Entertainment industry trends for audio and video releases

The music industry has always released various ways to make money For instance, of late there are a number of box sets [a.k.a. “Super Deluxe Editions”] that have been released over the past couple of years. Some are for albums that deserve the attention [i.e. classics]. Others, not really.

In many cases, there box sets include not only music, but a DVD or Blu-ray of a concert from that era, maybe a LP [album release] as well as a book and reproductions of some stuff from the era.

Some of them are worth the money. Others sound more like a cash grab.

For example, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road includes the album, a bunch of B’sides and cover versions [others, mostly lesser known artists covering tracks from the album], 2 CDs from a concert from the era and a documentary from the era. The album is the same mix as the previous release about 10 years earlier. There are no new extra tracks. The covers weren’t bad but not great. The documentary wasn’t too long and needed a bit of cleaning . Those who have the 2CD/DVD release from around 10 years ago will frown because the Classic Album feature is not in this new package. While at it, the 5 discs came in thin cardboard sleeves The book included was good.

In another example, Peter Gabriel release a box set for the album So [and toured quite a bit for it]. He was a bit late as it was just over 30 years since the release. What beefed many was that during this era, Gabriel released quite a large amount of B’sides and mixes for various singles in addition to work on various soundtracks. Seemed at one point, every soundtrack had a Gabriel track on it. Problem was that none of the extra tracks made it in the box set [unless you count 3 tracks included as a single and digital download]. The “DNA” album [basically demos] were interesting. Also included 2 CDs from the live In Athens DVD.

Gabriel then released separately the Classic Albums documentary on DVD and Blu-ray and in a bit of oddness, released the live In Athens separately with the “Play” DVD [all of his promotional videos until sometime last decade] with it. The head scratcher was that the Blu-ray edition of Live In Athens featured the full concert [including the opening act] but “Play” was also included – but on DVD.

Worth the money? Debatable.

One of the best packages [but a bit pricey] was Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town. It was released in 3CD/3DVD and 3CD/3Blu-ray editions [so you didn’t have 3 discs with nothing to play with them as many times they include both DVD and Blu-ray editions]. The packaging is a reproduced spiral binder with slots for the 6 disc plus handwritten lyrics [reproduced], pictures, notes, etc. Aside from the remastered CD, you have 2 discs worth of out-takes that are [I believe all] unreleased. The 3 video discs include the full album performed live in the past few years, a concert film from that era [a real treat] and a documentary of the making of the album.

The only downside was that the documentary was released separately with some interesting extras.

As well, the same can be said for non-box set releases.

The Who just recently release the Quadrophenia Live In London release. During that tour [I was at one show], they played the full Quadrophenia, went for a break and they played a bunch more of their classics – always finishing with the less than interesting Tea and Theatre [not a classic]. Problem is that all the releases [CD, DVD and Blu-ray] list the non-Quadrophenia tracks as bonus tracks. The DVD and Blu-ray have them separate – so you don’t have the same concert experience. There was no other extras. They couldn’t do a short interview or maybe use the press conference announcing the tour?

Not the first time this was done. A number of years, Bryan Adams released a DVD concert from [I think] Japan where three tracks were pulled from the concert and released as “extras”. Nothing else was included.

Of course there is also the music CD release [or even on a digital download site] where they throw in a bonus track. There was no release without the bonus track. So why call it a bonus track. Will people buy it knowing that there is an exclusive track included that isn’t available elsewhere?


About ebraiter
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