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An open letter to Peter Gabriel

An open letter to Peter Gabriel

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53 responses to An open letter to Peter Gabriel

  1. Mikkel Frank says:

    Bravo!
    I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Sinclair. Thank you for writing this open letter regarding Peter Gabriel’s upcoming ‘Deluxe Edition Box Set’ of ‘So’.
    Just like you – and like other Peter Gabriel-/’So’-fans on superdeluxeedition.com – I was certainly hoping for a more solid, much more genuine and indeed gabrielish reissue of ‘So’ on the celebrating of the albums 25th anniversary.
    My biggest hope was a hi-res reissue of ‘So’ (just like the hi-res reissue of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ in the Immersion box sets) and some ‘So’-related concert stuff restored, remastered and released on Blu-ray.
    So thank you for giving at least my disappoinment in this ‘So’ matter a voice.

  2. Paul W says:

    Now that is commitment. Nicely pitched, too. Such lofty hopes dashed, in the end, by an apparent lack of understanding of the medium, and the desires of the fans (not collectors – that would be patronising). And it’s the fans who make people like PG what they are, and allow them to continue to be creative and innovative.

    Such a shame. It makes you wonder how such a creative individual could make such a lazy, seemingly ill-informed and possibly pedestrian, choice. Or was it (even worse!) a committee decision?

  3. Ron says:

    Now we need to wait until the next full moon and hopefully get a response!

  4. baward says:

    Knowing record companies a little bit, its quite possible that (despite PG’s clout) he got any opinion/decision that he might have had about this release over-ridden. Or possibly he has no part in releases of this kind. Perhaps a music biz lawyer or someone like that has an opinion?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Definitely a possibility, he doesn’t have the clout of Pink Floyd for example who probably insisted on Blu-ray, hi-res etc and even managed to get EMI to license the an SACD version out.

      Having said that it seems rather unlikely that EMI would have said ‘no’ to all these missing elements and still Peter would have happily progressed with the project.

  5. Barrie Sillars says:

    Well done, its about time someone stood up for the lowly punter who has to spend a fortune for these things. Maybe he should take a leaf out of his mate Robert Fripp’s book. He has done a sterling job of re-issuing the King Crimson back catalogue with new mixes by Steven Wilson and all in hi-res. He is just about to release “Lark’s Tongues In Aspic” as a 15 disc box set including the album with extras in DVD and Blue-Ray. All for Around £90. Now that’s the way to do it!

  6. Brian Scott says:

    Well said, Paul. You echo my sentiments exactly. As a long time collector of PG material I share your disappointment and frustration. Remembering how innovative Peter has been over the years with new ideas, formats and media I am stunned by how unimaginative this collection is. Come on Peter – sort this out please!!

  7. David says:

    Well said Paul; my sentiments exactly. Wishful thinking that Peter actually takes his fan’s united feedback onboard and does something to rectify this complete disappointment of a reissue. The fact that So is such a seminal album of the 80s, not to mention one of my favourite albums of all time, really broke my heart to see it be reissued this way.

    As a few readers have observed, why did EMI and Peter not go the way of U2′s Über deluxe edition of Achtung Baby or King Crimson’s imminent reissue of LTIA? It amuses me to think what So could have been like if it were reissued this way.

    Thanks for giving us fans a voice.

  8. Richard Harris says:

    You kindly re-tweeted my supportive comments to your letter Paul so you know that we are singing from the same hymn sheet here. I suspect that this and the SO 25th anniversary tour (no shows in Europe or the UK, just the US) is financially driven to prop up WOMAD rather as the Genesis reunion show at the Milton Keynes Bowl in the early 80s was, so it’s a release put together by accountants rather than the fans. The sad thing about this furore is that it’s taken a release by someone who genuinely didn’t seem to be “only in it for the money” to be held up as a benchmark on how NOT to do a deluxe boxed set. The fact that so many of us have voiced our disapproval at how this release has panned out shows that, given his snail-like productivity of original material over the past 2 decades, there are still a lot of us out here who care about the man and his music to bother enough to post. It’s when you put something out and no one says a word one way or the other that you know your audience has given up waiting for you and packed up and gone home.

  9. hedley says:

    The So Deluxe must be prepped and ready to go and I would be genuinely surprised if you received any sort of response from him.
    The Tour comes through Auburn Hills, Michigan on September 26th and I will be interested to see if the show is made available through the Encore Series. I am still expecting Kate Bush as it supposed to be a recreation of the original album :-)
    I guess the bottom line is that this is a release from Peter Gabriel, so there is a significant loyal fan base with a high expectation that the offering would be interesting, creative and demand attention.

  10. James says:

    Thanks Paul. Everything you said in your letter and your recent post echo everything I have felt since the content of “So” was announced. As a lifelong Genesis and Peter Gabriel fan, this is a huge disappointment and a wasted opportunity on Peter’s part to re-coup some of the damage he has done to fans over the years.
    I was mad at Peter when he released the SACDs for his catalogue only to find out that, with the exception of “Up”, they were mixed in 2.0 Stereo and not 5.1 surround. And I have been increasingly mad at him over the years for all the promised albums (“I/O”, redo of “OVO”, the b-sides and rarities album) that have yet to be released. And of course, he stopped a Genesis reunion because of his work on new material which we have yet to see. I have no problem spending extra money on Deluxe sets. I have always been a physical product person (never download), so I truly appreciate when artists release something special for those of us who still buy physical releases.
    But this release is a travesty.
    Seems like a product just to support a revivalist tour of “So” material….

  11. baward says:

    I wonder why they are releasing it 26 years after it was first released? Surely 25 years is more traditional for a celebration of this kind.

    • workinpana says:

      @baward
      “I wonder why they are releasing it 26 years after it was first released? Surely 25 years is more traditional for a celebration of this kind.”

      I guess the spent a year figuring out the best way to disappoint and annoy every fan.

  12. Harry Williams says:

    Fantastic letter Paul, I wholeheartedly concur. I have bought every successive ‘progressive’ Gabriel release and like many other underwhelmed and disappointed fans, sadly for me and PG, I guess, this is the first I won’t be purchasing.

  13. Tobias Lotz says:

    Thanks Paul,

    this letter speaks for all PG fans, like myself. I already opened a similar thread in the german Rolling Stone forum, commented on PGs forum and I filled out a form on the PG contact website.
    Hope this helps!
    Thanks for your efforts, they are highly appreciated!

    Best,
    Tobias

  14. omar says:

    Thanks Paul for writing this. My only wish is that if no changes can be made to the So remaster,then Mr. Gabriel should atleast reward all the patient fans with a free download of remixes or release a seperate cd of all the bsides and 12″ mixes. Is that reasonable ?

  15. Hedley says:

    From The Guardian July 26 2012

    It (Womad) is still a somewhat precarious enterprise. Gabriel admits with a deep sigh that the UK festival has only made a profit three years out of the last 30. That’s one reason why he has agreed to reissue his 1986 mega-hit album So (home of Sledgehammer and Don’t Give Up) and perform it in North America this autumn. “I’m actually quite looking forward to it,” he says. “But it’s also a nod to reality. It allows me to do less commercial things.”

    The So tour will not be visiting Europe because, he explains, extra dates would encroach on his Year of Interesting Things. Fair enough, I suggest. No disappointed fan could begrudge him that.

    “Well, I hope not,” he says with a sly grin. “And fuck ‘em if they do.”

    Stubhub ? where is Stubhub….

  16. John says:

    Well done. I would love to see a response, but I’m not counting on it.

  17. Daniel Pitterman says:

    Nicely done. I am very disappointed by the lack of b-sides and remixes. I have been an avid collector of Gabriel since the earlier 80s and though I do have most of these tracks in one form or the other many are on 26 year old vinyl and it would be nice to have them remastered for the digital era.
    That said, the whole super-deluxe thing is getting way out of hand. I love collecting the music but all the other stuff is superfluous. Also, not every classic album (and who defines classic?) deserves this treatment. The whole phenomenon remains me of the trend starting in the early 90s of releasing multiple CD singles with different content to gauge the consumer. The combination of too many super-deluxe sets and marginally desirable content is only going to encourage illegal downloading of content because people are sick of, or simply can’t afford these purchases.

  18. Rami says:

    Well done Paul! I still can’t believe what a missed opportunity it was to exclude practically EVERYTHING he’s done around that time with b-sides and such.
    If the box set was priced at around 60 bucks I’d shut up, but 140 bucks is a ripoff! Which begs the question: should the price be based on overall music and video content or the quantity of physical material included such as books and large numbers of CDs and DVDs?
    Because I believe if they released just 1 Blu-Ray Disc they could’ve included both the concert and the documentary (like Primal Scream’s Screamadelica Live blu-ray release) and in higher resolution than the DVD (maybe even included a 5.1 mix if there was still space available?)

    Besides, will the book be worth getting? My guess is it will include lyrics, a bunch of random photos of recording sessions, live stages and very little literature.
    My dad recently gave me as a gift the U2 Achtung Baby Super Deluxe box set (which I haven’t opened yet) that includes a 90 page book, 6 CDs and 4 DVDs and art prints, available for the same price, 140 bucks. I know it doesn’t include the LPs like this release does, but I guess those could go for 30 bucks if sold separately, right? Even though the extra material is not that great (too many remixes and I have no idea what was the point to include the follow up Zooropa) it was included after all in the box.

  19. Dean says:

    This is my least favorite Gabriel recording. I’d much rather see special editions of any of his first four recordings before this. The lack of B-Sides and so on is bad,of course. Overall though, I think this is a weak recording. Come on Peter, give us Special Editions for the first four, and don’t spend so much time on what was at the time always a conscious decision to be commercial.

  20. Paul Kent says:

    “Well, I hope not,” he says with a sly grin. “And fuck ‘em if they do.”…..

    Huh?

    Look, I can’t believe for one millisecond that PG needs to release a box of shite to fund a gap year. I mean, really? Seriously, the above response just makes me despair! Nice letter, Paul, and I’m fully down with the sentiment, but now I just think it’s an exercise in futility. I’ve never felt so disillusioned about an artist as I do right now!

  21. Ian Hill says:

    I have bought a lot (and I mean a lot) of deluxe box sets over the years, some great, some good, others average. This is the box that has made me say “enough”. I am tired of being offered such poorly thought out products – why include DVDs when Blu-Rays are the quality standard and will no doubt be released separately after the event. This is (probably) the one chance to make a definitive version of this album and this is just so far of the mark it’s laughable. Other artists are doing this so much better. Any fan could come up with a version that would blow this away. It’s not even the money – it’s just so disappointing that Peter Gabriel’s legacy is being treated so poorly. It’s like he just doesn’t even care (any more).

  22. James says:

    Thank you Paul for explaining how the fans feel about this release “So” eloquently. For me it is not out of anger, but out of love for this album in particular. I already own all of the b-sides and remixes that were released on CD from this period. I would have no problem getting them again, if there were only some added content that was vinyl only, promo only, or otherwise unreleased. I can only hope that these responses will lead to the truely desired material finally released again one day (NOT IN A DOWNLOAD.)

  23. Tom says:

    I think you do a superb job of not only standing up for the music buyer, but also preserving music. You treat these box sets as if they are going to be placed in a museum – that is the attitude the record labels and artists should take towards these special editions. Because many of these albums will NEVER be reissued or released again.

    Many of us want these B-sides and remixes because, simply, they are great music, but they are not easy to find, and low-quality mp3′s will not suffice. We want to preserve So’s legacy, which includes these B-sides and remixes. I don’t understand why Peter Gabriel doesn’t want to preserve its legacy. I agree with a lot of the sentiments here – we are willing to pay a lot of money for a box set dedicated to one album, but we also need to be respected as music buyers.

  24. Edouard says:

    Apart from “In Your Eyes” (7:14 special mix) and “I Have The Touch” (3:47 1985 remix) frankly all the other “dance” remix are boring. All the B sides and unreleased tracks: “A Curious business”, “The Politics Of Love” (with Paul Mc Cartney), “Big Time” (unreleased version with Jerry Marotta drum part instead of Stewart Copeland) are cruelly missing…Without speaking of all the other outtakes that never saw the light of day.

  25. Mikkel Frank says:

    Well, maybe the ‘Open letter to Peter Gabriel’ regarding the upcoming release of the 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Box Set of ‘So’ has helped (a bit).
    Now the Peter Gabriel homepage (http://petergabriel.com/so25/) says:
    “Studio quality 24 bit digital download” is included in the Deluxe Box Set.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Very interesting. Slightly vague with ‘studio quality’ but sounds like hi-res FLACs which is a step in the right direction. Doesn’t redeem the major failings of the set though. Would still welcome a proper response for ‘team Gabriel’..

  26. Mikkel Frank says:

    “Studio quality 24 bit digital download [Digital] – The ‘So’ album plus the tracks ‘Courage’ and ‘Sagrada’ plus ‘Don’t Give Up (piano bvox mix)’ available via a unique download code.”

  27. William says:

    Your balls are Huge, Well done all round

    Lets hope he realises his mistake and makes amends

  28. Dean says:

    Making them hi-res download only means they can release the box as-is and treat it as an add-on. I have ZERO interest in downloads though.

  29. Richard Harris says:

    For me this should have been done as U2 did their Joshua Tree box set 20th anniversary re-issue in 2007. The remastered album on 1 CD, B-sides, demos and out-takes on another and live concert, in this case the Athens concert, on a DVD (or Blu Ray for those who prefer). Couldn’t they have added on footage from the Amnesty Conspiracy of Hope tour in 1986 as well? Let’s not have to fork out for vinyl that many of us don’t want and which duplicates the material, all in a huge box that weighs down the shelves – even the box with U2 was a decent size (and included a hardback book).

    It would be nice to think that the “open letter” and wave of criticism had caused this concession by Team PG but I don’t think they’re that quick off the mark!

  30. Steven Cacciaroni says:

    Powerful letter writing! Please draft a similar letter to Prince’s people to get a Super Deluxe Edition AT ALL… Anyway, can you or anyone help me fully “get” Hi-Res downloads? Here’s my question. I realize that CDs are compressed to 16-bit to fit 80 minutes on them. I realize that MP3s and HEAVILY compressed, much more so than CDs… I get that too. I am a fan of high-quality. I love vinyl, I don’t like accepting lower quality. Some of these boxes, like Paul McCartney’s, have come with the Hi-Res downloads. There’s also a cool site called HDTracks.com that offers many of your favorite album in hi-res 24-bit recordings. SO HERE IS THE QUESTION:

    First, the preface:

    I have a FLAC player on my computer.
    I have a very high-end home stereo.
    Streaming from a computer to your stereo degrades the files to 16-bit in order to stream through APPLE TV or ROKU, for example.

    So how can I listen to these very high quality files? THAT is my question.

    Surely you’re not suggesting taking more expensive, highest-quality possible song files and listening on 1-inch computer speakers??? How do you listen? Record to a DVD? Please help because I get why they’re better, but not sure how to listen without degrading to 16-bit (recording to CD-R or streaming). THANKS!

  31. Uten Frame says:

    @Paul Sinclair
    Well done! Hopefully fans will be treated with respect in the future!

    @Steven Cacciaroni
    Haha, good question! I think that the people who appreciate flac-files are in to it more because they like the “numbers game aspect” of it rather than what they can hear… I use an optical digital cable from my computer to my reciever. But would choose a physical disc over digital anyday (preferably SACD or DVD-A).

  32. Sordel says:

    While I applaud the intention behind sending this letter, PG didn’t get where he is today by following even the most reasonable recommendations of his fans. Moreover, the contents of the box represent a minimal commitment from Gabriel himself, and he possibly doesn’t feel personally invested in the project to the extent that he would feel ashamed of its low quality.

  33. Roberto R. says:

    I’m hugely dissapointed about this release so I completely agree with this letter. Well done

  34. Croc says:

    As I said on Twitter, I could not agree with you more. It’s beyond baffling how badly a large number of big deal re-releases are screwed up. Putting tracks on it that fans have wanted for years is not exactly rocket science. Seems like a whole 10 seconds of thought was put into this.

    Yet more proof just how badly artists and their labels are grossly out of touch with fans.

  35. Nuno Bento says:

    Great initiative. I hope Mr. Gabriel finds the time to address your very pertinent questions. Now let’s wait.

  36. Pingback:Peter Gabriel responds to ‘open letter’ about the “So” Deluxe Box Set | superdeluxeedition

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  38. Brad says:

    Sorry, this is total BS from my point of view. If you don’t want to buy the box set, don’t buy it. But considering PG’s career — no Genesis reunion ever, despite the offer of a big payout, 10 years+ in between albums, taking risks like touring with an orchestra (expensive and not a sure thing for fans) — how can you suggest he did this for the money? No one can expect that very many of these will sell in the first place. And I for one — also a huge fan of Peter’s, and a musician and love of 5.1 and other audio adventures including vinyl, think the set looks great and I have been promised it will be under the XMas tree this year.

  39. FRANNY says:

    Wow it is annoying that there could be a complaint about this musical genius. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves , you are truly missing out on the blessing of PG ‘s work, weenies. Glad I am me.

  40. NeilKelly says:

    Brad and Franny you completely miss the point and are clearly just PG lovers despite what shite is churned out. Don’t want it, don’t buy it? The whole point of this letter is that people do want it but released in a decent set you fool!

    • Paul Bamlett says:

      I really think some of you people should get over yourselves and enjoy what you are getting. Peter has responded with some grace. But this weird world of completist trainspotting type collecting really misses the point which is the MUSIC!
      15 cds of Crimson , masochism is the least extreme description.

  41. Wayne Cunningham says:

    Wow, how did Paul become the representive of all PG fans. You don’t represent my opinions. Stop pretending to be something you are not.

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  44. Steve Carter says:

    I agree 100% with Paul’s open letter. The contents of the So 25th Anniversary box set are an insult to PG’s loyal fans and Peter doesn’t appear to get this in his response.
    Despite this, I went ahead and ordered the box set in order to get the 24-bit download. And guess what? When I enter the code provided in the box I get a message saying “The voucher code does not exist”. Not the best £80 I’ve ever spent.

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