In terms of recorded music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...
, a bonus track
(also known as a bonus cut
) is a piece of music which has been included on specific releases or reissues of an album
An album is a collection of recordings, released as a single package on gramophone record, cassette, compact disc, or via digital distribution. The word derives from the Latin word for list .Vinyl LP records have two sides, each comprising one half of the album...
. This is most often done as a promotional device, either as an incentive to customers to purchase albums they might otherwise not, or to repurchase albums they already own. In contrast to hidden track
In the field of recorded music, a hidden track is a piece of music that has been placed on a CD, audio cassette, vinyl record or other recorded medium in such a way as to avoid detection by the casual listener...
s, bonus tracks are included on track listings.
Many international releases — most commonly Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...
ese releases of foreign artist albums, but not confined to just Japan, or just music going from West to East — contain a few bonus tracks. These are often B-sides
B-Sides is an iTunes-exclusive album from the Coventry Trio The Enemy, consisting of ten songs that were B-sides to the single releases from their debut album We'll Live and Die in These Towns.-Track list:#Fear Killed the Youth of Our Nation...
from singles. Alternate takes are other tracks often released as bonus tracks. It has also been said that this is the industry's way to get consumers to purchase albums from Japanese distributors, instead of the often less expensive imports from the West.
It's not uncommon to release singles as bonus tracks on re-issues of old albums, where those weren't originally included.
With the advent of online music stores, such as Apple's iTunes Music Store, à la carte
À la carte is a French language loan phrase meaning "according to the menu", and used in* A reference to a menu of items priced and ordered separately, i.e. the usual operation of restaurants * To order an item from the menu on its own, e.g...
song buying has become the norm. Bonus tracks are often included if a customer buys a whole album rather than just one or two hit songs from the artist. The song is not necessarily free nor is it available as a stand alone download, adding also to the incentive to buy the complete album.
The bonus track as a marketing technique: Japan is one of the largest music markets in the world. However, domestic pressings are more expensive there than in the U.S. or Europe, so Japanese labels often arrange for additional content in the locally manufactured products in an attempt to be competitive with imports.
In popular culture
A song by MC Lars
Andrew Robert MacFarlane Nielsen is an American rapper, known by his stage name MC Lars. He is the self-proclaimed originator of "post-punk laptop rap". He was one of the first underground rappers to sample and reference post-punk and emo bands...
featuring Ashley Jade
Ashley Jade is a singer-songwriter and actress from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, England. She was previously a part of the pop music band, Soda Club.-Biography:...
entitled "The Bonus Track for Japan" pokes fun at the Japan-specific instance of this phenomenon, with Lars singing a series of facts about Japan. It was actually used as the "Japanese bonus track" for Lars' album The Graduate
. It has, more recently, been remixed and put on the MC Lars album 21 Concepts (but a Hit Ain't One).
Synthpop band Hyperbubble
Hyperbubble is an international visual and performing arts electro pop/synthpop duo from San Antonio, Texas formed by Jeff DeCuir and Jess Barnett DeCuir...
added a bonus track named "Bonus Track" at the end of their second album Airbrushed Alibis
. The song starts with the sentence "Wait! There's more!" and features lyrics such as "It's on the CD but it only has a number, it makes you feel like you had a better deal. It may not be as good as the others but that's ok because it's just a… bonus track".