As CD sales continue to slip, artists and record labels hope they've found a cure for slumping numbers by appealing to consumers with a taste for rock fetish objects: super-deluxe box sets. From Neil Young's comprehensive (and $250) 10-disc collection Archives Vol. 1 to a $60 version of Dave Matthews Band's new Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (complete with 14 lithographs) to the 45-disc Beacon Box capturing the Allman Brothers' entire run at New York's Beacon Theatre, deluxe box sets have seen a recent resurgence, with a new target audience in mind — the hardcore fan.
The new issue of Rolling Stone explores some of the biggest — and priciest — super-deluxe boxes coming out this year, what they mean to the record industry and why store owners are still nervous about stocking these massive sets in these hard economic times. But despite the recession, there are consumers out there willing to splurge on the extra product. The $200 reissue of Pearl Jam's Ten sold out its entire 10,000 run, and earlier this year the Beastie Boys sold a fabric-covered vinyl Check Your Head for $100. "I know this sounds corny, but you're talking about a record that someone's had a long-term relationship with," the Beasties' Mike D tells RS. "People don't mind spending a bit more money to get a more in-depth version that record."
Also on the horizon: The $495 repackaging of the Pixies discography called Minotaur, a mind-blowing 77-disc collection dedicated to Miles Davis and, of course, Neil Young's Archives 2 in 2010. For much more on the super-deluxe bonanza and the rebirth of the box set, check out the new issue of Rolling Stone, on stands now.
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
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