What is apparent, given the recent success of the Beatles, the Stones et al, is that the reissues market taps into our collective sense of nostalgia as well as a creative medium that has, since the rise of Britpop in the mid-Nineties, looked defiantly backwards for inspiration. The success of heritage rock magazines such as Mojo and Uncut would certainly suggest a sizeable consumer base more interested in the past that the present.
And the record companies? There’s no doubting that re-issuing old albums is, essentially, money for old rope, and certainly a safer financial bet than ploughing millions into a young and untested newbie. But it’s not enough to re-release the same old songs every 10 years in a pretty new case and with a bonus track. Artist back catalogues are part of our cultural heritage, something to be cherished and preserved, not degraded and exploited. Reissues should honour both the artist and their fans, both artistically and financially. If they don’t, then perhaps they would be better off left in the vault.