The Box Set Bubble

Toronto, ON, Canada / 102.1 the Edge

I have a ridiculous number of box sets in my collection with more and more of them consisting of deluxe vinyl reissues. As an obsessive collector, I’m easily tempted to spend $100 or $200 on a box, but will balk at anything higher. For example, I desperately wanted a Pixies set, but at over $750 USD, that was just way too much.

Record labels love box sets. It gives them a chance to exploit their vast catalogue holdings by creating high-margin product that hardcore fans will crawl over broken glass to buy. And the subject doesn’t need mainstream appeal. In fact, reissues by cult-y bands can be among the most profitable.

But here’s the question: When will this market become saturated? How many people are willing to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars for these special reissues? Some observers say there’s a bubble building and it won’t be long before the bottom falls out of the market for these super-deluxe collections. We’ll see.