Universal Music blame ‘hand-packing’ issue for Soft Cell DVD problems

Universal Music have issued a statement to Soft Cell fans who are having playback issues with the DVD from their Keychains and Snowstorms box set.

SDE highlighted this issue on Tuesday, and since that time over 100 fans have left comments, confirming that they are experiencing issues like ‘juddering’ playback, or even no playback at all.

In a post today on the Soft Cell website the label say:

“Universal Music are sorry to inform you that owing to a hand-packing issue, some of the DVD discs featured in the Soft Cell Keychains & Snowstorms Boxset have been damaged causing playing issues, such as freezing and juddering.”

We would like to make you aware that due to this issue we are currently pressing additional copies of the DVD for anyone who has been affected. If you have experienced problems with your DVD and would like a replacement disc, please contact infoumc@umusic.com with proof of purchase (a scan, screen grab or photo of the receipt will do) and your address and it will be sent out to you.”

As explanations go, “hand-packing issue” is vague and I’d be interested in SDE readers’ thoughts as to what this might mean.

Universal also address the “small number of fans” who have had problems with the spine in the booklet. They say:

“Again, if this is an issue, please contact the above e-mail address with a photo of the damaged spine and proof of purchase and we will send out a replacement booklet. Please do not contact the retailer you bought your box set from as Universal are dealing with it directly, and kindly please do not post any further issues on social media. Please note that re-pressings of the box set will include a new packing solution to prevent this happening again, so if you have not ordered your box set yet, please order with confidence.”

Soft Cell’s representatives have added their own thoughts and thank fans for their understanding but also make a point of encouraging them to “move on please”. This is their statement:

“Thank you for your understanding on this matter. It’s as frustrating for us as it is for those affected, but we are very glad that Universal have solved the problem so quickly. We trust this minor hiccough does not affect your enjoyment of the box set, so let’s all move on please – we’d love to hear what you think about ‘Keychains & Snowstorms’.

Thanks again to so many of you for your ongoing support, and we’ll see you at the O2 in a couple of weeks!”

Keychains and Snowstorms is out now.

Compare prices and pre-order

Soft Cell

Keychains and Snowstorms 9CD+DVD box set


Disc 1 : The Phonogram 12″ Hits 1981-1984

  1. Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go 8.57
  2. Bedsitter 7.52
  3. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye 8.56
  4. Torch 8.29
  5. What 6.10
  6. Where The Heart Is 9.46
  7. Numbers 9.49
  8. Soul Inside 11.12
  9. Down In The Subway 7.50

Disc 2 : The Phonogram B Sides 1981-1984

  1. Tainted Dub/Where Did Our Love Go? 8.51
  2. Facility Girls (12″ Version) 7.17
  3. Fun City 7.33
  4. Insecure Me (12″ Version) 8.16
  5. So (12″ Version) 8.44
  6. It’s A Mug’s Game (12″ Version) 8.11
  7. Barriers (12″ Version) 7.10
  8. You Only Live Twice (12″ Version) 6.58
  9. Her Imagination 5.20
  10. 007 Theme 3.27
  11. Disease & Desire 4.04
  12. Born To Lose 2.55

Disc 3 : New Extended & Reworked Mixes

  1. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (Dave Ball Lateral Mix) 7.08
  2. Youth (Dave Ball Wasted On The Young Mix) 5.41
  3. Secret Life (Extended Mix) 5.17
  4. Chips On My Shoulder (Extended Mix) 6.14
  5. Facility Girls (2018 Mix) 7.43
  6. Heat (Alternative Version) 6.04
  7. Kitchen Sink Drama (Extended Mix)
  8. The Art Of Falling Apart (Extended Mix) 8.47
  9. Martin (Hallowe’en Mix) 6.14
  10. Barriers (Dave Ball Broken Down Angels Mix) 7.09
  11. Meet Murder, My Angel (Extended Mix) 6.00
  12. Slave To This (Life Of Existence Mix)

Disc 4 : Rarities, Alternative Versions and Curios

  1. The Girl With The Patent Leather Face (Original Version) 4.57
  2. A Man Could Get Lost (Daniel Miller Vocal Edit)
  3. Memorabilia (Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing Version) 5.21
  4. Forever The Same (Unreleased Extended Version) 10.58
  5. Heat (US 7″ Version) 4.01
  6. Loving You, Hating Me (Special USA Mix) 7.45
  7. Martin 10.13
  8. Hendrix Medley (Hey Joe, Purple Haze, Voodoo Chile) 10.22
  9. Numbers (7″ DJ Version) 4.26
  10. Down In The Subway (7″ Remix Version) 4.21
  11. L’Esqualita (7″ Version) 4.22
  12. Soul Inside (Demo) 5.21
  13. So (Dave Ball Demo Outtake) 3.16

Disc 5 : The Early Years 1978-81

  1. Memorabilia (Original Daniel Miller Mix)
  2. Persuasion (Original Daniel Miller Mix)
  3. Metro MRX (Flexipop Version)
  4. A Man Could Get Lost (Daniel Miller Demo)
  5. The Girl With The Patent Leather Face (Demo)
  6. Tainted Love (Demo)
  7. Bedsitter (Demo)
  8. Potential (From Mutant Moments EP)
  9. L.O.V.E Feelings (From Mutant Moments EP)
  10. Metro MRX (From Mutant Moments EP)
  11. Frustration (From Mutant Moments EP)
  12. Red Tape, Sticky Tape (Demo – Previously Unreleased)
  13. Martin (Original 1980 Demo)
  14. Paranoid (Black Sabbath Cover)
  15. Science Fiction Stories (Demo)
  16. Bleak Is My Favourite Cliché (Demo)
  17. Cleaning Fanatic (Demo)
  18. Mix (Demo)
  19. A Man Could Get Lost (Original Version)
  20. Walking Make Up Counter (Live at Leeds Polytechnic, December 1979)
  21. Occupational Hazard (Live at Leeds Polytechnic, December 1979)
  22. Persuasion (Live at Leeds Polytechnic, December 1979)
  23. Dave’s Theme (Previously Unreleased Demo)

Disc 6 : In Session / Reunion / Cruelty Without Beauty

  1. Entertain Me (Richard Skinner Radio 1 Session)
  2. Seedy Films (Richard Skinner Radio 1 Session)
  3. Chips On My Shoulder (Richard Skinner BBC Radio 1 Session)
  4. Youth (BBC Whistle Test)
  5. Sex Dwarf (BBC Whistle Test)
  6. Soul Inside (David Jensen BBC Radio 1 Session)
  7. Where Was Your Heart (When You Needed It Most) (David Jensen BBC Radio 1 Session)
  8. God Shaped Hole (Remix)
  9. Divided Soul (Hooker Mix)
  10. Somebody, Somewhere, Sometime
  11. Monoculture – Dave Ball Extended Mix
  12. The Night
  13. Darker Times
  14. Last Chance
  15. Together Alone
  16. Caligula Syndrome
  17. Desperate

Disc 7 : Non-Stop Euphoric Dubbing (Continuous Mix) & Remixes

  1. Barriers (Dave Ball Broken Down Angels Dub)
  2. Numbers (Extended Dub)
  3. Youth (Dave Ball Wasted On The Youth Dub)
  4. Where The Heart Is (Marcus Lancaster Dub)
  5. Seedy Films (Richard X Dub)
  6. L.O.V.E Feelings (Demo)
  7. L’Esqualita (Dub)
  8. Loving You, Hating Me (Dub)
  9. Baby Doll (Dub)
  10. Facility Girls (2018 Mix Dub)
  11. Little Rough Rhinestone (Solvent Dub Mix)
  12. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (Dave Ball Lateral Dub)
  13. Bedsitter (Erasure Remix)
  14. Where The Heart Is (The Grid Remix : 2018 Re-Edit)
  15. So (The Grid Remix)

Disc 8 : Live in Los Angeles, 83 Part 1

  1. Mr Self Destruct
  2. Soul Inside
  3. Forever The Same
  4. Insecure Me
  5. L’Esqualita
  6. Loving You, Hating Me
  7. Torch
  8. Youth
  9. Disease & Desire
  10. Where Was Your Heart
  11. Baby Doll
  12. Martin
  13. The Art Of Falling Apart

Disc 9 : Live In Los Angeles, 83 (Part 2) plus other live recordings

  1. Hey Joe/Purple Haze
  2. Memorablilia
  3. Heat
  4. Ghost Rider (with Clint Ruin)
  5. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
  6. Live at Hammersmith Palais, 84 (Fan Recording)
  7. Numbers (Live) 5.29
  8. It’s A Mug’s Game (Live) 8.12
  9. The Best Way To Kill (Live) 5.20
  10. Down In The Subway (Live) 4.01
  11. UK Tour, Live in 2003
  12. Barriers (Live) 5.29
  13. Tainted Love Where Did Our Love Go? (Live) 9.00
  14. Sex Dwarf (Live) 6.17
  15. Surrender (To A Stranger) (Live) 4.22

Disc 10 : DVD (NTSC all regions):

Entertain Me + Bedsitter + Frustration + Torch + Seedy Films + Secret Life + Tainted Love + Youth + Memorabilia + Sex Dwarf + What + Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Where The Heart Is + Soul Inside + Down In The Subway + Monoculture

(Two Appearances)
Chips On My Shoulder + Say Hello, Wave Goodbye + Bedsitter + Heat + Numbers

Youth + Sex Dwarf

Tainted Love + Bedsitter + Torch + What + Where The Heart Is + Soul Inside + The Night (TOTP2 2003) + Torch (TOTP2 2002) + Tainted Love (Top Of The Pops Reunion 2001)

Where The Heart Is + The Art Of Falling Apart + Martin

Soul Inside + Ghost Rider (with Clint Ruin)

Down In The Subway

LOVE Feelings + Frustration + Metro MRX + Seedy Films + The Girl With The Patent Leather Face + Chips On My Shoulder + Tainted Love + Bedsitter + A Man Could Get Lost + Memorabilia


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[…] 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 […]

Filippo Rostoni

I have received a few days ago here in Switzerland the replacement DVD in a blue cardboard sleeve as well. Sent from UK in a completely anonymous envelope (odd!).


Wow, finally got mine yesterday, in a blue cardboard sleeve and with a coaster. Didn’t think I’d ever see it, but I’m in the USA, so guess it just took longer.

Dave Thompson

Replacement DVD received in the USA today.

Anybody striking out trying to get the new song mentioned on the accompanying beermat can also find it at the lexermusic website – Guilty (Wow and Flutter Remix). It’s a good one.


I received my replacement DVD on Friday 2nd November 2018 and it plays perfectly.

Patience has provided dividends, as it always does



Not sure patience always pays off:)
Also maybe they should have issued an automated email managing expectations re timescales.
Still, first world problems I guess!


Got mine today. Thanks Universal for sorting out the problem.


What’s the story with the U.S. Release? Does anyone know? I see it’s been removed from the SDE widget above.Will Amazon still be honoring and shipping the US pre orders? Do I need to cancel my US order and order from the UK… Are new Amazon UP orders being shipped with a bad or good DVD at this point? So many questions, I know… Any answers appreciated!


Got mine in the post this morning, just the 7 weeks after asking. Did they give the job to an hour-a-day work experience student?!

At least the replacement dvd seems to be working properly.

paul widdows

i got mine today,i had to wait over 7 weeks as well. i havent tried the disc yet but im sure it will work.Better late than never.


Is anyone still looking at this old stuff…? If so, I just found a beermat in with my replacement DVD that has a QR code to scan that takes you to an mp3 of an unreleased remix of Guilty. Result!


Hi all
If anyone is still waiting, I received my replacement today after one more chasing email. So they do have supplies still.


Hi Paul, as of today, 29 Oct, the ten disc set, due to be released on 9 Nov in the US, is appearing as currently unavailable on Amazon US. Could you find out if/why this is so? Will it be delayed due to the DVD issue? Would like to know what to expect… Thanks so much for your time and help!

dave parker

Has anyone received a replacement copy or even an acknowledgement their email was received? I’ve heard nothing and reached out twice!


I’ve sent 3 emails now, no response at all and no replacement disc!
Not happy :(


I’ve gone back to Amazon and they are sending me a new box, at least there’s a chance the DVD may work…

John 79

I’m really fed up with universal regarding the Soft Cell DVD issue, I have also sent a number of emails and proof of purchase and still i have not heard or received anything from them,it’s very frustrating.


I received my replacement copy from Amazon and sure enough the DVD has the same fault. So the copies on sale should really be withdrawn.
Of course still no replacement from Universal.
Paul do you have any contacts there who you could pull some strings with?? :)
I know it’s not the end of the world but still pretty poor.

John 79

Finally I received my replacement DVD and Book, thank you universal, you got there in the end.


I emailed them on 13 September and have heard nothing. I emailed again today, only to discover that the email address now seems to be labelled “Kim Wilde”. I have little hope of getting a replacement…


Fair enough Paul, was only asking!:)


Very true! The irony for me us that it seems Amazon are now refunding the full price for my box…every cloud:)

carsten hansen

i had same problem with my g-mail

here is what i did

go to google.com and type

“how to delete email address in gmail memory”

go down to delete the e-mail address

and type it again.then it works


Hi Paul, any idea if the orders from the Amazon U.S. release on the 9th of November will have the new DVD? I’m assuming Universal would not ship out more faulty discs after having to replace so many in Europe… But who knows? Is this something you would be able to get us an answer on? Thanks!

Andy B

Neil and Simon. I never did get a reply to my e-mail. The replacement DVD just turned up out of the blue. I hope everybody gets their copy soon.


Thanks Andy, I’ve emailed again.


i never got my dvd, i did send an email with copy of proof of purchase

Graham Gardner

I was told that there were no dvd replacements left and was offered a partial refund of £20. I refused this offer and suggested £50. They said that they couldn’t refund £50 but then offered £25 or a full refund on the boxset. I accepted the £25 offer as at the end of the day it is the cds i will play more often. Yes i’m left with an unplayable dvd but it works out that i got the 9 cds for £49.


Bought mine from Amazon Italy, sent 3 emails to Universal, no email reply, no DVD replacement, it’s a shame….

Neil Kelly

I see people are getting replacements. I’ve not even had a reply to my email. Anyone?


No reply and no replacement for me yet…

John 79

The Same for me ,no replacement &no reply,very frustrating and disappointing.


Received in the Netherlands as well, looks like they’re sending them out without any reaction to the email

Andy B

I received my replacement DVD yesterday. I played most of it last night and everything seems to be fine. I could find no problems after accessing all sections of the contents. Glad the record company have addressed the issue.


Received my replacement yesterday. BBC section plays fine, will check the rest of it asap but fingers crossed!

Giuseppe Pastorelli

DVD replacement: no answer also by my side


As a workaround, I “cloned” the DVD using DVDFab, and told it to ignore all read errors, and I haven’t watched it all yet to completely confirm, but it appears to flawlessly play the sections that the original had problems with on my Sony blu-ray player. Just something to consider if you have a way to make a copy since expectations (mine included) are running low that we’ll actually get a good replacement disc.


Anyone had their replacement discs yet?
As it was supposedly a handling issue I would’ve thought they might have been able to replace them by now but I’m still waiting and still contemplating a total refund from point of purchase


Nope nothing yet. I’ve just emailed UMC to ask what the replacement schedule is going to be.

Iain Mac

Has anyone even had a reply to email sent registering the problem??

Christopher Merritt

No reply from Universal yet – I did get a reply from uDiscover/DigitalStores CS UK – but I think they are missing the point that I am only requesting a replacement DVD (the rest of the box is fine.) Here’s the reply:

“Hi Christopher

Thank you for your message.

We are sorry that the item arrived damaged.

Unfortunately we have no further stock of the item. We appreciate that this is frustrating and can only apologise.

We can offer you a credit voucher to spend in our store, alternatively we can issue a refund if you would prefer.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and please let us know how you would like to proceed.

Kind regards,
Digital Stores”


No reply on my end.

Neil Kelly

No because it’s a lie. I predict they are in the process of re-doing them!

Paul Waddington

I’m still waiting. Haven’t received the replacement disc or any confirmation that they received my email.

Christopher Merritt

I’ve sent four emails to infoumc@umusic.com now with no reply. Paul – you seem to be able to contact these companies – any chance you could find out if they are making replacement DVDs?

Christopher Merritt

Eighth email sent and so far, no response. Do they have a policy of not answering emails about defective items?

Christopher Merritt

Nine emails sent – NINE – and no response, no replacement dvd – nothing. Very, very frustrated with this. How do I get a replacement DVD that isn’t broken?


No reply here either after two emails and photos of defective booklet. Very disappointed in the way this is being handled by UMC!


No reply here either after chasing up once. I’ve had a disappointing experience with UMC customer services before on the Grace Jones blu-ray download farrago so am not entirely surprised.


I haven’t had mine yet. It was a birthday present so my bro in law is having to do it for me. Most of it was fine but the BBC bit would not play and made my dvd sound sick.

Neil Kelly

Hand picking lol.

For some balance i watched most of the DVD which is very unusual for me on the first night. It all seemed to play fine on my Blu ray recorder including the BBC section. I’ve asked for a new copy though naturally as i haven’t quite watched it all i should’ve have to watch the bits that i don’t want to and if the new copy is re-authorised (a simple replacement we all agree will fail wasting far more money so i have to believe the new copies will be different). Plus just cause it plays in 2018 on one machine doesn’t mean it’ll play on whatever is below my TV in 2030. We are all entitled to a new copy regardless. They won’t replace copies we find fault with in 2030. Doubt they will even in 2019!

I’ve had dreadful problems with the Bananarama Live 2018 stuff. It’s the first Blu ray i’ve tried playing on my Blu ray recorder which totally fails. Can only play on my Xbox One S.
Bearing this is mind i thought i’d go for the later release via the 2xCD/DVD. The DVD doesn’t play in my car! So annoying i have to play the CD instead. But to be honest Madness: Madstock DVD and PIL’s This is PIL DVD doesn’t play in the car either! I’m quite sure many more DVD’s don’t play in the car. There must be a difference in DVD manufacture i guess.


my dvd doesn’t work here -went to BBC section-and it would not play– and i sent an e-mail to the above address provided. . and i believe that it will be fixed!!
i love SOFT CELL and i am excited for this year despite living in USA and not being able to see the concert. I am sure this DVD issue will be fixed!! I am still hopeful also for another full lenth soft cell album!!

Soft Cell BS

I just got this abomination today. My DVD (which visually is in perfect shape) will not read on my player or PC, my book split the second time I opened it, and the audio is EXTREMELY compressed. Fail.


The mastering sounds good to me, haven’t seen the DR values but it doesn’t sound compressed.

Fred van de Peppel

Box finally arrived yesterday, carefully unpacked the DVD and straight into PC to make a copy with DVDShrink. Of course this means a lesser quality but considering the source material on the DVD still very watchable. PC had some trouble ripping the info from the disc but it finally worked. Burnt a back-up DVD and just watched everything on the DVD. Everything worked , no freezing whatsoever…
Happy with that but of course this shouldn’t be normal when ordering a box-set.


I blame Universal for the numerous mistakes made in deluxe releases since the beginning of their projects.

Michael McA

Can anyone tell me if ‘Non Stop Erotic Video Show’ is complete with the snippets between songs – including the ‘pissed again and it’s only 11 in the morning’ classic.


Yes it is!

Jack Moon

It’s unreasonable to tell people to ‘move on’ and refrain from social media comment – isn’t social media the forum for correcting these issues? A prime example of corporate malfeasance, to be completely rejected!


I agree, Jack.

Unfortunately, one of the duo’s managers is a defensive, argumentative character who isn’t gracious in receiving feedback. When fans were asking about content, during the compilation stage of the box set, he was swatting them away like nuisance flies.

All we were asking was for previously unreleased content on a digital format to be included, which was – at the time – the instrumental of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye and the single version of Barriers.

Since then, the one CD singles compilation, which is due imminently, will include the Barriers edit.

It’s just disappointing that management can be arrogant towards the very target market that they’re selling the product to. Even Paul got a bit of a lashing from said individual, about jumping the gun on the band’s plans, despite the fact that Amazon UK had the product listed and it was hardly embargoed.


I sincerely hope that the UMC team’s inference that this was a packing issue was just smoke and mirrors to prevent an in-house bollocking over poor DVD production. If they’re simply repressing further discs, we’ll be no further forward.

That aside, it’s been acknowledged quickly, but yet again the attitude from one of the duo’s managers continues to highlight a lack of diplomacy and courtesy.

The box is great and the audio material is satisfying. I’m just hoping I’m wrong about the DVD.

Mark Leach

Hi thanks to all for the heads up,mine wouldn’t play either so just emailed Universal to see if they honour replacement in a timely manner. Shame really we go through this regularly, had same problem with Simple Minds Super deluxe


I have brand new and quite pricey Pioneer Blu-ray player and the DVD played fine in the beginning. I was able to watch the whole Non-Stop Exotic Video Show except the last track Memorabilia when the picture froze. I managed to get back to the sub menu by hitting the next button several times. The real trouble began when I tried to play the BBC appearances. Picture froze again and nothing helped but pulling the plug from my player. Very annoying. I have a collection of thousands of DVDs and Blu-rays and this has happened maybe two or three times in 20 years. Of course this is NOT a hand-packing issue – all the CDs play fine and I guess they were probably packed by the very same hands.

Noel Fitzsimons

Firstly I am really thrilled that my DVD is in perfect working order & the booklet is minty fresh – hurrah – I’m usually the recipient of whatever fault is going around.

My box set arrived on Monday and I’m only exploring it today. Overall the set is reminiscent of the (very hard to get) Trials of Eyeliner from last year. The aforenentioned DVD is my favourite disc – I’ve never seen some of these performances. However is not possible to digitise old & what I presume was analogue television footage from back in the day – can any technophobes out there answer this please. In particular I loved the other perfomers on the Oxford Road Show from March 1983 – Honest Dick Witts with Straight Art indeed. And – what ever happened to First Priority. LOL

This is a great box set – although still no full 12″ vinyl version of Say Hello..and also for what will be (for me anyway) a redundant Disc 7 – the pointless Non -Stop Eurphoric Dubbing nonsense – come on guys. Well it might grow on me!

I’m enjoying listening to all these marvellous tracks again – I could be sitting somewhere in the middle of 1982 – if only.

Glad tidings pop pickers.


Quote: “However is not possible to digitise old & what I presume was analogue television footage from back in the day – can any technophobes out there answer this?”

Not sure what you mean? The footage on the disc is digitised from various sources, do you mean why can’t it be improved further? Also “technophobes” would be people with a fear of technology, not experts.

Quote: “although still no full 12″ vinyl version of Say Hello..“.

Well Ibelieve this does have the full version, only Numbers and Soul Inside are edited. I think you’re getting confused by complaints the 7” instrumental is not included but since noone is claiming this is a comprehensive set, it’s not “missing”.

Quote: “… what will be (for me anyway) a redundant Disc 7 – the pointless Non -Stop Eurphoric Dubbing nonsense – come on guys. Well it might grow on me!”

Personally it was a key selling point for me, I do love a dub mix and this is a wonderful compliment to the set. I might agree with you on that point if it was simply a segue of tracks from disc 3, but they’re additional versions of the songs and thus very welcome. If you dislike dub mixes, then that may be a challenge, but this is very listenable -More Gorillaz vs Spacemonkeys than Massive Attack/Mad Professor. Do give it a chance when you tire of the other fantastic discs.


Full length original “say hello, wave goodbye” has never been released on cd. The vinyl 12” has a running time of 9:08.

Did anyone get a acknowledgement reply to their emails sent for replacement dvd?

John 79

I sent an email three days ago and no reply, pretty poor that there’s no auto reply email.

Andrew Mc.

No I didn’t. Good to know it’s not just me. Has anybody actually received their replacement DVD or will that be sometime in 2019!


I don’t understand how something with such a long lead in time can have these problems. The email address given out by Universal works fine, but since sending my email on Thursday I’ve had no reply. I appreciate they are probably getting quite a lot of emails, but they couldn’t even muster up an automatic email.

The Art of Falling Apart

I may be the only one, but I’m actually very disappointed with the Soft Cell Boxed Set Book (the music content is great).

The book is basically a long feature article by Simon Price of information we already know, and quotes from previous interviews (mostly quiet recent interviews, so they are ‘memories’ rather than contemporaneous happenings). How about new interviews with Marc and Dave? How about interviews with Huw Feather, or Stevo (admittedly he was probably kept at arms length from this project). How about delving into the archive interviews?

There is no track-by-track commentary/information. The ‘lyric’ page is truly laughable (a few snippets of lyrics from various songs).

Aside from that, the layout and design of the book doesn’t make the grade for me, and feels like it was perhaps done in a rush or on the cheap. Long blocks of text with not a single sub-heading. The choice of photographs/graphics is very poor – I looked through the 1984 Simon Tibbutt ‘Offical Soft Cell Biography’ the other day, and that was done so much better. Where’s the extensive cover artwork – which was integral to Soft Cell’s marketing and image? The box set book doesn’t contain a single Soft Cell cover artwork – I find that pretty incredible for a boxed set retrospective of this magnitude! It does contain some images of the MasterTape covers which is great (but also frustrating, since songs are listed on the master tape sleeves that we’ve never heard or even referenced). All this after asking fans for photos, images, memorabilia that would be included?!

I believe Soft Cell have an official book coming out in 2019 – perhaps they are saving all the information/images for this forthcoming book. I do hope that they make a better job of it than this!

paul griffiths

mine only plays on PS4,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but has anyone noticed its not remastered…..and am i the only who thinks the packaging is poor(book aside)


Universal seems to have even more than usual QC problems in regards to home video product lately. A few people here may be aware of the huge fiasco regarding their recently released 3D Blu-ray of “Revenge Of The Creature” which was part of both the “Creature From The Black Lagoon” and Universal Classic Monsters box sets being clearly authored incorrectly. Instead of showing a true 3D image, the video is actually two side by side dvd quality images, this after a major 3D restoration was done for the title. Tellingly, they never sent check discs to the restoration company before going to production, normally a typical practice.

Like this Soft Call release, Universal is going to press and offer corrected replacement discs which is good, but you’d think after the money and bad PR they are getting on these kind of easily avoidable screw-ups, some heads would roll and they’d get their act together.


I was considering getting this. But then read about the edited versions of the original extended i felt I’ve been cheated. If they can get a boxset out like this then we have to get the real thing not these edited version. The price is not cheap. And I have most of the original extended versions from previously issued CD’s. So I will hold with pre-ordering. And now this … OMG. Now it’s a definitely BIG NO for me. And especially the ignorance of people working at the record company: “hand packing issue”! I’ve been buying for years off ebay/discogs. Many second CD/DVD with many scratches, fingerprints etc they still played fine. And the attitude problem of their respresentitives “move on”. We are (in this particular case not but I’m their target customer) the paying customers. You can not put something out which isn’t really what we are after (edited versions instead of the full length ones even better the even longer versions perhaps from the vault which were slightly edited/faded out): intentionally edited versions. Then there is a problem with the DVD authoring (I’m not an expert, I just go on the words of the fans). But the record company is (I guess) professional enough to have their people checking whether that is indeed the problem or their “naive” thinking excuse “hand packing issue”. And also we all have the rights to post anything we want on the social media as long as it’s true to the facts. If they are worry about bad publicity then they should have thought a thousand times better: checking & re-checking pre-production and the final product before release. They always tend to rush things out on the street then try to correct the problem. If no one (or not enough people complaining) they wouldn’t do a thing to rectify things. I’m really, really glad we have you (Paul S) and your lovely site as our platform to communicate about new release and especially if there is a problem how we can combine our forces to get the replacements. Many thanks Paul S.


I was hesitant when I heard about the edits but then I felt it was terrific that it was flagged well in advance by Dave Ball himself and with a perfectly reasonable reasoning too. Since he apparently edited them, I simply considered them to be official alternate edits. The full versions are available elsewhere and besides, this set was never posited as complete and unexpurgated. As I mentioned earlier, there are BBC session tracks omitted too and several other omissions. Mine arrived today and the packaging, presentation, book and overall value is exquisite. How refreshing to have so much new and unreleased material. The revised versions of the likes of Chips on my Shoulder, Youth and Say Hello (I’m listening to the incredible Disc3 as I write this) are wonderful. Definitely one of my most prized possessions despite the problematic DVD which I will register for replacement. As for the packaging, the press release seems to suggest that scratching might be caused by the card disc holders but my discs arrived pristine and there’s no evidence of manhandling at the factory. That said, for convenience I’ll be rehousing all the discs separately in thin jewel cases. Looks like the NSEVS was properly mastered from the original beta cam tapes too as the image is excellent and should restore the little ad libs that were cut from the previous DVD. Absolutely incredible release and fans shouldn’t hesitate to purchase it while it’s available.


I agree, yes the DVD issue is disappointing but it will be solved. The box for me is great.
Loved listening to the new mixes last night, mastering sounded good as well.
Just my opinion of course, but I find the focus on the negative issues a bit out of proportion.
Am hoping to be at the O2 but have an operation next week which I have to recover from first! It’s a good incentive.


Totally agree, I love this box. The new mixes are great, and the mastering is good too.
It’s a shame re the DVD but I think the negative comments are way out of proportion.
Listening to the LA gig now, absolutely brilliant.
A lot of work went into this and I appreciate it.
Roll on the O2 gig, it’s touch and go for me as I have an operation next week and have 11 days to recover enough to attend. It’s a good incentive, wish me luck!


Sorry for the double post:)

Electric Sydney

What’s all this about “bad hand-packing”, what they need is a damn good whacking!


The box set review on the Goldmine (USA) website covers the DVD problems very well



The only mishandling going on is being done by UMCs pr team. This is clearly an authoring or dvd book compliance issue and if UMC think it is just scratches causing the issue, they will repress more faulty discs and the backlash will continue. They should investigate properly and be completely transparent, and in the face of complaints about the missed new tracks, throw in a cd. Regarding the move on comment, while it could have been messaged better, I really feel for Dave & Marc. Dave had been working excitedly on the project for a long time and he wouldve been really looking forward to hearing the reworks and nonstop mixes getting positive comments and being judged on their musical merits. Instead the whole project is being overshadowed by an all too common manufacturing snafu. If this was their swan song culmination of their recorded works, its a shame its been tainted by this small issue that could easily be rectified by UMC.

Loving You....Hating Me

As I have posted below the “move on” comment is absolutely wrong, a terrible bit of PR and an example of how not to communicate with people.

However, as I also said it appears that within 48 hours or so of having been made aware of the problem Universal Music have a) apologised b) given a plausible reason (individuals choice to believe/accept this or not) and c) offered to mail out to people effected a replacement disc.

So, I think you will find that this small issue has been easily rectified by UMC…


Fair play for the quick response, but Universal have only said they’re ” currently pressing additional copies of the DVD” … not that they’re fixing any authoring issues. It will be interesting to see if the replacement discs are actually any different.
If they are identical, but this time play OK, their ” hand-packing issue” excuse may have some credence. If the disc is actually corrected/re-authored, that’s great but it means they should have admitted there was a real problem. Or we could all just end up with two non-working DVDs!

Ian Harris

@KevinK – I think you’ve hit a nail on the head I had not considered. It seems Universal might be thinking the issue with the DVDs not playing is because they are marked / scratched in some way, rather than because someone messed up the authoring of the discs. In that light their excuse of ‘hand-packing’ makes sense.

I now fear we’re just going to get new discs with the same issue.

Paul – are you able to get in touch with UMC and explain what the problem actually is to them?

Ian Harris

Obviously I’m glad Universal have dealt with this and quickly. But like so many others I find their attitude condescending and patronising.

Blaming people ‘lower down’ the manufacturing process, i.e. the people who put the discs in the sleeves rather than whoever screwed up the authoring of the DVD is pretty low. It also has implication that everything was fine in quality control until those proles who pack the discs got their grubby hands on them. Rather than the truth which is probably no one bothered to check.

In the universal scheme of things (no pun intended) this a minor issue and I’m glad it is getting fixed, but the way it has been handled on social media has really got my back up.

Chris Squires

Excellent point, there almost seems like some kind of Pension protecting going on…. Is it a sackable offense, maybe, maybe not, but surely in a multi-million pound company and with a highly promoted box-set it has to be someone’s job to actually listen to the CDs and play the DVDs through at least once. Someone plainly didn’t do that. Whomever that was or the head of that department plainly doesn’t need (another?) cock-up on their CV.

It has to be asked (even though we probably know the answer) why did this kind of thing never happen in the 70s, 80s or 90s? Or did it happen but we just never heard about it? I can’t recall ever having to schlep back to HMV with a dodgy copy of QE2 or Never for Ever.


Paul Waddington

Chris, not exactly a pressing problem, but I bought the only copy of the Swordfish release of the Lilac Time that my local record shop got in, but it jumped on one of the tracks, so I took it back. As it was the only copy he had to return it and request another. I patiently waited, although I didn’t really have much choice unless I travelled to Sheffield or Leeds. After a few weeks of pestering the bloke in the shop, he explained that there were no more copies available, but the ‘good’ news was that it will be getting re-released on Fontana and they are polishing up a couple of the tracks from it. As you can imagine, I wasn’t particularly excited by this news!

I eventually got a copy some years later by ringing someone up who had advertised it in the back of the Record Collector and haggling over the price over the phone, when at last I could confirm that the original version was loads better.


Can’t wait for this years Bowie box then…..

Gareth Jones

Good news, but also, for those who haven’t yet bought the box set, how on earth would you know when to order the re-pressed edition? Leave it a couple of months? Even then, if you ordered from Amazon, there’s no guarantee it would be from the original batch or a re-pressed version. If you order it from the official Soft Cell store right now, does that guarantee “with confidence” that you’ll be receiving a re-pressed version? There’s never enough clarity in these statements!!


It’s funny how Amazon UK seem to have this in stock now after people highlighted the problem with the DVD. Why isn’t this being withdrawn till the DVD’s are fixed ?


That still sold the faulty Divine CD months later…


The sad thing is that such laziness with putting the package together has created further cost and maybe even wiped out some/ all of the profit margin on the set.
This sort of thing might put record labels doing more in the future

colin bruce

at the still very expensive price (which I wont pay) I think there is still a LARGE element of profit here. CDs cost next to nothing.


CDs don’t cost much to manufacture, but the printing aspects of the box and box might be quite expensive. I run a small press, and you can publish a softback, permabound book (like what you buy at a book shop) pretty cheaply. Bump up to hardback, and the price goes up quite a bit. Add in color printing, the price goes up a huge amount. Do a full bleed on most of the art pages, it just became much more expensive. Plus the book is an irregular size. All of those points can make the production costs quite high. I can’t give you an exact quote, obviously, because I don;t know what kind of contracts Universal is working with with the publishers they are using, but by time you coordinate all those costs with the disc pressing, the hand packing (which, I guess according to them, they obviously overpaid for), and the fact that they don’t actually sell for list price, then I would venture their actual profit margin on this might be around 20% of what we’re paying for list price. Maybe. (That’s just a very, very rough guess).

So doing a repressing and then also having to pay shipping to all the individual customers rather than recouping shipping costs from sending to wholesalers and retail outlets, it may actually cut a pretty big whole into what they were making.


I think they must have had a wager with their cohorts at Warners – “I bet we can out-do your Bowie Heroes heat-transfer bullshit”.

Robert Lett

This happens so often it doesn’t shock me at this point. The fact that they are offering replacements so quickly is great even if the rest sounds a bit dodgy. In the end I just want the corrected one so it’s OK whatever. Like the poster above said yes do it quickly sometimes the replacement programs are short. That said, I requested one particular replacement CD from Demon/Edsel two years after one replacement program (and the box set had actually gone out print by then) and the fellow sent me one within a week. So it varies I guess depending on how many replacements they make, how long they last, and the particular people/company you are dealing with. I’m just happy to get a corrected one in any case.


“Hand-packing?” “Move on?” “Don’t post on social media?”

How about “Sorry”?

Hand-packing is the lamest lie of an excuse I’ve yet heard for record companies getting things very wrong. The reason they then say “don’t post on social media” is because they don’t want people to be be tipped off that the DVD is a dud. They are taking a guess that most people will be more interested in the CDs and by the time they get around to playing the DVD they’ll be told it’s too late to get a replacement copy. And many people will never play the DVDs and so will not even know there’s a problem unless alerted to it by others. (I rarely play the DVDs that come with box sets, so I’ve probably got a few that don’t work.)

People should keep on posting about it on social media about this so the record company is forced to fix it for as many people as possible. Maybe then they’ll spend a couple of hours playing the DVD for the next box set to make sure it works.

And for Soft Cell’s management to say “move on” is so insulting. It’s a buyer’s market out there, you would to well to treat us with a bit of respect.


Given the way Dave Ball’s manager behaved here a few months ago when the set was announced, the comment is positively restrained…


So, a project that’s been trailed for months, and costs upwards of £75 to buy, finally arrives but nobody checked that the DVDs would play, nobody checked that the packaging design wouldn’t mess up the book, and the whole thing came out too quickly to include the brand new material either (nevermind, bundle it exclusively with another format and the fans can buy it there for more £££s). Hmmm.

The attitude towards customers is startling, and sure to create a bigger backlash than if they’d simply said the discs got corrupted, sorry, we’ll just mail out new ones to everyone who bought the box. It happens. Instead, some nonsense about hand packing? I’m not buying it. Which also, coincidentally, is the same as I’ll be doing with this whole set. Wave goodbye to a possible 80 quid, chaps.

Matt Fitch

I have a theory as to how the hand packing issue could have happened. I’m thinking there were two boxes of DVDs sitting side by side, red box with blue discs (functional) and blue box with red discs (non functional). Someone must have been pulling from the wrong box!


When they say hand-packing they may not mean this literally. If the discs are pressed by machine, then maybe they are packed by machine also? This may have caused the problem. Still, you would have thought they would have thought of that. It is a shame. My copy was fine until I got to one particular section (the BBC performance) then the machine just made grinding noises.


I Had to turn my DVD player off at the wall to stop it, as the eject button would not work! Still, the dvd aside, I think this set is great and I love the new mixes, apart from Martin, which I think is less good than the perfect original. I saw most of the dvd and there is a lot on there and it is great!


Took me 15 very anxious minutes to get the DVD out of my BluRay player…

Randy Metro

Like asking Neo to choose the red pill or the blue pill.


I have to say, in the modern age with Social Media, problems – any problems – do get blown out of proportion. People seem to like screaming into the ether in indignation and attention seeking. It happened last year with the Bowie box too.

That said, this must be hugely disappointing. People need to calm down, stop being outraged, and get their replacements. DO NOT WAIT, because these replacement schemes have a shelf life. For example, the Bowie scheme lasted only a few months, and was then ended.