I’ve always wondered how a band can sell so many boxed sets. Often including a group of previous recordings and B-sides, it seems to be geared towards the collector. Doesn’t the collector often want the original? Doesn’t the collector already have all of the albums?
Let’s say the fan doesn’t have any of the albums – is this really the type of person who is willing to drop hundreds on a boxed set? After all, if they were willing to spend that much, wouldn’t they already have them albums? I’m already sounding like a broken record- pun intended.
Motorhead agrees with me. Their latest boxed set checks in at almost $600(!), giving the fan very little in terms of new material. 'I would advise against it even for the most rabid completest’ Lemmy, Motorhead’s frontman urges. In the fall Elvis Costello saw the near $400 price tag on his latest boxed set and said it must be a ‘misprint or a satire.' I wish you were right, Elvis!
Many artists have been following suit, with sometimes up for 7 different ‘package’ options for a new album. Metallica’s Death Magnetic was released as a double LP, a 5 LP set or a coffin packed with goodies. Hard rock band Disturbed are doing a pre-order for a 5 LP boxed set pressed on ‘140 gram vinyl, for audiophile quality’ – Last time I checked 140 grams is the average weight of most LP’s. (And PS – very little has be connected to quality and weight – just avoid flimsy Russian pressings!)
Warner’s Because Sound Matters recently added a section on their site titled ‘collectibles’. Collectors new to the hobby are always asking me how to know if something is collectible. Well that is a long answer, a rule of thumb is ‘If it says ‘collectors item’ on it, it usually isn’t’.
Clearly cynical, I urge new collectors to think twice before dropping hundreds of dollars on a boxed set of items they already have in other formats. I remember going to a record show in Toronto and picking up a $100 LP and thinking long and hard – only to put it down. The dealer responded ‘I agree. I would rather have ten $10 records any day.’