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Saturday Deluxe / Why isn’t a music box set considered a luxury item?

 

Box sets will always struggle be perceived as greater than the sum of their parts, argues SDE editor Paul Sinclair.

A rainy January in London turns into a rainy February, and the Roxy Music box set is out. The super deluxe edition price of £130 has sparked great debate on SDE about music box sets and what represents good value. I have been mulling this over myself and after a rather protracted twitter debate yesterday (see this thread) I have come to the conclusion that the record labels are in trouble, because generally speaking, the target market for physical box sets considers them a value proposition and not an item of luxury.

I used the example of a designer clothes on twitter, as an example. Paul Smith sells T-shirts at £65. In my opinion that is much worse value than the Roxy Music box set at £135 but with Paul Smith you are buying into a brand, a lifestyle and that sort of item makes a statement. If you can afford to buy a £65 T-shirt, you are doing okay; it is a transaction that celebrates success. For whatever reason, that T-shirt doesn’t come under the same ‘value’ scrutiny of a music box set, like Roxy Music. A £65 T-shirt is likely to cost £10-£15 to manufacture (my wife is in fashion retail), so that equates to something like a 75% profit margin. To put that into context, if we estimate that the Roxy Music box set cost around £45 to produce, and applied those same margins to the music industry, the retail price for the box set would be £190. It’s unlikely that anyone would find that acceptable.

So why aren’t high end music box sets treated as a luxury product, like a Paul Smith T-shirt, a Rolex watch, a Range Rover Evoque, or a Smeg Fridge/Freezer? You wouldn’t go into John Lewis and look at a £1000 Smeg fridge and start getting the calculator out and exclaim “what a rip-off’ it probably only costs them £300 to make this!” but time and again that is the criticism on SDE of expensive box sets.

In December 2016 The Human League‘s A Very British Synthesizer Group 3CD+DVD set was released at around the £80 mark and the merits of the product were entirely lost by cries of “how much!?” Fans mentally stripped the set down to its component parts – four optical discs and a book – and it was branded a ‘cash grab’. People were assessing how much it would cost to make (probably £25) and there was no other intangible, like a lifestyle brand, to bridge the gap between low cost price and high retail price. The package wasn’t a considered a ‘naughty, but nice’ luxury. Instead, the audience felt insulted by the band, its management and the record label. In this game of pricing ‘chicken’ the label gave in and just four months later you could buy the set for HALF the original price. This kind of action makes physical music consumers even more resolute, when the next expensive product comes along. I’ve lost count of how many SDE readers have proclaimed that they will wait six months and buy the Roxy Music super deluxe set for £50.

The problem is that however groovy a box set might be, it sits on your shelf, only to be seen and played by you. Buying music is a rather singular activity. Most of us don’t even need to go into a shop now and have a conversation with someone. The CD or box set is delivered by the postman, you open it, you play it, you read the book/booklet and you add it to your collection. You don’t take it to a dinner party and enjoy seeing people glancing at it like you might do with a nice watch, or impress your mates at the golf club when you pull up in a new car. Owning a great box set doesn’t increase your standing in society. Your exquisite taste in music and the fact that you can afford some flashy looking box sets go largely unappreciated outside of the confines of your own home and family life (possibly inside your own home, too!).

Why will a casual fan pay £200 to go an see U2 live, while a diehard fan will think the same kind of money for the massive limited UBER deluxe edition of Achtung Baby is a ‘rip off’ – a blatant example of profiteering from the record company? On the face of it, that seems absurd, but everything comes back to intangible benefits and perception. Going to a big gig (‘the hottest ticket in town’) is a social activity and the experience is shared by friends – literally, these days, with ‘look-where-I-am’ social media. You are admired – you managed to get tickets in the first place! You are envied  – you can afford to go! You can buy the T-shirt and wear it to the pub and go on about how “amazing” the evening was (even though you were in row Z of block 412 in the O2 and it took two hours to get home).

With that in mind, consider the following conversation:

“Did I tell you I bought this amazing box set of Roxy Music’s debut album the other day?”

“No..”

“It great. It includes loads of unreleased stuff, original demos… a 5.1 remix by Steven Wilson.”

“Who’s that?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“How much did that set you back?”

Er.. it wasn’t cheap. £130 actually.”

What!? Are you mad? I don’t know why you bother buying box sets anyway. I listen to everything on Spotify. It’s free! You’ve got more money than sense”.

So, no kudos forthcoming for your investment or passion for physical music!


Music has got cheaper and cheaper over the years and decades. A new album on CD is £10, a deluxe edition, perhaps with some kind of bonus disc might be £10-£13. Physical music has never really been sold as a luxury item and therefore marketing super deluxe editions of one album into a £100+ product is no easy task. Unless the item is signed, or truly a limited item, people are going to want to see content to justify such price-tags. When you get into realms of £120, or £130 everything has to be PERFECT, or you could be in serious trouble. Paul McCartney‘s Flowers in the Dirt deluxe set committed the cardinal sin of being expensive (£130) and stingy (no 5.1 mix, a CD’s worth of audio via download only) and the new Roxy Music box doesn’t offer Steven Wilson’s stereo mix of the album, and misses out a B-side.

I have no doubt we will see more box sets in the next few years that push the barriers of what the consumer is willing to pay. At around £100, last year’s Sgt. Pepper box probably got the balance right between content and price, but it was The Beatles and it was a 50th anniversary. Most fans will think hard before investing a three figure sum on a physical music release, even if they don’t think quite as hard when it comes to spending the same money on a night out and a curry with their mates.

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.

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[…] HMV shops, probably for similar reasons to the ones I listed above. And even much of that group don’t consider music a luxury product – something they will pay a premium for – so the margins enjoyed in other retail sectors like […]

[…] alluded to back in February, perhaps labels have given up trying to persuade the discerning physical music buyer to spend a lot […]

Humberto Quiroga

Speaking about Deluxe, Toto is releasing at the end of this year an “all in” box for U$500: 17 LPs, 13CDs and the 5.1 version of Toto IV. Link to their official site:
http://store.totoofficial.com/music/box-sets/signed-limited-edition-toto-box-set.html

LMTR14

box sets are and/or a) investment b) stuff for collectors c) items for hardcore fans who really want all the demos and b-sides and whatnot for their favourite albums. like is said in the article, they are not prestige items you show to people (unless in fan circles on the internet) and hence imo not luxury items

Julian H

Driving up prices drives me up the wall. Actually, all it does is drive EVEN MORE people to streaming and the like – because nobody likes to feel like they’re ripped off!

As good as good packaging is, it’s not the main focus of a deluxe set. That’s why I will continue to buy sets like the TFF, David Gilmour, Jethro Tull etc. ones but stay away from sets that have less actual (audio/visual) content but cost more… because, in the end, I can buy other stuff for the same money.

Argh!

The record labels make it tough for themselves and I find it hard to sympathize if they feel physical product interest is waning because they are not helping the situation. I read an article from Cherry Red records who state that major labels are more than happy to license out material to third parties that the majors don’t see a profit margin in. I have to disagree entirely. For the last year, I have been going through the process of licensing quite a few albums from all three of the majors, Sony, Warner Bros and Universal. I would never describe them as “happy to license” anything because there’s next to no interest in them actually licensing to you within a year or two. They will say that the entire process takes an average of 6 months from start to finish but it’s grossly incorrect. Over the past year I’ve not gotten a single request to final approval, and the very rare inquiries to the label contacts often results in silence. If you ask again they may simply reply “nothing yet”. I appear to be getting close with one of the labels but the other two are a strain to get any response from, even when they’ve stated “Feel free to ask any questions”. The impression they give is that you, as the license requester, are lucky if they eventually take the time to research the title and provide you a quote for any of the albums you’ve inquired about. And definitely don’t inconvenience them with a status inquiry after a few months because that will either annoy them or they will disregard it, and you will get a response once there’s been a review (if that ever happens).

Perhaps Cherry Red has managed to become favored after years of licensing from the majors, and that’s fine. But one would think the majors would take the opportunity to ensure that a new client is treated with respect and perhaps an ounce of priority to build that new financial relationship. Licensing an album is not inexpensive by any means, and the profit margin really depends on how many units you can move. So if someone is willing to take the risk and is financially prepared, one would think a major would toss out a scrap to see if that new prospect could be a long term client. There’s a sense of the arrogance that they may have been able to get away with years ago when physical products were produced in enormous amounts because it was the only option. But when third party label unit requirements drop from 10,000 to 1500 because of the decrease in physical demand, that clearly shows majors are hurting. But rather than embrace the rare party interested in paying them money for something they have no interest in, it’s rather a struggle to penetrate the clique. The process should not be like crawling up river through mud and sewage, but it is.

Tonk

CDs are still good value – and they’re pretty much the same retail price as when they first came out. Honest, maybe even cheaper actually on certain things.

Box sets – well everything is more expensive these days, paper, transport, plastic – they’re not cheap to produce. As for sitting back and waiting till it gets cheaper, given the way Universal (et al) manage their inventory and pressing quantities, I would be very careful. They run a very tight ship with regard to stock levels – certainly they’ll bring in extra stock from the Continent if necessary, but wait too long, it’ll get deleted and you’ll end up on the thick end of robo-pricing with the Roxy box on Amazon for around £500+

Renato

Well, since I’ve got the previous Roxy Music box set (The Complete Studio Recordings), I’m not that interested in this particular edition – the extra tracks aren’t exactly “must have”, and it’s grossly overpriced. I mean, some box sets are extremely expensive (case in point, Pink Floyd’s The Early Years), but there are huge amounts of content there, and there are also lots of extra stuff – posters, backstage pass replicas, books, etc. This box set can’t compare to that one, so why the abusive price? I guess I’ll give this one a miss and use this money to buy some three other better (and cheaper, too) box sets.

J

I think everyone has a fave (or 2 or 10) recordings & if this one is yours go get it NOW!!! I have 19 distinct variants of Allman Bros Live @ the Fillmore. If they offer 10 more I will buy them all. It just depends on how much (or little) this offering means to you.

I wish the record label Gods would put Ian Anderso in charge of all releases
J

Renato

There’s absolutely NO way I’m gonna pay ridiculously high prices for any box set. An OK price would be around £30-£50 for a box set with 5 or 6 discs. Anything above this value and you can definitely count me out. I love music and physical copies, but it’s simply not possible to keep up with all the myriad releases flooding the market almost every week. So, if the price is abusive, I’ll buy two or three other deluxe editions instead, and wait till it’s more affordable. I usually spend a lot of money buying records, but I’d feel ripped off buying products that are too expensive (and yes, there are fewer people buying records, so the demand isn’t exactly high – artificially inflating prices would only make selling the products even harder).

Charlie Waffles

I love purchasing cd box sets. I can do without the lp/3 cd’s / dvd. I do NOT like the short time span that the Tears for Fears box set was out and vanished. Def Leppard’s Hysteria was in print for a shorter span last year. I was lucky to purchase it but I cannot find Songs From the Big Chair without a huge price tag on it.

So, I say box sets are a luxury item. If they are only on the market for a short time (this means you, Universal) and the value increases tenfold on the resell market then there is no dispute.

Sony has been guilty of issuing several “Complete Albums Collections” only to discontinue them a year or two later. If the major labels are belly aching about physical sales of music declining keep producing them for a longer period of time. I remember seeing many of the 1990 cd box sets in stores in the next decade. I hated seeing some of the early box sets reduced to little clamshell boxes. Try reading the booklet with bad eyesight.

I am currently listening to the Once Upon a Time box set I had to purchase from uDiscover UK. I am in the US. The shipping cost was horrible but I found it. God bless the UK and the internet.

Gary

I read an interesting article recently involving Cherry Red Records and, if I perceived the article correctly, the major labels sell Cherry Red the rights to release material from artists, who mainly have had their day and no longer sell enough units to make them viable to the majors, in order to finance upcoming artists. To make this material sellable, Cherry Red then have to entice with a book, poster, coloured vinyl or any other carrot (limited edition anyone?) that appeals. Now I’m not saying this is the case with Roxy Music or any other band for that matter, but how many of today’s youth care enough about RM in the first place to invest in their back catalogue in any shape or form? The nature of deluxe editions, particularly from generally older bands, will appeal mainly to people of a certain age and it’s no coincidence that it is this age bracket that are noted as having more disposable income. Consequently, if they feel they can get away with it, companies will charge what they can. Indirectly, possible mark up on resale also feeds the frenzy. The initial pricing of Def Leppards Hysteria on orange vinyl was about £24 but you’re lucky if you see one on EBay for less than £80! However, back to the original query is a deluxe box set a luxury item? In terms of cost it can be but is it luxurious? Probably not but it’s certainly very indulgent…

Colin Harper

Good summary of a long thread!

Gareth

Best value over £100 box set I’ve ever bought was by Blur. It now sells for £134.99 on their website or £122 on Amazon. I paid £120 for it when it originally went on sale from Sainsbury’s, back in the days when they used to sell CDs and DVDs on their website (and I got a load of Nectar points!!). For this, you got their 7 albums are 2-discs full of B-sides, remixes, etc., an additional double CD of more rarities/demos/unreleased material, a 7-inch, a brilliant hardbound book and 3 DVDs! And it all came inside a material-covered box, not mere cardboard. If Parlophone could offer all that for around £120, it really makes the Roxy box look overpriced.

Wesley

The good thing about that Blur box set is that the four discs of unreleased material has remained so; it’s never appeared on streaming services or been issued separately.

Alan Wilson

It is a fantastic box set, I own one myself, and I’ll probably upset you a bit with the next comment, but I grabbed that for only £50 it was discounted (much like most box sets these days) and it wasn’t from Amazon or HMV etc, it was from an independent store in the UK, a bit of a steal if you ask me.

Herb

As many mentioned before I wish the record companies would not force us to purchase a format that we don’t wish to collect any more. I really want queen news of the world but since I don’t do vinyl any longer I can’t justify the price tag. Just give me the music on cd and I’m in. I do enjoy the books and extra packaging but I do need to put the brakes on some of these things. I assume that is one way of saying vinyl sales are up, package them with cd’s in box sets. For all the negatives I read about the box for Led Zeps how the west was won, I can get all music in the format of my choice, even though I will not get the books. The bottom line is the music. After you read the books, how often do you go back to them?

Larry Davis

I, too, look at value for money, and refuse to feel ripped off…the only time I will shell out a large amount of cash is for something that is truly big in size, or really REALLY rare or limited. If it’s expensive, I will wait for the price to drop…if it doesn’t and my personal want did not go down but UP, I will pay.

I paid big bucks for both the Dead Or Alive (I may shell out for a signed one if it pops up somewhere for a good price and/or trade my copy for a signed one if I get a good deal) and Debbie Gibson sets. There is a set I REALLY want but the price jumped up to TOO-high rate…one is the Tears For Fears SFTBC box (No Paul, I still don’t have it)…it was usually between $65 and $80 US and I was looking around for good deals, like just under $50 and it jumped to $177 and higher…THAT price I refuse to pay, it’s too much!! The other is French group Sheila & B Devotion…in 2007, Rhino released a limited 30-track 2CD version of the collection “Compete Disco Singles”…I am blown away by their Chic productions on gems like “Spacer” and this thing was tough to track down, no one had it, just the single disc…BUT one vendor had it…for $98US!!! Sorry, at that rate, I may as well just pay for a digital download, which I saw for like $24US, but the single disc and hold out for the double for down the road sometime!!

There is one more similar situation…BIG Rick Springfield fan (his new album “The Snake King” is frikking brilliant BTW, using elements of blues and southern gothic), and in 1978, he recorded an album in Sound City Studios (the site for Fleetwood Mac 1975, Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind”, etc…see Dave Grohl’s film about it), and the tracks got rerecorded in 1984 as the rare album “Beautiful Feelings”, released on Mercury and has the funny hit “Bruce”…the original recordings were released as an album called “The Sound City Sessions” (I think)…it’s now also rare, both that and the “Beautiful Feelings” CD go for over $100US(?!?!)…I bought mine over 10 years ago for $105 and the price has never dropped…the “OSCS”, last time I saw, was $160!!! Same songs as BF but with an 11th song that was never rerecorded on BF…too high BUT, it was available as a download for $8.99, so I downloaded it instead, and will burn as a backup copy on CDR and include it with BF as a double CD…that is the ONLY time I will take a download over an original physical CD…do you blame me?? $8.99 vs $160, for an 11-song album, albeit rare and I have the other version anyway…I still paid for it…

Mark Reed

Too many comments for much I say to stand out, but a few key takeaway points.

1. To even a die-hard fan. the price of a CD should be around £10 or so
2. This price is often perceived by the common consumer as much lower after Prince releasing his new album free with a newspaper
3. Mass discounted stock sees that you can get high profile titles for £5 from supermarkets months after release

The target market for a SDE is different, BUT :
1. £10 per CD feels right, especially for a reissue title ; the material on there already exists, especially when all that’s happening is a digital relaunch of old CD singles
2. The extra ‘stuff’ – the box, the fancy book – doesn’t mean that much to me : I listen to music, I don’t need a book
3. I’m buying the ‘Extra Stuff’. I likely will never listen to a remaster of an album I already heard 100 times when I was 20 years younger.

Releases like the ridiculous 4 disc Automatic For The People box set at £80 work out at £20 per disc, and what we’re effectively getting ‘New’ for that is one CD of demos. That’s NOT value by any standard.

Kauwgompie

Chris Squires and Paul make a good point in the comments below that I believe explains why this set is so expensive. It has been in the making for years and years. That means paying many, many different consultants and essay writers (who knows how many essays have been written over these years for this box set) on top of the normal cost like copyright, baking tape,etc. Also, they use the 1999 Bob Ludwig master but disc 2 and 3 still had to be remastered so you still have remastering costs.
I wouldn’t doubt that the McCartney reissues suffer from an abundance of consultants as well. Especially Flowers In The Dirt which also had three expensive (and unnecessary) picture books.

Kevin M

I see your poinf Kauwgompie, but mastering an hour of audio doesn’t necessarily take long, certainly not years. If it does, there’s surely something very weird going on :)

And despite the Flowers in the Dirt download only shambles, I think it’s a bit wild to compare this Roxy set to most of McCartney’s. I mean, look at the Ram superdeluxe, even if all the papery stuff in it was junk to some people, there was a lot of it, on high quality paper, and a lot of audio. Circa £80 on release date (although I got it on special offer for less a little later like a lot of people I guess). It was a real labour of love by the look if it, unlike ROXY MUSIC.

Colin Harper

I honestly doubt it has been ‘in the making’ for years and years – that suggests day after day of constant slog, like a man digging a channel tunnel with a teaspoon. This has simply been talked about and ‘not happened’ for years and years. So the amount of work involved – at both the audio end and the written/visual content end should not be OVERestimated.

I haven’t seen the book but as far as I’m aware the written content is from Simon Puxley and Richard Williams. RW is the king of British music writers to my mind (I dedicated a book to him for that reason), and key to the Roxy Music story in their early days, but hiring him to write an essay would not break Universal’s bank. Don’t get me wrong, I hope – given his unique place in the history of RM’s debut – he asked for a good fee and got it, but it would not account for the ludicrous price of this box. (The highest I ever charged for a substantial essay and for overseeing a project was £2000, back in the mid 2000s, and the resulting item retailed, from memory, around £30.)

I know two extremely good remastering engineers, including one of the absolute top in the UK, used (whether credited or not) on numerous major label projects and, for both, the fee is £350 a day. Even allowing the luxury of one disc per day (and it will have taken less time than that), that’s not going to significantly affect the cost of this box set. DVD authoring from two or three blocs of content? Another day. Mixing outtakes? A few days. Steven Wilson’s 5.1 fee? No idea – but plenty of labels and individuals lower down the food chain from Universal can afford his services. There is absolutely no reason for the high cost of this set other than avarice.

Kevin M

Thanks @Colin Harper for the interesting reply.

Kevin M

I noticed today in HMV there’s no signs at all on the outer packaging of ROXY MUSIC that the main album is the old 1999 remaster. Unless my tired eyes are failing me? And the publishing / copyright are both noted as 2018. At least Parlophone actually made it very clear on the packaging of their Bowie box sets and individual releases that they’d used old EMI remasters for their Ziggy and Aladdin CDs.

negative1

At this point, there’s not much to add to the conversation. However, as a music collector I will add my take on it. Yes, these boxsets are luxury items. If it’s from a group I like, I take several things into consideration with the price : How comprehensive is it, how exclusive is it, and finally what format it is.

If all those are right, I will usually wait until it meets a pricepoint I can afford. I rarely ever buy anything first day, and I NEVER pre-order anything. I have spent 10’s of thousands of dollars on music through the decades, so there is rarely an item from a group that I like that I won’t buy no matter the time it takes to get the item.

I got the Kraftwerk boxset last year (Which i haven’t heard too many complaints about), Underworld, Blancmange, Human League and a few more. In each case I waited it out,
and got all them for much less than the going price.

Things that I also consider :
==========================
Formats – Vinyl, cassette, etc are no problems. Bring them on, the more the better.

Two things I don’t care for – bluray, and 5.1 mixes which are both overkill, and gimmicks and
a total waste of time. Never cared for surround mixes (except for extracting for mixes), or the
bluray format, when DVD is just fine. Yes, sometimes these are included, with no options,
so I just get them to collect dust.

Extras – I love it when they include all the mixes – b-sides, promos, and edits. To me that makes a complete package.

Books – I also enjoy books, booklets, and all the other information they can include. A-ha had a great book with ‘Hunting High and Low’, so did Human League with the anthology, and the art book for Kraftwerk. If it adds to the cost, so be it. Since usually, you can’t get them anywhere else.

Posters, trinkets etc. – Don’t mind them, but if they’re there, then fine.

All in all, I enjoy collecting Super Deluxe editions, and will continue to do so for a long time. I do think that groups I like have been exhausting them, so there will be a lot less to get in the future. Even if they reissue them in the future, there might be a much smaller audience.

later
-1

Derek Langsford

Look like we have overlapping tastes – I have 3 of the 4 sets you mention; however, I love Blu-rays and 5.1 mixes. The Kraftwerk 3-D Blu-rays are sonically and visually mesmerizing. Don’t care for non-digital formats and resent having to pay for them to get the digital content I do want – that alone is enough to dissuade me from a casual purchase. A 5.1 mix may get me to buy a set with vinyl in it but not just demos and live tracks. And books just seem to add both cost to, and additional shipping charges for, an item and frustrate me. The huge book in the Kraftwerk 3-D set without any written information seemed superfluous and made it VERY heavy. Without Amazon’s discounted shipping that would have been a order stopper.

The diversity of buyers and their desires for such sets must make it difficult for labels to figure out how to turn a profit or make decent money in a market that is shrinking. Some sets have been praised for offering value for money (TFF, Jethro Tull, Yes, and XTC sets) or providing most buyers with what they want (Sgt Pepper and the Kraftwerk sets came in a variety of singular formats). Others have been maligned for poor value (Human League, Roxy Music, REM), errors or missteps (Simple Minds, David Bowie, Yazoo), or omissions (Roxy Music, Eurythmics). The bottom line is, you can’t please all of the people all of the time but it would be great if labels could at least try by following the models of the former versus latter sets above.

I just hope that the labels continue to issue SDEs, provide what most fans want, and can make enough to keep doing it.

Gert

It’s a marketing issue : better to sell a first quantity at top prizes to the obsessive fans who want everything and who want it now, and a second batch after – let’s say – six months for half the prize or even less.

So a box set like RM’s first album is a luxury item, as is an expensive t-shirt that is also sold for half the prize after a while.

As I am obsessed by RM, I bought the box (through Manzanera’s shop, thanks to this site for the referral), and I am very happy with it.

Astrid

Yes, the Roxy Music set is too high. I bought both the Ferry and Manzanera signed editions. However, I’m a huge fan and willing to do so. It’s a personal preference and whether or not you want to spend the money. On a side note, I’m buying less LP boxsets as imports from Amazon because my Pretenders limited edition boxset arrived in an unpadded plastic mailer, damage to the box and covers inside. It was impossible to return due to shipping so I have to consider that for future purchases.
I am a female and I do seriously collect music and memorabilia and have done so for decades. I won’t stop buying LP’s or CD’s and I only do digital for portability.

steve edwards

The price of any product is governed by what the customer is prepared to pay. Clearly a number of Roxy fans feel that 130 quid for 4 CDs or 150 quid signed is excessive.
Some fans have attempted to justify the price while others have flatly refused to pay up. The perceived “value” has been debated here & on other fora. So where does that leave us?

A Steven Wilson 5.1 in included in the Roxy box set. . He also releases his solo albums in a not dissimilar format of book, CDs, Blu Ray, signed.
http://www.superdeluxeedition.com/news/steven-wilson-new-album-to-the-bone/

The SW box sets are nothing short of stunning, visually & from an audio perspective.
The SW album is NEW therefore he has a great many & varied costs to cover. The Roxy box set is mainly recycled product, the production costs of which were covered some decades ago.
But, Steven Wilson retails his box set albums for around HALF what is being asked for the Roxy box set.
So….should I lie awake at night worrying about Steven Wilson’s potentially loss making (sic) solo albums?
Or should I sleep soundly, content that I didn’t succumb to an experiment in just how far the financial boundaries of a fan base can be pushed in the box set industry?

Matthew

Great discussion.
I view box sets as a luxury item but I’m certain none of my family or friends would think so, not that it bothers me.
Since the success of Spotify etc I’d say all physical product is now a luxury, why pay even £10 for a cd when that gets you a month unlimited listening!?
Personally I always prefer having something to hold, look at, read the liner notes etc. If I could afford it I’d still buy vinyl as some sleeves are art in themselves.
I’m glad box sets are produced for those that can afford them, ( imagine the conversation that might follow ” Sorry, no family holiday this year I just bought 3 Bowie vinyl box sets”) because it means some of that content will filter down at lower price points, and it really is the music I want rather than nice extras.
For example ANCIANT, how much do I want this……? But ain’t ever going to happen. However I had my Stage vinyl out a couple of weeks ago and was thinking about buying a second hand cd copy of the 2005 remaster, most sellers want around a tenner, when Paul posts that the 2017 remaster from the box is available separately! And I have an Amazon voucher from Christmas. So I’m happier.

I have no idea about production run numbers but surely in order to address exclusivity companies should say at launch it’s a limited run AND individually number the box sets. Later it can be reissued without numbering thereby retaining exclusivity and, in the future, price for those that bought pre order. Have you seen the price of a low number Beatles white album for example?

JasonC

There’s a lot of opinions here! I’ll repeat what a lot of people have said here when I say that it’s about the music. I find it strange that a lot of large SDE box sets get their music put up on streaming services. If the point is to shift physical product, then keep the new music in a physical format, and offer different ways to buy it. Consider these examples, I’m not sure which is the right way to do these things:

– The LedZep reissues: there was an SDE option with book and CD and vinyl, but if you just wanted the new music you could buy the discs on their own
– The Tubular Bells box from a few years ago looked great, but I couldn’t justify it. A 3disc version included the 5.1, but was missing the demo from the larger box. Bought that instead and listened to the demo on Spotify
– Dylan’s bootleg series boxes offer a “taster’ on streaming platforms, not the whole box. The boxes do seem laden with material.

If I were in charge, I would think of a lower tier for the casual buyer, and if you are going to go super deluxe, then go big or go home. Imagine if:
– The Roxy box: The four discs in a “Jethro Tull” style format, then a true SDE singed by Ferry/McKay/Manzanera, for £250+.
– The Floyd early years box: I was lucky enough to get this for only £100, but the £500 price tag seemed crazy. I reckon they’d have shifted a lot of these if they had just sold the inner box with the seven sets/27 discs for £179-199, and still keep the option of the larger box at £500, and NOT sold the individual sets later on. (I also wish the DSOTM/WYWH/Wall reissues would get re-released in Early Years Book format.)

…but at the end of the day, the main problem with the Roxy box (and the Flowers… box) is that the content falls well short. It’s all about the music, stupid!

Neil McL

I love box sets if they are priced fairly. I stopped buying music for a while and just listened to Spotify. In the meantime I missed out on the two Tears For Fears SDE’s as wasn’t buying and really regret that.

A question here for record companies is if you want to make money why not release these. You’ve done all the hard work by the re-mastering, curating etc it’s all there. You are missing a way to make money. That’s what happened with the Queen Coloured Vinyl set. It sold out, they made more.

I try to be canny in buying, not to spend less but to get more.

If the content is there I will buy. A great example is the Def Leppard Hysteria SDE which I paid full price for but got all the mixes etc I wanted.

However, the best content vs value for money have been the INXS Kick, The Smiths The Queen Is Dead & Marillion Misplaced Childhood. These are spot on.

One last thing, I’m not sure letting the artist or band curate an SDE is a good idea. Someone like Paul is a much better idea. I say that with the example of the Lloyd Cole and the Commotions Collected set. Only My Bag (Dancing Remix) was included from the 12″ Versions. Lloyd decided the rest weren’t very good. Maybe to him but us fans wanted them on there on CD and remastered. Further Listening by the Pet Shop Biys are a bit the same, a bit pick and choose and not everything we wanted.

We all spend too much money and too much time on these things but we all love them. Cmon Record Companies give us what we want at a fair price and we will buy

DaveM

I do consider a box set that focuses on a single album at the RM price point a luxury item (I am a Yorkshireman who shops at Lidl and Aldi).
If I were a RM fan then this set would probably be already purchased and played as I am a hopeless completist when it comes to the artists I like.
If you have an almost DNA connection to the music you love, you want whatever is offered up by the record companies. They know about people like me.
Sometimes they get it right, Ram is my all time favourite SDE. In the case of FITD the download was a spoiler and the price, but guess what, it has become my second favourite SDE. I would also say the Who’s Tommy, Quadrophenia and My Generation SDE sets, which were priced much lower than FITD are almost perfect as well, aesthetically and content wise. The RM set looks presentation wise not unlike the Who sets from the photos so maybe they are testing the market to see just how much can be squeezed out of us. There is no bling element at all to my purchases, nobody I know buys music like I do. I am fortunate that the missus really appreciates the box sets as well and actually calls the spare room, the Superdeluxe room.

Fré Nieuwenhuis

The most I’m willing to pay is 45 pounds for a complete box set. This means for me that it contains all tracks available on CD’s, an extended booklet and a gimmick/gadget exclusive to the set. For me it’s not neccessary to have vinyl. For example, the box sets of Bananarama (singles) or Belinda Carlisle (singles) are too expensive for me.

Paul Wren

Record companies need to monetise their back catalogues to make money. If they over-price then the market place will soon let them know by not buying the product, ie unsold stock results. Something is only premium if your wallet isn’t big enough? Paul Smith T shirts will last no longer than an ordinary T shirt, but even a used Rolex watch will outlive us all – so some luxury brands such as Rolex are value for money as well.

Joe

yes, a Rolex watch will last quite a long time. The cost over time though is expensive. Last year I had mine in for cleaning. Roughly $850 US . This happens about every 5 years.

Mike the Fish

It seems like, as with ticket sales, it is being tested to see how much people are prepared to pay for this kind of stuff. The Roxy debut superdeluxe has been talked about for years. I’m aware of the th album and heard it years ago. I was interested, particularly in the 5.1, but well over £100 kills off casual interest, which then kills off getting other deluxes that may come out for other albums. Why breed ill will?

McCartney’s Flowers in the Dirt was the first album in his archive series I didn’t buy (I only bought Mc II as the super, but I didn’t like it enough and sold it at a big loss) and I was buying some albums that I didn’t love but became interested in revisiting and hearing bonus tracks. The horrible way they put the FITD super deluxe together: style over substance and high costs left bad feeling on my part and I realised that the album for me was pretty lousy so they lost the excitement sale of any format of the album. The snail’s pace of the release schedule also erodes the excitement and other more interesting releases (or series of releases) appear in the mean time.

The Queen News of The World release could have been really exciting, but Queen have taken the Mick so many times with stingy releases and then when they finally offer something a bit more they charge a fortune for it and don’t even include a 5.1 mix. Instantly it’s less appealing, repugnant even, due to blatant over pricing and rich men seemingly not wanting to give much value for money – again. They seem to hold the people who made them very wealthy with an element of contempt.

Remember how rubbish we thought Peter Gabriel’s So super deluxe set was? It’s jam packed with content and excellent value for money compared to some recent releases, and it’s still lacking era b-sides, remixes, and a 5.1 mix.

There have been some excellent deluxe sets in recent years combining good/great content and price, some at decent prices some a bit pricey. Universal – seemingly very willing to exploit their back catalogue and archives – have released a bunch of them, but recently they’ve been behind some insane releases, while other labels offer good value for money and a window to investigate an artist’s back catalogue.

Mike the Fish

Yes, it’s not like he’s shy about reissuing the album!

Steven

Re So, it’s especially ludicrous when one considers a lot of the work has already been done – 5 or 6 5.1 mixes from the album have already been released on the Play DVD (itself overdue a blu-ray release) from several years ago….

fenwick

@ Paul regarding the Peter Gabriel “So” album comments.

I one million percent agree with you. And Peter being such a perfectionist, and taking forever and a year to release new material, I am shocked he hasn’t sanctioned this approach to his entire back catalog.

Mathew Lauren

+1

I couldn’t have said it better!

Mathew Lauren

So, (pun intended), my +1 and comments are REPLIES to Paul’s comments about “So.”

Yes, Paul, you did cover this with PG. Didn’t he respond with a lame open-letter EXCUSE?!

A corrected dts 24/96 5.1 of “Play” DVD was re-released as the 2nd disc of a PG Blu-ray of Live in Athens here in America circa 2015:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00E6F155E?ref_=mw_olp_product_details

I’d love to see “So” on multi-hybrid 5.1 SACD.

Mar Wolfgang

Nice analogy to Veblen’s bling factor – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspicuous_consumption – people love sending pictures of them seeing their favorite bands on social media but few show their latest superdeluxe purchases.

Michel Bendichou

No difference to most consumers in your Paul Smith (who is he?) example. Consumers, by and large, are not rational as most economics theories rely upon. Therefore the price they they are prepared to pay is the value they receive (even if regretted thereafter).

Personally, I am after the sound so might pay £20 per high fidelity re-issue (or new issue) of something I want to LISTEN too. That immediately rules out paying premiums for CDs unless that is the only medium available. Would I pay £100 for a Zep 1 with 400 versions of the same tracks?….. No.

Frederik Blieck

Box sets cost way too much and and the number of box set releases is too big. I’m not talking about the deluxe or CD+DVD version of a regular CD but the real box sets. Since a couple of years I can’t buy any longer what I want, because box sets take too much budget. so record companies, please d o not frustrate your major clients. What could be done?
– For me there should be a real separation between vinyl and CD. You either choose a vinyl box set or a CD boxset. That would already cut the price of some boxsets.
– I also urge companies not to charge the buyer for artist ouput that does offer an added value (things like ‘take n°13 of track n°2)
– Stop doing 20th anniversary, 25th anniversary and 30th anniversary versions, where each time the tracks or the look of the release is slightly changed; This is PERVERSE.

For me the best example of a label policy and strategy is Nuclear Blast. Their service by the way is exceptional. And above all the quality of their releases is what it should be: standard version, deluxe versions between 35 and 50 euros, vinyl releases in many versions for ereasonable prices. Best proof that respect for the customers and quality rereleases and rereleases is possible.

Mick Bull

I am in my sixties..
I am a massive Bowie fan!
Since his death two years ago, the record companies have been putting out very expensive deluxe, limited edition, box sets…
Vinyl at £170+!
Sorry, but I for one can just not afford to buy this gem!
Yes I want it for my collection!
Yes, I know it will come up on a selling site at twice, or more, the price in six months time because people buy them to sell on and make a profit, and the chances of the price ever coming down is slim due to the very large and active Bowie collectors base!
Please let’s have some releases with new tracks, or different versions, at prices the ordinary music lover, on vinyl, can afford.
Vinyl is my thing, cd’s are ok for the car, but at home, I play my LP’s….
The sound is so much more warm and full….
Come on record companies, lets have these sets at realistic prices please so all can afford them…

Mikko Suhonen

For me the box set gets to be a “luxurious” and “too expensive” if the same content is included in several different formats that makes the other obsolete. If you are a vinyl collector, what do you need a cd version for and, in my case, an expensive and unnecessary vinyl addition makes the box too expensive if all you need is a cd. In a smaller scale the same applied in the Beatles Pepper and Magical Myster Tour boxes where there is both the dvd and blu ray with the same content.

Joachim

My simple approach to record collecting and the prices: I am in the wonderful situation that I can use a certain sum of money to collect music in physical form. This is luxery in a double sense, I have money I don’t need for living and I spend it for something unnecessary. For decades I didn’t possess a car so all this money other people spent for a car went into my collection. So every month I can deceide what to do with this extra money. Is there a good set out there, is it worth the money? This decision is based on the fact that I can afford this hobby. So sometimes I say, yes this Roxy SDE with a signed postcard and a cool shirt is worth 130 Euros. A few month before I refused to buy Sargent Pepper because I already have it in mono and stereo on Vinyl and CD. This is obviously still a luxery decision.

Guy

Nothing to say that hasn’t already been said, but on a related Human League issue, did you know the ‘premium’ seats (several front rows in the stalls) in the Hammersmith Apollo for their December gig this year are £106, with others ranging from £84 to £62. Factor in ticket fees & transaction fees (both an excuse for further rip-offs) and it’s a very expensive evening. Perhaps aimed at those who like to flash their Rolex watch at dinner parties, they can now flash their tickets!

Now I like the Human League but they are hardly pop royalty. Prices aimed at those who paid the £80 for their 3cd/1dvd box set upon release?!

Isauro

Interestingly this topic is on the table.
High pricing, high expectations.
I’m into this luxury £130 boxes only if the following are included:
– I’m really a fan
– High resolution versions available: original and new (if available) stereo mixes (Something I really appreciated was the hi-res downloadable version of George Michael’s LWP included in the Deluxe Box Set version)
– High resolution 5.1 versions. Or now the Dolby Atmos or Auro 3D mixes.
– CD version of all music included in the box.
– All or almost all b-sides and remixes (I’m not so into demo or outtakes).
– Book with history, artist/band comments, art, etc. (Memorabilia not necessary)
– High quality materials (japanese-like)
– No vinyl (I won’t play it and usually the box is oversized)

Some of the above missing, no buying…. Some boxes have reached almost this requirements for half less the price of this Roxy Music box: Pink Floyd’s immersion boxes.

tom doyle

Any women out there?-what do you think? Come on, speak up! Is it just a male thing- this box set collecting malarky

PC

Tom, I told my 16 year old daughter that I watch unboxing videos on this site. She thought that was hilarious.

Chris Squires

SDE…. the new Porn.

I do admit that it’s got to the point that if I am reading SDE, watching an unboxing or have my Amazon pages open and I hear the Mrs. coming upstairs I have been tempted to either quickly turn the screen off or open up xvideos and stick some porn on. It’s easier to explain and I would get into less trouble.

Rich Z

Ultimately every product and service on the market has and is a value proposition, commodities and luxury items alike. As vocal and valuable as the feedback and response from this forum is, it will be the economics of the industry (labels, artists, content owners, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, service providers, retailers, marketers) and revenues/profits from consumer sales and co-marketing that determine what will be produced and brought to market. Super Deluxe Editions are one SKU in an array of digital and physical offerings — digital downloads (mp3, .wav, ACC, FLAC, AIFF, …), streaming services (free, premium), catalog CDs, remaster CDs, expanded CDs, exclusive editions (Hip-O, MFSL), premium technology CDs (20/24bit, 92 KHz, SHM, platinum SHM, HQ, SACD, hybrid SACD), 5.1 DVDs , blu-rays, vinyl (standard, 140/180/200g, 45RPM, half-speed masters, color/multi-color, premium pressing plants, NA/EU/JAP manufacturing), and of course, non-super deluxe editions — offered to today’s finely segmented marketplace. Enough?

Naturally, demand will vary by magnitude of the artist’s fanbase and level of their fanaticism. And some SDEs may be much more desired than others, e.g., McCartney’s Flowers In The Dirt is no Ram. If unit sales-potential of SDE X are half that of SDE Y and production/marketing/distribution costs are the same for each, then clearly the retail price of SDE X would have to be much higher than that for SDE Y to make sense to short-term profit-driven labels. Personally, I love SDEs as much as or more than most, but for me the value *is* the music, so give me a plain ol’ Further Listening 2CD from PSB or the no-fancy-packaging 2017 edition Delaney & Bonnie On Tour With Eric Clapton 4CD.

Gisabun

Box sets are overpriced.
As I have stated before, I’m in for the music – not the crap they throw in like a few cards, a stupid very small scarf [Ladies & Gentlemen The Rolling Stones], replicas of “memorabilia”, piece of film, or any other trinkets.
The only thing that you may lose on [the fan that is] is something that is unique to the box set. Of course it may be released later on [think Peter Gabriel’s Live in Athens from the butchered So box set].

Highlander

I haven’t read the 167 responses, but suffice to say…if any record label workers are reading this thread: please release the digital discs, especially the surround mixes, separate from these massive super deluxe box sets with LPs included. For my money, the best deluxe box sets going are by Jethro Tull. For super deluxe, the best for me are being issued by King Crimson. When you get right down to it, the original albums, which many super deluxe edition box sets are based on, were only 40 minutes or so in length, e.g. Chris Squire’s “Fish Out of Water” and Rush’s “A Farewell To Kings” to name two. So, please release the vinyl and digital discs separate, as most consumers don’t want both formats.

Jeff Rougvie

I kind of glazed over about 3/4 of the way through reading ALL the responses, but lively thread no doubt!

A couple of things I didn’t see mentioned (apologies if they were, but again, I glazed) or would like to expand on:

1) New artist advances. You may say “X album was recorded years ago, there are no artist advances to pay!” but that is not necessarily the truth. Yes, labels could reissue the album the SDE is built around without paying an additional advance, but they may not have rights (or more importantly, access) to demos & outtakes from that album.

Frequently record companies are the worst caretakers of their materials. But you know who does keep that stuff? ARTISTS. I know of many artists who have taken MILLIONS of dollars off labels for catalog revamps because either a) they have possession of tapes the label owns the rights to but does not have in their possession or b) the label need permissions to create new editions. (please note: these advances are often tied to extensions of licenses as there are certain laws being proposed that may give artists reversion rights, which labels are loathe to do).

2) the audience for these types of products is greying / dying. Sorry to be morbid, but the buying base for these items is shrinking, no matter how you look at it.

Why is this important? Aside from the obvious reduced number of sales, there’s the corresponding expanded cost of origination per unit. It hasn’t gotten cheaper to make these things, people (research, mastering, manufacturing, above-referenced advances, etc).

The irony here is that at the time of the CD explosion (the early 90’s, lets say) when you could’ve sold hundreds of thousands of SDE’s to active buyers, I proposed these types of multi-disc sets to artist and they either laughed in my face (Costello) or rejected the idea (Bowie). Yet in less than ten years, both had issued multi disc versions of the albums I suggested issuing in these formats.

3) The label has to decide how to present the material and what to charge for it. This is not a vicious exercise in exploitation but an algorithm. We live in a data-driven universe and there are serious calculations involved – often based on historical data that may suggest: “we will sell X number at X price, but after 6 months, we must drop the price by X percent to clear out any remaining stock.” It is THAT cynical, but that’s the reality as year over year physical sales plummet (vinyl, of course, saw an upswing over the last few years, but X times virtually nothing is still virtually nothing).

A luxurious book and multiple discs (no matter how irrelevant to the buyer) give the IMPRESSION of value for money. And there is no doubt SOME value to these things, but think of it like a DVD with directors commentary. Unless you’re raving mad for the film, how many times are you going to listen to the commentary track? Nearly once I’d guess. But these are line item features designed to make you feel better about the purchase and you can bet any major label can calculate if the investment is worth the return based on historical data and future sales projections.

4) What is it worth TO YOU? This is what is most important. How urgently do you need this? Are you prepared to have it sell out and risk missing it entirely or pay extortionist prices on the secondary market later? I regret not pouncing on the Manics SDE of Generation Terrorists and now it sells for more than I am willing to pay.

There are other SDEs I want that were originally sold for $120 US but have now gone down to $80 US, which I’ve determined is still not enough to compel a purchase.

I am still alive and well without them – so the very forces that are driving these quandaries are (at least as far as I’m concerned) also teaching the intended consumer their purchase is not necessary for continued survival & happiness.

That all said, if it seems like too much, don’t pay it. If you can’t live without it, buy it. Arguing about it will not change the price or your desire. Getting twisted in knots about it is a waste of your time, which is finite. Money is not.

The bottom line is there is no simple or correct equation that rationalizes the cost of ANY item (be it music or t-shirt) except your own.

Your mileage may vary.

Matthew

Amen to that, thanks for the ryko’s!
Still have my cassette copy of Hunky Dory my only legal way to listen to Bombers or the Quicksand demo…

scottyboy

A great article Paul. I’m a big Pink Floyd fan however I was no way tempted by the Early Years boxset due to its cost (£300+), the inclusion of vinyl and it’s shear physical size,though I have recently purchased the 6 individual boxsets via Amazon.de with their 3 for 2 offer for less than £100 (thanks Paul) but I’m sure these sets could be cheaper if you remove the duplication of content (either DVD or Blu-ray, not both) and the “replica memorabilia from the period” (i.e. tickets, flyers etc).
I also own the 3 Simple Minds Super Deluxe boxsets (Sparkle.., New Gold.., Once Upon..) which are great but far too bulky for what content you get (discs & booklets).

negative1

How are the simple minds boxsets bulky? They are all in the small box sized sets. They come with a replica tourbook. And small digipaks for each disc and dvd.

Unless you live in a shoebox, with no cupboard space. These things are tiny. Are you sure you didn’t get something else?

The only bulky item they have is the boxset with the vinyl of the albums put together.

You might want to check your boxsets again, and see if you are looking at the proper ones.

later
-1

DaKraut

Very interesting read. A few comments from me:
The T-shirt comparison is, in my opinion, not quite fitting, because there is still a limited range of shirts you might be at a time. 20 Paul Smith shirts? There may be some who will, but I don’t think there are quite so many designs. As far as music goes, the range is SO MUCH wider with bands/artists from all decades since the 50s. And many, many, many of them get the box set treatment. And they are all individual – so to use the T-shirt analogy: they are all very expensive shirts by an incredibly large number of “designers”.
Omissions: when a box set of a certain record comes out with outtakes, alternate takes, mixes, etc., we all want it to be PICTURE PERFECT, because we KNOW that we won’t get another crack at it, as no record company would put out the same set again…or hardly ever. So yes, a “forgotten” B-side can cause much chagrin.
Well, I for one do internet radio, so my box sets or limited editions don’t just sit on the shelves, but are being played in the radio – thus, I’m trying to show people how varied music can be if you don’t just listen to the same old, dumb FM radio which gives you the impression by the very “narrow” playlists, that in the 70s, 500 records were put out altogether, 200 in the 80s and maybe 150 in the 90s. So, I truly welcome the opportunity to be able to play unreleased music and give listeners an insight into unknown or rarely heard stuff.

Travis Sonsalla

Paul asked in his Week in Review to post our thoughts here as those “in the industry” read the site. So here it is:

I’m a simple guy and music is solely an auditory experience. Physical product ends up “sitting on a shelf” whereas the music is in use as I cycle through my digital and digitized music collection.

I don’t need a 58 page color booklet filled with anecdotes, insider info, and lots of photos. Concert DVDs only interest me to the extent that I can digitize the audio from the performance.

I’m now a rare concert attendee, as drive time, cost, etc. doesn’t equal the value of said time and cost. If I’m interested in a concert, I want to have good seats, and good seats don’t come cheap.

So as a music consumer, I’m most interested in easy access to digital music. Put the Super Deluxe release on iTunes or similar sites, and I’ll be there to make a purchase. Physical product is only considered if the price is near or less than an online purchase.

Daran

You don’t consume music ! It’s art, not a pizza.

Tim

I generally only acquire box sets and Xmas or birthday: makes things easy for my family if I tell them if a box set I’d like.

This year it was the Orange Juice ‘Coals The Newcastle’ set. 6 CDs, 1 DVD, a lovely booklet and solid box. £45 the lot, direct from Edwin Collins’ own record label. I don’t think you can fault that for value for money.

Pete Harris

Record companies KNOW the loyalties of fans ‘of a certain age’ to the acts they love – I KNOW the Led Zeppelin boxsets were expensive for what they actually contained in terms of new, good music. But it didn’t stop me buying every one of them… and it didn’t stop me pre-ordering “How The West Was Won” even though there is NO new music there.
BUT…. there will come a time when we’re all going to look at those largely unplayed boxsets and think (when the NEXT one comes along, as it ALWAYS does)… “You know what- I can’t justify the cost and I’m not going to pay it”. And once that genie is back in the bottle for this generation… there’s no genie to release for the next one because they simply don;t have the same attachment to the physical product….. and then the record companies will have to find a new gimmick to get our money… maybe ticket and product links…. if those artists are still around to get tickets for…. :(

-SG-

So true… having gone to thrift store outlets, I have come across many classical and other boxsets that were deluxe for their era, expensive for the time and largely unplayed, left to be recycled. Every generation does this. Collecting can get silly. You only have so much time to listen to any of this stuff. Really, I think having oversized boxes that are expensive and offer little new content redundant formats in one box are the opposite of what people want, or even need, it is worse that the $100 shirt because you will atleast wear the shirt. Honestly, how many collectors out there are guilty of just buying this stuff and never playing it? WHAT SHOULD BE MADE is a compact collection that offers value, good liner notes and the best sound available and there you have it. It is not that hard.

PC

I’m definitely guilty of never playing some of the box sets I buy, and sometimes that sickens me, but I’ll still get excited by the next must have set.

ModernRomance

I don’t mind paying high prices for high content-
Queen vinyl box set
Sgt pepper with 5.1
-sets that offer high quality content and packaging- because lets face it, anyone on THIS site loves packaging – or valued 5.1 mixes

What is hard to swallow is a box set of out takes or poorly recorded material and commanding a high price.
In reality these types of sets will get little disk time. Sure cd1 of the set which more often than not will be the remastered version of the album , but cd2,3 will most likely be listened to once or twice at most . 90% of unreleased material was unreleased for good reason…!
Sure there will be a gem here or there,but for the most part it’s sub par

Take the Quadriphenia box. A terrible and incomplete 5.1.
But including Pete’s demos which in the grand scheme are probably the high end of demos. But still,I’d be shocked if more than 10% of purchasers play these demos much

Tim P

Re: Quadrophenia – I agree it was a complete shocker that a 5.1 mix wasn’t included in full (and then magically appeared a couple of years later on bluray). However those Townshend demos for me were an absolute revelation. I’ve listened to them more than the album (and the subsequent 5.1 purchase) in recent years. They not only show how studious and hard working he was but how utterly musical he is – he can literally pick up anything and make it work and sound good in the context of what he’s working on.

Carl Stanley

My main expenditure is on music, ninety per cent of the stuff I buy reissues. As great as beautiful presentation is, and liner notes detailing the recording etc, the bottom line is always the music for me. I can live without countless demos / live versions as they tend to only get listened to rarely, with the exception of something like the Banshees’ ‘The Scream’ Deluxe Edition where there are tracks which were never otherwise recorded. What annoys me more than anything is when record companies don’t include every remix – I’m sure most of us who buy reissues are desperate to get our hands on some obscure remix that hasn’t ever had a cd release. Whoever compiles reissues generally seems to have no comprehension of what fans actually want – the one reissue that has got this right is the Bananarama singles box set, which, personal taste aside (I’m a Bananarama fan, I might add), most people on this forum agreed had got the content spot-on. I’m always happy to shell out £100 for anything if record companies have an understanding of what it is I actually want as a fan, rather than just rereleasing stuff for rereleasing’s sake. I know the subject of Eurythmics back catalogue has been discussed extensively on SDE but here’s hoping that there is a comprehensive reissue programme in the not too distant future to rectify the omissions from the previous deluxe editions. As for Roxy, I’m quite content with the complete albums box set, the CDs of extended versions and b-sides were exactly what I’d been waiting for and the remastering was superb.

Bob M

At the end of the day sellers will ask for the price the buyers will pay. Or they will test the market to see what they will pay. It seems to me that their tests are working as most of the deluxe editions sell out. I wonder if the vast fluctuations in pricing are directly related to the artists and the perceived value fans and collectors place on their music. Personally I don’t care about 5.1; I am only interested in improving the stereo audio on reissues, deluxe or not. And I have to say that most of the time I have been disappointed on that front. So to risk putting out these large sums for a chance improvement is not in my game plan. But if the general sentiment is that the price is too high as consumers we have immense power – don’t buy. And there’s the rub. Someone else always does and soon the item is OOP. I guess we’re hooped.

David Barron

I always thought that a Super Deluxe Version Box set is a boutique version of buying an album, whether it is a new or classic album. It costs as much as buying something in a boutique and you keep it well maintained because of the cost.