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Neil Young confirms no more of the big Archives II box will be produced

But cheaper box is coming next year

After some confusion over whether Neil Young was going to produce more of his Archives Volume II box set to satisfy demand, the Canadian singer-songwriter has confirmed that there would be no more beyond the initial run of 3,000 units that sold out in 24 hours, ten days ago.

Posting about the matter on his Neil Young Archives website, the 74-year-old musician opens with a finger pointing: “Reprise Records, my record company for about 50 years, underestimated demand”, but then concedes that “we were all surprised” with regards to it selling out so quickly and adds: “I do feel badly that we did not deliver it to many who were waiting so long for it.”

The key point in all of this is that Neil Young goes on to say that “we don’t feel that offering more of a product sold as a limited edition is a good thing to do” but fans who missed out can at least take some solace in the fact that a cheaper, more widely available version is coming that “will offer all of the music and discs with a smaller book.” This smaller version will be available “in all outlets” at some point in 2021. Young also adds that the large book in the big box will, at some point, be made available to purchase separately.

Read more about what’s on Archives Volume II (1972-1976)

51 responses to Neil Young confirms no more of the big Archives II box will be produced

  1. Pingback:Saturday Deluxe / 14 November 2020 | superdeluxeedition

  2. Pingback:Second edition of Neil Young’s Archives Vol II now available to pre-order | superdeluxeedition

  3. Sean Murdock says:

    I consider myself a “moderate” Neil fan, but I knew I wanted Archives II, so I went for the (very expensive) limited CD box because I was afraid there would be no other physical version. Now that we know that there will be a bare-bones CD set — which is all I wanted in the first place — I’m going to keep my limited box sealed and sell it to a bigger Neil fan who missed out. I won’t gouge on the price, just look to cover my own cost and postage. Seems fair. Then I’ll buy the cheap CD set, which will match my cheap Archives I set anyway.

  4. Mic Smith says:

    As others have said 3000 copies was nowhere near enough. I was lucky that they went on sale early on Saturday morning as I’m always up early that day of the week and that they went on sale before I leave the house (also early) and by 8am they were gone. I wouldn’t mind if NY had decided to do a second run as I didn’t buy it to profit from it but to enjoy the music and for it sit alongside Vol 1. I understand the future boxes will bypass the Geffen years completely which is a shame as the unreleased stuff from the eighties is more essential than the stuff he put out. However the period covered by volume II is top drawer and it’s great that he’s finally got it out to (some of) his fans…..

  5. Paul Wren says:

    Neil Young and Reprise Records are pleased to announce the 50th Anniversary Edition of Young’s classic record After the Gold Rush, which will arrive on CD/Digital on December 11. The deluxe vinyl box set will follow on March 19.

    The 50th Anniversary Edition vinyl box set features a variant of the artwork, originally created by Neil’s long-time art director Gary Burden, made in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning artist Jenice Heo. The set also includes a 7” single in a picture sleeve with two versions of album outtake “Wonderin’.” Side A, originally included in The Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972, was recorded in Topanga, California, in March 1970, and Side B is a previously unreleased version recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood in August 1969. A litho print of the album’s front cover is exclusively included in this vinyl box set. The CD format of the 50th Anniversary Edition includes the new artwork and both versions of “Wonderin’.”

    The timelessness and influence of After the Gold Rush is difficult to overstate. From the iconic LP cover of Young walking in New York against a brick backdrop to the long-running legacies of songs like the incendiary “Southern Man” and the melancholy “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” the album has felt vital in each of the five decades since its release. In fact, its title track, with Young’s time-traveling and apocalyptic visions of California, places it firmly in the here and now. Young’s re-working of the song’s lyrics for live performances over the years casts that fact in a chilling clarity: “Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 21st century.” This 50th Anniversary Edition is both a celebration for longtime fans, and a chance for new ears to take in its continued relevance.

  6. James says:

    On the face of it, the new After the Goldrush 50th Anniversary vinyl seems to be new artwork, 2 versions of Wonderin’ on a bonus 7”…..and that’s it. For $99!

    • Mark says:

      James, I could not agree more. £97.99 is ridiculous. I got the Indies Only Homegrown on vinyl that came with a lithograph and that was £19.99!

  7. Rog says:

    Another Neil one due today: After The Gold Rush “boxset” presale at 4pm UK time. No sign of it on his Greedy Hand Store yet, or of the contents beyond an unreleased version of Wonderin’ (although that’s pretty good).

  8. AlexKx says:

    The understanding is that the regular pressing will basically be the same thing just slight adjustment to the color and positioning of the image artwork on the cover, right?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Don’t think so, no.

    • Denverpile says:

      That was NY’s original statement on his website. However, he released another statement a day or two later stating that he felt that idea wouldn’t be fair on those that bought it so the “new” release would be just the music with a smaller book but not a box set and that the bigger book would be available separately. Not sure what that will mean and there is no definitive timeframe given.

  9. David says:

    It’s too easy to scream “they shoulda made more” after the event of them selling out but over estimate the demand and you’ve got huge stock gathering dust after a few months for years to come.

    Marc Bolans “The Slider” box set is a good example of this , I never intended to pick it up but a year after it’s initial release in 2012(?) they were trying to get rid of them for £20 each. I ended up biting on a set when they came down to £15 including postage just because at that price it was stupid not to , a win for me but Edsel must have lost everything they initially made with that release?

  10. andrew r says:

    Don’t agree its all scalpers .I think people held off because of the price
    and by the time they convinced themselves, it was sold out.Hence all the recriminations
    The 3000 might have also been the fact that archive 1 hung around unsold for ages.

  11. Jeremy Earle says:

    I hope they produce more of the Archives Volume I CD sets as well, for those of us who were unable to get it the first time around and now are unable to find it at a reasonable price!

  12. Keith says:

    The guys involved in this totally underestimated demand I would say in the order of thousands and not hundreds.
    I missed out I did not see the mail until 1 day after receipt.

    Neil is more popular I would argue than the grateful dead yet there limited run Dave’s picks are 22000 and they sell out four times a year. Works out as more discs than this box over the year.

    You have the right product it will sell. They should have tested the water with a pre order to see how many were required plus 10% .

    It is a proper pile of poo on the fans especially when you see these sets being offered on 3-bay already at twice the price

  13. madman says:

    “We underestimated demand” was the same excuse that King Crimson used for one of the “In The Court Of The Crimson King” deluxe re-issues. Same with the Grateful Dead, but I forget which box.

    I find it difficult to believe that artists that are so meticulous with their re-issues would fail to do market research to get an idea of how many copies of a “limited edition” they could sell. Ride out the initial demand, maybe a smaller second wave, then done. The people who really want it can have it and it’s still limited. Just my two cents.

  14. David Fisher says:

    Sounds reasonable but then I did manage to pick up a copy from the NY site just in time so I’m alright Jack. An artist that sticks to a limited edition when they will lose sales has some integrity if you ask me. Having said that they do seem to have miscalculated the demand and I don’t give a toss about limited editions – I just want the music. If they increased the run I can’t see a problem if it comes with a mea culpa. I would have been happy with the smaller box but wanted this one because it will match the first large box I have. It’s a pity they couldn’t be bothered to put in the same work this time – I have the blu ray set and the visual presentation is exquisite.

  15. Karl Evans says:

    The low number of copies could be explained by the fact I can remember seeing the first archive box on sale in fopp Manchester at a massively reduced price not that long after its first release.
    Maybe sales first time around didn’t meet expectations?

  16. Dean says:

    Sounds like a mistake was made in this case. The price fans will pay is waiting longer to get the music, and making do with the same content in a smaller format. I’d say that’s not too terrible.

    As music fans we have to realize that we live in times where prices are being held high by design. The labels can maintain a high price by making limited numbers. Add in unnecessary variations such as colored Vinyl, and you pretty much have the industry today.

    Long gone are the days where there were record stores with a constantly refreshing stock, so albums would have legs at retail. Now it’s a collectables market, and no-one wants to hold stock. They keep amounts low so the music maintains value in the physical format. They’ve no interest in totally meeting demand over time, because prices would fall (if you knew you could buy the music in six months or a years time, fewer would jump on initial price points).

    It’s just another corruption of the business. Some would say it’s clever. Personally, I think it’s horrible.

    • Quante says:

      Dean, I agree. It’s an industry needlessly eating itself to a slow death for physical products; no doubt driven by the huge incomes generated from streaming. I’m not interested in Neil Young’s box set, but for a major star, in a world of several billion people, to limit a release to 3,000 is ludicrous. Surely this type of policy must be killing independent record stores, as presumably this box will never reach their shelves and give them a chance to earn some revenue.

      The recent represses of Marillion and Tears for Fears box sets shows a pent up demand for product, that is still unsatisfied. Get rid of this limited edition malarkey, earn more revenue and allow the public to buy in their own time without this panick buying mentality.

  17. Phil says:

    The smaller box will undoubtedly be just like the Volume I small box, with the most important difference being the lack of high-resolution content. So guess what, if anyone who wants high-resolution content and didn’t get one of the 3000 deluxe boxes, they’ll have to subscribe to the NYA streaming service.

    …I’m really glad I placed an order in time. Nothing annoys me more than this subscription model idea every company on the planet is forcing down our throats.

  18. Larry Davis says:

    To be honest, I’m not sure about the whole Archives releases at all…wasn’t the initial plan to release everything…previously released AND unreleased in chronological order…all in 1 set (in volumes)?? That would mean all the unreleased content and released albums together?? Which would mean not having to buy the album catalogue separately?? And I prefer consistency in shape and format…Volume 1 big box had a BluRay & DVD version with the CD version in a thinner thing that folded in half (if I recall)…what the eff happened with Volume 2?? It takes the BluRay/DVD box and just stuffs CDs in there…sounds like unused space with lots of air…and why no BluRay or DVD?? He was against CDs and was gungho about BluRay (DVD not as much), what happened with this about face?? As for the combining of released and unreleased content, why not?? As for only 3000 copies, sounds reasonable for an expensive box…many big artists release big sets like this and most times, they do not sell or sell out fast or fast enough & sit around gathering dust…but some do…look at the Tears For Fears “Songs From The Big Chair” SDE…sold out fast & out of print for 5-6 years until they repressed some more & THOSE sold out too…that’s why they are called Limited Edition…or the words are meaningless, now you know why people are so cynical!! As for NY, as a casual-plus fan, maybe it’s best to buy the smaller versions & I can avoid double dipping with the contents sold separately…I do wonder if he will be able to get his archive out in time before it’s too late and his health gives out?? That’s the irony of these catalogue anthologies…either they are too old & not able to see it through (with their imvolvement) or they pass & the estate has to do it (Prince, Tom Petty)…

  19. Jim Sykes says:

    I managed to get in on this release but I am a completist but as with the precious volume many of the discs are already available and already in my collection. Bit too much doubling up.

  20. colm47 says:

    Bob Dylan’s Cutting Edge 19 CD box set was limited to 5000 and sold out even though it was more expensive than the Neil box set. About 600 euro plus shipping , plus customs for EU, as it was USA only.
    The Stooges recent 15LP Funhouse box set was limited to 1970 and was around 400 euro with shipping.
    Neil’s box was about 255 with shipping, limited to 3000 as stated already here.

    My point is that each artist could have sold lots more of each box set but stuck to a particular number.
    How many do people want “ limited” to be?
    10, 000 or 20,000? Or even more?

    I’m lucky enough to own the first 2 I mentioned and to have Neil’s box on order.
    I’m a fan of them all and have no intention of selling them or making a profit out of them.
    I know not everybody can afford every box set they would like and neither can I.

  21. JCC says:

    I think the response is idiotic. So what likely happened is that most boxes were picked up by scalpers who will gouge the fans who were not able to obtain a box, and they’ll pay money to the scalpers that could have been going to Neil Young and his record company. In addition, he’s losing out to people who might have bought the box at the full retail price from Neil, but don’t want to pay 2x-4x the price to buy it at the “accelerated price” on Ebay.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Don’t agree. While I’m sure there was the odd speculator, I’m sure most boxes went to Neil Young fans…

      • JayCee77 says:

        Absolutely – genuine fans had access to these box sets just as much as anybody else. You snooze, you lose.

      • Sandy says:

        Amen Paul , I won’t be scalping my copy . Thanks for the site , regards from Oz , Sandy .

      • J says:

        You are correct Paul. As of this am only 2 are for sale on eBay USA which is the equivalent of less than 1/2 of 1% mostly due to lack of unique content

  22. kenneth tilley says:

    this has got to be the biggest cxxx up in history. we wait 11 years then no one can buy it.
    he’s been messing about for 11 years, what’s he been doing ???? surely he must have known the numbers involved, it beggars belief

  23. Darren Linklater says:

    That probably just about rescues a sorry situation which was entirely avoidable. How anyone who works for Warner’s or even the Neil Young camp can consider a print run of 3000 copies sufficient worldwide for a much anticipated release is beyond me. Just look at other artists who are doing similar things for a guide to likely figures. It’s unbelievable how out of touch these guys are.

    As for the stripped down box, let’s wait and see if it comes to pass. NY is known for announcing things and then losing interest.

    As for me, with the UK store not appearing and knowing that it would sell out quick, I managed to get one from the US. No doubt the import tax man will pay me a visit but at least I have one. I would rather have bought from the UK store but that’s another episode in this bungled story.

    The price is high but I don’t have box 5-8 and and am not prepared to pay the asking price on the second hand market. This new archive box contains much of the same material but with extra tracks added. It’s my favourite period so that’s some consolation.

    I am hoping that archives 3 comes out in the next 4-5 years and covers up to the end of the reprise years. After that I bail out as it’s mostly downhill.

  24. Dave H says:

    I’d rather have a blu-ray with Hi-Res audio like volume 1 just for the consistency.

    Maybe the cheaper option could be an empty box which you can fill with individual releases since I’ve already purchased in advanced a couple of the live CD’s.

  25. Brian Stanley says:

    It says all of the music is coming but I wouldn’t automatically assume that means a smaller box will be produced. It very well could be that’s what happens, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if they sell the individual discs (that aren’t already separate) for a hefty price.
    For anyone who wants to say that doesn’t make any sense either, remember this is Neil and his marketing team.

  26. Bruno says:

    I am not a Neil Young fan but for me this is the fair way to do things. This is limited 3,000 only with a price that matches. Once it is gone its gone but you can still buy all the music and book separately. McCartney’s bait and switch with the “limited 3,000 only” German/UK red vinyl turning into “limited edition” when it sells out initially is unfair in my view.

    • Steve says:

      Bruno, that’s not the case re McCartney, the website all say that the red vinyl is limited to 3000 and still do.

  27. Ken A.! says:

    Wouldn’t mind if the book from Vol. 1 was released separately as well (or digital versions of any OOP liner notes or ephemera, while we’re at it [not trying to undermine that collector’s desire, I’m one as well, but there are some things I wouldn’t mind just having as a pdf]).

  28. David K says:

    Perfect.

  29. Jarmo Keranen says:

    After 50 years he and his record company acts like indie records company. How much will the large book cost without records and box? 500$? To me his Original Release Series 1-4, 5-8 and 8.5-12 are enough. After those records he hasn’t done anything wortwhile!

    • Tim Waite says:

      I’ve just ordered a still sealed OOP copy of 1989 ‘s ‘ FREEDOM ‘ to replace my 30 year old cassette . IMHO his best ever disc. Deserves a box to itself ( well almost ) . Nothing good after 1979 ? You sure ?

      • Alan Blevin says:

        One of Neil’s announced Archives releases for 2021 is an album called Road Of Plenty which covers alternate recordings from the same time period as Freedom.Should be great if it happens.
        Agree with everyone about what a disaster this roll out was.Managed to get one from the Canadian Greedy Hand (I’m sure there must have been some sarcasm in the name but now it is literal) Store after the other 2 had sold out.
        One thing that makes me think the cheaper version will happen is the quote in the Neil response above that the second widely available version was “always planned”.It’s Neil though.

    • Ben Williams says:

      Harvest Moon and Freedom are stunning albums – up there with his absolute best.

  30. Donal Murphy says:

    I have huge regard for Neil, but this whole event was so shambolic, its almost so unbelievable, you could not make it up. He came out apologising, saying there would be a 2nd edition of the box, and then a few days later, did a total u-turn. He clearly did not check this out, with those who deliver on what he says will happen.

    While I nabbed one of the boxes, on the US store, we were promised an EU/UK store, which did not come online, until several hours after the US store went live. While waiting for the UK/EU store, I felt I had no choice, as this was very time sensitive, but to grab one of the boxes on the U.S. store.

    There must be many fans totally pissed off with this, and rightly so. Whoever in Warners came up with 3,000 units, to satisfy global demand, should be fired.

  31. Prince Fan says:

    Can’t argue with that.

  32. Rog says:

    I’m happy with this. I’d love a physical copy of the music, but there just isn’t enough content in there to justify the £200+ price tag. Sounds like a positive step.

  33. MattR says:

    I’d be happy with buying the discs/ FLACS.
    They could just hand over the masters to Qobuz/HDTracks. No need to wait 6 months.

    I do think they could have done more to estimate demand before producing such a limited edition.
    The only people who benefit from really limited runs are scalpers reselling via a popular auction site.
    Maybe he could make The Original album series 5-8 available on CD again as well?

    • CraigH says:

      FLAC will be available to purchase from his archives website on the day of release.

      As for the big box – I cancelled my US order once the reissue (or whatever you want to call it) was announced. I couldn’t justify the cost + customs charges, I’ll wait for the smaller box and buy in the UK. Hopefully it’ll match the vol 1 CD box.

  34. Philip Wilson says:

    It’s not been handled the best hasn’t this one. I waited all day on release day and finally it came available about 4pm UK time (from the US store). Paid around £193 and it allowed me to select free shipping (even though it apparently said free shipping not available for this item). 6am the following morning the UK store came online, at £210. My 15% code for being a subscriber did not work but I ordered anyway (after an email though they refunded 15%). Still cost nearly £180 for 7 CDs, and to be honest I’d prefer the CD only box whenever that is available. I’m sure if they listed all formats at the outset they’d still have sold 3000 of the big box, but fans who wanted to pay less for the CD only set would be happier.

  35. Paul Gray says:

    Bloody frustrating that they couldn’t have issued a standard version at the same time! Given Young’s history, I won’t get excited about getting the standard version until it is in my hand.

    • Mister Stick says:

      “I won’t get excited about getting the standard version until it is in my hand.”

      Damn. Good. Point.

      I was able to score one of the precious 3,000… At least I have a receipt that says I did. But with Neil Young, don’t count a single chicken until that chicken is hatched, grown, produces eggs, and said eggs pass inspection, are sold and made into a souffle that has successfully risen. Just ask Steve Stills how many times Neil made a date and broke it (I think we can stop waiting for that Buffalo Springfield reunion). Or any member of the Lionel Trains board of directors. Or a Pono buyer.

      I wonder if some of the strategy of this release was to get more Neil Young Archives online subscribers. I capitulated on the price, allowing myself one truly guilty extravagance for this miserable year. But doesn’t the high cost, limited availability, and redundancy of this box show how much sense it makes for even casual fans to subscribe to NYA? It’s great to hold the music in your hands, but when you can hear it all in high quality for just 20 bucks a year…

  36. AdamW says:

    Well, that sounds like it solves everyone’s issues. What a reasonable cat.

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