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Keith Urban Targets New Approach

Keith Urban at the Hard Rock Cafe on Monday, November 8, 2010.

For years, the standard album has included 10-12 songs, but in today’s music industry, nothing is standard.

That’s particularly true for the new Keith Urban album, Get Closer, which gets released on Tuesday. The basic version of the CD features just eight songs — including his current single, “Put You In A Song” — but Target is also offering a deluxe edition with seven extra tracks. It features three additional studio cuts plus live versions of four of his previous hits.

It’s a bit of an experiment on Keith’s part as the entire music industry tries new ideas to stabilize the marketplace.

“It is an interesting time for us to try and acknowledge the realities of the ever-changing retail landscape out there and the fact that people get music from all sources and in all different ways,” he says. “Some people want albums, some people want singles, some people want to rifle through and make their own playlists. There’s just every combination now of ways in which music is getting to people.”

Doing two versions of the album created a unique dilemma for Keith. If you buy the standard version, the last track is titled “Shut Out The Lights.” If you buy the deluxe edition, the finale is a live performance of “Everybody.” But if you have the deluxe model and only want to hear the studio cuts, then the album closer is a remake of the 1981 Santana single “Winning.”

It’s a little extra work to make it feel like a finale no matter how you choose to play it, but Keith figures it’s worth the effort. And he’s been able to approach those multiple versions of Get Closer without having his record label dictate a lot of the process.

“I’m trying to be realistic about what it means to be on the corner of art and commerce today,” he says, “which — as an artist selling records and being on radio — is the reality of where I live. [But I try to] not let the commerce side of it dictate so heavily that I don’t create real art. I feel like I’ve been fortunate with this situation to create freely.”

Look for Keith Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show and Thursday on CBS’ “The Early Show.” He’ll also be taping an appearance Thursday on the last season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” In addition, look for him on Thanksgiving Day playing halftime of the Dallas Cowboys game against the New Orleans Saints.

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