By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — In what is believed to be the biggest ever deal between an artist and an internet music download company, 12 of Elvis Costello’s albums have just been made available from the web site emusic.com in MP3 format.
The albums were released between 1977 and 1986. Single tracks cost 0.99 U.S. cents, while whole albums are downloadable for $8.99.
"If only I had been paying attention back in the ’70s, I could be writing this greeting in FORTRAN," Costello says on the site. He worked as a computer programmer before devoting himself to music.
"As it is, mere words cannot express . . . so see you in cyberspace. The future lies ahead."
Born in 1954, Costello, whose real name is Declan Patrick MacManus, was renamed Elvis by his manager and took Costello from his mother’s maiden name.
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He is married to Pogues bassist Caitlin O’Riordan and produced albums for the group.
While some singers and groups have sold single tracks or albums via the Internet, the amount of Costello’s material available is thought to make it the biggest online music deal so far.
All the albums have been digitally remastered and bonus tracks have been added.
Costello is described as "Liverpool’s punk pioneer" and a special microsite dedicated to him has been built in conjunction with RollingStone.com.
The albums available are: "My Aim Is True" (1977), "This Year’s Model" (1978), "Armed Forces" (1979), "Get Happy!!" (1980), "Almost Blue" (1981), "Trust" (1981), "Imperial Bedroom" (1982), "Punch The Clock" (1983), "Goodbye Cruel World" (1984), "King of America" (1986), "Blood & Chocolate" (1986) and "The Very Best Of Elvis Costello & The Attractions" (1994).