Why So Many Box Sets?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Vaughan, Sep 15, 2021 at 3:45 AM.

  1. If that did happen, I think it would be fantastic. But I know many twentysomething's who have never owned a book or music in any physical format... The idea of shelves full of 'stuff' that they can get a million times more of, virtually for free, on a Kindle, iPhone etc is bizarre to them.

    My CD collection used to be a talking point when visitors came over... Wow... you have an amazing collection! Now it's Wow, you still have CDs?

    I prize the box sets I have, and for sure there are some I still want to get when I can afford to import them and they are (hopefully) still available, but I do suspect fewer and fewer will be released in years to come. We will see, right? Who could have predicted the amazing vinyl resurgence?
    K.K. Bing, Keith V, sharedon and 3 others like this.
  2. Personally speaking, I don’t live in a streaming world. I play discs. Like, I actually go to a shelf, grab a record or CD, take it out, and play it.

    Livin’ like it’s still 1997.

    Luddites R US.
  3. graveyardboots

    graveyardboots Resident Patient

    Atlanta, GA, USA
    To the extent that obsessive fans of particular artists exist, there will be a market for deep dive sets focusing on a particular album, like Tom Petty's Wildflowers and All the Rest or Bruce Springsteen's The Promise, or sets focusing on a particular time period like Bob Dylan's ongoing Bootleg Series.

    Legacy artists + older fanbases with disposable cash and a library of physical media built up over a lifetime = payday for the record labels.
  4. Slim Zooms

    Slim Zooms Forum Resident

    Hi Vaughan

    It’s a great discussion.
    People of a certain age, guys like me who were raised on 70s rock and pop, loved bands so much they’d collect bootlegs and memorabilia are the main target audience for sales and we are only going to be around for a limited while longer so now’s the time to get our money by giving us what we want. Cynical but seems about right.

    I really like the idea of boxed sets as I love to immerse myself in the music of a band I love or even a band I’m not so rabid about but want to discover. However, because I love so many bands I keep buying loads of boxed sets!

    In recent years I’ve picked up sets by Tull, Tangerine Dream, Focus, Golden Earring, and more recently the Be Bop Deluxe live box and the new Van Der Graaf box. I love the idea of the boxes and love having them but the issue I have now is finding the time to give them a quality listen more than once! I honestly feel sometimes like I am running out of time to play music!

    I get what you say about the frequency of release too, it seems like an essential buy is coming every two weeks, or certainly recently for me, so the hunger for picking up sets on release day gives us less time to digest the previous one.

    Of course I don’t have to buy them, but I’m addicted!
  5. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons to be cheerful Part 1

    Dutch mountains
    As with most questions with Why ... the answer always comes down to: $€£ Money!

    Shove as many discs into a box set, do some remixing, remastering if needed to sell the same old again and add extras like live, demo, outtake discs to seduce the fans. Box set profit margins far exceed those of single discs or two disc deluxe sets, or limited edition coloured vinyl. So that's on the menu as long as some of us consume.
  6. TheSeldomSeenKid

    TheSeldomSeenKid Forum Resident

    I have started to realize that I own more Deluxe Box Sets than I get around to playing often, so have started to limit myself to buying ones that I really want and also based on the Music Content. My Deluxe Box Sets Purchases last year were Prince-‘Sign ‘O the Times’, Mansun-‘Closed for Business’, Porcupine Tree-(forget the Title, but covered the Delerium Years Albums from the 1990s, even though I already own the Remastered PT Albums individually, which are contained in that Box Set), Steven Wilson-‘The Future Bites’, Tears for Fears-‘The Seeds of Love’ and Elton John-‘Jewel’(sold it off here, but plan to get it again soon).

    I am a massive Doors Fan, but skipped their last 3 Deluxe Box Sets(I bought the 2 CD Set for ‘Waiting for the Sun’ since I own the DCC Vinyl and actually 2 copies of the DCC CD), although plan to buy the ‘L.A. Woman’ Deluxe Box Set later this year.

    Price versus Value for content is also a consideration, and that is why I skipped Pink Floyd-‘The Later Years’ Deluxe Box Set, as I owned most of the music already, and now see that parts of that Deluxe Box Set are being sold separately, which I might buy eventually.

    I paid a fortune(including shipping from Japan) recently for a Used Copy of the Velvet Underground-The Complete Matrix Tapes, but will most likely resell it soon, as was able to buy a New/Sealed Copy of that Box Set. The Best Live Box Set I own for Music(the Best SQ for Live VU Concerts available).

    Just remembered that I bought a Steve Kilbey(The Church) CD Box Set from another SHF Member in the past year, but have not yet even opened it. Speaking of which, a Deluxe Box Set from The Church would be an Auto Buy from me.

    A year ago, I also added a few Miles Davis Box Sets to my Collection including The Trumpet Case(bought from another SHF Member), The Complete Columbia Album Collection, The Cellar Door Concerts, The Plugged Nickel Concerts, The Mono Box Set and The Last Word(end of his Career Music from the 1980s). All of that Miles Davis Music alone will take up a lot of my listening time. Oh, I also this year, bought Herbie Hancock-‘The Complete Columbia Album Collection’ Box Set, as Miles Davis lead me to Herbie Hancock.

    I have thoughts on the King Crimson Deluxe Box Sets that I will add later(only recently started to explore their Music, and had owned a CD of ‘In the Court of King Crimson’ that I bought around 12 years ago, as being a Doves Fan, found out their ‘M62 Song’ was actually a cover version of KC’s ‘Moonchild’, so I started there and then bought a 2 CDs Best of Collection(Guide to the 20th Century).

    I am wishing for a Career Comprehensive Deluxe Box Set from Peter Gabriel(with all unreleased Music), Joe Jackson and P-FUNK(mostly Concerts like King Crimson Deluxe Box Sets).

    I also like Box Sets that are mostly B-Sides, like from The CURE, XTC, and Siouxsie & the Banshees to name a few.

    If I get the time, I will list my complete Collection of Box Sets here in the future(includes several Good R & B Music Artists).
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021 at 5:54 AM
    Andersoncouncil and croquetlawns like this.
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    I feel like the cd isn't necessarily going away.... certainly it is going to be reduced in the marketplace, but to me it seems more like it will go through a similar path to records in the nineties and two thousands. For all the brooha about streaming, and it is a useful tool, it is still a situation of renting music, and many of us don't like the idea of renting music, nor being left to the powers that be, that prove themselves inept every single day. There is still much that is unavailable on streaming, and it also seems that frequently music is dropped, or placed deep in the streaming platforms archives, so physical copies, in whatever form they may take, won't disappear in the flux of fashion and politics.

    I say all that for context. Box sets have grabbed people's imaginations, and there are a lot of older music fans apprehensive of where the industry is going. Many have cash to spend, and many want to reminisce about the music of their youth. So many of the sets are celebrations of artists and albums that the old school love and like the idea of deep diving into.
    Also we can't deny the fact that the fearmongering surrounding the "end of physical product" plays a huge part in this, so we also get a lot of career collections, so that those who are in fear of the future of the industry are often left feeling that this may be the last time I will be able to get these discs, in whatever format.
    The box sets generally seem to be selling well, and so it gives the physical media industry a green light to continue, while sets constantly sell out.

    I think to some degree the box sets annoy me, when exclusive content is locked in a box where I don't actually need all the material I already have again..... but then again, generally the exclusive material is also generally stuff I want. So in some regards they have me over a barrel in that regard.....

    It is strange times in the world all over, so why would it be different in the music industry lol :)
    RSteven, Amnion, Uncle Miles and 10 others like this.
  8. Mylene

    Mylene Senior Member

    Link please ;)
  9. Tim 2


    Alberta Canada
  10. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    Box Sets were great until THIS century, well say 2010~ish, but by then they had become the 30th, 35,th, 40th, 45th, 50th anniversary of the box set weed just bought five years before, with ever DEEPER barrel~scrapping... That is what bugs me now... See the new 50th annie: All Things Must Pass etc... Or 30th of Metallica/TBA, or the umpteenth annie of so and so's first fart on record, back when the original four~teens first learnt to play in tune, gimme a feckin' break...:help:
    Mickey2 and Bluesman Mark like this.
  11. thepigdog

    thepigdog Music and beer

    No box sets for me. There are reasons some songs are not released, and should not be released. Demos suck and alternate takes usually suck as well. Studio chatter is of no interest to me. I only buy CD's and I don't have any duplicates. Who in the world needs a 160 disc boxset of anything?
    Tjazz likes this.
  12. Hot Ptah

    Hot Ptah Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
    Some of the obstacles to releasing the music in the past, such as artists refusing to allow the archive material to see the light of day, seem to be lessened today. Some older artists don’t care any more if their original song selections for the album are no longer the only material ever released . Some even cooperate in preparing the box sets. Some reluctant artists of the past are now deceased.
  13. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Incompletist

    My brother who worked in the industry at a high level, said that the industry thinking was that 'Box sets never get remaindered'.
  14. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Essex, UK
    I'm a happy luddite too. But I'm an informed luddite. Often times I get the impression others think my dislike for Streaming is because I'm simply old and hate change. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I tired it, considered it, and decided against. If my circumstances were different, my decision might have changed. For example, if I were 16 again (I wish!) and didn't already have a great collection, I'd probably love Streaming. Keeping what I have already isn't a luddite move, it's the sensible one.
  15. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Essex, UK
    Good info, and no doubt correct. I guess we could end up in a situation where the majority of CD sales are in boxes.
    mr.datsun likes this.
  16. Slim Zooms

    Slim Zooms Forum Resident

    Absolutely spot-on Mark! :righton:
    mark winstanley likes this.
  17. Pudding Effect

    Pudding Effect Forum Resident

    Live at Leeds
    Ooooh! Got a link? :D
    Mylene likes this.
  18. BackScratcher

    BackScratcher Forum Resident

    Artists and record companies figured out that a certain segment of consumers will pay a lot more money for all the junk that used to stay on the cutting room floor.
    croquetlawns and TonyACT like this.
  19. TonyACT

    TonyACT Boxed-in!

    As an aside, the classical music side of things is booming with very cheap box sets as labels flog off their back-catalogue while those of us who still like physical media are still alive to buy them. Usually at $2-3 per CD.

    I just bought a 55 CD set by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for around US $135 delivered.
  20. bibi50

    bibi50 Forum Resident

    Music companies are digging their own grave. Music fans are buying these boxes just to find out that most of the material is simply crap. You can cheat a devoted fan once or twice but it will be very difficult to persuade a disapointed fan once more.
    Bought the Abbey Road box - Lp I played regularely under 50 years. Box including DTS recording which is nice but the rest is very disapointing.
    Bought some radio broadcasts - yes, these are quite cheap but most of all bad recordings
    Why shall I keep on spending my hard earned money on lousy crap offered by money-thirsty music companies ?????
    Anthrax likes this.
  21. Guy E

    Guy E Senior Member

    Antalya, Turkey
    The only people who still buy physical media are the zealous fans, and they're usually older fans. The extravagant box sets offer something new and unique, usually with some previously-unheard extras, if not an entirely new mix, unearthed concert recordings, etc. This is the last time around to get the baby boomers to open their wallets, even if it's just a fetishistic shelf-filler.

    Everything has been issued, reissued, remastered and reissued again and again and again... music consumers have been pretty generous with their cash through the years. At this point, obsessive music collecting has become a marginal market and this is the only way to profitably exploit it.

    50th Anniversary reissues may continue for some years, but a lot of cherished, popular albums have already been done to death with expanded releases. Does anybody need anything more from Pink Floyd? We'll find out.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021 at 7:18 AM
  22. Anthrax

    Anthrax Forum Resident

    Because we keep buying them for no good reason! :laugh:

    Personally, I've cut back on my purchases lately. Some sets are just not worth the asking price (to me!), or include too much useless tat, or the musical content they feature is stuff most of which I realise is the kind of thing that I'll play once or twice a decade, etc., so I make my buying decisions based mainly on things like that.

    The Jethro Tull booksets have been steady worthwhile purchases, great value for money. King Crimson boxes have been great too with dozens of live shows, but I reached my limit with those a few months back when I found myself getting the 1969 box as soon as I saw a nice discount. That's it, Mr Fripp - I'm done, no more KC boxes for me, whatever happens, and don't you try and seduce more money out of my wallet by offering complete studio sessions by the Wetton/Bruford line-up (because I just might cave again).
    Having said that, I've played the KC sets a whole lot. I get much mileage out of the concert recordings and that's the majority of the musical content in their boxes. They were coming out once a year and that gave me ample time to dive and dig in and feast at my leisure. I've played each of them about 6 or 7 times in full (except for the newest 1969 one, which I haven't got around to yet).

    There is no doubt that labels and artists see these boxed sets as a convenient way of generating income in a market where sales aren't what they used to be. Back when CDs were becoming the new standard there was a wave of boxed sets reaching the stores too, but I'd argue those were treated differently. Most of the anniversary sets we see these days seem to be more desperate examples, with the product itself being the priority, the music therein sometimes looking like a secondary concern.

    It's hard to predict the future of the anniversary superduperextraspecial box set. I'm pretty sure those of us buying them now will be quite ready to keep buying them 5 years from now too (because I buy everything by my favourite artists... because this album means so much to me I don't mind throwing $200 at it... because I don't care that it sounds worse than what I have... because it looks great on the shelf... because newnew shinyshiny exciting.... because because because), yet I reckon we fans will run out of storage capacity before the labels run out of boxed set releases.
    Vaughan, Slim Zooms and croquetlawns like this.
  23. Guy E

    Guy E Senior Member

    Antalya, Turkey
    It has changed. :laugh:

    When we were in NYC, most of our friends were music fans, and they were often musicians. There were occasions when we'd have guests who we didn't know too well. My collection - in the entrance area of our apartment - would always garner attention. Women would tell my wife that she was lucky that I had such a good hobby, and there were many times when men would marvel at my commitment, "Wow! You're really into it. That's so great!" even if they didn't care much for music themselves. As time went on, it became more of a curiosity.

    Living in Turkey, people are more inclined to marvel at it, if only because the size of my collection is unimaginable to them. I've made friends with music fans who love coming over to drink and listen. But even my serious audiophile friend has a modest physical collection; he mainly listens to hi-rez FLAC files. Records and CDs were always expensive here, and relative to wages, they were very, very expensive.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021 at 7:27 AM
  24. Tom M

    Tom M Forum Resident

    I'll buy a box set to increase my music collection but rarely the overly priced deluxe edions. Many of the classical music box sets I've purchased were very good bargains; 30,40, 50 discs or more with an average price of just a few dollars per disc. Rock and pop music box sets are much more expensive for what you get but bargains can be had at times.
    croquetlawns likes this.
  25. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    NS, Canada
    An interesting subject. I don't have many and although I will still buy single cds but am not inclined to buy space hogging box sets, but my accounting brain wonders what the financials say.
    Vaughan and Slim Zooms like this.

Share This Page