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McCartney fans SLAM new ‘download-only’ Flowers in the Dirt deluxe edition

flowers_2
Just some of the reaction to the digital downloads-in-physical product furore

We pay for physical product, we expect physical product

Paul McCartney fans have reacted with anger and incredulity to the news that more than a third of the audio content in the forthcoming £120, four-disc, physical deluxe edition of Paul’s album Flowers in the Dirt will only available as a digital download and is not being issued on CD or any other physical format.


The fans, many of whom have bought the previous deluxe sets, who took to SDE (and other forums), were almost unanimous in their condemnation of this strategy that delivers 16 tracks – which include many long out-of-print B-sides (such as the first Costello Collaboration, Back On My Feet), single edits and remixes – as a digital download.

In less than 24 hours, SDE has already had over 160 comments about this set. Below is just a taste of what our passionate and knowledgeable fans had to say. Can ANYONE at MPL or Capitol who reads this, still think they’ve made the right decision? They seem to have forgotten completely who the audience for these sets are. We are hoping that they are big enough to see the error and come up with a solution…


whatyousaid

Paul: “This is just absolutely ridiculous and an insult to the fans.”

Mark: “Finally jumped the shark. Reached the point where the actual music is almost an afterthought and download only but chuck in lots of printed material. Crazy”

Marcel: “Not paying that much for a deluxe edition if I am stuck with digital files in the end. I hope this decision will be reversed.”

Carlton: “Download only b-sides? Seriously?

Simon: “Not having a physical release of the b-sides within the box is outrageous

Mark: “Do these people actually think that those who are spending premium dollars on a physical product want download only material?”

Ben: “For the folks like me who read this blog and are so interested in physical product, Downloads seems like a slap in the face.”

Ollie:I can’t see any point in buying a deluxe CD box set where a significant portion of the contents aren’t actually included on CD.”

Eduardo: “His team should know by now that the buyer of these expensive boxsets is not the digital download fans but people who appreciate the physical formats.”

Ben: “People buy the big super deluxe edition because they want physical music. To fob people off with a download… is a disgrace

Alan: “WTF! no SDE option for those period bonus tracks? For the love of all that’s holy, let it be a mistake!

Lee:What’s the point of releasing a deluxe edition with download-only content? Isn’t the idea to deliver the definitive physical release?

Dave M:This beggars belief.”

Wayne: “It just doesn’t make sense. Who makes these decisions?

Avitom: “The whole idea of buying a physical item is that it is PHYSICAL!”

Dave: Insane decision to have download only content.”

Jay:Unbelievable decision.

Jason: “We need to act fast on the off-chance that there’s something that can be done

Inge: “A good example of how not to do it.”


As I said, that is just a taste. You can read all the full feedback here.

While it is true that McCartney had flirted with ‘free’ downloads in the past – either as an incentive to order from his online store (when he had one) or as a tool to generate social media traffic, this is the first time a significant part of the product is being offered in this way, and it sets a dangerous precedent for future Archive Collection releases and also flies in the face of the current trend for big physical sets, such as the 27-disc Pink Floyd Early Years box, or the 36CD Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings set.

The list of tracks being offered as download only is below. You can read more about the new Flowers in the Dirt reissue here.

DOWNLOAD ONLY:
Original B-sides, remixes and single edits:
1. Back On My Feet
2. Flying To My Home
3. The First Stone
4. Good Sign
5. This One (Club Lovejoys Mix)
6. Figure Of Eight (12” Bob Clearmountain Mix)
7. Loveliest Thing
8. Où Est Le Soleil? (12” Mix)
9. Où Est Le Soleil? (Tub Dub Mix)
10. Où Est Le Soleil? (7” Mix)
11. Où Est Le Soleil? (Instrumental)
12. Party Party (Original Mix)
13. Party Party (Club Mix)
Cassette demos:
1. I Don’t Want To Confess
2. Shallow Grave
3. Mistress And Maid

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170 responses to McCartney fans SLAM new ‘download-only’ Flowers in the Dirt deluxe edition

  1. Avitom says:

    John Lennon would say: “if I was ‘Here Today’ I would remind you Paul of ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’

    • ALL but a select few of the remixes are only available on vinyl. Shame on you paul and your record company for being so cheap and making your fans have to jump thru another hoop of fire, sans the price, to be a true collector. It’s not too late to correct the issue.

  2. Simple question says:

    At the end of the day, is MUSIC the most important thing to you?

    Not that we don’t already know the answer to this, obviously. But it’s awfully damn sad.

  3. Jacob Dickens says:

    I’m not too bothered by the downloads, since I don’t use the cds anyway. However, they *must* be hi-res downloads like the rest of the album, at the moment they don’t look to be. Lossy mp3s would be an even bigger slap in the face.

    That said, this sets a dangerous precedent. I’m glad we’re getting more bonus material, but it’s not fair on those who prefer physical media that a third of the deluxe album is delivered like this.

  4. edward says:

    whilst im not a fan of Paul McCartneys work this story is a fascinating read and hopefully the record label will take out. it raises a very important point. these types of product are clearly going to be mostly bought by fans, so record labels really need to understand what people want and clearly its the physical content most people want.

  5. Paul Hillier says:

    I’m not so frustrated by the use of downloads, as such. But I AM concerned that they won’t be unlimited hi res and I am concerned that we won’t get all the recording details that are usually included in these sets.

    My biggest frustration is the price that this set is being offered at. At a time when money is scarcer than ever, I think any artist who truly wants to offer value for money really needs to make sure they can justify such a price.

    At the end of the day, we’re being offered 9 tracks we’ve never heard before. And to get them we have to pay over £100. Shameful.

  6. Neil says:

    Problem is people keep buying these box sets at stupid prices which is encouraging record labels to set these prices because they know they will sell. £171.99 for 3 cds and a DVD anybody who pays that must be off their rocker.

    • David M says:

      That price is not real. Bullmoose is already offering it at $120, which probably comes to around 100 quid when tax is added. Still the B sides etc should be on a CD.

  7. DaveM says:

    Dissapointing that CD Japan are listing the SDE as 3 CDs as well. I reckon they are in too deep with the artwork etc to fundamentally change the packaging (as Paul has intimated), but I think the best we can hope for is a seperate CD of the download tracks bundled with the SDE if they take on board the outrage.
    Clearly when Paul championed Ram as part of his radio interview they have not taken note. Lets hope they listen now.

  8. Rob says:

    I fear this may be a damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario. The logical thing would be not to buy the set at all, tough for a fan to do. But then the record company can say “Aha, see, this product doesn’t sell anymore” and we can kiss any future deluxe editions goodbye. If we buy it the record company will say what a positive response they got to the downloads and next year’s reissue will be all download (with the requisite booklet, posters and stickers.)
    I’m hoping, as these sets are most likley produced, and sitting in a warehouse, that Capitol will slip a form in the set to send away for a physical disc of the downloads. While it won’t fit nicely in the set, it would at least show Capitol is listening and perhaps be a wake up call for the future.

    • Joseph says:

      Only in this case we’re talking about the unique & sole preference of Macca/MPL. Hard to believe the label would willingly trifle with the public in this manner. They’re along for the ride with us in this case. Make no mistake.

  9. Daran says:

    All disc only or downloads as a backup / saving time burning mp3’s. U2 did that with entire Uber Achtung Baby. Everything on disc + wav and mp3 downloads of ALL disc content. No reason PM can’t do it too.

  10. -SG- says:

    If this is the new strategy, it does beg the question as to why even release the product in the first place. Well, making money of course, but…. for those who are supposed to part with their cash, this misses the audience and the point entirely, and takes for granted that people will just buy anything, which is a dangerous way to do business. I’m sure, it would be much easier to offer it as a download only and a nice coffee table book or pdf, instead of a comprehensive physical product, but who is a buyer there? With the availability of digital files, they need to get that the whole point in something like this is not just about the music, it is a complete well thought out product, executed and planned out, you pay a premium price for a premium product. The buyer should not need to do any additional work to access what they already paid money to get. The argument that the CD medium is obsolete is irrelivant, we are talking about a record that is nearly 30 years old, what is new or is the latest marketing fad is of little relevance here. Know your audience and save the downloads for Ariana Grande fans, they really wont care. A nice book about Macca with an incomplete set and a burnt homemade cdr inside is not a legacy release and is lazy, super tacky and lame and just does not cut it. For audiophiles, it would also make sense to offer an option of a nice book with one blu-ray with everything included in high resolution audio and an interactive component.

  11. Andrea says:

    If anyone knows an email for Capitol or MPL that will be read for sure, please post it here and we all might send a furious email of complaints to them….

  12. Matt C says:

    The love of physical product is why we fans buy these sets in the first place. Offering half of the content as download only is a real insult to the people who buy these sets. Feels like a true bait and switch to me.

  13. Andy says:

    The decision is stupid but what annoys me even more is that this series of boxsets started with a £45 price tag for the first albums and now they want 4 times that amount. I regret falling for this scam.

    • David M says:

      You don’t have to buy them. By waiting a while I have got all the ones that I wanted for around 25-40 pounds (including RAM and Wings Over America)

    • Joseph says:

      Agreed. Yanking up the price in such fashion is just rubbing it in the faces of loyal buyers.

  14. Charles K. says:

    Honestly, I wish going forward that artists would just use Simple Minds and Lloyd Cole as examples of how to do it right. Both bands released deluxe box editions of their catalog or individual albums and both were perfect. Sure, the Commotions box didn’t include 5.1 mixes but that was probably never gonna’ happen due to their commercial appeal compared to Minds, however, they showed how to do it right minus those.

    After my recent disappointment regarding the Crowded House remasters (way overpriced and over packaged for what you got though I did buy them all) I’m starting to wish the bands or artists would start including fans in the earlier stages to get an overall consensus of what content should include. I understand that some artists hate b sides or remixes but who cares, the fans buy this stuff and want them. If they don’t want to release key items or if they cop out as in this case and relegate key tracks to the waste lands that are digital downloads then don’t bother re-releasing them at all.

    • Derek Langsford says:

      While I agree the Simple Minds sets were a terrific presentation of the albums they were far from perfect:

      Sparkle in the Rain – Booklet printing problem, 5.1 mix in mono – booklet and DVD-A replaced by Universal

      Once Upon A Time – three songs on Disc 3 clearly used inferior sources – no replacement offered though better sounding versions found elsewhere including one on the NGD set

      New Gold Dream – Poor remaster (accentuated bass but poor high end), 2 tracks for which there were no discrete multi-tracks stick out like sore thumbs on the DVD 5.1 because Universal just copied the 2005 5.1 mix rather than reprocessing it with improved software to blend better with the discrete channel tracks -no replacement offered

      So Perfect they were not IMHO.

    • CAB says:

      Charles K, I couldn’t agree more. As far as I can see, ‘consumers of product’ can currently be divided into 3 groups.
      The first is those who listen to music in any available format (MP3, YouTube etc)
      The second is the new generation of vinyl lovers.
      The third is the collectors. I’m one. I love this new box set culture, and when they get it right it’s great. I just bought King Crimson’s ‘On and Off the Road’. Utter and total joy.
      The Commotions boxet was great, but I missed the UK mixes of some of the Rattlesnakes LP (as promised), and Mr Cole omitted the live version of Forest Fire (B side of Cut Me Down 12″) which I love (and have ripped from my original vinyl).
      As much as I tip my hat to you, it’s not about you, Lloyd.

      • Charles K. says:

        You both make great points and yes there were flaws but I’ve yet to see a release that didn’t have some issues.

        I guess I was speaking to what they included, for the most part there wasn’t any trolling by the artist or label. In both bands cases they included 99% of what I wanted, some I didn’t even know about! This McCartney issue is the type of offense that didn’t occur with the ones I mentioned.

    • Robert Hollowood says:

      I agree that a super deluxe box set is not the place for download content like this. They should be offering uncompressed downloads of everything at these prices and including all the content on disc as well. The XTC reissues being done by Andy Partridge with a blu ray are a nice compromise with all content on a physical format at a reasonable price. I’m surprised at the disappointment with the Crowded House reissues another poster had. There’s 7 full discs worth of bonus material, much of it never having appeared anywhere before. If I was assembling a reissue campaign myself it’s exactly what I would have done and exactly what I wanted from the reissues. Got each double disc set for less than $20 US shipped. Extremely pleased and without a doubt my favorite reissues of the year.

  15. adam shaw says:

    I dont think MPL really cares .
    Macca likes to be at the for front of new tech to get his music across to a new young audience but at the same time kicks his original fans in the teeth .
    Be a miracle if any thing is done about this mess , but who knows , Christmas is coming .

    • Ex-Oligarch says:

      Downloading mp3 files isn’t exactly “the forefront of new tech.”

      It’s more like, “what you do when you don’t want to pay for the album, let alone a superdeluxe packaging edition of the album.”

      • adam shaw says:

        I know downloading isn’t new , but Macca wants everyone to know his music and if downloading is more acceptable then physical product to younger people he will do it .
        Macca does what Macca wants !

  16. Marco says:

    One compromise solution could be to issue on CD only the actual B-Sides (non-album songs), which are tracks 1 through 4, track 7 and the 3 cassette demos (maybe adding Once Upon A Long Ago), and leave all the remixes as download only material.

  17. PAUL FRASER says:

    Don’t buy it. If you care about physical product, don’t buy it. Vote with your feet. That’s how to get the record companies to listen.

    But you will buy it. You’re a McCartney fan and you have an insatiable need to own everything on its day of release. This is a moan before you still shell out for it. The record company will ride it out, unless it hurts their bottom line.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      That should work in theory… But the label will blame lack of sales on something else (market conditions, price) rather than being self aware enough to understand that they weren’t delivering what fans actually wanted.

    • StevieB says:

      I shall buy the 2-CD set, as I have generally done with the McCartney re-issues…and I will happily wait if I think it’s overpriced. I am really looking forward to hearing the demo disc as Costello is one of favourite artists and this is one of my favourite McCartney albums.

      That said, I support all of the critical comments as regards the digital download tracks, and as many others have pointed out they could have put all of the demos one on CD and then put the B-sides etc on the spare disc. Such a shame really as this would have been a very credible release content wise if they’d done that, although £50 would have bene a fairer and more reasonable price.

  18. Robert says:

    This point to how clueless some artist are when re-releasing their past catalog. As it goes with Oasis as well the release prices are outrageous. Are the management teams of those artist that really out of touch ? “Lets charge $150+ for a 3 cd set and a dvd. We’ll throw in a booklet and some pieces of paper” For a cheaper price you can get a 14 cd set from Bowie or perhaps the Lou Reed box or maybe the new Dylan 16 cd set which is still cheaper than McCartney. The added slap was the omission of the b-sides in a physical format. These sets are geared towards fans that have the money and why would they piss on those ?

    • Carlton Fisher says:

      I paid less for a Dead or Alive set that contains EVERYTHING they ever recorded–not just one album with some extras. If I’m going to pay even more for just a single album and it’s associated era, it better have EVERYTHING that goes with that era, and it better be on disc.

  19. andy says:

    When the physical product stops delivering too, people will just edge towards illegal downloads. Especially when the price is ridiculously high.

  20. ken.e says:

    I have to admit, happy to see the set finally get released but I’m old school, I what my music in a physical format. I don’t think an additional disc or two would have been that that difficult to include. To me these sets have been awesome as an experience but seem to always leave me thinking that there are missing parts.
    It will find it’s way to my shelf however there are some great b-sides that really should have been available on disc and vinyl again.

  21. Mike Cox says:

    Rather sad about this reissue. I’ve frankly been disappointed in the whole series. Starting with a handful of the “Unplugged” songs being released on dvd on the “McCartney” set and leaving the rest in the vault. The Unplugged show was over 25 years ago and I don’t think it has been released on dvd (or VHS for that matter).

  22. Philip Cohen says:

    Although I bought all previous McCartney archive boxes except “Wings Over America”(because the bonus tracks were merely more versions of the same songs, albeit performed in a different city), I’m going to pass on the “Flowers in The Dirt” box. It is overpriced, and Capitol & McCartney must be sent a message that the decision to not offer the related B-sides & 12″ mixes losslessly and/or on CD, is appalling, especially at this price. MP3’s? No way, with a boxed set this pricey.
    Granted, I’ve got some of these B-sides and remixes on original CD singles or 12″ singles, andI have the remainder of them on an unofficial 14-disc lossless audio download called “The Paul McCartney Singles Collection”. As for the “Put it There” video program, I’ll make do with the DVD-R that I burned from my old Laserdisc.

  23. Mister Stick says:

    Pardon if this point was presented in an earlier comment… There’s another issue to consider when looking at all of the Macca reissues: Short discs. For example, the Wings Over America “bonus disc”. That included just 8 cuts, totaling around 30 minutes. Why not fill the disc to at least an hour? If the producers think we would be interested in hearing another live version of “Maybe I’m Amazed”, then why not “Live And Let Die”, too? In the case of Flowers In The Dirt, 9 of the treasured Costello demos are a disc, and band demo versions of those songs are another disc. Odds are that both sets would fit on a single CD, right? That would open the door to put all (or most) of the content slated for download to fit on the 3rd disc, raising the value of this over-priced set, and quieting the storm over the necessity to download a lot of songs.

    • Carlton Fisher says:

      And if all of the download content wouldn’t fit onto a single disc, they could easily add the b-side material to the end of the original album (I know some people hate this, but it is at least additional material recorded in the time period and of-a-piece with the tone of the album for the most part) and put the mixes/single versions on the bonus disc.

    • Mister Stick says:

      What a unified chorus. Really great to have a place to vent about this kind of thing.

      In my earlier squawk, I mistakenly used “Live And Let Die” as an example of songs left off the bonus disc of Wings Over America. Then I actually looked at the damn thing to see it was there all along. But you get the idea: The WOA “extras” disc had only 8 songs for about 30 minutes, when it might have easily boasted twice as much. Point is, make better use of each 12 centimeters in the set. Why make us download stuff when you have the disc space to cram it all onto the CDs? And I’m guessing that is actually less hassle for the label than supporting download pages. The McCartney series should set the mark for quality and value and easily could. Instead that honor goes to the current run of Wilson-remixed-and-remastered Jethro Tull reissues: A small format with lots of printed content as well as wall-to-wall sound across all discs.

    • Max says:

      You forgot about the LP-version. It has to be double, as usual, not tripple. 18 tracks (9 +9) just won’t fit, that’s the reason.

  24. Jim Edwards says:

    Charles K. I couldn’t agree more. If you sell a physical product then that’s what we should get. Don’t buy and they will understand we are not to be taken for cash cows. Too many SDEs recently have done us over, can’t even be assed to mention them all but it’s time to stop this looting. If I pay £100+ I expect great remastering, great packaging and everything that should be there. Sam Brown’s latest should be the way forward. Thanks Paul. Record companies are fucking is all over, we have to stop this. Dead or Alive, David Bowie’s Legacy or Blackstar “12 Japanese only vinyl, Suede, T. Rex – well anything by Edsel… Oh, I could go on for days. So effin’ tired of all of this. You want my money and attention… then do your job properly and stop insulting and hurting the fans: your money makers.

  25. Richard says:

    Just plain lazy and insulting to the fans. I can see the way this is going – have been waiting forever for Wild Life with the two lost singles as extras (Give Ireland Back To The Irish & Mary Had a Little Lamb) – what’s the betting that they’re left out again as with all previous compilations (yes I know they were on the ’93 reissue but that’s difficult and expensive to find).

  26. Colin H says:

    The question of whether ‘it’s about the music, man – not the sound carrier’ is invalid in the case of (super) deluxe editions.

    The whole USP of these high-price items is that they ARE an expensive ‘artefact’ or physical product in which music in a physically-held form (or forms) is a crucial part of the package along with visual and textual content (books/nooklets/reprints of collectable ephemera) and sometimes audio-visual content (DVD/Blu-ray). The market is accepted – by buyers and creators, alike, one would have thought (until now) – to be people who are committed fans/collectors who almost certainly have some or all of the content in previous forms/formats and are choosing to buy a luxury item that is both physically attractive (and also has a tangible value and hence a physical re-sale potential, should they wish) and contains some content that is exclusive to it in some way.

    The first issue with the downloads, aside from the resolution/quality issue, is that they are not a tangible asset – they have no actual value, and cannot be a part of any re-sale potential of the set. Denying a buyer this tangible value in return for their 3-figure wad of cash is mean-spirited, aside from being wholly against the concept of super deluxe products in being entirely about ‘stuff’ – physical content in a box.

    The set should never have come to market like this. It is pure greed from a man who most certainly doesn’t need the money – and McCartney is the man who has control/sign-off on these products. The cost of manufacturing one extra CD is literally a few pence in a project like this.

    There are two solutions to the current disgrace (assuming the sets are manufactured):

    1. The Third Man Records approach, used in their ‘cabinet’ sets of the Paramount Records catalogue, which is to include a bespoke USB containing some exclusive hi-res audio content (alongside CDs, books, vinyl in their case). It would not be rocket science to create a USB with the McCartney B-sides in hi-res audio and create a moulding within which to place it along the pages-out side of the set, encased in heavy shrink-wrapping.

    2. Perhaps more conveniently, the Free ‘Songs Of Yesterday’ 5CD set approach, in which 4 CDs were placed in clip-in trays within a long-form three panel fold-out book-type set (a bespoke design by Phil Smee) but with the free-floating slipped-in insert of a single CD with extra material in a simple thin wallet (with a reel of studio tape as its design). Maybe this fifth disc was an afterthought in that project, but it worked perfectly well. The set was shrink-wrapped so naturally the fifth disc didn’t fall out when on sale.

    It’s everyone’s own business if they buy this set as it stands. Personally, I think people should make a stand.

    • Joseph says:

      Ah, great observation made about the diminished resale potential of the set. Hadn’t thought of that. I’ll bet MPL really likes that part a lot. I feel like that strategy as well as the pricing is an inetntional hedge against 3rd party reseller syndrome. I really do think this is a bite back at that aspect of the market – possibly Mr. McCartney is willing to sacrifice some sales in this regard to make such a point.

  27. Ben Williams says:

    The open letter for Paul McCartney/Capitol is written – anyone know where to send it and how to send it?

    • Gino says:

      Download only disc is not cool at all. They don’t have to change the artwork, just add the bonus disc in a paper white sleeve and include it in the box. Simple.

  28. Stefano says:

    This first Capitol release for Macca sure doesn’t make a lot of friends. A new Archive release should be a joyful experience. But if I was a Capitol executive, I’d be far from content reading all this anger.

  29. Colin H says:

    MPL Communications, 1 Soho Square, London, W1D 3BQ.

    I’m sure they’d love to get a load of cheesed-off letters. It’s a weirdly secretive set-up. I recall phoning once, ages ago, with a business-related query and the response was, ‘How did you get this number?’ I guess it’s full of people toadying around McCartney and stopping access rather than people running a business.

  30. Dave says:

    I’m not a fan of PM’s music, but I am a fan of physical product, and given the price point of this set, every tidbit of outrage to me is warranted.

    Paul is right about record label self-awareness though – they always point the finger outward regarding their mistakes. This is why they keep releasing what I consider highly vexing box sets, of all artists and genres.

  31. Paul Wren says:

    As others have said, simply just do not buy it.

  32. Ben Williams says:

    The letter has been sent to MPL. An email will be sent to Capitol and MpL tomorrow with the same letter. I can post it here at some point.

  33. Michael says:

    Hopefully, this Paul McCartney SDE doesn’t start a bad marketing trend for other recording artists, wherein the consumer will be offered a book of memorabilia in a nice box set slipcase, but part or all of the musical content made only available as downloadable mp3 files.

    • Colin H says:

      The end of the slippery slope is a huge empty cardboard box with only a download card in it, for access to a load of compressed MP3s, and a link to a website containing the pages that might once have been in a book – and they’ll be asking 150-odd quid for it.

      Actually, that sounds like a great idea for the Turner Prize competition. (I wish I was joking…)

      It’s the superdeluxe box set equivalent of Channel 4 buying The Great British Bake-Off – £50 million (or whatever it was) for an empty tent and a public relations disaster, and then a few million more for Paul Hollywood to try and prop the whole thing up.

      • Carlton Fisher says:

        Some companies are already taking this “empty box with a download card inside” approach for video games–even console games. I may be really old fashioned, but if i pay money for something like that, I want a physical product on a real disc, not a file that may get corrupted and then I have absolutely nothing. If a disc gets scratched, that’s my fault. I often don’t have control over what a hard drive does to a file.

    • Dave says:

      Michael I’ve actually dreaded that for a long time. “Here’s a book of notes and pictures, son. Oh, the music? Just go download it. We offer it in compressed, lossy format so that everyone can enjoy it, no matter their platform! After all, we know how storage space can be a problem, and we know that in reality your equipment isn’t good enough for you to distinguish lossless music anyway, not to mention those pesky disc players you’ve been hanging onto for the last fifteen years. We’re doing you a favor!”

      Hopefully it never comes to that.

  34. RJSWinchester says:

    To add some conviction to your protest, you should remove the Amazon links on the corresponding post about this release.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Not really. That’s a news story, saying this is coming out. This is a news story about how people have reacted.

      It’s not for me to dictate to people what they should or shouldn’t do. That’s an individual decision.

  35. Michael says:

    This is wrong on so many levels that I do not even want to get into it.
    For the love of god, put the downloads on a cd and print a paper sleeve and shive that into the box before release. This makes me sick that it could have even been thought up let alone get this far. Very disappointed as a fan.

  36. Johnny Jane says:

    The most thing to do is put all the B-sides in the 2-CDs edition, and then all the demos in the deluxe box set, why was it so complicated for them to come up with that ?
    I mean, even if they do something about it, I guess the standard edition will remain the same, which is weird. I’m a po’ boy and I ain’t got no money, why am I not allowed to get Flying To My Home ?

  37. Paul Sinclair says:

    I’ve alerted McCartney’s PR team to this and asked them to highlight it to management/label. They have promised to do so, so we’ll see what happens…

    • revroth says:

      Thank you, Paul! Fingers crossed…

    • Wayne Klein says:

      Bravo Paul! The only way that most fans will react is like me….I’m not buying it! If they included the downloads, as a separate disc I would! I dint mind high Rez downloads but, even in that case, it’s an add on for fans who want physical product. I’m kind of surprised that McCartney and MPL have not gone the Jethro Tull (DVD-A), XTC, King Crimson, Yes route of CD/Blu-Ray or DVD-A (in the case of KC and Yes).

      This is regressive product and shows a lack of thoughtful product development and/or not listening to their fan base.

  38. Lawrence Geller says:

    I have all of the prior boxes and have never listened to the CDs, only the hi-rez downloads. I’m STILL pissed about this, anyway. Thrillington gets it’s own disc, but there’s no room for ACTUAL Paul recordings.

  39. Jake says:

    > The end of the slippery slope is a huge empty cardboard box with only a download card in it, for access to a load of compressed MP3s, and a link to a website containing the pages that might once have been in a book – and they’ll be asking 150-odd quid for it.

    While a different category of product, this is more and more common now with software and video games. So something similar isn’t a radical thought for music, especially once the generation that still appreciates physical product (of which I include myself) dies off.

    And from a marketing point of view, making people go to a site to see content like photos allows you to also strategically place ads for the most recent products you’re selling.

    • Joseph says:

      While artfully avoiding my soapbox, I will say that software and video games do not have the tradition of physical product which music does. It’s not even apples and oranges.

  40. glenn roger says:

    I have all the other Paul McCartney box sets and was really excited when “Flowers In The Dirt” was announced. But to be honest, I am not a big fan of the “download” and never really utilize that part whenever it is in any box set. I am not a computer geek and not into downloads and online music. I am old school, meaning, I love the physical, in my hands, record or cd. I think Paul McCartney and his team putting this release together has lost sight of that. Here in the US, the pre-release price is already staggering for this box set, but now that I found out that the really cool stuff is downloadable only, I doubt very much I will get this box set unless they change course and place another cd in the box. What gets me is that every box set released up to this point has been outstanding, Paul even won a grammy award for packaging. But it just looks lazy to me to not include what people have been really wanting and to brush it off into a computer download. I hate to say it, but its the teenagers and young adults that go online to download that want it for free, those are the ones downloading Paul McCartney’s downloads, not the older collector that wants a physical classic box set and is willing to pay to get it. I will have to really consider getting this box set, but as of now, I am leaning on a NO!

  41. AlexKx says:

    This is probably done with the intent of selling the download stuff again on a re-release in physical form of some sort. Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous 25” was entirely canceled because they decided that the world’s best selling recording artist can no longer sell.

    • Carlton Fisher says:

      They cancelled Dangerous 25?????? I was really looking forward to that because there is reportedly so much unreleased material from that album. Jackson had supposedly originally planned a 2-disc album, but cut it back late in production to one disc. I was really hoping that we’d be getting those lost tracks (or at least some of them) in a re-release.

  42. graeme ewan says:

    there is one obvious option of course. Don’t buy it.

  43. Paul says:

    I’m sure everything’s been covered in the amazing responses to this issue, but I wanted to add my voice anyway. Omitting a CD of this material in a super deluxe edition of Flowers in the Dirt is a big mistake. Paul is one of the wealthiest entertainers in the world, and the fans buying these super deluxe boxes are devoted enough to buy this material multiple times. It can’t cost that much to add another CD with this material, especially at this price point. I understand that Paul was involved in the making of this edition, although he may not be aware this particular element of it. I hope that enough noise is generated that his new label and maybe even Paul himself will fix this situation. Pink Floyd’s massive Early Years box had an extra disc slipped in to correct an oversight, perhaps the same can happen here. Kudos to Super Deluxe Edition who also came to bat during the Peter Gabriel “So” issue a few years ago! http://www.superdeluxeedition.com/news/peter-gabriel-responds-to-open-letter-about-the-so-deluxe-box-set/

  44. Cary Allen Wilson says:

    Wow, seeing all the download-only tracks listed together in one place makes me angry all over again. I am now seriously thinking of NOT BUYING THE DIG DELUXE VERSION, MPL, like I have all the others. Just crazy stupid of them.

  45. Philip Cohen says:

    I would also like to add, that over the course of “The Paul McCartney Archive” series, that several companies have been utilised to administer the High Resolution 24-bit audio downloads. Sometimes the downloading process has been simple and reliable(“Venus and Mars”/ “Wings at The Speed of Sound”) and sometimes it has been slow, unreliable and impossible (“Pipes of Peace”/”Tug of War”). When my attempt to download one of those albums froze, I wasn’t permitted a second attempt. Customer service might have helped, but my attempt to contact them through the McCartney website failed, and website gave me an “error” message. I bought the “Pipes of Peace” & “Tug of War” boxed sets and I had the high resolution download coupons, but ultimately, it was much easier to obtain the high resolution downloads from unofficial websites. Incompetent download administration at McCartney’s website made the official download coupons utterly worthless and useless. In the end, I got my high resolution downloads(to which I was entitled anyhow), but not via the means that McCartney’s website intended.
    I am wary of any kind of official downloading. You could pay good money, and the download could freeze(due to server failure at the download company) and you get nothing. Customer service? Good Luck.

    • David M says:

      Good point. I actually (legally) downloaded the Tug of War Hi res files last night. I could not believe that there was no full album file zipped up to download. Had to click on each song individually, very tiresome. Whose idea was that?

  46. Kauwgompie says:

    It pissed me off to no end that Pipes of Peace didn’t include the 12″ mixes of Say Say Say, hence I didn’t buy it. As a child of the 80’s I want the 12″es on the SDE’s!!! Not as download or vinyl but on CD (or both). These downloads are cheap, complicated and unnecessary. They barely save any money by not including a 4th cd so why mess around with this???? And for pete sake, add all the 12″es, not just 1 or 2.

  47. Tony Gubba says:

    This is the worst thing ever. Nothing will be the same from this point in. Complete disaster

  48. Dave says:

    Kind of odd they can’t just throw all that stuff on a Bluray and be done with it. Seems to me that they might actually SAVE money by pushing server costs and download bandwidth (an ongoing expense) off their income statement and instead just put everything on a few discs and not have to maintain the downloads… Makes no sense, no matter how one looks at this.

  49. Philip Cohen says:

    Ultimately, whether the related released B-sides and remixes are offered as download-only or via CD, the artist and song publishing royalties(that Universal Music must pay out) are much the same. And, so how much money would it cost to press those songs on CD? A CD pressing would add perhaps 50 cents(half a dollar) to the manufacturing costs of a boxed set with a $140-$150 retail price. And McCartney and/or Universal Music think that they can’t afford the miniscule cost of pressing that CD. What a bunch of stingy penny-pichers!

  50. Phil Davies says:

    Let’s be perfectly clear, this crackpot decision is down to PM, not the “management team” or the record label but Paul himself – he must have signed off on this and he could easily reverse it if he chose to do so. Let’s see if for once he actually listens to the people who buy these things. I’m not holding my breath.

  51. Dean says:

    The best way to fight this is to NOT BUY IT.

    I hope you all refrain from supporting such nonsense.

    • Ben Williams says:

      Issue is more that we all DO want to buy this set but if we do not complain to Capitol about this then further future box sets will be worse or potentially not even considered.

      • Dean says:

        Ben: If you buy it, then you’re endorsing the approach. In the end, it’ll be the numbers that count.

        • Ben Williams says:

          What I mean is, I want to buy all the McCartney deluxe editions but when they don’t include obvious tracks in the box then its like, well I want to buy it but can’t as they haven’t put these on disc. But you’re right, its the numbers that count.

    • joseph maffei says:

      Your right Dean just don’t buy it. You can find most of these songs on bootlegs anyway. I hate to say it but the bootleggers give the fans what they want, not the artist .

  52. mike says:

    Strikes me that perhaps the lack of remixes on the last physical sets, might mean a separate remixes set?

  53. Steve gilmour says:

    Paul I appreciate the Floyd ‘bonus’ disc with early years was as a result of a mistake of having put the wrong disc in the set…but could the macca team not do the same thing now if boxes are already in pre production i.e. just do a card sleeve and put the bonus b sides disc inSIDE??

  54. Neil says:

    I find it strange that the vast majority of complaints here is about having to download the b sides and not about the ridiculous price of this box set.

  55. CartoonCoyote says:

    So can we get the addresses, please?

  56. OceanBlue says:

    People should not buy this, first because it is very expensive, secondly and mainly, because of the download only material. It’s so wrong in so many ways, it’s so wrong especially if this becomes a standard ! Not simply worng, a tragedy. But Garbage already did that, so Macca is simply following Garbage.
    We just need a third one !

  57. Matt C says:

    I’m a lifelong McCartney fan and have bought all of these sets as they’ve been released. I started to get some alarm bells going on the Tug of War set with the questionable remix being used as the primary. This one just confirms my worries that Macca has gone off the rails. He sometimes strikes me as the painter that doesn’t know when to put down the brush.

  58. Gisabun says:

    I can see many here are probably like me: I buy the physical copy over the digital copy unless the digital copy is unavailable [official bootlegs is an example].
    So why would I want to spend quite a chunk of my money for a digital download.
    As I mentioned in the original post, there is plenty of room on the 3 CD. Discs 2 and 3 could probably fit on one disc. Even throwing them on the DVD would be better than this &$#^$% format. If need room, toss the remixes. Do we really need a Tub Dub Mix, a Club Mix or an Instrumental mix?

  59. Paul Murphy says:

    What springs to my mind is how Macca used to be so proud of putting lots of extras in ‘Pepper’, the cutouts etc, as a way of giving something extra to the fans. Admittedly there are a lot of paper extras in the current item of contention, but it would be nice if Paul could remember his thinking of youth.

  60. Joseph says:

    Got to be promo discs of the “download-only” tracks. The hunt is on!

  61. Bill Hammell says:

    I’m fed-up. I’m only buying the 2-disc. I’ll hunt down any B-sides I don’t already have, and I only care about the demos with “Elvis Costello”, not the demos of album tracks.

  62. Ralf says:

    You pay a super deluxe edition, – you get the songs as a download. I don’t believe!

  63. Alastair says:

    You know, one of the most disappointing things about this release is that the bonus content on CDs 2 and 3 and the dvd looks really enticing, and would have made this a must buy (at the right price), but the ‘download thing’ really sours it. I’m also disappointed if this is the template for releases under the Capitol contract, and not a rogue final Concord one as I assumed it was.

  64. Ola says:

    Here in Sweden we celebrate April fools’ day
    April 1, but I guess you in U.K. celebrate in
    December…or is it true? B-sides only in
    downloads? Seriously? / Ola

  65. Leo says:

    The easiest way out of this is simply boycot buying the album. Don’t even buy one copy of it!

  66. Phil G. says:

    Good work, Sir Paul. You’ve managed to make the Human League boxset look like a complete bargain.

  67. Bill says:

    It’s difficult to know whether the record company or the artist is to blame here and with other box sets. The Pink Floyd effort was excellent. On the other hand, the Crimson box sets, whilst involving a lot of work, ended up releasing mostly stuff already bought (and these editions are directed at the fans who have invested a lot already). The recent Ian Hunter box set was a good example – most of the people buying the set already owned 75% of the stuff. As for the tracklisting on this Flowers SDE they can barely have spent half an hour thinking about it, which is fairly contemptuous.

  68. rosegirl says:

    I have bought all the McCartney sets as high-res digital downloads, but I can completely understand the annoyance of fans who spend a lot of money to end up having to then download a quarter of the set’s contents in unknown quality.
    I am also worried that I’ll be buying the hi-res download and won’t actually be able to get the extra download material, which is what I actually want, rather than a bunch of demos.
    It seems frustrating to me that many acts I love are doing big boxsets of their albums and sticking a few live / demos on as the extras whilst ignoring the released B-sides (looking at you in particular Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins) which are falling down the back of the sofa of history, or are only “available” via illegal torrents.

  69. Colin H says:

    Do we think he’ll Listen To What The Fan Said…?

  70. pinkfloyd says:

    The following are my top3 choices on the SDE reissue Hall of Shame*

    Peter Gabriel So 25th Anniversary SDE released a year late… 2012
    Phil Collins ‘Take a look at me now’ 8 albums reissue… 2016
    Paul McCartney Archive Collection… 2010 –

    (*or rather, “how not to reissue your precious back catalogue to your fans for idiots”)

    • Ben Williams says:

      I think that McCartney II was reissued spot on, which good for me as its in my top 3 Macca albums but I agree with your list.

      The actual Phil Collins remasered albums were top notch sound-wise but the bonus material on them was shambolic! The latter albums had better bonus content than the early ones.. For me, the only two Collins reissues that were spot on (for me) was But Seriously and Testify, in terms of cohesive and good bonus tracks.

      And as for Gabriel’s So 25th.. “How not to reissue your best album example for all artists”. Only good thing about that reissue was the fabulous Back To Front tour!

  71. Syl76 says:

    I agree with everyone here, it’s a shame and a real lack of decency for the fans who are the only ones to buy the SDE ! Where is the petition to have the download bonus on a 4th CD for me to sign it ????

  72. Alex says:

    Very disappointing release. Will pass on this one if te b-sides are download only.

  73. Adam says:

    The Paul McCartney reissues haven’t been that bad so saying all of them have been poor is a bit harsh. I have all the deluxe ones so far and have been pleased with the majority. Yes more could be included but overall they have been done well. This one however with the download tracks and price has unfortunately left a bad taste. Hopefully they sort it out for us fans

    • Eoghan says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily say the macca sdes are bad, but I get more value from a ten Euro deluxe 2cd kinks album, by a mile. I want to buy them by they’re such bad value for money, with little or no extra content to speak of (live stuff, documentaries, unheard tracks). Maybe the price is sunk into the admittedly impressive books.

  74. j says:

    A guy from Capital I know sent me an email & asked if I had seen this. I had. What a strange idea but these guys actually believe they are doing you a favor! In their mind, this is a really cutting edge idea. Those of you who know Mr Barentt will know what I mean. The good news is that downloads are down 40% + since their peak in 2012 and the offering will be dead by 2019.Some very important people will have a conversation about this and it will last all of 5 minutes. Bear in mind that SDE readers are fans, collectors and are passionate in the extreme. These guys look @ record releases the way you & I look @ a loaf of bread.
    Good luck Paul.
    And I mean both of you.
    J

    • Eugen Sokolov says:

      Just don’t understand what people at Capitol think about this dissatisfaction. Are they gonna revise the flowers reissue by adding one more cd?

  75. Philip Cohen says:

    After a hectic Christmas season release schedule, I’m (finacially & personally) relieved that the schedule is now quieting down. The only items that I presently have preordered are the Japanese surround sound SACD of “Jeff Beck Group-Rough and Ready”, the “Cream-Fresh Cream” boxed set and “The Move-Magnetic Waves of Sound” CD + DVD set. And, in the near future, I’ll preorder the expanded reissue of “Shoot-On The Frontier”.
    If the archival release schedule remains quiet after February, I can then consider some of the items that I previously had been unable to fit into my budget, including Jimmy Page’s mail-order 4-CD set of film soundtrack music, some 2014 Level 42 expanded remasters, and perhaps Pink Floyd’s “The Early Years” box (if the issue of faulty Blu-Ray discs is adressed) and The Monkees Blu-Ray box. For 3 months, sales of The Monkees Blu-Ray box was suspended, when the original packaging proved too fragile to withstand postal handling. The packaging was then re-designed and manufactured….only to have factory workers forget to include “disc 7″(the exclusive bonus content) in some of the re-packaged sets. I just didn’t want to take on the possible stress of the Pink Floyd and Monkees sets at this time.
    I’ve collected so-called “Classic rock” for slightly over 50 years. If there’s a slight drought in new archival releases in the first half of 2017, I’m O.K. with that. It may be an opportunity for me to play some of my CD’s, SACD’s, DVD-Audio & Blu-ray Audio discs for a second time, and to work my way through a more than 2000 disc backlog of CD-R’s and homemade DVD-Audio discs that i have yet to play. Playing discs for the first time is, for me, a quality control procedure (to be sure that the discs play properly). Playing a disc for the second time is for pleasure; to actually enjoy the music.

  76. Andrew Grant says:

    Macca/MPL/Capitol/whoever – just have a look at the beautifully packaged and very reasonable Steven Wilson Jethro Tull reissues.

    The argument that ‘if we dopn’t buy this, all deluxe editions will be stopped’ is fallacy. It is so clear from the reaction here that this is a specifically and particularly poor and thoughtless way to reissue material for such a major recording artist.

    A slap in the face to all fans

  77. Steen Hansen says:

    Good job, Paul. And I mean Sinclair!
    If MPL doesn’t listen, I hope people stay away from this product. What a bummer!

  78. DJ Boji says:

    A laughing stock and a great nonsense. Hopefully MPL and Capitol did not hire a new manager, who used to work at Burger King before that. I remembered the interview which Paul did with David Stewart from Eurythmics. I have laughed a lot when Dave was telling the Story about a manager who used to work at BK and then went to work at MCA and this manager intended to Give away free Eurythmics EPs with a special Hamburger menu.

    I really wonder who comes up with such a bullsh.. and who from The music companies approve that and to what extend the artists who really involved in such decisions.
    I wish we had a similar hot discussion about other reissues e.g. George Michael’s Listen without prejudice as there is lots of material instrumentals, remixes and demos that are not included. Wake up Sony and Colombia and come out of the comfort zone when it comes to reissues !!!!

    Other thing are all this rocket prices for some boxes which are also unrealistic. Often including LP’s in the boxes to make the price utopic is also a big nonsense. Since it is now official that in the UK more LPs were sold in 2016 than downloads it makes sense to separate things a bit more.

    If I have to be Honest for me Universal does the best work on reissues – content and price wise and offering various formats as well. Welldone !!!!!! E.g. Tears for fears Boxes, U2 boxes etc.

    My biggest wish is that the records companies will pay a bit more attention to all The Feedback given from all the music lovers on this site and from The people who are buying the products.

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

  79. Philip Cohen says:

    Someone on the internet pointed out that the demos included in this boxed set have long been available unofficially, and(knowing the length of those songs) that individual calculated the total length of the demo disc that McCartney intends to include in the “Flowers in the Dirt” boxed set. It has a total running time of a mere 26 minutes. McCartney and his manager have a poor sense of what constitutes good value for money at this price point.
    Why should this set be priced nearly double the price of the “Tug of War”, “Pipes of Peace”, “Venus and Mars” & “Wings at The Speed of Sound” boxed sets?

    • mike says:

      Its the same tracks as on youtube at less than 26 minutes, shockingly bad value, if musically fascinating. Someone earlier said drop the tub dub remixes, but for me the period between 1984 and 1992 is maccatastic, Ian Peel’s book on mccartney avant garde is a brilliant read and these remixes were ground breaking. Treat them with more than contempt please Paul.

    • adam shaw says:

      The extra disc in the Speed of Sound box was about the same length

  80. AlexKx says:

    This is probably because they intend to do a re-release at some point…hopefully with Blu-ray…

  81. Fernando de Oliveira says:

    Definitely the Macca team needs some fans (UK, USA and South America) to serve as consultant for these releases. It’s a shame what they are doing.

  82. Tino Stabile says:

    I admire Sir Paul and all he has accomplished either with the Beatles and with Wings and to a lower extent most of his solo output. Although I have to say one of his strongest ones was this one (Flowers in the Dirt) and a shame that this is transpiring at this juncture. I think Rush have had some great reissues with the vinyls with the download cards available and with the 2112 respectful reissues. However Mr. Ian Anderson with Jethro Tull need to be commended and are by far the ones that are listening to the fans the most. Great reissues, book size, reasonable price with 80-100 booklets with 2 Cd/2DVD with complete history on the making of the albums.
    If all record companies would follow suit it would be a wonderful world.
    Speaking of wonderful world… I would like to wish you Paul and all your followers and a great holiday season with plenty of great new reissues in 2017 and plenty of money from Santa so we can take part in some of these.

    Sincerely,

    Tino

  83. Dave Cox says:

    Well the Flowers In The Dirt package is now on the horizon which I have been waiting in anticipation for some time now. I have bought the whole series of these releases and to say the very least the content has been dwindling on the last 2 releases and this is the final straw, we can have the tracks if we down load load them at a vastly over priced box set.What is the point of down loads when we want something physical, a download is definitely not. If the down load was included on CD everybody would be happy with the exception of the price.However they have still omitted several tracks that came with the Flowers In The Dirt album and the many different single configuration releases which were included on the Japanese 2 disc version. Where is the Long And Winding Road, the 2nd version of Rough Ride, Mamma’s Little Girl, Same Time Next Year and PS Love Me Do. I seriously hope that the powers that be in Capitol can see all these negative comments. I can’t fathom out why Paul who apparently has been heavily involved in putting this compilation together would do this to his loyal fans who have stuck by him all these years, I think this is pretty shabby treatment. He has so much money, why would he want to short change his fans. Come on Paul put this right and make it something you and the fans can be proud of and enjoy that will have a long lasting effect that will outlive us all.

  84. ed silverman says:

    Feel the need to go on record with my displeasure at the decision not to release evrything on cd. This fan won’t be spending any money on the reissue.

  85. Philip Cohen says:

    With download-only content on this McCartney box and no CD release for a recent Bob Marley concert album, we are obviously seeing the first of what will be a series of provocations against Compact Disc collectors (and eventually against vinyl collectors as well) from Universal Music. One of Universal’s label’s (Capitol) has already stated that they will no longer offer recordings on any physical format after the end of 2018.

    • Ben Williams says:

      I’ve heard this too and was horrified. Vinyl sales out-sold mp3 here in the UK, last year was it?

      I hope that’s its just a crazy rumour.. I hope they get the remaining McCartney remaster titles out on CD before 2018. I wish I hadn’t sold my copy of Back To The Egg back in 2010 too. I assumed all the remasters were coming out quickly. Boy, was I wrong!

  86. Charlie Waffles says:

    Hey, Mac: What have you been smoking lately? I do not plan on buying this set. I will buy another set from an artist who makes sense of what I will pay for. Shame on you!

  87. Ben Williams says:

    Just for reference, sent this in the post and in email to MPL, as well as an email to Capitol:
    —–
    An open-letter to Paul McCartney and Capitol Records, in regards to the forthcoming deluxe re-release of ‘Flowers In The Dirt’:

    Dear Paul & Capitol Records,

    I am writing to you in regards to the announcement of ‘Flowers In The Dirt’ to be reissued in March next year.

    Many of us that have been purchasing the Archive Collection deluxe editions so far have all been longtime fans. We’ve been to the concerts, we’ve bought the albums, we all bought them again in 1993 when EMI reissued them, as well as collecting the singles, the DVDs and most of us remember the times our favourite McCartney albums were released. Back in 1989, Flowers In The Dirt was a big hit in the UK, reaching number one. All The Best had been released two years prior, going 3x platinum and reminding the world of all the big hits. A world tour loomed at the end of the decade, with Hofner bass and Beatles hits in hand. All in all, a great period to be a McCartney fan.

    In the publicity photographs, this reissue set all looks wonderful. Remastered original album, tick. Long-sought-after demos with Elvis Costello, tick. More demos with the band, tick. Exhaustive DVD with original videos, documentaries and new interviews, tick. All the B-sides, remixes and bonuses, download-only. Wait, hold on a second… We have all been collecting these sets to “archive” all the official recordings from the time of the album (and unreleased tracks) in lovely, lavish deluxe editions, all following the same trend of previous sets so that eventually we’d have a ‘complete’ collection on CD. What happened? Why was this decision made?

    Those of us that purchase expensive sets believe in physical product, that is why we buy it, year-in, year-out. That is why vinyl is on the rise and cheap sounding and throwaway mp3 sales are on the decline. An important factor is the increase use of tablet computers, unable to download music files directly. Download-only music, available in the way you are offering it, is utterly wasted on those without a desktop computer.

    This set is currently retailing at £120 on the Universal music store. And that is before postage. 4 discs and some books at this price is extremely over-priced. These sets do cost money to design and manufacture, I understand that but you only have to look at a few past examples (including your own back catalogue) that multi-disc and quality deluxe reissues do not have to be too expensive to still recoup the budget (and then some) and at the same time offer real value and a real experience to all those who dearly want sets like this, especially in an age when streaming is becoming the norm. These sets are aimed at people like us that want to buy physical music. Take a look at the recent Bruce Springsteen ‘The Ties That Bind’ box set. The River album on 2 CDs remastered, either 2 Blu Ray discs or 3 DVD discs of documentary and concert footage and 3 CDs of bonus tracks, both released and unreleased, all culled from the album sessions. Whilst you don’t have to exactly replicate the way any other artists do their super deluxe editions, but you can surely look at those sets that have been received well critically and commercially with the fans. Also of note, the Springsteen set was typically less than £75 at most retailers here in the UK. It contained double the amount of discs of this reissue of Flowers In The Dirt and similar amount of books, etc. And still cheaper. Even the recent Bob Dylan box set offered a whopping 36 discs for £100!

    Even if you priced this new set at £100, you could still offer more content within the set, most importantly these B sides and remixes advertised as ‘download-only’. There are more songs from 1987 to 1989 that are completely worthy of inclusion. For example, you offer Back On My Feet and Loveliest Thing but no Once Upon A Long Ago, Love Come Tumbling Down, Same Love, Atlantic Ocean or PS Love Me Do and many more, which stem from the same period. Fans are clamouring for these tracks in good sound, not on long out of print singles or bootlegs. You surely want to demote piracy? Imagine how many more sets would be sold if more rarities were included? The more that buy the early ones the more that will buy the later ones. Imagine releasing McCartney II with no Check My Machine or RAM without Another Day? It would seem strange and ill-thought. And that is crux of the issue here. You are alienating a lot of people who buy these sets by not including basic things that have been included on previous sets, and fans deserve better treatment and better value.

    We love you and your work. We love your new music (Flaming Pie, Chaos & Creation and NEW are absolutely fabulous works, up there with your best!) and we merely ask that we have celebration of your landmark albums with all they have to offer, warts and all.

    Take a look at the comments on ‘SuperDeluxeEdition.com’, a leading music release website. In the first couple of hours of the reissue announcement, hundreds had voiced their anger at the decisions made in the contents and pricing of this set. I urge you to take heed at these comments – these are the people that buy these sets.

    I hope sincerely that you reconsider the contents of this box at this price. There is still time. Even including a 4th CD with the B-sides and remixes, etc in a paper sleeve (if packaging has already been printed and completed) and slipped inside the box. The future sales of the Archive Collection depend on it.

    Kind regards,

    Ben Williams.

  88. DaveM says:

    Brilliant letter Ben and particularly like ‘The future sales of the Archive Collection depend on it’. Being a hopeless completist myself, the dilemma of whether to even keep the nine I already have is seriously looming if the situation is not resolved, and in future I will always refer to Capital as Crapital.

    • Ben Williams says:

      Thanks. Feel free to copy and paste the letter and email them with it! The more that send it, the better :-)

  89. bertielego says:

    Excellent letter.

    …and a blueprint for future similar complains!

  90. Max says:

    Such a disgrace for the Archive Collection which began so hopeful 6 years ago. Its first mistakes (16:9 video aspect ratio instead of original 4:3 for 1973, 1974 and 1980 promos) and random omissons of some rare collectable tracks from the corresponding eras (original 1971 mono mix of ‘Another Day / Oh Woman, Oh Why’, 45” versions of ‘Love In Song’ and ‘Get It’, ) were sad but this news about phisycal absence of 1989 B-sides is just a complete failure. You can’t do that!!!!! It fucks up the whole idea… People from MPL, please do something until it’s too late!

  91. geoff G says:

    Eugen, I signed. Although I like Ben’s letter more as it goes into much more detail. Nevertheless, good job on getting it up, already over 100 signatures.

    I actually like all the stuff we are getting in the box. Books, DVD, and music. It’s a lot in comparison to the last four Archive releases. BUT I do not like the downloadable content. Ben said it right when it was noted that you have to have a personal computer to get this music. That should not be the case, it should be a CD.

    A last note. I was under the impression that this was to be the final Archive release? I thought that was brought up during the last batch of Archive releases; Pipes of Peace and Tug of War.

    • Eugen Sokolov says:

      I agree that Ben’s letter is better and has decent arguments. But I do hope that my petition will work. “You may say l’m a dreamer but l’m not the only one”. How do you know that this is the last archive release. Is it confirmed?

  92. Yves says:

    Some years ago, records companies wondered what to do against illegal download. The answer was obvious : deliver products of quality (that is through physical products!) to the buyers, and even some extras for the same price (some vinyls are still delivered with a cd of the album).
    My attachment to music is also linked to sleeves, photos, lyrics and notes that I can handle through a physical product. I bought my first record in 1985 so maybe it is a hard habit, but I will never pay for a file that can be indefinitely duplicated with a simple paste/copy manipulation.
    I understand the frustation: prices for some so-called deluxe edition are going crazy, if the price included some immaterial music, this is insane!

  93. david miller says:

    Can someone remind Paul about the principles behind Apple?

  94. Geoff G says:

    Eugen, no it’s not confirmed. I just read it on a forum when the last batch came out. That doesn’t make it truth. So, I hope I’m 100% wrong.

    I would love a Back to the Egg with the promo video album they did on DVD as the ones on YouTube are unwatchable.

  95. Daniel says:

    Does anybody know just how much involvement does McCartney have with these reissues? Is he very hands on with the whole lot, or does he just throw the archives open, ala Bowie with Rykodisc, and let the record company decide how it’s all going to be packaged and sold? I can’t help but wonder if this was a descsion made by someone who doesn’t really have their finger on the pulse of what the buying public really wants, but rather what they want the public to have.

    It wouldn’t harm anyone to have someone in charge of re-issues that is a fan of the maerial/artist, yet can be removed enough to be objective. Too many times we see the artist take total control over the re-issues and the results are dire – my classic example is U2. The reissues there were great, the Achtung Baby box set is magnificent, but, because they believe that Rattle & Hum and Pop were failures (read – didn’t sell enough in America) there’s no reissus, deluxe editions or box sets. I’d love deluxe editions or box sets of R&H and Pop and, honestly, I could put them together very easily. But I’ve given up on the band issuing them. Instead we’ll see deluxe/boxes for crap like Atomic Bomb and ATYCLB before the others.

    So, back to the topic, is this debacle down to Macca or someone working for Capitol?

  96. Steve says:

    Let’s be perfectly honest folks, even the previous archive releases were a tad thin in any really special extra content when put against comparable box sets by other artists. They were and are overpriced in relation their overall contents. No live unreleased material where I’m pretty sure some must exist, for instance. McCartney has been taking us all for a ride with his archive releases but up until now he did it more stealthily. Now he takes the full plunge with the bizarre choice of a 80’s album, however a good one it may or may not be? One arrogant complacent release too many I’d say.

  97. RikTheHib says:

    From Maccas own website:

    The Paul McCartney Archive Collection release of Flowers In The Dirt was, as always, personally supervised by Paul himself.

    So, there, from the horses mouth……..

    • Daniel says:

      Fair enough. Then the buck stops with the Big Man himself. Methinks he’s been ill advised on this one. “Technology, Paul. That’s the way to go. Everyone loves to download!”

  98. TK says:

    Is it clear/ confirmed that the b-sides have been remastered? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • CL says:

      My assumption based on the wording of the press release is: no. The download-only tracks have not be remastered.

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  100. jon says:

    how bout just download the songs, burn a cd, stop complaining and shut up and enjoy the music

    • Dave says:

      My father, and I’m sure a lot of other older fans, does not have a computer or the means to download and play these tracks. Why should he not be able to enjoy them just because of his age and circumstances.

    • CL says:

      jon: “how bout just download the songs, burn a cd, stop complaining”

      That’s utterly ridiculous. If McCartney was gifting this material to fans, then fine – you’d be right. Just like the free downloads from “Venus and Mars” (that really should’ve been included on the bonus CD) – they were free. This, with “Flowers,” is different. If this release is important to you (it is to me), there’s every reason to complain about an expensive set that treats vital B-sides and other archival material as afterthoughts.

  101. Max says:

    2 jon:

    >how bout just download the songs, burn a cd, stop complaining and shut up and enjoy the music

    How about just put all the songs on cds officially, with no download content – without making troubles? Quite an easy task for a record company to make every single SDE buyer happy.

    • Philip Cohen says:

      Max,

      The only problem with your instructions(download, then burn a CD), is that McCartney’s download may be MP3(not full CD sound quality), and the download system at McCartney’s website has often been unreliable.

  102. Eugen Sokolov says:

    burned cd is a sort of hand made, and placing it in the deluxe set would look like handwritten papers put into an expensive book – very awkward

  103. Adey says:

    I don’t and won’t buy overpriced crappy downloads at all. The deluxe edition of Bob Marley live! Is another example of greed driven record companies driving people to pay cd prices for downloads. Personally, I boycott them as i want a physical item if i have paid a fair price for my music. If i was into non physical downloaded music i would go on a torrent site for it and pay what its worth to me (nothing!)
    (By the way, I DON’T download from torrent sites- just for the record!)

  104. James King says:

    No worries. The Japanese bootleggers will happily pirate the downlod content on pressed picture discs with bonus tracks and artwork and packaging better than the legit release !

  105. Simon says:

    The Japanese version seems to be cd only with no downloads. That would seem therefore to be the answer.

  106. CartoonCoyote says:

    I both wrote a letter of my own and signed the petition. Let’s see what happens.

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  109. george lennon says:

    if no-one bought them they will listen but f they made money from the gullible then they won’t care.

  110. JudeMac says:

    The Voodoo records release of this title (Bootleg) actually has better selections, nevertheless, Paul should have released this material on a CD (had bassically 98% already). As a collector got it, made a special CD of the downloads & put it inside my Super deluxe box set for the collection. Paul if you read this made a big mistake on this release and hope it doesn’t happen on future reissues.

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  113. Jim Gilbert says:

    Man, Bought the new CD release and as a collector of all things Beatles, I had everything already, but that does not excuse this awful release, soon to be forgotten in my collection. Just couldn’t put the B-sides on a CD and have the boring demos, as your downloads bonus. As the price you are asking for, this is a disgrace to you. I won’t buy that thing you call a deluxe edition ever, and it stops my habit of buying everything.

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