Chart Watch Episode 4 and Bonkers Box Sets and Rubbish Reissues

Welcome to episode 4 of Chart watch from Now Spinning Magazine with me Phil Aston

Please watch the video above for the full report and review

Pink Floyd back in the charts with their remix of Animals. They are straight in at number 5 with 7,183 sales. Ozzy Osbourne slips to number 32 with 2,228 sales. The Stranglers are also back in the charts at number 45 (2,203 sales and Creedence Clearwater Revival are at number 59 with 1,643 sales.

For Reference the Number one album by Black Pink sold 20,957 units – 11,640 CDs, 5,067 cassettes, 839 digital downloads and 3,411 sales-equivalent streams..interesting no vinyl!

Bonkers Box Sets and Rubbish Reissues
Now Spinning Magazine is passionate about supporting physical music media in all formats and we will do everything we can to recommend Box Sets and releases by any artists or label.
However, sometimes it can feel like the labels have lost touch with what actual fans really want or they really don’t understand their target audience.
This week I look at two examples, one by Guns and Roses – Use Your Illusion and Seal.

Some feedback from Now Spinning Magazine Members and Subscribers

‘The deluxe box set from Porcupine Tree recently was horribly overpriced & the content was ‘disappointing’ to say the least…no doubting the music, but Sony got it horribly wrong (imo) Positive mentions must go to Cherry Red for the 2 Level 42 box sets; absolutely chock full of extra tracks, remixes etc, all over 10 cd’s in each box…essential if your a fan!’ Paul

‘Ultimately, labels are going to set price points that they consider a specific fan base will bear. In the case of the Use Your Illusion box, they’ve presumably calculated that the fan base is large enough that they will sell what they’ve manufactured using a fairly crude “numbers game” rule of thumb.
The Seal box is probably the more annoying one, in that it really should be a separate LP and CD offering, rather than bunging everything in a single package. It’s something Warner/Rhino seems to do quite a bit and has been a bit of a growing general trend of late. The worst thing is that it raises the price point due to the production costs of vinyl. CD-only boxes offer best value and that’s even more important at the moment. Inflation could very well spark a drop in physical media sales.
Cherry Red, of course, usually does things right, however I think there’s always room for improvement and I would love to see them utilising the Tull/Marillion “book” presentation. That would literally be the cherry on the cake’. Chris

‘Have you read the SDE review of the GnR set? Even if you buy the big box set you still have to buy the double CD as it has different music on it not in the big boxset. It’s profiteering.’ Tim

‘I know Now Spinning is quite rightly a beacon of positive light in the often fractious world of music related sites, but I have to say I’m with you all the way re those re-issues Phil ! I bought the original double cassette versions of Use Your Illusions 1 and 2 on their day of release, and immediately felt I had been ripped off back then. Obviously there will be people who will buy the new releases, good luck to them, but like you say about the Seal release, a lot of people will probably hang on to see what happens a few months down the line. Rants are not what your site is usually about, but you said what had to be said ‘ Bob

‘There has been no thought given to the fans whatsoever for both releases. I think that is what most of the upset is about. I got a SDE Weekly News Email yesterday. Paul of SDE was so annoyed and stated there had been at least 150 people that had responded on his website.’ Robert

“We are the target audience, surely serious collectors should be consulted via this group and SDE as to what would suit fans, this would give them the meat for the sandwich and not try and choke us with an indigestible Pie in one flavour that very few people would eat! Sorry about the analogy but the alternative contained many swearwords! Chris

‘I agree with all you said. Love your coverage of the Album and CD charts. I love CD box sets. However with inflation and not having extra money trees around… I really need to be very very selective. For me the Marillion and Jethro Tull sets are the way these sets should be. Give the fan all they want.. bonus, remaster extra ear and eye candy plus a big book discussing the history of the making of the album. Also love the 12 by 12 coffee table box set type but only and only if a deal comes along. Thank you for another great video’. Tino

‘Well said, Phil. These box sets are pure nonsense. Full of fluff and over-priced. The labels concerned clearly have no idea what true fans – or collectors – want from such reissues. For me, the recent Tull deluxe box/book set editions really set the standard for such archival releases. Pretty much everything you could wish for at a very fair price. Also, the Esoteric box sets by Be Bop Deluxe. A little bit more expensive than the Tull sets, but lovingly compiled and beautifully packaged. Also, they don’t take up all that much space. Anyway, it’s good to hear an honest voice. Hopefully the labels will be taking note’. Clive

‘I’ve been disappointed with box sets over the years by the lack of care taken with their preparation. Time after time I seen classic songs substituted with inferior live versions. You want the original versions of the songs you fell in love with! It makes you feel so cheated after shelling out so much money. Just recently I bought a Graham Nash retrospective on double vinyl (at double album price) but only 3 sides have music, the 4th being an “Exclusive” etching. After 50 years in the business, you would have thought a few more songs could be found to fill the 4th side! Also, the vinyl/cd combination box sets coming at great cost when a consumer only wants a vinyl version or a cd version but has to pay for both. After being in the retail side of the music business I’ve seen and have copped flack for the lack of consideration for the consumer’ Lex

‘I think the labels are predatory, and they act as though their customers are the enemy. Apparently, we need to be punished for waiting to support physical media. Even if I was going pay £400 for GnR, I would never feel good about it. It tarnishes the package. They hate us, for reasons I’ll never understand. I had the same this week with Bjork’s forthcoming album. I wanted the Vinyl, but when I went to pre-order it was £37! I am NOT willing to pay nearly £40 for a new release! No! Stop it! Vinyl should be in the £15 to £25 range, period. Not £40. Needless to say, I didn’t buy. Not to mention that old “there’s limitations on pressing records, we don’t have the plants!” We’ve been fed this line for years now. What other industry would look at a surge in demand and not rush to open new plants to meet it? I’ll tell you what one – the music business. They act as though making a new pressing machine is akin to landing man on Mars. It’s highly sophisticated, it’s technical, it’s DIFFICULT. Are they serious? Do they know people are driving Tesla’s around in 2023? If I were a conspiracy theorist – and I’m not – I’d suggest the industry doesn’t really have any interest in making more records. They’re happy to spew the line about restrictions because it keeps the price high. They drip feed releases in needless Limited Editions and colored this and that, and as long as they throttle production, prices stay high. Hell, even major artists have albums you can’t easily buy! David Bowie Reality on Vinyl? Look at the prices! It’s not even one of his most popular albums. But the worst thing is, you want to love the music business because it brings us so many great things – but time and time again executives are too busy blowing their toes off with a shotgun. With pricing like £400, they are ATTACKING the fan base. And yes, no-one is forcing me to buy, and trust me – I won’t be! But I’d sure like to be able to love this industry a little more, and not feel as though they’re trying to break my arm with each release’. Mater

‘Box sets should fall into two categories; Dogs Bollocks and Succinct But Still Complete
Both have a market and do a job.
Under Dogs Bollocks, we have the Nazareth Loud And Proud set; each album complete as is, a 3CD of b-sides etc, another 3CD of alternates and demos etc, bonus live, bonus live LPs, a picture disc, replica Japanese 45s and book and tour programmes. And in conjunction a 2LP/2CD compilation. Does what it says on the tin and you get your money’s worth.
Under Succinct But Still Complete is the Steppenwolf ABC years clamshell, each individual album in a replica card sleeve with bonus a/b sides. With it’s remit complete and also a sensible price.
Both the above are perfect examples of the only such boxes we should be seeing.
Many try to do too much or don’t deliver what they promise. The Venom, for example, no b-sides, the Slade live box we all know (see the Now Spinning reviews) had a lot missing, although the music is fantastic. The main issue with the Slade is that much promised was either unavailable or omitted at the insistence of the band. Does the buyer know or care? No. It just wasn’t there. Made worse by the complete lack of information (sleevenotes). An expensive half arse.
At the other end of the spectrum, can a box offer too much and/or cost too much. Well, that’s the Use Your Illusion question.
I know as a fact the lack of sleevenotes on the Slade was pure and simple cost cutting. Sadly the project compilers either had their hands tied or were unaware of constraints from above. I suspect both.
The label Captain Oi’s motto for producing worthwhile reissues: By fans, for fans.
What I’d like to see is, do it properly or not at all. Maybe contacting “those in the know” is an obvious first step that most seem to miss. Fuck up the fist step and it’s down hill from there’. Joe

‘There seems to be a new level of idiocy involved in some reissues lately, why oh why not give the consumer some choice, I love this album and it sounds fantastic, I’m just stunned at the stupidity of whoever thought this was the right choice’ (talking about the Seal Deluxe Edition) Chris

‘Mixing LPs and CDs in the only available package is so incredibly stupid, because that consigns this box to being a top dollar offering and limits appeal, especially given the winter the UK, in particular, is headed for. I’d put a fairly strong bet on most people being happiest with separate vinyl/CD releases.’ Chris W

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