Show of hands: How many of you have plunked down your hard-earned cash for your favorite artist's latest album, only to discover that a "new and improved" version is on its way later on?

Yeah, me too. And I don't like it one bit.

While a couple of "re-issues" have definitely been worth it (like Gavin DeGraw's re-release of Chariot, which included an entire disc of acoustic material with the original, or the stellar 10th anniversary release of Weezer's "blue album"), that's not usually the case. In fact, many of the so-called "extras" on most re-releases these days barely justify the 99 cents they'd charge on iTunes for a download.

Of course, it's not just the mainstream market that's figured out how to drum up some extra cash in the wake of declining CD sales (USA Today reported that total album sales dropped 7.2% in 2005, while digital album downloads climbed 194%, from 5.5 million to 16.2 million). The Christian music side of the spectrum is playing the re-release game too, as label execs try to come up with ways to tide listeners over until an artist makes his/her next album—which is especially strange in a day when many artists are expected to deliver a new album annually anyway).

While I certainly understand the strategy, it's not always executed in the most beneficial manner. I mean, c'mon, can't someone think of something a little more worthwhile for fans than slapping together a couple of "bonus" tracks (which are usually only slightly altered versions of a song already included on the CD) and maybe adding a video or two if we're lucky? Puhleeze. No wonder CD sales on are on the decline.

Just check these re-releases in Christian music alone: Relient K's mmHmm, Vineyard Worship's Come Now Is the Time to Worship, ...

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