The Art of Packaging: Box Sets

Something for everyone for the Christmas stocking – none very affordable. As everyone’s getting their music for free these days and the music industry is about to tank, some brave record lables are releasing box sets that just by their very extravagance make them impossible to download. Sure you could download the music but look at this packaging – it’s art and some of these are just as pricey.

Talking HeadsOnce in a Lifetime Greatest Hits – 2003. One of the best designed packages ever. So good in fact it won the first Grammy for design. 3 CDs and one DVD of the videos. The box itself is a horizontal booklet w/ great photos and lyrics. Design by Sagemeister Inc. cover and interior paintings by Russian team Dubbosarsky and Vingradov. Price $60.00-ish

The Pixies – Minotaur Box, 2009 – This thing is huge. It’s approx 3″ x 2″and weighs close to 14 lbs. It includes new artwork by the original Pixies designer Vaughn Oliver and photographer Simon Larbalestier. Plus all the albums on gold-plated 24k layered CDs as well as 180 gram vinyl, with a Blu-Ray and a DVD featuring a 1991 live show and all of Pixies’ music videos, packaged with a 54-page book w/ fur cover and a 96 page art book. Also included is a Giclée print of artwork made for the collection autographed by all 4 Pixies. With a whopping  tag of about $750.00.

The Beatles – Mono Box – 2010. The first 10 LPs in remasterd Mono along with a compilation of B-sides and singles called Mono Masters. At the time of pressing the individual LPs were not available in mono (they are now). The mono recording are the way they were meant to be heard and are superior to the stereo versions and often quite different. Price – about $200.00

Primal ScreamScreamadelica, Special Ed. 2011 – Extremely limited Collector’s Edition in a 12″ circular tin. Includes the double red vinyl format, the double CD format, a third CD of 14 mixes from the album, a fourth CD of 11 ‘live’ tracks from the Hollywood Palladium, a DVD that features “The Making Of Screamadelica” including band interviews and track by track analysis plus a 10 track video collection from the album. Also includes original tour t-shirt, a 50 page book, a 12″ DJ slip mat and 4 seven inch art cards. Price about $200.00 if you can find it.

Danny Elfman & Tim Burton – Danse Macabre – 2010. Designed to resemble a treasure chest, ‘The Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box’ is a work of art in itself. Grammy-winning designer Matt Taylor has transformed previously unseen art by Burton and crafted a large scale, tin-covered music box complete with an embedded music chip playing ‘The Music Box Suite,’ arranged and performed by Elfman specifically for this collection. And to top it all off, with a flip of the lid, a  working zoetrope – featuring strips of art and photos by Tim Burton and Danny Elfman. 15 CDs, a book and extras. Price – $650.00 – thanks you guys.

Louis ArmstrongSatchmo, Ambassador of Jazz – 2011. 10 CD’s, 8 CDs of previously released remasterd music, 1 CD of rare and unreleased recordings and 1 CD of an amazing interview by Dan Morgenstern in 1965. The package is completed with an outstanding hardcover book, reproduced hand written music sheets all housed in a cool trumpet case. An absolute steal for $150.00

Talking Heads – Brick – 2005. Talking Heads’ 30th anniversary is commemorated in typically artful style, eight remasterd albums with bonus-packed Dual Discs encased in a molded white plastic box embossed with the band’s song titles. Each disc contains complete album tracks and bonus cuts remastered in High Resolution Stereo on its CD side, while the DVD programming on the flip offers the audio tracks in expansive new 5.1 Surround Sound mixes. Price – $350.00 (though can be found much cheaper)

Motown – The Complete No. 1’s – 2008. A 10-CD box set containing every Motown No. 1 from every U.S. and International chart and from every genre equalling 191 tracks, plus 10 bonus tracks whose cover versions were No. 1.  The set is housed in a replica of the original Motown headquarters: the “Hitsville U.S.A.” house on Detroit’s West Grand Boulevard. Price about $150.00.

John Butler Trio – Live at St. Gallen – 2011. Hippy folk in a playable cigar-box ukelele. Very cool package w/ T-Shirt and DVD. Very, very, Limited. Don’t know much about this, just liked the uke.

Melvins Box – Endless Residency – 2010. Something for punks w/ a bit of cash. The band writes that the box “has been letterpress printed on an antique press from the 1890s. The press is powered by a treadle and fed by hand. Each individual CD package has gone through the press from four to eight times.” These things have to be a tremendous pain in the ass to make, and the Melvins aren’t making many of them: the box is limited to 300 copies. Sold at shows and online.

The Rolling StonesSome Girls Re-Issue, 2011.  The 2 remastered discs in a custom wig box, original cover art, T-Shirt in a hair spray can, pick, lipstick USB drive and compact. There are many versions of this special edition set – this one is the most fun and goes for $150.00

U2Achtung Baby Uber Deluxe – 2011. The biggest money waister of all time. Extremely limited numbered in a magnetic puzzle tiled box contains 10 discs (six CDs + four DVDs) including the original Achtung Baby album, the follow-up album, Zooropa, b-sides and re-workings of previously unheard material recorded during the Achtung Baby sessions. Four DVDs including “From The Sky Down”, Zoo TV, all the videos from Achtung Baby plus five clear seven inch vinyl singles in their original sleeves, 16 art prints taken from the original album sleeve, an 84-page hardback book, a copy of Propaganda magazine, four badges, a sticker sheet, and a pair of Bono’s trademark “The Fly” sunglasses. If you’ve got $500.00 – $650.00 for this, go for it.

Rammstien – Liebe ist Fur Alle Da (Love is For All)- 2011. Holy Cow! This is a unique box set to say the least. This version of Rammstein’s sixth studio album comes packaged in a flight case style box. The package contains: the deluxe edition version of the album, six sex toys (numerically corresponding to each member of the band), handcuffs and lubricant. Definitely makes for an interesting Christmas gift! Get a big pink piece of Rammstien for only $450.00


Posted on December 11, 2011, in Graphic Design, The Art of Packaging and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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