posted March 27th, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Part 4 – The biggest, best-selling, most-expensive, most-valuable box/limited-edition sets.
Now that you’ve been given a proper introduction to the history and ongoing development of these collectible record packages in the previous posting, I was thinking that it might be fun and interesting to see the extremes that musical acts and record labels might be willing to go to deliver anthologies to record buyers and fans. To do this, I set out to discover what are the biggest sets ever produced, simply measured by the number of discs included in each package, and then produce a by-no-means-definitive reference that will most certainly be added to in impressive fashion over time. Keeping my focus on albums (vinyl and CDs) and avoiding going off on a tangent that would include sets of 45RPM and CD singles(!), I’ve assembled a list that touches on a number of genres, led by classical music producers, with rock, jazz and pop represented was well. Note that, in many cases, the total number of discs included in a set might consist of a combination of different media, such as audio CDs, Blu-Ray audio CDs and DVDs. For example, King Crimson’s 1969 (Court of the Crimson King) is a 26-disc set consisting of 20 CDs, 4 Blu-Ray audio discs and 2 DVDs:
Frank Harkins, Mike Goldstein and Dave Bett, clockwise from upper left.
Published July 23, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
The packaging of retail (i.e., physical) recorded music products is an expression of the relationship – often, a delicate balance – between a musical act, his/her/their record label, the creative/production teams commissioned for the projects and, of course, the music-buying public. Each brings a certain set of expectations to every project and expects those desires to be appreciated and respected if the resulting products are to ultimately please each constituency:
the musicians want to make sure that their new musical efforts aren’t reduced to secondary importance or that their fans aren’t left wondering “what the #%!* were they thinking?”
label execs will want to know that their investments in packaging and related marketing will eventually pay off via increased product sales.
the design and pre-production personnel working on the project (whether in-house and/or freelance talent), along with the printing/manufacturing companies tasked to bring designs to life as finished products, all want to deliver work they can be proud of and that makes their various client(s) happy and
consumers of recorded music products want to feel that their purchases are moneys well-spent and, as a benefit, are left feeling that their favorite musical acts have delivered “something special” to them as their loyal fans.