Elton John / “Diving Board” Super Deluxe denied “Target” bonus tracks

“Target” customers get two exclusive bonus songs on a 21-track CD, not included in this very expensive box set

In June we told you about the Super Deluxe Edition box set of Elton John‘s new album The Diving Board (released next week).

This set was retailing for £115 at that time (it later dropped) and that seemed like incredibly poor value, since it contains the same extended 19-track version of the album available on the deluxe CD, a 15-track 2LP gatefold vinyl version of the album, a DVD (content unknown) and a book.

If you decided to put in a pre-order for this box, it’s time to examine that particular financial wound and pour some salt into it, because it has come to our attention that The Diving Board is available from Target stores in the US with two exclusive bonus tracks NOT included in this overdraft-inducing Super Deluxe Edition box set.

Yes, Gaugin Gone Hollywood and 5th Avenue are the two exclusive bonus tracks on the unique 21-track version available “only at Target” (they are actually on a Japanese SHM-CD too).


Sigh. It’s like Suede‘s Bloodsports debacle all over again. Perhaps record labels think we won’t notice. America is very far away from the United Kingdom, after all. But seriously, in this day and age we are all global consumers. Music buyers in the US regularly purchase from Amazon UK and enjoy no VAT and reasonable shipping. Enthusiasts in Britain are debating the merits of every music release in online forums, with people from around the world.

The music labels will claim that they ‘have’ to offer something exclusive to get products in these big hyper-stores in the US or to work successfully with iTunes. The problem is that while they ‘build relationships’ with retail, they are eroding the goodwill of the end consumer. Rather than reward customers for spending very large sums, and making them feel good about their purchases, often the buyer is treated as a mug. What other conclusions can be reached when someone is persuaded to purchase a ‘super deluxe edition’ box set for £100+ and they later find out that something exclusive has been offered in another territory for a fraction of the price of the expensive box?

More exclusives

It gets worse, because Walmart in the US have their own exclusive version of The Diving Board – A CD+DVD combo, that although not confirmed, looks to replicate some or all of the DVD element from the Super Deluxe Box Set.

And don’t count Best Buy out either, because they have their own exclusive edition too. This time you get a different CD+DVD combo, with the DVD featuring a documentary called The Making of The Million Dollar Piano, which will be about John’s Caesars Palace, Las Vegas show.

Free MP3

To end on a positive note, Amazon UK are offering one of these two Target exclusive bonus tracks (5th Avenue) as a FREE MP3 – Go get it here and go figure the marketing strategy!

What do you make of this ‘exclusive’ madness? Great fun, shopping around for all the different versions, or madness? Do you have any sympathy for the record companies trying to sell their wares to real people, in physical locations?

Leave a comment and let us know!

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Quit crying and just get the Target & Walmart ones, from a hardcore elton collector since 1970.

Metal Mickey

The actual very simple answer to this, would be to be to have 3 basic tiers of SKU:
1) a bare bones record, no bonus tracks, no DVD, no special packaging, available “everywhere”
2) a zillion (alright, say a dozen) variations of audio, video and packaging, each one “exclusive” to a certain retailer, and
3) the actual “Super Deluxe Edition” containing *all* of the separate audio, video and visual content in one premium package, again, available “everywhere.”

That really shouldn’t be so difficult… I know the labels are trying to maximise their revenues, but surely this would cover all fronts without p*ss*ng off the superfans who (more & more) are going to be the bread & butter for the labels in the decade or so before physical product finally dies…


Where are the 5.1 versions of Caribou and Don’t Shoot Me, remixed by Greg Penny that have been languishing in Universal’s vaults for 10 years? The other albums in that series are long out of print now, but at least got released. Rather the 2 mentioned above, than that remix album that P-Nau did a couple of years back…

Chris Straub

That’s all? That’s a pretty skimpy DVD, though it can’t possibly be as bad as the 5 minute DVD that came with “The Union.”


Talk with your wallet. Don’t buy them.


Absolute madness. You should see Elton John’s website. There must be 12 versions of the album. All I care about is having all the new studio songs I don’t already have in my E. J. collection. I can do without the DVD’s, posters, etc. The Million Dollar Piano DVD sounds interesting, but how long is the DVD? Fifteen minutes? An hour? And the Walmart version with concert DVD doesn’t tell you which concert, or how long it runs. Not worth it to me. I will buy the cd version with 21 songs.

Boaz Halachmi

The Wallmart page says the bonus DVD is a live concert.


It’s hard for me to get the mental image of Dame Elton in a swimsuit gingerly tiptoeing along a diving board ;-) I wonder if this album will tank like the last 2, with ‘creative’ marketing schemes like this?


The supposedly exclusive bonus track ‘5th Avenue’ is currently available to download for free on Amazon.UK!


Ah, I hadn’t spotted that – I’d stopped reading at the ‘Leave a comment and let us know!’ part of your post.


Those of us in the US aren’t particularly happy about the situation either. I avoid those overcrowded, noisy stores like the plague and the prospect of driving all over town on release day in order to assemble a “complete” set causes me to resort to other means to supplement my single purchase.

Ron Hatchell

This might drive more buyers to forget buying the physical media and stick with mp3s. I damn sure am not going to try to purchase all of the physical media. I am glad this web site is letting us know.

Star Trek Into Darkness did the same thing. The regular combo version (3D, Blu-ray, DVD, etc.) does not even have a commentary. That is available at either the Target version, or Best Buy, or one of the others.


For any new deluxe releases I just want ALL the available tracks and if there is a 5.1 mix then that too in an affordable and easily storable/accessible package.

Keep your books because the info and pictures are available elsewhere from multiple sources and the reproduction ephemera is also a needless novelty pushing up the price.

These ‘super deluxe’ sets are often coming with audio glitches, books with text that has not been proof-read and various packaging issues. I was sucked in at first but the novelty has worn off because of the repeated problems and lack of care and attention and now I just want to be offered the all music on separate formats in separate packaging.

Give me quality and choice.

Donald Martin

I just don’t know what they’re thinking with something like this! The “exclusive content” gamut has been an insult to fans from the start. The “deluxe edition” concept has been turned into stupid excess. Record companies just don’t seem to be putting *thought* into anything they are doing anymore. It’s gone on for too long now, the ‘bonus track’ for this store chain and then a different ‘bonus track’ for that store chain – I refuse to buy any album by any artist that does that, it’s an insult to me as a fan.

Andrea Grasso

Donald, it’s certainly not up to Elton John himself to decide this kind of things. I suggest ou to buy whatever edition suits you fine and enjoying this beautiful album, withouth caring too much about the marketing that lies behind.

Tim Harrison

This is the nightmare for obsessive collectors and the curse of the completist (is there such a word?!?)…though given the decidedly mediocre review for the album (I have yet to hear it) in Q you have to wonder what the point is in spending inordinate sums of money for an average album, and extra tracks are usually sub standard tracks which didnt make the cut for the main album. For a classic album reissue with worthwhile additional material and extras there seems some justice and rationale to spending the money (not in the case of the Pink Floyd though obviously) but in this case?!….

Andrea Grasso

So Tim….you’re really telling me that you decide what records to buy only basing your judgement on a Q review??? Please don’t make me laugh!!!
Also, the bonus track “5th Avenue” is a really excellent song IMHO, it just doesn’t fit the mood of the album but really worthwhile on its own.

Tim Harrison

Wow Andrea, how patronising?! No, I dont buy albums based solely on Q reviews, but for an artist whose output has been so mediocre for some years I’d look at professional and other reviews and listen to the album before blindly parting with a wad of cash to buy everything that artist was releasing. It’s called objectivity and in this current financial climate, being sensible!

Mike the Fish

Completely taking the mick.


Mercury Records is owned by Universal Music Group, that should really sum it up for everyone. The bohemoth of a record company that Universal has become, cares zero about the customer so why should they give a toss if an Elton John super deluxe edition of a forthcoming album has all the available tracks on it or not.
Universal Music Australia outsource their sales to a third party. When a store owner calls up to make an order they will often recieve the wrong order, no order at all, or long delays in order dispach. When they call up to complain, they get no apology, no offer to make things right and a care factor of zero. In the day and age of diminishing record sales you would think that a record company would make extra effort to try and keep the remaining record buying public interested, but unfortunately they don’t. It often appears that the opposite is the case.

Robert Zilli

Actually, Universal is the most “considerate” of the majors. Unlike the other two, they do ongoing market research in order to stay tuned in to the demographics. Further, their artist services in regard to royalties and publishing is far superior to WB and the ever-litigated Sony Music.

Geert De Wilde

Isn’t the whole concept of super deluxe editions based on the concept of treating consumers as ‘mugs’, in that it persuades them that extensive packaging justifies enormously inflated prices for the music? Would two extra songs really have justified the price? I don’t think so. The way things are going, people will become divided into two groups: the music lovers that will buy/obtain high quality digital vs. the package (book, multiple formats of the same thing, stickers and scarfs) lovers that will buy these deluxe boxes. yeh yeh, I know, I’m over simplifying :) but sometimes it feels that way :)

Andrea Grasso

You have forgot the Amazon.com version that comes with a Troubadour 1971 poster!

Andrea Grasso

Actually it’s “Gauguin”.