UMC acknowledge Richard and Linda Thompson box set disc errors

Replacement discs and downloads promised

Universal Music Catalogue (UMC) have made a statement after some fans complained about defective discs in the Richard and Linda Thompson Hard Luck Stories 1972-1982 box set.

Some people have had issues with the CDs in this box set where ‘ripping’ them successfully (i.e. copying the files to a computer from a CD drive) is not possible. The process gets ‘stuck’ at various points on some discs. Others have reported playback issues from some discs, too. This is by no means a blanket problem, since SDE has checked its set and all seems fine.

The label are blaming the “hand-packing” process for these errors. This rang a bell with SDE and we then recalled that back in September 2018 the same label blamed the same ‘hand-packing’ issues for DVD errors on the Soft Cell Keychains and Snowstorms box set.

Anyway, the good news is they are offering a download code for the full box set contents to anyone who emails proof of purchase (presumably aimed at those with the ripping issues) but significantly will also offer replacement discs to those who request them. They do not make it clear if they are getting a new batch manufactured or are just supplying replacements from existing stock with the hope that they will be okay. UMC do, however, emphasise that this box set is now SOLD OUT, so no one will be getting a replacement box from their favourite retailer.

The full statement (which is posted on the uDiscoverMusic Store above the product listing for the box) is as follows:

We are aware of issues affecting some CDs in a small number of the Richard & Linda Thompson 8CD boxed set, ‘Hard Luck Stories 1972-1982’. Having spoken to the manufacturer, it appears likely that these were caused during the hand-packing process. If you have been affected please email [email protected], including proof of purchase, and we will send you a download code for the full contents of the package. If you request them, we will also arrange to send replacement discs to you. Please note, this box set is now sold out. If you return your box to the store you purchased from it will only be possible to get a refund.

SDE summary of the situation:

  • Any box that you buy online right now MAY have the issue, but you can subsequently contact UMC for a download or replacement discs.
  • There are no boxes in the marketplace right now guaranteed to be perfect.
  • Since this box is now sold out, the best advice is to hang on to it and simply go through the process of requesting the download (if you only have ripping problems), or replacement discs (if you have experienced playback issues).
  • If you don’t have any issues, ignore all this and enjoy what is a fabulous box set!

SDE 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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I received my replacement discs (full set in a DVD type box) just before Christmas. Got a fairly prompt response to my initial email and a download code and a promise of discs to come. Good service.

Stan Butler

Is anybody else still waiting for their discs?
I’ve had nothing back from my enquiries to Universal as to what’s happening .

Eugene N Hayhoe

Haven’t even SEEN a copy yet, and it’s apparently already out of print. ‘Gee, do I love record companies…’

Gary Fowles

Yay. My replacement discs arrived today. I’m all the way up in the north of Sweden where everything takes weeks to arrive. I’m happy.

Stan Butler

It would seem that Northern Ireland is an even more distant outpost.
I’m still waiting for mine.
Apparently those in France and Spain have started to recieve theirs.
Not happy at all.


Yeah, I’ve still not got mine. I’m in Manchester, so I don’t know what the hold-up is. I’ve sent them another email to chase it up.

Stan Butler

Samuel, it appears that we are in the second re-pressing, hence the delay.
Whether that is linked to the date we registered, I’m not sure (I registered on the 10th November). I know the email telling us to register before the 15th November cut off, went out on the 6th November, so there would have been quite a few people ahead of me in the queue,
What has annoyed me is not the wait. It was a poor registration process, in which I had to contact them after unsuccessful attempts (clearing the cache solved it) and then no confirmation by email that I actually was registered. Even those who have got sets didn’t get notification of when they were dispatched.
Seems that some people who tried to register more than once have got extra sets.
It has been a right old cock up by UMC from the start.
Which is a shame, as it’s a beautiful box both musically and in presentation.


I think you are right, Stan. I received this reply from them yesterday (I’ve taken to sending my emails to three of the various UMC emails addresses to get a quicker reply)


Thank you for your continued patience.

If you registered before the 15th November, you are on the list to receive replacement discs. The warehouse ships in batches and therefore people may receive their discs at different times.



I’ve not been happy with the registration process. The fact that I had to fill in an online form, then simply got a confirmation on the browser screen doesn’t fill me with hope. A confirmation email would at least put my mind at rest. I’ve got no proof that I filled it in.

Yeah, I can’t fault the set in any other way.

I pre-ordered it as a Christmas present for my girlfriend; all those months ago I wouldn’t have guessed I’d still be waiting for the CDs to put in it!


@Gary Fowles:

Yay, mine too (sometime late last week).
Seems that the western Rhine Area in Germany is even more distant from the UK than the north of Sweden…at least from Universal’s vantage point.

But i’m nevertheless happy that they swapped the discs at all and also acknowledge them offering the download as well.

One small thing though:

The package included a despatch note (dated 17/11/2020) that also gave an Order Total of 158,29 GBP (2 sets plus p&p).

I hope nobody at “recordstore” hold their breath for me to pay for these replacement sets…

Stan Butler

Yes Samuel, that’s their stock reply which leaves us none the wiser.
Very annoying as over at Steve Hoffman, even US west coast punters have been getting theirs! And it’s almost three weeks since the first discs were recieved.
I echo all your points.
Strangely you can still “register” and screenshot the confirmation, as it is exactly the same. Is it of any use? I don’t know.
Even if the discs are dispatched, who would we go to if sya they got lost in the post?
The deadline was ridiculous, I sent them my Amazon invoice and got the downloads. That’s all the proof I should need.


Same here. Replacement discs just arrived.

Stan Butler

Still waiting for mine.
Over at Steve Hoffman, some have revealed that they have received more sets than they requested. This would seem down to UMC’s risible registration process.
I’d be happy with just the one set for now!

David Palmer

The postman just delivered my replacement discs so hopefully yours will be with you soon.


Dan R

Yes, mine arrived today too. Hooray! Haven’t checked that they work yet, though…

Rick Krueger

After about two weeks of waiting, I received the following email from Universal this morning:


Thank you for your continued patience.

You should have received an email to supply us with your full address to receive replacement discs as there were issues with some of the CDs in the box caused by a handling issue.

If you have already provided your address in the below form, you have been added to the list to receive replacement discs.

If you have not already done so, please use the link below to provide your address by Sunday 15th November.

Enter address here: [redacted]

Replacement discs will be sent out after the deadline of 15th November.

In the meantime, you can redeem a digital download on [address and code redacted]

Downloading the WAVs even as we speak!

Dave Bain

I have also received the same message. Hopefully this problem will be resolved in the next week or so.

Dan R

Yes, I’ve also received this e-mail – hope everyone else who’s written to them has received it too? Hopefully the replacement discs will arrive during the week after the 15th. We’ll see what happens!

Stan Butler

Got the same email to register address. (Got the download codes a few weeks ago).
However when I enter all my details and register, I get the following:
“Captcha should be selected on registration form”.
There was no catchpa.
So I’m not sure if my address is registered or not. No emails to confirm.

Dave Bain

Received my replacement discs this morning. Haven’t played them yet but I assume they will be free of the glitches that plagued my original ones. Success at last.


Postman just delivered my replacement discs so hopefully the rest of you will receive yours soon.


H Fong

I’ve also e-mailed UMC (three times over the last month) but have not received any reply, despite including a screenshot of the details of my order (from Amazon UK) and a photo of the packing list. Extremely frustrating. Don’t know what else one can do.

John C

Same situation here,

I have e-mailed [email protected] three times in the last month and got no reply.
So I contacted Universal’s Digital Stores Customer Services (Ha!). They replied
that because I had not ordered it from them I needed to contact Amazon. It’s odd that they have acknowledged problems but now appear to be stone-walling.

Dan Rourke

Has anybody actually received their replacement discs yet? Like many others, my initial e-mails were ignored, and eventually I was asked to enter my address details on their website (irritatingly, the e-mail says “You should have received an email to supply us with your full address”, suggesting that a previous e-mail had been sent – not that I can tell). Anyway, this was October 12th – no confirmation or subsequent e-mails received. Does anybody have an update?

Dave Bain

Still not heard a thing regarding replacement discs. Since there are no posts to the contrary I assume that nobody has received them as yet.

Dave Bain

Now into November and still no sign of replacements, not even a notification regarding a time line for replacements. Universal don’t exactly go out of their way to keep us informed.

John Felton

Well….I thought I’d got away with it but was unsure as I hadn’t got round to listening ALL of the discs in the set (too much good stuff to get through of late….I blame that Paul Sinclair for ‘alerting’ us to all these deals!!)
Oh dear…what was a brilliant box set is let down at the manufacturing stage by skipping CD’s…though at first I thought it was Richard Thompson’s fluid guitar solo….alas no.
Hoping for replacement discs…..we’ll see……

Robert Lett

Mine played fine all the way through and there were no mixed up or wrong tracks that a few people mentioned so maybe they corrected things in the middle of the run and I got lucky. My outer box was slightly damaged alas, if anyone ends up with an extra outer box in good shape give me a holler and we can work something out.

Ian Stafford

Just had an email to say replacement disc are ready to send out & thanking me for my patience. All I had to do was register my address, quick and easy. I must say I’ve been impressed with how this has been handled, a few other companies should take note and learn from them!

David Bain

After many ignored emails I sent yet another yesterday, and received a reply this morning. I am informed that replacement discs will be sent soon. In the meantime I have been given a code which I have used to download the full album. Unfortunately I can’t get iTunes to recognise the files. However, as an old timer who doesn’t really do technology I’m not too concerned about that as it’s a set of CDs that play properly that I am after, and hopefully will get very soon. I’m now a happy man who will be even happier when my 8 shiny new and playable discs arrive.

Dave Bain

I have also registered for replacement discs, which in itself was quick and easy. However I have not been as impressed by universals’ overall handling of this situation. My first half dozen emails over a couple of weeks duration were all ignored. I was eventually sent a registration form about 5 days ago, but have not had any information regarding a timeline for despatch of replacement discs. It is now over 5 weeks since I bought this box set and am still unable to play a set of problem-free discs. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that this situation is looking like it is about to be resolved, but I would have been happier still had universal taken some small effort to let people know what was happening. Their tardy response to emails and paucity of information has been a source of frustration to me and I assume to others. Has anyone out there received their new discs yet?

Dave Bain

Hi Ian, you wrote on October 12th that you received an email to the effect that replacement discs were ready to be sent out. That was eighteen days ago, have you received them yet?


Just received an email from Umusic stating that replacement discs are being prepared a s asking for contact/mailing info. Also noted: “Please note that there is a cut-off date for supplying any replacement discs which is Sunday 15th November.”


Despite having emailed Universal twice over the last couple of weeks, I haven’t had a reply. Is anyone else in the same position? (And as a follow up, should I be worried? ;) )

Dave Bain

I returned my original box set to Amazon only to receive another dodgy set of discs. I emailed communications dept’ at universal on the 24th September and the infoumc site on the 26th September after reading on this forum that the faults have been acknowledged and that universal would issue downloads/new discs to buyers on provision of proof of purchase. No reply from either. I re-sent my email on October 1st and again on October 3rd, no reply. I emailed both of these universal departments yet again on the 9th October. No reply as yet, but in all honesty I am no longer expecting to receive one. This should have been a great product, a lot of work has obviously gone into it. Let down by shoddy manufacturing of the most important part of the set, the discs. Very poor quality control, extremely poor after-sales service. I feel that universal have treated their customers as well as their artists with absolute contempt.

John C

Hi Danny,
Same thing here. Emailed Universal 12 days ago and nothing yet.


Is there already more information about the replacement discs? I now have my second boxset at home with the same problems ….. I am very disappointed with this, because for the rest it is a beautiful box.


Hello..back again!

Having gone through all the discs on a Linn,I can confirm that ,on this particular player,my problem was limited to the penultimate track on disc 4…Shame but too much hassle to fight for a replacement..

It certainly is a great set..hats off to Andrew Batt!

For our sake and theirs I hope there are no pressing problems with Universal’s imminent Lizzy set…I am pretty nervous!

Dave Bain

Very frustrated with this. Pre-ordered from amazon Got it for just over £56. Package is great some of discs unplayable right through, most can’t be ripped to computer. Sent back, got replacement which is an improvement but still ripping/playback problems with some discs. Item becomes unavailable from amazon. Universal acknowledge there is a problem and will offer new discs to customers on proof of purchase, great. I had already emailed universal on 24th September (no reply) so now I email them again (26th September) with proof of purchase (no reply). Sent another email a couple of days later asking for acknowledgement – no reply. Amazon have just contacted me with the news that this set will be back in stock later this month (October) price £76, superb I can now return my duff set to amazon for a replacement. Tried to do that and the only option given by amazon is a refund, i.e. get my £56 back and re-order it at £76. This is indeed ‘a strange affair’, and a very frustrating one at that Universal Music comes out of this in a very poor light it has not treated its artists or its customers with any respect at all.


Dave, I emailed [email protected] on Friday 25th and had a response on Sunday 27th, so had the opposite experience to you. I hope you get a response and save yourself having to return to amazon / being out of pocket.

Dave Bain

Thanks for that info Quante. I have just re-sent my original email, fingers crossed.

Steve Benson

Obviously wasn’t going to be easy to get a copy in or to NZ but I see both Amazon UK and HMV store saying back in stock mid October. Does that mean there will be another run? (Amazon UK no longer shipping physical product to NZ)


Hi Paul ,
I ordered the box set from my local record store in Melbourne ages ago – told today that it is no longer available and I have missed out (not the shops fault). Apparently Universal has grossly underestimated the demand with most copies satisfying orders in the UK and Europe. Very few export copies available for shops in countries like Australia. Very annoying!!

Uncle Meat

In case someone is still interested…. Received the set 24.09. and finished listening today 28.09. The cd discs played perfectly. Great set, great music, great mastering. In fact I had forgotten how good First Light and Sunnyvista were. Checked with two of my oldest players, an 18-year-old Sony DVD-player and my 21-year-old trusty JVC BoomBlaster. My more “modern” players hopefully perform the same. I don’t do ripping though.

Steve Reid

Was the problem scratching due to rough handling as UMC post would suggest or some intrinsic pressing fault ie the discs look pristine…have one in transit to Australia so hoping it is the former rather than the latter…a polish should remove any offending scratches…hopefully

Mike Villano

Well, so far, I’ve only played disc 8 on a five-year-old Sony Blu-ray player and all was well until track 11. It stopped playing about halfway through and rendered the remaining tracks unplayable. I tried again today, starting with track 11. This time, it and track 12 played fine, then more stopping and pausing.
So for fun, I tried it on the 27-year-old Sony five-disc changer, again starting with track 11. And the whole thing played just fine! Huh? Guess I’ll have to use the old workhorse for this set.


Hi Mike,

Seems you don’t bother this mess, or am I not right? Ripping only succeeded with discs 1, 3 and 5. And I have problems with playing some discs. I hope to get the download code and replacement discs.

Mike Villano

Discs 6 and 7 also experiencing playback problems. All the trouble seems to be with the bonus material. Very frustrating!


FYI: The downloads are 16/44.1 WAV files.


Some good news from Detroit, so here is a positive experience

There are some fault free copies of Richard and Linda Thompson’s Hard Luck Stories 1972-1982

Delivery – The box set shipped from amazon uk to the USA, arrived two weeks early and the amazon box looked as though the amazon elephant had sat on it. BUT, the box set has its own separate case and a bubble wrap cover inside => Perfect, no dents bends stupid stuff

Play – 8 discs averaging about an hour, mine played straight through (been busy) without problems

Rip – stuffed all of them in to the iTunes library without an issue

Sound and Content – Incredible, just a fantastic set of discs and extras from the dynamic duo. On my long ride it revealed just how diverse and talented they were. Songs like Dimming of the Day still stop me dead in my tracks. And yes there are plenty of cuts where Richard let’s it fly

The SDE – 8 x 8 format, decent book, two cardboard sleeves each holding 4 discs

Fear and Trepidation – armed with my purchase confirmations, I waited anxiously for my $67.00 purchase to arrive, anticipating all sorts of agro. It didn’t happen instead it’s the most marvelous SDE and SO if you are waiting for it, even if you face some lumpiness you are the in for something really special

My Error : Why the heck didn’t I buy Richard and Linda Thompson Live at the BBC

Salutations and thanks as always Paul for letting our music voices be heard

Brad B.

“I’m sorry for the things I’ve said, the things I’ve done,
I’m sorry for the restless thief I’ve been,
Please don’t make me pay for my deceiving heart…”

Case in point why i visit Mr. Sinclair’s site at least every other day.

Simon Stokes

I have emailed umusic several times now regarding this problem and have had no response at all. Anybody else received a response?

CJ Feeney

Got an email today with a download code. I’m not at home sobhaventvhsdca chance to use it.

It was pretty much 48 hours after I emailed in response to their notice. Lots of Hoffman forumites have hit theirs.

Gary Fowles

It took three or four days for my download code to arrive. So just sit tight.

Philip John Birtwistle

Took a second email, but that one got a response of :

Hello Philip,
Apologies for the inconvenience.
We are currently working with the manufacturer on a solution to the issues with the discs and will be in touch with you shortly to let you know about replacements.
In the meantime, please accept this unique code to download the box set:
The URL is

within minutes.

Larry Davis

Well I must be one of the lucky ones because I had zero ripping problems, not one, all 8 discs read fine too…there were points where it looked like certain discs were getting stuck ripping, so I hung on and they all continued, no problems…as for playback, I’m sure that will not be an issue because all 8 discs ripped fine & no scratches at all…I did send an email to UMC for the download code & replacement discs just in case, before the ripping, as I thought for sure, mine was among the bad batch (70%??) and odds were not in my favour…so my only sorta bad thing was that ding on the back cover bottom centre edge, which I can cover up with duct tape…I do feel awful for everyone who got a problematic copy because this is a nice set indeed…


If it is “Sold Out”, then how do UMC still have enough replacement copies for all the individual faulty discs that are already out there?

Kevin Phillips

Actually they are getting replaced from new run of CDs that the manufacturer are doing (having admitted culpability for the issue).

Heath Peek

Are they really resolving the issue with the R&L Thompson release? Or will they just pack up and send out leftover discs that were pressed at the same time/place as these and stored at the warehouse as “breakage” replacements?

The UMC statement infers that they think the issue is that the discs are too scratched to play. Mine look pristine, no real scratches at all but will neither play nor rip. It is a problem with the silver layer of the discs being unreadable for some reason. Replacement discs from the same manufacturing run are likely to have *exactly* the same issues.

I’m thinking UMe is setting themselves up for a slate of not only having to pay for one round of mass-replacements sent out, but then a separate manufacturing run and a second round of mass-replacements once we get yet more defective discs to replace these.

I would be happy to be proven wrong…

Steve Benson

What a shame this is. I do hope they do a second edition and one of NZ’s few remaining music stores gets one in (getting boxed sets sent from UK or US almost inevitably means damaged packaging). I hesitated ordering also because I wanted to see reviews – of the quality of sound principally but also the whole thing. (Also friends would fairly ask me why I would need the set when I have almost everything RT/R&LT/LT have ever issued already.) Do the CDs sound good when they play? Not sure I buy the ‘hand-packing’ line from UMC or card slots in the book-set being cause of tracking problems as I have similar, by the Band and Eric Clapton for example, and no problems with those playing or ripping. Sounds more like pressing faults – maybe they used the same cheap method/factory as UNCUT magazine uses for its cover-mount CDs which always grind/stick at some point when ripping.

Alan Blevin

There is not going to be a second run.Universal say this clearly in this release.This is not going to be released in Australia or New Zealand and was never going to be.As for your packing concerns I suggest you try JPC.de.Their packaging is outstanding.
In their email reply to me Universal said they have no date for shipping of replacement discs as they are still arranging the production run.They will not be left over discs from the first run.My theory for the warped discs is that they were stacked incorrectly at some time between production and placing into packaging.
The only way to ever get this will be to buy it from somewhere that might still have stock right now and as soon as you get your shipping notice/invoice email that to Universal for replacement discs.
I really think Universal deserve praise for the way they have responded to this.

Rick Kay

Intriguing, since I ordered the set from Amazon US on the release date, and am now being promised a delivery date between October 13 & November 4. Wonder why that would be the case if there’s not to be a second pressing.

Larry Davis

My copy of the Richard & Linda box arrived today from Amazon UK, great timing as it originally said it would arrive October 7 & today is September 24!! As I thought, being Andrew Batt is behind this set, it’s on UMC & is also 8 discs, it is identically packaged as the Bobbie Gentry box, an 8-inch square, hardcover book (beautiful photography from just a quick look, had no idea Linda was such a looker, but that’s just tip of the iceberg), and 2 folders with 4 discs in each, in not-tight pockets…nice touch that one has Richard on the front, and the other, Linda…I’m happy that UMC has a solution for the ripping problem & faulty discs, and it’s posted the same day as I got my box, so I will test it tonight by ripping onto Apple Music & my iTunes library…and then will play them to see if any playback problems…hope not, hope for the best but expect the worst…yet I am an optimist…just 1 quibble and this is minor, my copy came with a slight ding of damage, the bottom edge in the middle had a slight rip/crush thing, but it’s so minor that it’s no big deal…and the fact that UMC are not making anymore of them, I am not bummed that I am stuck with the copy I have…I may just take a small piece of duct tape and put it over the ding…as for there not being any plastic jewel cases or trays, good!! I hate those things, they break too easily & get ugly when they get old…I prefer pockets or cardboard digipacks…with plastic trays on cardboard packaging, if the teeth break, you are stuck cuz you would have to rip it out which would ruin the packaging…so for me, cardboard all around is best AND best for the environment too…but based on looks and packaging alone, the Richard & Linda box gets too marks from me…as for my copy with the music?? Fingers crossed…


First of all I would like to thank Paul for his great efforts and Andrew Batt for producing a magnificent sounding and beautiful set.I hadn’t been sure if I ‘needed’ it as I have all of the original cds and the beautiful BBC set..all signed by Richard.I have a rather nasty illness and not sure how long I have to play with my pretty large music collection..however I am not letting go of this beauty!

I don’t download so only interested in the CDs playing properly…I have five CD players of various vintage in the house.I started off with an ancient Aiwa mobile..as I frequently do..never,ever any problems with this…It did everything but vomit the first CD up…I kid ye not!!

I then moved on to a LINN player…I thought that I was in the clear until track 13 of disc 4…shame..it stuffs up in different ways every time…I am now into disc 7 and so far so good although pretty nervous! If no other problems I will keep and think myself lucky…

It seems to me that without a second pressing any return is a bit of a ‘lucky/ unlucky dip!’

For what it is worth I believe this to be a pressing problem at the Czech plant and nothing at all to do with the packing..For the sake of everyone I hope that this plant is not used for the imminent and shockingly titled Thin Lizzy set ‘Rock Legends!..Blush and groan!

The worst packaging for any CD Box Set that I have come across for ages was the Allman Brothers Band one earlier in the year..impossible…Oh for the ancient days when such items were in real CD packaging within a 12 x 12 box…I have most of the significant originals and was upset when such items were superseded by 12 x6 boxes!

If anyone has not previously come across the Gerry Rafferty / Hugh Murphy version of For Shame Of Doing Wrong..previously legally available on the excellent triple set ‘ Watching The Dark’ they are in for a wonderful treat!!

Good luck all!



Keep playing the music John. There’s always that song you missed the first time, a band you didn’t know existed. Hope you feel better.


Many thanks for the encouragement Tim!..Yes ,music is absolutely crucial for me..both my daft collecting habit and live gigs..At last count I have good tickets for ten gigs rolled over to next year…all things being equal!

The postman has just brought the signed Steve Hackett set…and the Nick Mason package ,ordered in January, arrived last week!

Neither will be opened until I have played disc 8 of the Richard and Linda set…fingers crossed!


I guess not enough people bothered to buy the Simple Minds/Street Fighting Years box set and complain about it. Because the live discs in that set had serious problems and Universal made zero effort to correct.


What were the issues with SFY? My box played fine

Seth Hollander

My box is still on the way to me, but I am already dreading it. I have been reading the Hoffman threads on it daily. So I have emailed UMC today for replacement discs (I would like to ENJOY this box as soon as possible!).
I included this in my requesting email: “I am thankful for your endeavoring to fix this problem, but I strongly feel that your organization should change your attention to the actual storage of CDs in your box sets. The current proclivity to place CDs in book pages/covers is much more prone to damaging the discs than is the older practice of placing the discs in protective plastic trays. Your current box sets seem to be “coffeetable” books that include CDs, not music sets that include books!”
It is my practice to jewelbox the discs from boxsets whenever the discs are not in boxes/sleeves that fit my CD shelves, so as to both properly protect the discs and place them where they “belong” in my collection. It takes at least an hour to properly assemble art for the jewelboxes, plus the additional purchasing of boxes, paper, ink. For me, a box set purchase comes with chores!
I miss the 80s…. No chores when I bought Biograph or Crossroads…


yes i was just thinking the same thing about rethinking they’re packaging as the problems with the soft cell box really sucked. just got my box and started ripping it, so far no problems okay disc 7 track 17 caused a little problem but restarting the process on that disc let me rip it fine. my fingers crossed.okay just ripped completly. only the afore mentioned hiccup.

adam shaw

Hi Paul .
Looks like the “The Second Disc “ site in the USA has published your story about this without an acknowledgement to you .


Both sites had been covering the issue so it’s not surprising they would both post articles the day that UMC finally sent out a press release about it.


The unfortunate part is this forces everyone to test and not hold onto a set sealed.

Mike M

Why would you want to hold onto a sealed set Eric? You bought it the npkay it surely? Or are waiting to sell it on for a profit, mmm.

Jarmo Keranen

I have at least 30 packages from last 10 years that i haven’t opened them at all. They’re still in cardboard boxes. Not sure if every package contains the right cd’s that i ordered!

CJ Feeney

I’ve not got much sympathy if people are buying this purely for resale value, which must be the only reason for having an unwrapped copy.

Mike M

Totally agree CJ.

Paul E.

Although I vividly recall the Soft Cell UMC issues…we’ve had a fairly long run of problem free box sets. I personally have five multi CD box sets on order that I’m awaiting and remain confident they’ll be just fine.

That said, if any of these “hand-packing” issues can be traced back to the cardstock sleeves the discs are inserted/housed in than I’d argue that the industry just do away with that type of packaging all together. I’ve always hated those and my tolerance is strictly limited to Japan’s approach that includes poly inner sleeves for discs that protect the CD surface when inserting/removing from the course cardstock jackets [an approach that would limit these kind of issues in my opinion]. I’ve ordered hundreds of these inner sleeves from SoundSourceCDs.com and they cost about $.15 each- well worth the peace of mind for handling/storing the media.

If the above isn’t possible, manufacturers should at least package the discs into the jackets to ensure the play surface faces the “smoother” side without the protruding inner edges and glue! I apologize in advance as I know I’m guilty of asking way too much here.

Richard koloda

Thanks for the tip off –just ordered a copy from amazon –not much into ripping –just want it to play –so better now than never

Gareth Jones

They should’ve taken a leaf out of Neil Hannon’s book. The forthcoming Divine Comedy CD box set also comes with downloads!

Sam Tennent

I have to say reading this prompted me to immediately order the set from Amazon.
I was holding out hoping that the issues would be fixed but I really don’t want to miss out completely and it seems like UMC are not planning a re-run.

I’ve been listening to it over the last couple of weeks on Tidal and that might have satisfied me until I realized that they don’t have everything – Shoot Out The Lights is missing (even though the Gerry Rafferty versions are included) and that means I can’t listen to my favourite R&L song “Just the Motion”.

I guess the “Sold Out” statement is from UMC’s perspective – retailers seem still to have stock so with the offer of replacement discs and downloads it seems a good time to grab one!

Matt R

Off topic

My Sign O’ The Times SDE’s arrived this lunchtime.
Superb service. Thank you

The outer cardboard LP box is very tight in the main box. Took an age to release it.
I haven’t opened it yet, but the CD box looks lovely.

Also I have to go back to work this afternoon. Which is disappointing.


Wow, nice service! I got an email from Amazon Canada and Amazon Italy that my Sign Of The Times box sets are not arriving till mid October. Well, I guess that’s what happens when you go for cheap. It saves a lot but it comes at a price :-)


Thanks for the update Paul. I had placed a return with Amazon after finding playback problems with at least 2 discs (jittering and knocking). But since then I’ve told them I will work it out with UMC. They seemed quiet happy with that!

Timothy Ricketts

Thanks for the heads-up – requested

That Wort

I suppose if UMC are doing a recall of the existing box set, it would make sense to label it SOLD OUT. Then they can hopefully set up a new ‘improved’ 2nd edition going forward.

Lee Realgone

“Affecting a small number of discs” — Nope.
“Hand packing process” — Nope.
“We will send a download code” — Nope.
“Replacement discs available upon request” — with no guarantee that they haven’t come from the same shonky batch, that’s another hard no from us.

I get the feeling that UMC are trying to buy a few people off with a download code and hoping that having a beautiful thing to look at will be enough.

This whole thing has been unsatisfactory. It’s made me nervous about Tears For Fears in a few weeks, Presumably those discs were “hand packed” too…

Steve Peatchey

Hi Paul, what’s the email address I need to use to get my replacement?

Iain Mac

+1 on that request for official e-mail address please

Stan Butler

[email protected]

It’s in the UMC message.

Rare Glam

Amazon UK saying ‘ready to ship in 1-2 days’ (on 24th Sept) so must be some physical product still around, presumably newer stock?


I see they are blaming whoever did the hand packing but to be honest the discs that I had problems with didn’t have any marks on at all. I feel sorry for the people who work there who are obviously going to get a bollicking. Never had this problem from discs in other box sets (Imagine/Red Rose Speedway/Wild Life) If this is as they say what caused the problem are UMC going to learn from it and have the discs inserted in antistatic plastic sleeves before placing in the folders, as I have pointed out these can cost very little to the public to buy, so for UMC the price would be next to nothing compared to replacing box sets.

Stan Butler

I agree with Guy. There were no marks on mine and they played fine. Sliding the bare disc into a thin carboard slot isn’t ideal though.
It was the ripping of the discs that presented all the problems.
I shall be asking for a set of discs as I want to rip them properly myself.

Scott Smith

Yeah, this has nothing to do with hand packing. When the first disc went wonky, I immediately took it out and looked at it. It was pristine, not a mark on it. Then I checked the other discs. They were all fine. This was a manufacturing defect whether UMC wants to admit it or not. I am dubious about the replacement discs if they were from the same plant.

Graeme ewan

Check out the Steve Hoffman forum for more of the discussions about this set and issues. I think we should all be very pleased that we all pushed this and most folk will be more than pleased with the outcome.