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What's the point to a 'hidden track'?


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#1 of 41 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted May 11 2004 - 09:04 AM

Ok, when they first started doing this, it was a fun novelty, but it seems like every CD I get has one. What's the deal? It's about as annoying as Easter Eggs on DVD's.

The real question up for debate is, is there some sort of legal (or cost) thing involved with a hidden (or bonus) track? or is it just flat out a novelty?

I mean, I remember when CD's first came out, they used to put 'bonus' tracks on CD's (and not on the casettes). I assume this was probably because casette manufacturing would cost per minute. I'm sure there was an increase in cost if you went over 60 minutes (because they needed to add more physical tape to the casette), but the CD process won't cost any more to "fill it up"?

If this were true, why do they still do this? Is it to make more work for those who want to 'rip' to MP3's? Do they pay per track and putting 2 songs on one track makes it a cheap way to get 14 songs but only pay for 13?

Or am I just looking too much into this?

#2 of 41 OFFLINE   AricB

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Posted May 11 2004 - 09:21 AM

I've seen where people have done it with covers of songs, so i think they dont have to credit the songwriters? and some have been limited pressings, some of Nirvana's Nevermind had an extra track but 2 of 3 copies I've had didnt?

#3 of 41 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted May 11 2004 - 09:42 AM

Quote:
they dont have to credit the songwriters?
I forgot to add that in my first post (i.e. not listing the track)...I was going to ask what would be the advantage of a not listing a track on a CD and the above answer seems to make sense.
Quote:
and some have been limited pressings
I was thinking that might be the case (this way they don't need to produce 2 different sets of jacket art), but some CD's will say that there is a bonus track right in the song listing (on the back). Posted Image

It's like the DVD's that list Easter Eggs as extras. Posted Image

#4 of 41 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted May 11 2004 - 10:13 AM

What I really hate is when a hidden track isn't even a seperate track, but just part of another one. Like when the last song is 4 minutes, but the track is 10 minutes, which consists of the song, than 4 minutes of nothing, than a two minute "cute" ditty to top it off. So now I can't put that last song onto a mix or anything.Posted Image

#5 of 41 OFFLINE   AnthonyC

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Posted May 11 2004 - 01:12 PM

Exactly. That's why after buying the UK In Utero CD with a bonus track, I went out and bought the US one too.

#6 of 41 OFFLINE   Tony-B

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Posted May 11 2004 - 01:48 PM

Aric, here's the story about Endless Nameless, the hidden track on Nevermind...

Quote:
Some copies of the American compact disc contain the hidden track "Endless, Nameless." It's unlisted, but can be found about ten minutes after "Something In The Way" ends (13:51 of track 12). The song, which can also be found on some Come As You Are singles, was rumored to have been accidentally omitted from the first pressing in America. (Nevermind: Nirvana reports that the first pressing totaled 46,251 copies, though the book is vague about the format.)

When the mistake was realized, the song was put on subsequent pressings of the CD. The problem, though, is that there is no way to distinguish a CD with the song from a CD without it (that we know of). The easiest way to check is simply to compare the length of the disc in a CD player.

"Endless, Nameless" was included on American CDs for several years, but in the late 1990s DGC stopped this practice. The song can probably still be found, though, on at least one European pressing of the disc. In fact, despite the commonly believed misconception that the song was only available in the United States, "Endless, Nameless" has apparently always been available on CDs made in the United Kingdom, and possibly Germany, too.
(From http://www.nirvanadiscography.com)

My copy of Nevermind, which I bought earlier on in the year, does not have Endless, Nameless. However, thanks to the magic of the internet, I have the song downloaded. Posted Image

Quote:
I've seen where people have done it with covers of songs
I have seen that too. My copy of XIII by Mushroomhead has a cover of Crazy by Seal a minute after the end of the last track. However, in the booklet they do give credit to Seal.

Mike Broadman, you could just rip the last song into MP3 and use a program like Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit) to seperate the hidden track from the normal one.
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#7 of 41 OFFLINE   Tim Hoover

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Posted May 11 2004 - 01:49 PM

In some cases, hidden tracks are last-minute additions after the artwork has been completed and produced, ie "Mr E's Beautiful Blues" from The Eels Daisies of the Galaxy. This is also the case w/ The Clash' "Train In Vain" which was a last-minute addition after the record jacket had been completed. My guess is that it's only remained an unlisted track in subsequent CD pressings to stay true to the original vinyl...
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#8 of 41 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted May 11 2004 - 02:27 PM

Not including the track on the listings won't affect liability to pay copyright royalties to the songwriter, since the song is there. As for credit, I'm not sure how guild rules affect this issue, but I'm pretty sure it won't affect the money issue -- which is the important one, innit? Posted Image

It's one thing to include another unlisted track as a bonus, but it's rather annoying to "hide" it after 10-15 mins of silence. IIRC Robbie Williams and George Michael both have such "bonus tracks" (can't remember the names of the albums, though, Robbie's is his album of jazz standards, George's is his previous one with the red and black cover).

#9 of 41 OFFLINE   Tony-B

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Posted May 11 2004 - 03:00 PM

Yee, the name of that Robbie Williams album you are thinking of is Swing When You're Winning.
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#10 of 41 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted May 11 2004 - 04:00 PM

Funny story about a hidden track...The Weird Al Yankovic album "Off the Deep End" has a hidden track that's about 11-12 minutes after the last song "You Don't Love Me Anymore". For those who don't know it, it's actually not a song, it's just a screaming guitar and a loud drum part with Weird Al screaming for about 5 seconds.

Anyways, I was listening to the last song one day and fell asleep halfway through (you can see where this is going)...after about 10 minutes, I was pretty much asleep when that screaming track came on and scared the CRAP out of me! Posted Image

Actually, that hidden track also caused me some more grief. One day I was making a Weird Al compilation CD and forgot about that track. After putting it (along with 14 other songs) into Roxio, I was confused as to why it wouldn't burn. After seeing that the one song was over 14 minutes long, I realized why the CD was over full :b

#11 of 41 OFFLINE   Jesse Lawson

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Posted May 12 2004 - 04:39 AM

I too dislike the practice of having several minutes of blank space followed by some little ditty or bit of nothing. Guilty parties that come to mind include Super Furry Animals' Guerrila and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Fever to Tell. Sonic Youth's Experimental Jet Set makes you wait a more reasonable one minute. The best way to do this is simply to actually add another track and just not list it, as does Cibo Matto's Viva! La Woman.

On the other hand, when an older album is reissued with bonus tracks, I prefer there to be 10-15 seconds of blank space after the album proper ends (but not several minutes, obviously).

David Byrne's recent Grown Backwards was originally intended to be a 14-track album but then someone (maybe him) decided to add a remix of his Xpress-2 collaboration "Lazy" at the end. (It is listed though.) I felt like it didn't really fit and would have liked some blank space.

John Cale's Hobosapiens has a hidden track BEFORE track one; you have to hold the reverse button down until some -4:30. Amusingly, the little red-printed note behind the CD tray (which is easy to overlook) thanks you for your dilligence in reading said print and instructs you on how to find the track.

#12 of 41 OFFLINE   Bill Williams

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Posted May 12 2004 - 06:25 AM

IIRC, the CD version of Pearl Jam's "Vitalogy" has a hidden track on it somewhere, I forget what it is or where, I'm thinking somewhere in the middle of the set.

And on the 2-CD release of the soundtrack to "Star Wars", after the alternate version of "Binary Sunset", there's a 2 1/2-minute gap of silence, followed by hidden tracks of the five original recordings of the "Star Wars" main theme. Oddly enough, these "hidden" tracks are mentioned in the liner notes.
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#13 of 41 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 12 2004 - 06:39 AM

If it isn't listed (what's the point then?) then hidden tracks are a fun thing for me.

My copy of Sarah McLachlin's Fumbling Towards Ecstacy has the pretty acoustic version of "Posession" roughly one minute after the ending of track 12's (listed) song.

311's Transistor has one of those "backwards" hidden tracks placed before track 1: when you push play hit reverse to hear it but not all versions have it (mine does & this is partly why I am keeping mine even though it skips because it became incredibly scratched during heavy use at school during road trips, workouts (motivation use) and lending it out. What's funny is I owned it for almost five years before reading about the hidden track on 311's message board. It almost made the entire album seem new again for some reason. Posted Image

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#14 of 41 OFFLINE   AnthonyC

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Posted May 12 2004 - 09:21 AM

The last Train CD had a sticker on the cover: "Includes Hidden Track." Not very well-hidden, eh?

#15 of 41 OFFLINE   Tony-B

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Posted May 12 2004 - 11:05 AM

By the way, the lamest hidden track I have ever heard is the one at the end of the album Ixnay on the Hombre by The Offspring. It's a few minutes of silence, and then some guy comes on and says, "I think you guys should try heavy metal. Kiss my ass! Hahaha!".

Also, Losing Streak by Less Than Jake has a hidden story before the first track. Pretty funny stuff!
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#16 of 41 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted May 12 2004 - 02:31 PM

How about the hidden track on the Strongbad CD? Posted Image

It's Homestar Runner singing "Secret Song"

#17 of 41 OFFLINE   AnthonyC

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Posted May 13 2004 - 08:49 AM

Why did they stop including "Endless, Nameless" on Nevermind? It's not like it cost them more to include it. I bought my copy a few months ago, and was disappointed when it wasn't there (although it makes it easier for me to add "Something in the Way" to my Nomad).

#18 of 41 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted May 13 2004 - 09:04 AM

Quote:
Like when the last song is 4 minutes, but the track is 10 minutes, which consists of the song, than 4 minutes of nothing, than a two minute "cute" ditty to top it off. So now I can't put that last song onto a mix or anything.
Yeah, that really screws things up if you have a CD changer on random (for a party) and you hit that wall of silence for like 5 minutes Posted Image
Quote:
although it makes it easier for me to add "Something in the Way" to my Nomad
I'm not sure of other riping apps, but iTunes has the ability to use in and out points when ripping MP3's from CD. This way you can first rip the song and have the ending point right after the first song, then reset the points to start at the beginning of the "hidden" song and end at the end of that. I know you can rip the song and use a sound editor, but iTunes cuts out that process and does it right from the start Posted Image


I always thought a funny (and annoying) thing to do would be to put 10 minutes of silence after the last song and NOT put anything after it. That would really make people upset (like me) Posted Image

#19 of 41 OFFLINE   Andrew Bunk

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Posted May 13 2004 - 10:12 AM

Hey Mark, don't joke. I believe I have a couple CD's that literally have nothing after a long period of silence. Grr.

Now here's a really hidden track. Galactic Cowboys - Space In Your Face. There are two bonus tracks. One is Ranch On Mars, which is after about 10 tracks of silence. Easy enough to find. The second bonus track, Still Life Of Peace (I believe that's the title) runs from -6:00 or so to 0:00 on track 32. So you can't just track skip to it-you have to go to track 31 and the search ahead. Always a PITA.

Regarding removing silence and splitting tracks, it's primitive, but if you are using Windows you can save the CD track as a wav file and then open it in Windows Sound Recorder. Sound Recorder lets you move to different points in the file and delete everything before or after that point. I've done this on several occasions (before I had pro audio software like Cakewalk Sonar).
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#20 of 41 OFFLINE   Tony-B

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Posted May 13 2004 - 11:27 AM

Quote:
Why did they stop including "Endless, Nameless" on Nevermind?
I have no idea why they did that. I guess only DGC would know the answer to that one.
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