Oct.17 - The limited edition box set of DJ Shadow's Reconstructed is the most expensive box set released by Island Records and, some say, a signal of how the music business is evolving. Matt Cowan reports.
Even in the high priced realm of specialty box sets, the forthcoming limited edition of DJ Shadow's Reconstructed stands apart. Limited to 500 copies. Each will include 7 CDs, one DVD, a vinyl record, along with a signed certificate of authenticity. With a planned retail price 270 dollars - or 170 pounds - there's been nothing quite like it in Island Record's 53-year-history. SOUNDBITE: David Hawkes, Island Records Commercial Director saying "It is our most expensive to date. Obviously we don't really focus on the price as such. What drives the price is the quality of what's contained within it and the packaging used so we let the artist and designer get creative and to deliver exactly what they wanted and then priced it up consequently but we feel there is a demand among the DJ Shadow fan base and among collectors alike." Its production in Istanbul was personally overseen by Daniel Mason, a London-based printing and packaging expert whose work is helping to reignite interest in the lost art of the record sleeve. SOUNDBITE: Daniel Mason, Packaging Expert saying (English) "You're creating a product you want people to consume and own and covet and for their friends to admire. You're not after trying to create just a cardboard box with some things in it. It has to have a very high attention to detail across all of the aspects - the booklets, the way the discs are printed. There has to be something where a story can be told."" Music analyst Mark Mulligan says so-called Super Deluxe box sets are growing in popularity, even as sales in the lower end of the CD market continue to fall away. SOUNDBITE: Mark Mulligan, Music analyst, saying (English) "I think what we'll see over the next five years is a polarization of the CD market. We're going to see it split between the low end and high end. We're going to essentially see much of the mid end of the CD market - the mainstay of the CD market - that's the bit that's most likely to go digital. The low end serving the people who want a bargain, you know people who pick up a CD in the motor services, that market has still has still got a good bit of life in it. But it's this top end of the CD market I think is going to end up where the vinyl market is now, but many times bigger." Sales of vinyl records still only represent 1 percent of the music market globally, but they increased 28 percent in 2011. So while digital models remain the primary focus of efforts to grow the music business...the hope is that there's room to grow in the upper end of the CD business. Matt Cowan, Reuters