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Peter Gabriel responds to ‘open letter’ about the “So” Deluxe Box Set

So Deluxe Box / Peter Gabriel

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Peter Gabriel has this afternoon personally responded my open letter about the forthcoming So Deluxe Box Set. In the letter he admits “we got this wrong” by not including Live In Athens on Blu-ray and adds that “there are no plans, at present, for a stand-alone version” (of Live In Athens). In response to the letter and fan feedback, the download included with the box will now include “a selection of tracks in 720p” which Gabriel acknowledges is “not perfect” but is “the best we can do in the circumstances”.

He also explains in some detail why B-sides and remixes were not included and the reasons for not including 5.1 surround sound.

I would like to thank Peter Gabriel for going to the time and trouble of writing a response to my original open letter. I’m sure his fans would agree that, wherever they stand on the pros and cons of this box set, it’s a great gesture.

The response has been posted on his Gabriel’s website but I hope he will forgive me for including the full text below. Let me know your thoughts on what Peter has had to say. I will post a response on this in the next day or two.

Pre-order the So  Deluxe Box Set here (UK) or here (US)

Peter Gabriel responds to So Deluxe Box criticism

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Peter Gabriel responds to So Deluxe Box criticism

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80 responses to Peter Gabriel responds to ‘open letter’ about the “So” Deluxe Box Set

  1. Guy says:

    It is a great response, although it really doesn’t address why they don’t just cover all bases and include a disc of b-sides and remixes (some of which are not on a digital format)

  2. Don says:

    Wow! Kudos to PG for taking the time to respond. I appreciate his perspective and the time he took to explain the decision-making process. That said, I still won’t be buying this, but not because I harbor any ill will toward PG. The absence of the remixes and b-sides, and the duplication of content, are still the two biggest obstacles for me.

    People criticize U2’s Achtung Baby set, but I think they did a stellar job on it… they managed to include most of the remixes and b-sides, AND present the album as a work-in-progress (the “Kindergarten” disc) similar to So DNA, AND include many unreleased tracks. They put it all on ten discs (6 CDs and 4 DVDs) with a huge book for around the same price that the So box was originally going for. The So box remains for me, a missed opportunity. But I do wish PG the best.

  3. Ryan Talbot says:

    Only one last criticism of the box set, which is that if Peter and his team knew that there would be a standalone release of the Classic Albums documentary on DVD & Blu-Ray but not the Athens film, then why didn’t he include DVD and Blu-Ray of the Athens concert as discs 5 & 6 and keep the Classic Albums documentary as strictly a standalone release?

  4. lee says:

    Paul – excellent work and a brilliant response from Mr Gabriel.

    I am not sure you should trouble yourself with further communication specific to this, though, as it is clear that he has read everything and responded in exceptional detail. Perhaps leave it be, but follow up after the release to see if there is the kind of demand for the other releases?

    His comments are not without precedent. You may recall the story of how The Who’s Live At Leeds came to be. They returned with tapes of every US concert and were simply overwhelmed by just how much there was to go through. That led to the quick setting up of the Leeds and Hull gigs to just simply record and release those instead. Perhaps if people he trusted volunteered to do the combing task that POV sounds like then maybe, but clearly he feels he cannot justify the time to tackle it in regards of the demand for it.

    Once again, outstanding work in this matter, and thanks for the constant updates on all these special suderdeluxe edition releases.

    cheers

    Lee

  5. Rami says:

    Thanks for the response Peter. And thank you Paul for the opportunity to let us see the up and close contact process with the artist of this “controversial” box set. I gotta tell you this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, at least for me, to see the artist respond to the negative feedback of a future release of him and the fact he gave the reasons why he included what he did was humble to say the least. He let the fans know his intentions and that is huge of him.

    However I don’t know what PG meant when he said “…yet another collection of b-sides and remixes…”. Did I miss a b-sides release of these sessions?
    Also, it’s sad he won’t release the BluRay version of the POV concert any time soon, but he’s got a point when he said that it will only be released if it offers material with more value for those who purchase the box, I would be raging mad if it was released a little after the exclusive release in an expensive box to be honest, it would devalue the box even further.
    I didn’t understand the decision to leave off the 5.1 mix and hi resolution stereo of the audio in the box set, since Play was released 8 years ago and they could’ve included brand new mixes.

    From what I took from his letter, this set is aimed to fans who prefer a package that includes more universal formats (DVD instead of BluRay, MP3 downloads instead of hi res SACD or DVD/BR), but the irony is the price of the package as well.

    All in all, I think Peter did the best he could with the box, but in the end of the day it’s not strong enough to pay so much for it, but I immensely appreciate his gesture and may buy the box in the future if it drops to around 70 bucks and I have a little extra money because apparently this is the best we’ll be getting for now.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Rami, I think when Peter talks about “yet another collection of b-sides and remixes..” he’s just referring to what other artists do in their boxes, and how he wanted to do something different.

      Of course he could have, should have, done both DNA and b-sides/remixes, but what is done is done.

      • Rami says:

        Paul, thanks for clarifying that, though I think I’m not alone when I say that it’s urgent that PG released a b-sides/remixes/non-album soundtrack songs in a more comprehensive box set. If any artist in the world right now should do a treatment of compiling non album tracks, it’s PG. I really hope this gets done in the near future, but that’s another story. Thanks! Great job.

  6. Paul Sinclair says:

    (Response to Ryan..) I think PG acknowledges in the letter that they should have put Athens on Blu-ray. Fair play to him for this.

  7. Croc says:

    While it’s a nice gesture of PG to respond, and to toss in some extra trinkets for those willing to shell out for the set, sadly there really wasn’t much of a response to the myriad of people who ACTUALLY WANTED “another remixes and B-sides set”.

    Why oh why it is so hard to realize that people bought these tracks when they came out, they know them, they like them, they want to have them on a disc. And not only that, but guess what wasn’t announced as a throw in for those who buy the set?

    I’m about 95% sure that if him and his label advisors came to their senses and released a separate one disc collection of that “boring” remixes and B-sides disc, it would easily outsell the version they’re offering now.

    Sorry, Peter. While it is interesting to hear how things were created, that’s hardly less compelling than the fully formed, already liked tracks that STILL have not been released on disc. Die hard fans will still buy lavish expensive things, but only if you actually include the things they most wanted in the first place. Your explanation is courteous but not very helpful.

  8. Todd R. says:

    See what happenes when you write a personal, yet professional letter? Nicely done, and a very wonderfully put response by Mr. G. I’m now going to get a ticket to the tour and go. I’m totally into this idea again.

  9. Dominic says:

    Fair play to PG for answering your letter, but not the “SDE v Swing Out Sister” response I was hoping for. I get what he’s saying about the DNA cd which sounds great. But for a casual fan like me I would have still liked remixes & b-sides as well as or instead of. But I guess I’m just not who these releases are aimed at. Great work Paul, crusading for us SDE addicts once more!

  10. DLG says:

    I’m impressed by Mr. Gabriel’s thorough and considered response.

    Also, I’m reminded that in any publishing / production enterprise, there are so many factors, options and especially – distinct challenges for each of those options. In this case there are market wants, restoration costs, distribution channels, format strategies and so on.

    I’d have been happy with with the album itself expanded to include b-sides and remixes. Everything else – demos, live tracks, vinyl – is typically more than I require from a re-issue campaign. But that’s just me.

    But clearly, Mr. Gabriel and his team are interested in creating a more ambitious anniversary set. I respect that vision, even if it doesn’t fit overlap perfectly with my preferences. And I’m sure the tracks I’m interested in seeing will pop up eventually.

    So you win this round, Peter Gabriel. Well played indeed.

  11. Anfunny says:

    It’s always good to see an artist acknowledge and respond to fan feedback so really, kudos to PG. At least he knows what we want, even if it’s too late to incorporate that into this box set. But is NO ONE happy that the b-sides/mixes will now be available as HQ downloads to anyone who purchaes the box set? Or have I misunderstood? I’d give anything for the content of that 12″ single to be on my iPod, not from a snap/crackle/pop vinyl source!

  12. Anfunny says:

    oh, ignore me. I got confused with the mention of downloading 12″ material and I thought he was talking about the original 12″ stuff… bah. I’m still not buying it!

  13. Sordel says:

    The letter is very full and forthcoming, but what it basically does is to say ‘when you see what we did with the footage and the studio demos you’ll see why it’s worth the money’. Obviously one can’t judge a set entirely on its feature list, so maybe this set is better than it appears. But I’ll never know for certain because I’m not buying it.

  14. Steven Cacciaroni says:

    So will the additional inclusions change people’s minds and sway them to reconsider buying this now? It’s made me re-consider it.

  15. Steve says:

    Nope. Still not buying it.

  16. Daniel says:

    Dear Peter Gabriel,
    let us know when you’ll releasing a “SO 12Inch PLUS” CD
    with all the good old remixes and maybe some unreleased,
    alternatives or instrumental versions of the album tracks
    – like on his latest “New Blood” Special Edition.
    That would be interesting….. to hear the original album tracks
    as the no-vocal or backing vocals versions….
    Thanks to Paul !!!

  17. Bert says:

    Cool that Peter Gabriel responded to the letter, but I feel he fails to comprehend the issues. Moreover, he does not convince me that my investment will be worthwhile. Surely simply remastering the B-Sides and remixes (and some outtakes) cannot have been more work than the So DNA CD?

    And yes, perhaps the “B-Sides and remixes” disc is a bit of a cliché, but so is the “live recording from that era” — and that one gets represented by not just a DVD, but also a double CD! So is including a vinyl copy of the album. So is including a DVD with a making of.

    Considering there are clips of the Athens gig in the “Classic Albums” documentary, and considering that one is available on Bu-ray (in 1080i), I fail to see why it is included as a mere DVD in this expensive set. Surely including a 1080i Blu-ray cannot have been that big of a cost. They must have created a high-def master of the film anyway…

  18. Wayne Carter says:

    Impressive response and kudos Paul for elevating the fan’s concerns. I for one wanted HiRes and will apparently be getting those so I just ordered the box. Mission accomplished PG!

  19. Hedley says:

    Kudos to PG for responding.
    Could I suggest an “Encore Series” release in CD and DVD for the forthcoming Back to Front So tour ? It would be a very nice companion for whatever form of So reissue one might buy.

  20. Robert says:

    That letter reads like one from marketing so I’d say there’s a very good chance that someone else wrote most of that letter. And, so basically, we’re not changing anything, you’ll get what we’re putting out. Still not buying it and all the previous criticisms remain…..

  21. Craig Houston says:

    Maybe that’s it…? You know they’re going to film the Back To Front Tour – so sometime next year PG will release Live in Athens & Back To Front together in a double Blu-ray package… and, if the powers that be are reading and listening, they will do a Limited Edition version that would include the b-sides and remixes CD, and maybe a nice book comparing the 2 “So” tours – especially since only the Americas are getting to see this tour, it would be really great for Europe and the Pacific!!!
    Here’s hoping – and I can’t wait for Detroit!!
    …and to get my So box.

  22. Eric says:

    I think PG’s done himself a lot of good with acknowledging the issues, responding in the way he has, and admitting some mistakes have been made. His “mea culpa” is admirable. That said, whilst I respect whatever concept was behind the overall boxset and his reasons for not taking certain routes with it (ie the B-sides and remixes), this ultimately doesn’t change my own feelings over the content included.

  23. JL says:

    Love and respect Peter for responding, but the box content does not justify the price and is still severely lacking and downloads do not interest me one bit. Still no sale. Perhaps something better will come this way in the future. Still can’t wait to see the show in several weeks though.

  24. Uten Frame says:

    Great to see artists involved and interacting with the fans who shelve up the money. So thanks to PG for his time.

    It seems to me that PG had a vision with what he wanted to do with this set, and unfortunately that wasn’t 100% on par with what people wanted. I have no doubt that they worked hard and with good intentions – it just failed to live up to expectations. I’m sure there are a few out there who will pick this up nonetheless, and for those waiting for the cool stuff (b-sides, remixes and 5.1 that is)… Will be just that. Waiting.

  25. Peter Dixon says:

    Reading Peter’s response helps makes more sense of the contents of the box set. But ultimately, while he may not want to release “just another” remixes and b-sides CD, that is precisely what I do want – and it wouldn’t be “just another”, but the b-sides and remixes of one of the best albums of the 1980s, which surely makes such a collection essential.

  26. Peter Dixon says:

    Peter’s response helps makes more sense of the box set. But ultimately, while he may not want to release “just another” remixes and b-sides CD, that is precisely what I DO want. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be “just another”: it would be the b-sides and remixes of one of the best albums of the 1980s, which is surely why so many of us want such a collection and why such a CD is essential.

  27. Shaun says:

    It was good of him to respond. Putting aside the extra content issue, I think this whole fiasco underscores the fact that putting an album on every format known to man into one box set doesn’t make it all that worthwhile. Some want vinyl. Some want blu-ray, others dvd. Some want SACD or DVD-A. Some want hi-res stereo. Others 5.1 surround. Doesn’t it make more sense to release these individually and let the consumer choose?

  28. Peti says:

    Hi everyone,

    Peter is a very nice guy and all, and he did manage to settle certain points (e. g. the 24-bit FLAC download versions of some material), but he didn’t properly address the most disputed issue of all: the inclusion of b-sides and remixes. While I understand that under the circumstances no other disc can be added to the box itself, I don’t see why he hasn’t considered offering those b-sides and remixes at least as high-quality downloads, thus still including them in the box-set experience at no further charge. I am not a studio guy so I have no idead how much that would cost for them to produce, but I think a lot of people would be a lot happier to buy the set if they knew that somewhere down the line (maybe not instantly), they would have access to at least some wonderful B-sides such as Curtains and Don’t Break This Rhythm etc. That said, DNA sounds like a real treat, but we should convince Peter that it does not compensate for the lack of b-sides (even if only as downloads). Deluxe buyers desire the whole experience as much as possible (and rightly So :-)!), and b-sides form an integral part of that experience, so they cannot wholly be dismissed. I seriously think we should start a petition for at least some b-side downloads included in the package price, such a petition worked in “forcing” the SACD release of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. Peter is the kind of guy who would listen if we make a reasonable request, and politely asking for the b-sides as downloads (perhaps only made available in the future) strikes me as a reasonable compromise.

    After all, we all want this because we love the great man and great musician that he is. Nothing in the rock music arena moves me as Peter’s voice and songs do, and a very spiritual friend of mine who knew very little about Peter’s music said, as clear as day, on hearing his voice: “He sings from the heart”. He does, and that’s why we are drawn to his music. With this hunger for anything by the man, I was instantly fascinated by just MP3 snippets of e. g. Don’t Break This Rhythm recently, which I had never heard before, even though I have been a die-hard fan since So, having almost all of his catalogue (previously available) on SACD. I am probably buying this Deluxe edition anyway, so I am not “blackmailing” anyone, but it would really be a nice gesture from Peter and Realworld to treat us hardcore fans to at least future access to some of these B-sides as (hi-rez) downloads.

    Whatever eventually happens, I will remain with all due respect to the wonderful man and musician we all admire around these forums, the bard Peter Gabriel :-)!

    I hope the idea of such a petition will catch on with other fellow-fans.

    Best to you all,

    Peter Antonyi (Hungary)

  29. Justin says:

    Nice to hear it from the horses mouth, but it hasn’t changed my mind. Still not buying, and I’m even more annoyed and mystified now that ‘PoV’ or ‘Athens’ might not be getting it’s own release. Ridiculous.

  30. Dean says:

    Perhaps we tend to forget the amount of work – in man hours – it takes to put these things together. The So DNA disc sounds cool (though as I’ve stated before, I think this is the weakest of the solo PG albums and would have preferred one of the first four albums getting the treatment).

    Also, we should take into account the fact that PG spent time on this. As an artist who spends a lot of time looking forward, I’m sure he would have preferred doing something new and creative.

    Still, there are two sides to these projects – the artist and the consumer. The consumer seems to have gotten forgotten to an extent, at least in terms of what constitutes a modern day “Special Edition” where things like hi-res audio ought to be a given.

    It’s too late to fix the physical package now, so it is what it is. Perhaps it’s easier for me to write off since I have no intention of spending money on So. At least we know what’s in it, and we have a response from PG’s mouth (as it were).

  31. Mike Fisher says:

    Thank you Peter Gabriel for for responding and doing so in such a gracious manner. I’ve owned So on both cassette and CD bought from retail and on vinyl second hand. The DNA CD sounds fascinating (Abba did a similar thing for just one track on The Visitors DE) but it is not worth the current box price for me to hear it, or the three additional bonus tracks. I also love 5.1 and appreciate there’s a lot of strong opinion about the format (I’m quite happy with Dolby Digital or DTS personally, and I suspect SACD 5.1 is least supported format. Maybe the right blu-ray music disc wld get me to invest in the format.) But the box is still not for me at this price point and with so much duplicated content too. The remixes and b-sides are a significant and disappointing omission for me like several others. Oh well, money saved and all that…

  32. Tobias Lotz says:

    Hi,
    I may only repeat what others already said, but I think the number of replys count as well:
    Thanks Peter for the reply, but the fact that you are not going into detail why the B-sides/Remixes were not added is confusing.
    There was a lot of spectacle when Real World announced the box way back then and asked the fans to send in photos of tickets and memorablia from this time (as did I whwith en scanning my old Stuttgart ticket). Why did you not include a poll back then, what we -the fans- would like to see included? I´m pretty sure that a separate CD of B-sides/Remixes would have been on top of all lists, simply because many versions are not available on digital media at all…

  33. Simon Long says:

    Frankly, it’s a very disappointing response. My main objection to the So box is the amount of duplicated material across multiple formats doing nothing but pushing the price up, and PG’s response conveniently fails to make any comment at all on this.

    Not to mention the claim that PG has some of the Athens material available in 720p for download – so he only converted *some* of it to HD, did he? Nonsense – I can’t think of any clearer evidence that a BD of Live In Athens is already in production, ready to be released as soon as a few months has passed.

    Kudos to PG for replying, but really, he’s defending the indefensible. This box set is about making money for PG and EMI – it’s not about giving the fans anything they want, or at least, not at a fair price.

    PG’s releases over the last couple of years have left a very bad taste in the mouth – multiple formats with exclusive tracks on each, the Live Blood full audio release 6 months after its inclusion in the box set, etc. It’s quite clear he has lost any streak of musical creativity, and is more interested in increasing the size of his pension fund…

  34. Wayne Klein says:

    I appreciate all the effort that PG and his team went to produce this set and the idea to do something different as well but as a fan this isn’t the type of set I,would have been interested in.

    I don’t need duplicate vinyl and/or CD and would rather have had a complete set that covered b-sides as well as the DNA disc and high Rez files.

    I won’t be buying this set not because the music isnt terrific but because it doesn’t meet my needs as a music fan.

  35. claudio says:

    …no b-sides, no remixes, no bonus tracks = no mercy!

  36. claudio says:

    …vinyl, mp3, usb… what for?

  37. claudio says:

    …dvd ou BD… that’s ok!

  38. claudio says:

    …i mean: dvd or BD…

  39. Daniel says:

    I follow SDE on Facebook and Twitter because i like CD Box Sets and look forward to news on upcoming releases. What i don’t like is this current Peter Gabriel farce that’s going on. I think enough has been said now about this and yes we have all seen your letter Paul so why do you feel the need to keep posting twitter comments about it all the time? Your views seem a little biased to me and you seem to defend certain record companies/artists but not others. Let the public make their own mind up now whether they want/don’t want to buy the Peter Gabriel release.
    This blog is slowly turning into the Paul Sinclair show :)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Hey Daniel… this “farce” as you describe it, has given Gabriel / Genesis fans something they would never have imagined – a detailed response from the man himself about the box set. Since this response only happend YESTERDAY afternoon, am I not allowed to publicise it via twitter? Excuse me for treating it as rather big news. This blog has a global audience, and therefore people need to be informed at different times of day to maximise the chance of them seeing it. Fairly much common practise for twitter, if you know what you’re doing. You will have noticed that I make an effort not to simply retweet the same message. In actual fact, I have only tweeted about Peter’s letter three times. Hardly ‘all the time’.

      The public CAN make up their own mind. I have not told anyone not to buy the So Deluxe Box. I have simply expressed an opinion, which it turns out is shared by 95% of the visitors to SuperDeluxeEdition.

      Also, I designed and conceived this blog, I write all the content, I take the photos, I conduct the interviews, I get hold of product for review… so you are accurate when you call it the Paul Sinclair show. Was that supposed to be derogatory?

      I do agree, the “So” coverage has reached the end of its natural cycle. Peter has commented and that’s it, until the box actually comes out. Obviously, I do not share your view that I’m biased but I’m not forcing you to visit or read the coverage, or even follow on twitter.

      Most Gabriel fans have thanked me for the coverage, but obviously I’m not going to please everyone. I know not everyone likes Peter Gabriel, but there’s been plenty of other stuff going on – The Who/The Rolling Stones/Michael Jackson/Bill Withers/Motorhead/Deacon Blue/Paul McCartney/The Beach Boys for example, and that’s just in the last SEVEN DAYS.

  40. JasonB says:

    “…yet another collection of b-sides and remixes…”.

    Great that PG actually responded but Mr. Gabriel these “B-Sides and remixes” ARE NOT readily available.

    I think I speak for many that these B-Sides and remixes are what the fans *really* want and is what’s keeping many people (including myself) from spending our hard earned money on this set..

  41. jmm says:

    As interesting as the SO Dna CD may be if done right, I still don’t understand why it is presented to us on this letter as an “either… or…” choice between it and the B-sides, rarities and remixes compilation. Why does it have to be one thing or the other? This boxset could have and should have included BOTH.

    There is no valid reason at all to leave the odds & pieces out.

    And same for everything else that people’s feedback found missing.

    All this letter tells us is why what’s included is there, but not why what’s not there is missing.

  42. I for one have never regarded this blog/site as “the Paul Sinclair show” – I’ve always regarded it as a means for genuine fans to express their opinions on the releases. The fact that you actually elicited a response from Gabriel only adds to the site’s worth, and deserves all the repeated posts (most of which, to my recollection, have included links to other artists’ releases too).

    Regarding the So box fiasco, I agree with most of the posters above: a B-sides and remixes CD is exactly what would have enticed me to buy another reissue of an album that I’ve already bought twice.

    As for the So DNA disc, I predict that – in the unlikely event that I ever own it – it would receive very few repeated plays. I barely made it through ten minutes of demos for The Wall and, as posters above have observed, would far rather listen to tracks completed to a point where they could be released. You know: B-sides and remixes!

    Anyway, kudos to PG for the response, as unsatisfying as it was, and to you Paul, for your campaigning.

  43. Absolutely amazing to have a response from Mr Gabriel and kudos to Paul for running a brilliant website that allows the fans and the artists to connect. From Peter’s letter I understood that he was trying to create something artistic and new that he thought would have much greater value than a few remixes or Bsides. I can totally understand this view and if the DNA disc is successful it will give a real insight into the creation of the album.
    The only problem I’ve noticed is that most fans really want ALL the old stuff collected up and housed in one compete package. So often with special edition packages you find that this is not achieved and it’s a real shame. Often it’s for a much lazier reason than the artist wanting to create something new. I hate buying a 2/3 disc set and then find from the liner notes that several bsides are missing. It makes you feel like the special edition is not that special! Most sets include a disc one reproduction of the main album. This is fine but it leaves about 20mins or so free disc space that could be used to include those missing Bsides/remixes etc.
    So many opportunities are missed to give the fans what they actually want…the music in as high quality as possible.

  44. Mike Fisher says:

    @Daniel – I don’t see this as any kind of farce at all. I am pleased about the news releases about these reissues and I’m pleased that Paul issues updates about stuff. If I’m not interested in the article I don’t have to read it. I certainly don’t see it as a vanity site. There’s enough of those out there, with one in particular that allows huge bias, ignorance, and bad manners, yet has massive censorship including reasonable and accurate comments.

  45. Eric says:

    I think Daniel’s making a veiled reference to the ZTT/Sex Mix fiasco; some comments seemed to think Paul wasn’t harsh enough in his opinion. As for So, if Peter Gabriel hadn’t had the decency/humility to reply to the open letter, there would have been nothing more to report; surely we should all be glad that the letter wasn’t treated with contemptuous silence, as could easily have happened?

  46. Tom Gardner says:

    All credit to him for responding. On the specific subject of the missing B-Sides / Remixes that could have been easily rectified by making them available by download, even in standard resolution.

    I suppose that in the course of the next couple of years we will get a B-Sides / Remix compilation. If this exercise has proven anything, its that there is a market out there for the tracks.

  47. It’s always pleasing to see an artist engage with their fanbase and I think PG should be applauded for taking the time out to address fans concerns about this set – even if he doesn’t tell you/us what we might like to hear. If nothing else, it’s ample proof that he actually cares about what his audience thinks, which is something of a rarity these days.

    I don’t really think that the new SO box could be called cynical or exploitative, as it’s clearly been crafted with care and attention. However, I do think – as is probably the case with all these high-end sets – that there is considerable push and pull between the concerns of the artist(s) and the commercial need of the record company and that the SO box certainly reflects that. It’s very easy for fans to not take this in to account – because we never see it – but I’d be fascinated to see what the original conception of this box was, from the RW side of things.

    The duplication of content strikes me as the record companies following the suit of the Film industry – think “Triple Play” Blu-Ray sets – and this is certainly driven by profit as opposed to convenience for the consumer. So, maybe the record company won out on that front. Peter is certainly right on the format of the film material: it absolutely should have been Blu-Ray and it’s disappointing that a higher quality version of the SO Classic Albums docu will be available the same day as this box.

    As attractive as this set remains, the lack of B-Sides/Remixes is an egregrious error and a genuinely shocking ommission. If nothing else, the remixes are a valuable historical document because they are essentially provide the basis for the live versions of the songs. I remember listening to Secret World Live and being entranced by the opening to In Your Eyes, wondering where that came from, only to discover later that it was derived from “The Special Mix” that was (then) only available via vinyl. THAT’s the value of such material – it made me appreciate the songs and their creation all the more.

    Ultimately, while their inclusion would have made this set absolutely must-get, I don’t see any reason why this missing material could not be made in to a download-only album of rarities. PG must appreciate now that there is absolutely an audience for this material.

  48. Also: I completely agree with Simon Long above about the Live In Athens tracks being available in hi-def. Given that Eagle Rock now have an aggressive program of releasing concert films/album docus on Blu-Ray and are on their third PG Blu-Ray release, it is absolutely inconceivable that LIA won’t be available on Blu-Ray in the near future, so, with all due respect to PG, he was perhaps being a tad disingenuous there…

  49. david knowles says:

    Maybe Peter should play some SO dates in Europe in celebration/support of the box set !

    • Drew says:

      Thanks to Peter for the the in depth response to Paul’s letter.

      I actually just canceled my order for the box set. I like the 24 bit (sample rate?) files, but the set just isn’t worth the money. To Peter’s point, if people worked extremely hard, why are the contents on old media formats? I’d want my work on the best format available, especially if this is the definitive set.

      Blu’s, 5.1 and the included vinyl would have made it worth the price. I guess I’ll stick with my sacd copy.

  50. tim says:

    Here’s how to do it right. All the images in this flickr stream are made by (New Order) fans. You already probably have all the stuff you want, make your own deluxe edition already!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50poundnote/5849131241/in/set-72157607168692018

  51. Renato says:

    My answer to his answer is still the same: I’m definitely giving this one a miss. All I wanted was the original album and ALL the B-sides and single mixes, and perhaps some unreleased tracks. Again, So disappointing… :(
    Who knows, maybe by the 30th anniversary they’ll will get it right – if they do, then I’ll think about buying it.

  52. John says:

    I’m still torn about the set. The lack of b-sides seems like such an easy thing to have included–even the Achtung Baby set managed to include every B-side and most of the (imo unnecessary) remixes, plus unreleased songs and demo versions. I did manage to get copies of PG’s So B-sides somewhere along the way, but would have gladly paid for a disc of them since they’ve never been released on CD.

    The lack of 5:1 mix is also a miss, but I suppose it’s something I would pay for eventually, if they ever release one. The album would seem to be just the kind of immersive experience that would befit a mix like that.

    Regarding the duplicate content, though, even Pink Floyd’s famed DSotM set has duplicate content–the DVDs have the same stuff as the Blu-Ray. So in terms of that set, I count 4, not 6 discs that I actually need/use. (One could argue whether disc 1, the remaster, was even necessary, since it’s already been remastered once. An argument could be made that there are 3 essential discs.) The difference is that vinyl MUST be more expensive (and bulky), so the impression is that you’re paying for those two giant discs when you likely don’t need them. You have to figure at least $30 of the set is for those alone, which few fans would need. A separate vinyl box would seem to make sense to me. Other deluxe sets have followed that pattern, allowing vinyl enthusiasts/completists can go that route.

    But if there really is no plan for a separate video release, then I’ll probably go for it. I’m looking forward to the DNA and live audio/video, and I never had bought the remasters, so the first CD will also add value. And even if the live audio is the same as the video that’s included, it’s nice to have that as an option for listening on my commute.

    In truth, though I’ve enjoyed a number of these other deluxe sets, I’m not sure there are ANY that are perfect. Dark Side and Wish You Were Here have duplicate DVD/Blu-Ray content. The Wall has no 5:1, and the live set had already been released. They all included unnecessary knick-knacks. Achtung Baby included an unremastered Zooropa and the Zoo TV Sydney DVD (which every fan that would buy the set surely already own) for no apparent reason other than to add cost. It’s also missing a few rare videos, and, like the So set, has no Blu-Ray video. Ultimately, even though it’s not perfect, I suppose it’s still worth the money for me, though it’s always a tough equation to work out: what are we paying, and what are we really getting? For me, the Achtung Baby set was the worst offender. There was essentially 1.5 discs of material I really wanted–I had all the b-sides already–and I had to pay for 10 discs to get them. But then, that’s exactly why these sets are released at the end of the year: perfect gifts for music fans….who may be too demanding to pay for these elaborate but flawed sets. This is already on my Christmas list.

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  55. Wayne Klein says:

    I’m not torn-I didn’t buy it. It was far from the comprehensive set I had wanted. Including b sides would have made this a must buy. For this price, I expected everything.

  56. Paul, needless to say, but now said it again and again, what you do for music is priceless. You should run for president of music world (if that existed, mind you).

    Anyway, if there is something that I will never understand is the reason why fab musicians simply DO NOT PUT the whole thing at once. Okay, people will go: “they are saving for later”. OK. That would be an (un) acceptable excuse.

    However, if you put a so-called Immersion box, there is no reason for an extra disc with the b-sides. Fact: they WERE already released. They aren’t tracks that we believed to exist. They are commercial product.
    In fact.

    So, like Paul McCartney that MISSED A HUGE op to release Ram outtakes, Queen (left off several b-side stuff, like the extended Radio GaGa, to mention a single tack), and many other acts, it’s getting harded to get into our idols minds.

    They don’t have to re-record or something. It’s just archive material that will remain covered in dust until I turn 50 or 60.

    Like you, again, So was a teenage album of mine. I didn’t buy all this marvellous things you mentioned because our market here simply didn’t offer back in the day. But I was a huge fan of the all singles and the will always remain in my memory. (Mercy Street, for a start, was the main theme of a cool TV series later on).
    I wish we had the complete material in hand at this very moment.
    Thanks again!

  57. (please, delete my first post. thanks!)
    Paul, needless to say, but now said it again and again, what you do for music is priceless. You should run for president of music world (if that existed, mind you).

    Anyway, if there is something that I will never understand is the reason why fab musicians simply DO NOT PUT the whole thing OUT at once. Okay, people will go: “they are saving for later”. OK. That would be an (un) acceptable excuse.

    However, if one decides to put a so-called Immersion box set out, there is no reason for an extra disc with the b-sides? Fact is: they had already bee released! These ones aren’t tracks that we believed to exist.,, They are commercial product, in the best sense.
    In fact!

    So, like Paul McCartney who MISSED A HUGE op to release many Ram outtakes, Queen left off several b-side stuff, like the extended Radio GaGa, (to mention a single tack), our dear Peter also slipped. Not a bad criticism at all. Just a factual balance.

    What amazes me about the lack of extra tracks is that our idols..you see, they don’t have to re-record the songs or something similar. It’s just archive material that will remain covered in dust until I turn 50 or 60.

    Like you, again, “So” was a teenage album of mine. I didn’t buy all this marvellous things you mentioned because our market here simply didn’t offer back in the day. But I was a huge fan of the all singles and the will always remain in my memory. (Mercy Street, for a start, was the main theme of a cool TV series later on).
    I wish we had the complete material in hand at this very moment.
    Thanks again!

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  72. Jeremy says:

    PG’s own website has discounted the SO box set from $164 to $119.99 …

    https://store.realworld.co.uk/product-category/deluxe-boxset/

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  74. Charlie Waffles says:

    It is very nice to see an artist reply to somebody who is not a celebrity. However, when the reply is “luke warm” I smell something fishy in Denmark.

    Mr. Gabriel, if you read this, take note. Some of us will pay whatever price you dictate if you include the proper material of a box set by you. You have always been a straight up guy for decades and I have always appreciated that. Your reply to Paul leaves something to be desired. You should have addressed all of the issues or thrown Paul’s letter away. You know and I know it has been fourteen years since you released new music. Currently, I am being subjected to Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez on the airways. I am not happy with that. In those fourteen years, you could have split the So box set into TWO box sets. One that you put out, and the one that should have been put out.

    There are not many artists like you in the world and I will not beg Meghan Trainor for a thorough box set of any album she records. I expect you to give the people who love your music and PAY for your music the absolute best. On each box set release. B-sides and remixes would have been so appreciated. I appreciated what your team did. I will appreciate the team more if you authorize a So box set sequel. A redux, if you will. I do not think it is much to ask from a genius like yourself.

    Charlie Waffles

    P.S. “All the best.” Really? That closer is a lame greatest hits title from a 90’s hip-hop group.

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