Don’t Buy the Pink Floyd Box Sets

I see there’s a shock-and-awe advertising campaign for the reissues of the classic 70s albums by Pink Floyd.

Yes, an album like Dark Side of the Moon is all-time classic which has stood the test of time and has finally emerged from the long shadow cast by of Punk to take its rightful place in the British Rock Canon. But let’s face it, if you really cared about the album, you’d already have it on CD, right?

September has been one of the best months for new progressive rock releases I can remember for a long, long time. In the space of two weeks there have been new releases by Dream Theater, Opeth, Anathema, Matt Stevens, Steve Hackett and Steve Wilson. That’s one hell of a lot of new music, and you can have all of it for the price of just one of the ridiculously overpriced “Immersion editions” that you’ll probably only ever listen to the once.

I realise the target market for these things is the middle-aged bloke who stopped caring about new music when he got married and had kids decades ago, and now in the throes of his mid-life crisis is desperately trying to reconnect with his long lost youth. He’s probably never even heard of Opeth.

Don’t be that guy. Don’t buy the box sets. Pink Floyd really don’t need your money. And EMI certainly don’t deserve it.

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38 Responses to Don’t Buy the Pink Floyd Box Sets

  1. mysterioso says:

    I agree with you completely on this one. It’s a cynical marketing move.
    And why Pink Floyd, a band with remasters already released. Why not another band whose 70s albums have never been released on CD, like ZZ Top?

  2. Only some young guy can be so ignorant. But the good news is: you get over it as the time flies by…

  3. Darren says:

    But the other albums don’t come with marbles and a dinky little bag to keep them in…

  4. Tim Hall says:

    Pirkka – What do you mean?

  5. Paul Austin says:

    ask opeths leader what music he listens a recent interview he said certainly not todays new music.nothing but old stuff,pink floyd etc,because their is nothing new out there.

  6. Andy Price says:

    I agree on one thing the immersion box sets are massively overpriced, but I would appear to be one of those middle aged guys you are referring to! It just goes to show that you should never make sweeping generalizations about people because not only have I heard of Opeth I’ve got the majority of their albums and to bracket me as someone who doesn’t care about music smacks of the ignorance of youth. Please don’t presume that once you reach a certain age you stop caring about music and start buying stuff just because you can afford it!

  7. Tim Hall says:

    Nonsense – there is far more new music out there than it’s possible to keep up with. The only problem is finding the gems amid the dross. I’m not going to spend my money on re-buying music I already own in multiple formats.

    And those of you who are trying to paint me as an ignorant 20-something have completely mis-guessed my age.

  8. Steve W says:

    I’m not going to be told to do anything. The Immersion set is for the aficionado only with an interest in the history and recording of the album. For those of that persuasion (like me- nearly 40 and so what of it kid!) it is a fascinating document and I welcome it. If you don’t want to buy it, then don’t! Free choice after all. No need to peddle the cynical marketing rant, it’s all a bit cliched now..

  9. Keith Ling says:

    Sorry, but I won’t be buying any of the albums you mentioned. I won’t buy the Pink Floyd sets either, because the last remasters were about as good as those albums are going to sound. I already have the 5.1 SACD of DSOTM. I will probably pay 35.00 for the 5.1 of Wish You Were Here. There doesn’t seem to be any plans to release The Wall (at least the Pink Floyd version) or any other PF albums in 5.1. The only other PF product I’d want would be a Blu-ray of Pulse with wide screen aspect ratio.
    Punk has a shadow? I think you mistake it for body filth.

  10. Andy says:

    Yeah, I’m a middle-aged with kids Pink Floyd fan just like you so obviously look down on. And I’ve got all the Opeth albums. And Anathema. And Dream Theater. And Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree/No-man etc. etc. And if I decide to buy the PF box sets that’ll be because I love the music, not because I’m trying to reconnect with my *long-lost* youth.

    It doesn’t matter what your age is, you’re *still* ignorant and immature.

  11. Mike says:

    I quite agree – cynical marketing aimed at a certain age group, although I have only the original vinyl version bought in the mid 70′s so will probably buy the most basic version as my first digital copy ! Each to their own though – if you are a PF enthusiast or collector then it’s up to you if you think it is worth it.

  12. Tim Hall says:

    Andy – I find it amusing that you choose to interpret a paragraph which is strongly critical of EMI’s cynical marketing strategy as a personal attack on every single person who’s bought the thing.

  13. Scott says:

    I’m more or less with Tim on this one. While getting the mega-sets would appeal to the collector in me (not for re-sell — I like having every last note by a band some times – try doing this with the Grateful Dead!), mostly it would be the live stuff I’d want, and I’ve had soundboard copies of the Animals and WYWH tours for ages. Likely the same stuff included here.

    Floyd, for all that I cherish them greatly, don’t need my money. Considering they are one of the few bands NOT on Spotify, it shows to me they simply want the money.

    Other bands not on Spotify? Eagles. Led Zeppelin (likely because they just never seem to be able to get their act together). The Eagles have always been about the money. Ditto Floyd.

  14. Andy says:

    No Tim, your implication is that the entire target market for these products is ‘middle-aged bloke … married … kids decades ago … mid-life crisis’. Not all of us middle-aged, married, with kids Floyd fans are oblivious to new music. It’s just lazy and obvious of you.

    My Uncle was 29 when Dark Side came out. He’s 67 now. Hardly your target demographic…

    I won’t be buying the box sets because I don’t think they offer anything new for the money that we really need to hear, and because, as Scott says – it’s all about the money for the Floyd and, more obviously, EMI – who really need the cash.

  15. Miika Kuusisto says:

    Note: Tim says that the target market is is for the middle-aged bloke who stopped caring about new music ages ago. Obviously this isn’t meant to offend the rest of you guys who do still care about new music. We probably aren’t going to get a sampling of people who fit that description perfectly on this blog, because those guys don’t really look for music related stuff on the internet either, now do they?

    I have the new Steven Wilson, Opeth and Anathema albums, cause those guys actually deserve my money. I can see that the new Pink Floyd thing is cool for the collector or enthusiast with money to spend, but that’s about it. It’s a somewhat gimmicky thing, but this is what the record companies have to do nowadays to make people buy something. Box sets and collector’s editions are everywhere, cause the plain CD is more or less useless with the internet age. I only get the things to support the bands I don’t think get enough recognition.

  16. Tim Hall says:

    Precisely. While the Über fans who must have everything will account for a few sales, the archetypal Mid Life Crisis Man who only ever had the original album on vinyl is going to account for a big chunk of the sales.

    Call me cynical if you like, but I bet I’m not wrong. At least it’s cheaper and safer than a motorbike.

  17. RMR says:

    My take on this is no one is forcing anyone to buy anything. If you want the albums, buy the albums, if you don’t– then don’t. There is obviously a market for them since they are being released and marketed. I hear this same comment when a band releases a CD and DVD of the same material. I personally like that so I can listen to it in my car, but also see it on TV. One key take away from all this is that there is more good music available right now, then there has been in a long time (old and new), which is great. I would add to the list above… Mastodon’s new release, and Rush will soon be releasing their live material from the Time Machine Tour, plus the Chili Pepper’s just put out there new album, which I haven’t gotten to yet either. All in all, it has been a great year for music.

  18. Tim Ellis says:

    Why not another band whose 70s albums have never been released on CD, like ZZ Top?

    Funny, I have all the ZZ Top 70′s albums on CD – they released them as a nice 3 CD set to keep the cost down, though rather than a box full of outtakes and marbles…

    The ZZ Top 6 Pack

    I wouldn’t mind the DVD bits of the immersion sets, but I don’t want to spend £90 a time to get them…

  19. Mysterioso says:

    The ZZ Top six pack included completely remixed versions of their early stuff reworked to sound like Eliminator. It destroyed the originals for a lot of people. The original mixes have never been released, although about 60% of the tracks were remastered from the originals on their Chrome, Smoke & BBQ compilation.

  20. Grae says:

    I’ve waited a few days to respond to this. On first read I had a giggle, then I read the responses and had a laugh. Tonight I read the Classic Rock review of the box set and, to be honest, it says the same thing as Tim says here (albeit slightly less provocatively).

    I’m dangerously close to falling into the ‘middle-aged bloke’ category with a penchant for collectible musical items but I resisted the temptation to buy the Immersion Box Set, mainly due to having shelled out the money for Steven Wilson, Matt Stevens, Opeth, Anathema, Mastadon and several other new albums which have landed on the doorstep this month. I’m still tempted, but I own versions of DSotM on vinyl, CD and the 4.1 surround DVD-A. Do I want the new versions? I’d like to hear them, yes, but I’d probably only listen to them once and then revert to either the CD or DVD-A.

    I could afford the £90, but there’s still the Touchstone album, The Reasoning’s new EP and live album, Chickenfoot III and more to come before the end of the year… (And I’m hoping for something from Panic Room in the not too distant future as well!).

    I feel like I’m turning into one of those Beatles fans who will only play the original mono vinyls of the first 2 or 3 albums as ‘that’s how they were meant to be’, but I’m doubtful there will be sufficient difference between the audio on this release and what I have. So, for now, it’s new music for me.

    You never know, a benevolent admirer might get me it for Christmas then I won’t have to justify buying a rehash of something which has already been rehashed over and over again… Now, if they were to give The Wall the same treatment (and no, the planned Immersion release doesn’t seem to cut the mustard) I might change my mind!

  21. Dave Ormston says:

    Hi Tim ! we have spoken many times at Panic room and Touchstone gigs ( I asked why you had not bought your camera to the Asylum in Brum !)>

    Have to say your Pink Floyd rant is exactly on the money. I worry sometimes whether fans of the “niche” music we love so much understand that 99% of the musicians barely scrape a living at it. When Panic Room had to cancel the Glasgow gig because of insufficient advance tickets my heart sank. A truly magnificent and innovative band who couldn’t drag fifty punters to buy their ten quid tickets in advance in a UK major city… I Like Floyd, but I LOVE having new music challenge me and fulfil me. The thing about complex music is that it can take TEN listens before I internalize it and it either moves me or not. Once I am moved it stays with me for always.

    I ALWAYS pre-book my gig tickets for new or upcoming bands that I love not so as to give them a fighting chance of making and performing he music I love for longer. I bought another PR tee shirt I did not need, and a red and blue EP each that I did not need just to help make the tour more do-able for these fine performers ( also bought a David R black shirt for similar reasons).

    This is not being CHARITABLE this is being SUPPORTIVE of wonderful new music.

    Floyd were a great band, but I choose to invest in NEW music, rather than donating another Ferrari to Nick mason. Great guy but…. I utterly agree with you.

    See you at Mostly autumn at the Robin or the PR Xmas gig.



  22. David Meadows says:

    ask opeths leader what music he listens a recent interview he said certainly not todays new music.nothing but old stuff,pink floyd etc,because their is nothing new out there.

    Well, as Opeth themselves make NEW music, he is claiming that they are the only band worth listening to at the moment. Which, if he really did say it, is unbelieveably arrogant, as well as statistically highly improbably.

    I’m with Tim on this: there is LOTS of good new music around at the moment. Not everybody is going to like everything, but it’s really sad if somebody can really find nothing at all worth listening to since 1973.

  23. David Meadows says:

    By way, Tim, I think it’s hilarious that all these guys assume you’re a kid!

  24. Andy says:

    Indeed – you want to ask why? May be it’s cause he sounds so immature?

  25. David Meadows says:

    Andy, you repeating it three times doesn’t make it true.

    Your comments give the impression that you didn’t really understand Tim’s post.

  26. Tim Hall says:

    Indeed, David. There is nothing so immature as one who resorts to childish name-calling when he can’t come up with a convincing counter-argument. Especially when, as you correctly point out, he’s failed to understand what I actually said.

    Yes, my post was a rant. I could have worded it more diplomatically, but then it wouldn’t have had anything like the same impact. The way it’s got up some people’s noses makes me think my description of the target market in EMI’s hypothetical marketing meeting was all-too-accurate.

  27. James says:

    I am with Tim. You have to ask yourselves why would you buy this?
    It is all a matter of taste and choice. Some people are more than happy with the recordings they have, others just have to have the latest and/or a complete collection…..
    Plus, unless you have the quality hifi and other technology to go with it why get a remaster?
    I listen to a broad spectrum of music spanning decades, possibly centuries actually.
    Love and peas, from a music loving and rapidly aging hippy (well at least in soul).

  28. James says:

    On another note about middle aged blokes being oblivious to new music………
    How many middle aged blokes out there are oblivious to older music?
    While Pink Floyd is and always will be wonderful (I really love them) maybe some prefer to just stick to what they know and remember.
    There are sooooooo many relatively unknown great old bands from the 60s and 70s that would still get people very excited upon a first listen. Experiment.

  29. Pingback: Where Have You Been? (A masterpiece re-mastered) « Grae's Descent

  30. A-Tay says:

    I’m not middle aged.. I’m 23.. And Pink has always been my fav. band.. I watched Roger Waters do the wall last year.. and i plan to go again this year.. and im gonna buy the sets.. I have the Wish you were here one already.. guess what. Most things are re-releases these days, because most of the new music is pure crap ontop of more crap… and by the way.. like EVERYTHING is over priced these days.. and really.. I dont even find it that over priced.. Theres Blue Rays and Dvds.. Blue rays would run you like 30 bucks a pop anyways.. And I want the Limited edition stuff.. to go with all the other memorabilia i have.. and I do have all the other C.Ds already too.. If its music you love. Then you would want all the DvDs for the extra footage and the C.Ds to hear all the diff. versions of Wish you were here that they have.. Don’t be a little punk ass just because you cheap as fuck.. Im sure if it was Avril Lavinge or whatever you like you’d throw down the extra scratch for a set you’d want..

  31. Tim Hall says:

    Don’t be a little punk ass just because you cheap as fuck..

    You clearly have no clue how much I spend on music a year. If you actually bothered to read the whole of my blog post you would have more of a clue than you evidently do.

    I’m sure if it was Avril Lavinge or whatever you like you’d throw down the extra scratch for a set you’d want..

    Ah yes, the classic response of the Internet Music Troll. Select a random mainstream artist, and use their name as a ad-hominem.

    Did you know I’m on first name terms with Roger Waters lead guitarist? I bet you didn’t know that…

  32. Nathan Page says:

    A-Tay grow up. I also saw Roger this year but it doesn’t mean i wanna spend £100 on a box set of CDs most have which were already available in some form, its just the record companies releasing stuff to sell to people like you with more money than sense.

    Oh and just for the record I know for fact that Tim knows Roger Waters Guitarist.

  33. Teaflax says:

    I didn’t know Avril Lavigne was even a reference any more. But calling Pink Floyd “Pink” is hilarious, since you not only do you not shorten a band name to the adjective part of their name (The Rolling Stones aren’t called “Rolling” for short, for instance), but you definitely don’t do it when there is a very famous artist who goes by that name.

    So, a-Tay… You like Pink, do you?

  34. Justin says:

    What’s wrong with liking Avril Lavigne (or Pink) and also liking Pink Floyd? What you listen to depends what mood you’re in. What music you like is completely subjective and no-one has the right to judge you for it. Sure, some artists will sell way after they’ve died and others will barely shift their second album. No-one should set themselves up as the music police or ultimate arbiter of good music because, frankly, that’s the road to becoming a judgemental arrogant wanker.

    Back on topic though… I have occasionally bought ‘special/deluxe/limited edition’ CDs (never something quite as grand as this though). I almost invariably already own the original release, and in any case mainly listen to the ripped mp3s through my laptop. The point is, I almost never actually listen to the actual ‘deluxe CD’ itself, it sits in it’s presentation case looking pretty and reminding me of how much that particular artist means to me. I’ll have ripped the live tracks or demos (from the CD or DVD) or whatever. I’ll very occasionally leaf through the booklet or play the DVD (I invariably play the DVD on the day of buying it and then it goes back in it’s case) but it’s there to be pristine and new and take me back to when the music was new to me or to a particular gig I saw them at.

    They’re very easy to buy your dad or someone for their birthday though aren’t they? Oh and did someone say Christmas present?

    I don’t own an HD TV with a Blu-Ray player and I don’t have fancy 5.1 speakers, so cramming all that into a new re-issue is wasted on me. Band commentary, or behind-the-scenes filming of a band on tour or recording can be very interesting though.

    p.s. My favourite band is the Manic Street Preachers and I was very happy to pay £20 for the 10th anniversary re-issue of The Holy Bible. The US/Canadian mix – not previously available in the UK – brings a really fresh take to one of, if not the finest album ever made (in my opinion).

  35. Meinhard Jensen says:

    I’m 40. I have tons of music, and my iPod’s around 20,000 tracks. I buy music, I have a radio show called Before Elvis, and I go to shows. Music takes up a lot of my time and money, but I don’t complain. I don’t follow new music, but buy some – more than most. The thing is that following the past is also hard work, and the past is more attractive to me musically than the present, currently. I’m a pretty hard core Bob Dylan fan and do buy his box sets and his coffe table art books. It’s costly, but when you’re a real fan, you also collect bootlegs, and when you have thousands of hours of material you didn’t pay for, you don’t ask any questions. You want the box, your order it, and you pay for it. That’s it. And then you just hope the mrs. doesn’t notice that there’s a new item on your shelves. (I have no idea what it’s like to be a Pink Floyd fan or a Beatles fan. Someone mentioned the Grateful Dead. I have some of their shows and might turn into a hard core fan. Just a pity I’m a generation too late.)

  36. HippyDave says:

    A-Tay. You’re 23, and honestly think that “most music” these days is “pure crap on top of more crap”? Are you sure you didn’t mean to say you were 123? :-)

    I actually don’t agree with Tim at all on this particular issue, but then I *am* Pink Floyd obsessed (happy to admit it!). I don’t, however, see any need for a thoroughly needless and insulting attack on a perfectly reasonable (if incorrect, hehehe) POV.

  37. Mike says:

    I’m sorry but I have to disagree. This box set includes not only the very well done 2011 remasters, but the surround and quad mixes, as well as a high-resolution Blu Ray version. Sure the marbles are kind of silly, but you cannot argue that this box set has value if you want the ultimate version of this album.

  38. Tim Hall says:

    Well, it’s your money, I suppose. I’d rather have a dozen different great albums by a dozen different bands for the same money.