Vanity Fair. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "Classic Album Reissues, due in May".
- "Ultimate Classic Rock, on last year's Ozzy reissues".