Whether its the retro-cool factor or collector’s choice, you can’t deny the shelf-worthy appeal of physical music recordings.
True audiophiles and die-hard music geeks suffered for more than a decade over closing record stores and decreasing selection of physical recordings. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, digital media sales are up 78%, while physical LPs, CDs and even the occationally offered Cassettes are down 22%. 2016 marked the end of a 25 year reign of CDs as the most popular music physical format, in part due to the rise of vinyl, increasing 16-times its popularity in just nine years.
Looking at the glass half full, recorded music sales are up (including revennue from paid music subscriptions like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited). Although more fans are turning to those services for their listening, the total revenue for all recorded music sales increased to a five-year high of $7.57 billion. That was the largest annual increase in more than 20 years. That’s good for the music industry.
For Gen X, and those that want to be a part of it, this summer brings a lollapalooza of Special Edition physical music releases for your top shelf. Heck, you might even dust this shelf, the releases are that good.
Start saving up. The following are just a few of the most anticipated…
available June 23rd in four editions
- Remastered and Expanded as 3CD/1DVD set
- Remastered and Expanded as 2CD set
- New Vinyl Pressing on 180 Gram of Remastered Mix
- Limited Edition Picture Disc
Start drooling purple saliva, beautiful ones. This is the true, expanded, deluxe edition of Purple Rain in its intended soundtrack/concept album glory. The original album appears on the disc one of both CD sets (and a new vinyl pressing), which was remastered by Paisley Park, overseen by Prince from the original tapes. That 3 disc set comes with a whole disc of Edits and Extended Mixes, as well as a collection of tracks “From the Vault” previously unreleased. The DVD includes a concert film recorded in Syracuse on March 30, 1985 with remastered audio.
SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
available May 26th in four editions
- Single CD new stereo mix
- Two CD or 2LP vinyl packages
- Super Deluxe six-box set
This 50th Anniversary celebration of the fab four fave marks the first ever expanded edition of their albums. They’ve gone all out, as all three deluxe editions of the release will have previously unreleased complete takes of all 13 album tracks. The Two Disc CD has a previously unreleased instrumental take of “Penny Lane” and two unreleased takes of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The super deluxe box set has 33 more recordings from the Sgt. Pepper sessions, most of which have never been released. A fourth disc has unreleased mono mixes of several songs and a direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix. On discs five and six, you get surround-sound audio on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as extras like a hardcover book.
available June 23rd in three editions
- Remastered and Expanded as 2CD set
- Remastered and Expanded as 3LP vinyl set
- Boxed Edition for fans (releasing in July)
Now that Radiohead’s back catalogue is with XL Recordings, you can expect a lot of special edition remasters with each coming 20th Anniversary. Collectors of previous deluxe editions from Capitol/EMI will be happy to know that this version comes with the unreleased original studio recordings of three tracks: “I Promise,” “Lift,” and “Man Of War,” previously available only as bootlegs. The mysterious boxed edition includes the album on vinyl, a hardcover art book, a book of Yorke’s notes, a sketchbook of Donwood and Yorke’s “preparatory work”, and an audio cassette (!) of OK Computer demos and session recordings.
available July 28th in two editions
- Remastered and Expanded as 1CD set
- Remastered and Expanded as 2LP vinyl set
Previously issued (sort of) in the Elektra Years box set last year, these two are reissued with all of the extra audio releases and remastered sound (supervised by Ric Ocasek no less). This new July release of Candy-O comes with seven bonus tracks: ‘Northern Studios’ versions of four songs (including previously unissued song They Won’t See You), two monitor mixes and a B-side. The expanded Panorama has four bonus tracks in total, with three songs – “Shooting For You,” “Be My Baby” and “The Edge” previously unreleased. The fourth and final bonus cut is the B-side, “Don’t Go To Pieces”.
available July 28th on multi LP 45 RPM editions
Arguably, two of the most daring film scores from the 80s came from Peter Gabriel. On Birdy, a soundtrack to the Alan Parker film of the same name, he reimagined themes from his past solo albums instrumentally. It was also the first time Gabriel worked with Daniel Lanois, who would go on to co-produce So and Us. For his incredibly progressive world-music inspired Passion he took his score from the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ back into the studio for a more cohesive album. Both albums have been remastered on audiophile quality 45 RPM vinyl pressings. Each of these pressings were half-speed remastered, in the same process Gabriel’s studio albums had been rereleased previously.
THE JOSHUA TREE
available June 2nd in five editions
- Single CD
- 2CD Edition
- 2LP Vinyl Edition
- 4CD Box Set
- Super Deluxe Edition 7LP Box Set
In case you have some money left over from grabbing tickets for the 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree tour this summer, there are some incredible collector’s editions of U2’s coveted release. Much like past deluxe treatments of their albums, these are extensive editions from Island Records. This hasn’t been called a “remaster,” but it does come with tons of previously unreleased material, and beautiful artwork to the degree of each edition you land. If you go Super Deluxe, you get 7 pieces of original, live and unreleased recordings on 12′ 180gsm vinyl.