Unboxing the Box Set: Music Archives and Physical Formats in the Streaming Era


This case examines the concept, content, commerciality, consumer experience, and collector’s value of the box set as well as the usually smaller deluxe edition, posing questions about the appeal of the formats and their probable longevity in major music markets. Box sets allow record companies to creatively recycle existing catalog material at elevated prices, while accentuating commercial appeal by selectively including otherwise unavailable or rare archival works. In the current era dominated by a variety of global streaming services, the status of physical formats for popular music sales has been constantly reexamined during a continual power shift towards digital access over ownership. What is the scope for highly priced physical compilations in an increasingly digital marketplace, and what are the various practical purposes served by such catalog repackaging?

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