The last throes of physical media for music has spawned the appearance of fabulously expensive box sets which include a little bit of what fans want – like rare concerts, outtakes or new surround mixes – and a lot of what they probably will look at once and put away for ever, like paper memorabilia, badges and trinkets. In many cases vinyl records are included. It is all in the box, so if you want that little something, you have to get the lot, even if you do not have a turntable.
An example is David Bowie’s Station to Station box set, currently £96.92 at Amazon’s UK site, which has badges, vinyl, cards and a fan club certificate, and is also the only official source for a 5.1 mix of Bowie’s classic album on DVD.
Another is the Who’s Live at Leeds 40th Anniversary Special Edition, which includes vinyl album and single, poster and book, along with the only release on CD of the Who’s 1970 performance at Hull. Originally released at around £80, it sold out and now commands high prices on the collector’s market.
Now it is U2’s turn, and the band or its label seem determined to out-do the others in both unnecessary packaging and extravagant price. The Achtung Baby 20th Anniversary Über Deluxe Box Set, due in October, is £329.99 in the UK or $588.57 on Amazon’s US site. You get a magnetic puzzle box, 6 CDs, four DVDs, 5 vinyl singles, 16 prints, a book, a magazine, badges, a sticker sheet, and a pair of sunglasses.
However, it seems someone at Amazon has a sense of humour. Check the last words of the editorial description:
Curiously those words do not appear in the UK description.