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Steven Wilson to release an ‘Ultra Deluxe’ box set limited to one unit

Steven Wilson / The Future Bites ULTRA DELUXE BOXSET ON OBSOLETE MEDIA

The musician talks to SDE about this high concept item

Steven Wilson has announced details of a unique special edition of his forthcoming sixth album The Future Bites.

What he is calling an ‘ULTRA DELUXE MUSIC PRODUCT ON OBSOLETE MEDIA’ is a special box set edition of the album which is a limited edition of one and has a price tag of £10,000 (with all proceeds going directly to the Music Venue Trust to help save grassroots gig venues in the UK).

The contents of this box set include everything in the already announced £75 limited edition deluxe box set plus some very special extras including a unique track, ‘The Tastemaker’ – never to be released anywhere else – Wilson’s Grammy medal and nomination certificate from 2011 (for Grace For Drowning – best surround sound mix).

The full list special contents (over and above the standard box) is listed below

  • One sided seven-inch single with unique track ‘The Tastemaker’ – an edition of one, never to be released anywhere else
  • Unique laptop bag used in ‘Eminent Sleaze’ video
  • The Future Bites test pressing
  • ‘Eminent Sleaze’ test pressing (with b-sides ‘Eyewitness’ / ‘In Floral Green’)
  • ’12 Things I Forgot’ test pressing (with b-sides) ‘Move Like Fever’ / ‘King Ghost (Tangerine Dream Remix)’
  • CDR of unreleased 2016 soundcheck performance of a cover version never otherwise performed live
  • Steven Wilson’s Grammy nomination certificate and medal from 2011 for Grace For Drowning – best surround sound mix
  • Printed materials used in the’Eminent Sleaze’ video
  • Six laminated AAA passes for various tours between 2011-18
  • Polaroids from The Future Bites cover shoot photo session
  • Original drawing by Hajo Mueller of Steven Wilson
  • Handwritten lyrics with corrections for various songs between 1996-2020
    • Count of Unease
    • Follower
    • Eminent Sleaze
    • Salvaging
    • Veneno Para Las Hadas
    • Personal Shopper
    • The Raven that Refused to Sing
    • Dark Matter

The ‘Ultra Deluxe Music Product On Obsolete Media’ includes Wilson’s Grammy medal

So just why has Steven Wilson created what he is calling “the ultimate aspirational product”? SDE caught up with the musician and songwriter and started by asking him why he had created the box set and what point he was trying to make by making it available:

Steven Wilson: So I think the point I’m trying to make is around the whole idea of exclusivity and elitism, in all sorts of fields, and particularly in music, which I’ve noticed has been going through the roof over the last couple of years. I know you get quite a lot of quite heated discussion on your website about that particular notion.

Obviously, this was conceived well over a year ago, long before any of this started happening with, you know, Paul McCartney [a reference to the McCartney III vinyl extravaganza] and all that stuff. But I think it was already something I could see happening. And, I mean, part of me really likes it because it’s one of those things where it becomes an analogy to the world of art and painting, where there’s one painting and only one person gets to own it.

But it’s obviously something that music never really kind of dallied with, until recently, this idea of the high concept, high design package made for only a very select, elite few and priced accordingly. And part of me also really dislikes it, so it’s kind of a little bit of a love/hate thing I’ve got going on with the whole world of the deluxe edition box sets.

But I think clearly some of them are absurd and one of the things that I really object to is that a lot of people now are saying, “Let’s do a box set for this album”, before even establishing whether they have the content to justify it. And they’re going ahead with these box sets, that are essentially just full of air, full of fluff. Nothing you would ever need, nothing you would ever want to listen to more than once. And I’m sure, you know, you have your own ideas who the culprits are, but the whole box set thing for me, clearly over the last two years, has gone into complete overdrive.

So with all of this in mind, there was this idea, this notion, to do the ultimate limited edition, ultra deluxe edition on obsolete media, limited edition of one. For it to be something fun; funny, hopefully. Hopefully people will see the joke. But also to put it genuinely on sale and make really unique and really special and somebody might want to buy it. You know what? If they do, all the money is going to charity. So for me, it’s like a win-win. If it doesn’t sell, it doesn’t matter, it’s still a concept piece, it’s kind of made the point. If it does sell, great, the money is going to a great cause.

SDE: And you’ve got some really interesting stuff in the box. There’s some things that are relatively traditional, such as lanyards and test pressings, but then you’ve got some quite special items. I’m amazed you’re giving away your Grammy medal and certificate. Is that about you thinking “I have to put something that’s important to me, something of me in this box set?”

SW: Yeah. And also part of me thinking, “What do I need this for?” You know, it’s a nomination medal, it’s been sitting in the drawer for the last ten years; I’ve never looked at it.

SDE: It hasn’t been on your mantelpiece then? [laughs].

SW: No, no, it hasn’t, no. So I’m thinking to myself, you know, this might mean something quite a lot more to somebody that’s had my music and is a fan of me, this is probably going to mean a lot more to them, in a way, than it does to me. And by the way, I’ve got three more of those things…

SDE: Oh okay. So it’s not quite…

SW: …the sacrifice, no. I have four Grammy nominations But you know what? It’s still something really special and really unique. I mean, I looked on eBay at other people selling their Grammy nomination medals for thousands and thousands of pounds.

I did ask myself, “How can I make this really something that people, the person that buys it, would really treasure?” So it includes a seven-inch single in a limited edition of one with a song that will never appear anywhere else. And it’s quite a good song, I’ve got to say, I’m quite proud of it, but it didn’t fit anywhere else so I’ve put it on this seven-inch.

If the person that buys it wants to share it on YouTube, that’s entirely their choice. If they want to keep it to themselves, like somebody that buys a beautiful painting, decides they just want to have it on their wall and nobody else can see it, that’s entirely their choice. So to me, again, this is where the analogy with, you know, with a painting comes back into play. Having something that you can choose, if you like, to share with the rest of the world or you can just keep it to yourself.

SDE: Was this track recorded during the sessions for the album?

SW: It was, it’s called ‘The Taste Maker’ and it was part of The Future Bites concept but I didn’t quite finish it during the sessions, but I finished it off especially for this box set.

SDE: Who do you think is going to buy this box set? A rich Steven Wilson fan, effectively?

SW: Yeah, I guess so. I mean I know I do have a few fans for whom money is no object. So there are people that do buy stuff for hundreds, I mean not thousands, but certainly people have bought stuff for hundreds of pounds in the past from my rarities website, which by the way, all the money again goes to charity for the those things. So I figure maybe one of those people might want to buy this.

And you know what, like I said, if they don’t, if nobody buys this, it doesn’t matter; it’s more of a kind of, you know, a conceptual statement, in a way. I think it’s really funny, but obviously it has got a particularly, you know, it is a serious message. I think the whole notion of box sets and exclusivity has gone slightly berserk.

I think the problem is a lot of people now, a lot of fans, it’s all about ticking boxes, it’s not about collecting the music or listening to the music, it’s about ticking boxes. Unfortunately, that’s something that I think our gender, our generation really, goes for. Middle-aged men really go for that kind of box ticking thing.

SDE: But do you think things are getting a bit out of control? In recent weeks especially, we’ve had Kylie with something like 11 versions of her album and Paul McCartney has offered, I think, 13 or 14 global versions of his McCartney III record. It’s all going a bit over the top isn’t it?

SW: It is, but you know, I don’t know who exactly is coming to these decisions; I doubt it’s Kylie, I doubt it’s Sir Paul McCartney; it’s the people around them. I mean, I often see people saying “Oh, I love the way Robert Fripp did the King Crimson box set”. Robert had nothing to do with the box set, it’s all Declan, it’s Declan Colgan [of Panegyric Recordings]. And I’m sure it’s the same with some Jethro Tull box sets; it’s not Ian Anderson, it’s Tim Chacksfield. So it’s probably not Paul and it’s probably not Kylie. I mean, I don’t know for sure, but I suspect it’s the people around them that are encouraging them to make the most of the possibilities, because there’s no question there are collectors out there that will go and collect the whole set.

SDE: Well that’s the thing. Given that the word ‘fan’ is obviously short for ‘fanatic’, is it naive to think that record labels should have any kind of social responsibility towards people who have an insatiable appetite and just will buy anything and everything. In your song ‘Personal Shopper’ you have the line “buy and buy until it makes you sick”. I sometimes have to stop and ask myself “Am I actually enjoying this? Is this giving me any pleasure?”

SW: Hmm. Yeah… There are good ways to do it and there are bad ways to do it, obviously. My deluxe box set is £75, it comes with so much exclusive content, exclusive songs, the Atmos mix, 5.1 mix, etc. What Sir Paul has done with his release is deeply cynical, deeply cynical, and I think there’s a difference between the deluxe box set, where you are really thinking about giving value for money, giving content that justifies the price tag. And there is the other thing where you’re simply manipulating the fact that there are completists. And, like I said, there is a lot of people out there now that are putting box sets together, where there really isn’t the concept to justify them. There are people putting out deluxe editions or multi-formats where there really isn’t anything to justify that.

SDE: You’ve been doing deluxe sets for your solo albums right from the beginning. I get the feeling that’s quite an important part of the creative, expressive process for you. But as you say, quite often it feels like marketing departments cobbling these things together and just coming up with a price.

SW: Yeah. And also, the sort of completism thing where they’re just throwing everything into it. But I mean that King Crimson box set, that Declan [Colgan]’s just put together, the 1969 one [The Complete 1969 Recordings]. I know there are people out there that love that and he knows there are people out there that love that. And he’s done it with love and he’s done it for a good price and it’s full of content…but honestly, most of the stuff in that box set was never intended to be heard. I mean, why do you need to hear 47 takes of ‘I Talk to the Wind’? And I think that’s unfortunately where the box ticking thing comes in, fans just look at these things and they say “Well there’s this tape out there, why isn’t that included in the box set?” Because it’s not very good!

The answer to your question Paul, I think the reason why if my box sets are giving more value and hopefully being a bit more, you know, substantial is because I’m also someone that buys those kind of things, so I kind of understand what I want from a kind of deluxe edition box set. I mean, I want the Sign O’ the Times type of box set, you know, which I guess, is a real exception, isn’t it, to the rule.  I don’t really want a King Crimson box set where I hear a bunch of cleaned up, you know, audience bootlegs and five discs of sessions…I don’t want that.

SDE: Do you think artists should try and get a bit more involved rather than keeping at arm’s length and letting labels just put stuff together? Do you think there’s an argument for the artist to actually take a bit more responsibility for what ends up out in the marketplace?

SW: I think so. It depends on the artist, you know, there are a lot of artists out there that probably don’t really understand the appeal of these things. I mean Robert [Fripp], bless him, he doesn’t really understand why people want this stuff, but he just said to Declan, “Look, if you think these people want this, you put together what you think they want”. Obviously there are plenty of examples where artists do get involved and deluxe editions are worse for it, shall we say.

I saw your Elvis Costello unboxing video which seems like something he’s been quite involved in; I mean I might be wrong…

SDE:  Yeah, he seems quite passionate about it, but in every interview I’ve read, he’s been very defensive about the fact that it’s not on CD, which is kind of slightly bizarre…

SW: Yeah. It does depend on the artists, some artist probably would make a deluxe edition worse, some artists would probably make a deluxe edition better. I mean Prince is a great example. If Prince was still alive, that Sign O’ The Times box set would have been more like the Purple Rain one, you know. Brick wall mastered and with a lot of great stuff, not included. Because he’s no longer with us, bless him, you know, somebody else has taken over and I think Michael Howe has done a tremendous job.

SDE: The age old complaint with limited editions – which, arguably, is a term that has lost its meaning anyway – is that people don’t get a ‘fair chance’ to try and get hold of something. So a good example is the recent limited ‘333’ version of McCartney III from Third Man Records, which if you just happen to not be looking at Twitter for 10 minutes, you’ve missed it – the opportunity is gone. And things then end up on eBay, because of that. What would you think if your limited-edition-of-one box set ends up on eBay? If someone buys it, they try and sell it for £20,000, or whatever, would you be bothered?

SW: Not really, because actually that aspect of it, I kind of think is fun and I like that. Going back to the world of art and painting, you know, a Francis Bacon painting that sold for a thousand pounds while he was still alive is now listed on Sotheby’s at ten million. I mean, that appreciation of value for something really special and really precious, I think that’s part of it and that’s kind of fun. You will see that on eBay anyway with any vinyl. The value of the ‘60s vinyl editions has gone up over the years tremendously.

SDE: Some people might charge you with having your cake and eating it too, in terms of, you know, your whole ironic marketing messages around the new album. At the end of the day, you have still got the deluxe box set and you’ve got the limited edition coloured vinyl and all the rest of it. How would you respond to that charge?

SW: Well absolutely, and that’s why the joke is supposed to be inclusive, not exclusive, I want people to laugh with me, not feel like I’m sort of laughing at them. And of course if you listen to the middle of ‘Personal Shopper’, that list of shopping items, that Elton reads in the middle, I mean 180g vinyl reissues, deluxe edition box sets, this is my world, this is what I, you know, this is what I love, you know. And so it’s supposed to be funny, it’s supposed to be funny. I mean I love consuming like everyone, I buy deluxe edition box sets and 180 gram vinyl reissues, you know, like a lot of my fans do. So I want people to kind of feel like they’re included in the joke, not excluded, not I’m having a joke at their expense. So it is a very knowing nod to that.

But you know, again I like to think that I do these things, without that kind of cynicism that a lot of us have seen in a lot of the box sets. My box set is £75, which is pretty reasonable for what you get I would think.

SDE: The proceeds of your £10,000 box set are going to charity, the Music Venue Trust. The situation right now is pretty dire, isn’t it, for small venues?

SW: It’s absolutely pretty dire for all venues. Some of them, I know are getting grants and help but I spent about 10 to 15 years playing the smaller venue circuit. It would be such a shame to see – and I think probably the final death knell in, you know, the creativity coming from the world of traditional rock music. For years, I’ve been saying, you know, where are the great new underground rock bands and this will be the final nail in the coffin, I think, for that circuit.

SDE: And what about your touring plans for the next year. How are things looking for you at the moment?

SW: Well, the touring most probably moved to next September and October. So it’s basically a case of ‘watch this space’. I like to think by next September we will be able to go back and see shows. I know some people have got tours booked for February and March next year; I can’t see it myself.

But, realistically, I also think it’s going to take years for complete confidence to return and for the concert scene to recover completely. So it’s been a pretty severe blow, no question.

SDE: And what about the world of putting out an album. You’re going to be releasing this album out without being able to tour it, initially anyway. How are you going to promote it and help it along the way without playing live?

SW: Well, it’s not only not playing, I can’t do any TV appearances, I can’t do any record store signings and a lot of the things I would traditionally do around the release of the album, I can’t do. The one thing I would say is that it’s a pretty level playing field, everyone has the same problem, same issues. I’m putting a lot more time and money into creating great video material and making some great videos and we’ve got a couple more that I made that are coming out before the album is released.

But it’s certainly been depressing because when we put the album back originally, I think everyone thought “Ah there’s no way the pandemic will still be going on next January”.

SDE: Indeed. You could have probably just kept to the original date; it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference, in the end.

SW: I know. With the benefit of hindsight, but nobody knew, nobody knew what was going to happen. I think everyone realistically thought by now it would definitely be over, so. But I’m not going to hold onto it anymore, obviously, you know, there comes a point where, you know, I’ll start to lose my own enthusiasm for it if I don’t put it out there!

SDE: How are you going to sell the £10,000 box set? Are you going to just put it on the website and then see what happens?

SW: Yes. We created a whole sort of The Future Bites construct website, it’s going to be one of the items that will go on sale there. There will be a countdown, I think there’s going to be a countdown to it going on sale. The price tag is deliberately ludicrous, I mean, that’s part of it in a way, that’s part of the conceit, part of the concept. Like the high-concept designer companies, taking a t-shirt that’s worth a pound, putting their logo on it and selling for 300 dollars, you know.

I suspect somebody out there has, a collector of mine where money is no object, will probably pick it up. But that’s not why we did it of course, we did it as kind of a bit of fun but with a serious message as well. I don’t know, what do you think your readers are going to make of it? Is it going to be a massive negative energy directed at me or do you think they get the joke or what?

SDE: I think if you were selling a thousand of them at £750, then there might be some negative vibes. But the very fact there is only one, I think people will get the idea. Of course, if there’s 50 people that are willing to pay £10,000 for it, you’ll have 49 people that are annoyed that it sells in a millisecond –  if that happens.

SW: But that is, that’s the world of art isn’t it? Only one person can own a painting. That’s what it all comes back to that analogy to me, the world of, you know, the art world, the single painting that sells for a premium to one collector and nobody complains about that do they?


Steven Wilson’s ‘ULTRA DELUXE MUSIC PRODUCT ON OBSOLETE MEDIA’ version of The Future Bites goes on sale on his website at 9am on Black Friday (27th November).

The other, more affordable, versions are listed below.

Pre-order the new 12-inch single ’12 Things I Forgot’ with two exclusive bonus tracks.


Steven Wilson official store The Future Bites pre-orders:


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Steven Wilson

The Future Bites - vinyl LP

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Steven Wilson

The Future Bites - blu-ray

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Steven Wilson

The Future Bites - CD edition

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1. UNSELF
2. SELF
3. KING GHOST
4. 12 THINGS I FORGOT
5. EMINENT SLEAZE
6. PERSONAL SHOPPER
7. MAN OF THE PEOPLE
8. FOLLOWER
9. COUNT OF UNEASE

109 responses to Steven Wilson to release an ‘Ultra Deluxe’ box set limited to one unit

  1. Pingback:Saturday Deluxe / 30 January 2021 | superdeluxeedition

  2. marcos says:

    I agree with him on his take on releasing multiple takes of one song. I listened to the Stooges Fun House sessions and you couldn’t even distinguish one version from the other!

  3. Pingback:Steven Wilson’s ‘Ultra Deluxe’ edition The Future Bites sells instantly | superdeluxeedition

  4. Vladi says:

    SOLD! The millisecond it went online!

  5. Richard Jackson says:

    I wonder if any consideration was given to ‘raffling’ the £10,000 box set? As a fan, I would be prepared to gamble £5 for an equal chance of getting the box set. I think the consumption concept would still have been valid, probably even more than £10,000 could have been raised for charity & an ‘ordinary’ fan would probably have got the box set. Just a thought.

  6. Jeremy Wei says:

    “I don’t really want a King Crimson box set where I hear a bunch of cleaned up, you know, audience bootlegs and five discs of sessions…I don’t want that.”

    Geez, than don’t buy it. There was another box set that came out for King Crimson’s first album about 10 months ago. It was three 3 or 4 discs, it sounds more like what you want SW.

    This said specifically it was the Complete 1969 recordings. 25 years ago, few people thought any of those recordings even existed. And most of these songs they rarely play the same ANYWAY.

    I swear, people have to p*** on everything. “This box set doesn’t have all the b-sides.” Now it’s “this set is TOO COMPLETE?”

    • Jules(Rules) says:

      Jeremy, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but Steven has had a hand in both of these box sets. He did the new 5.1 mix (which is on both sets) and the Dolby Atmos (which is only on the bigger one). So, he’s probably well served with both. But I see no issue in him voicing what, to him, makes a good set.

  7. Tony says:

    Does anybody know what the Limited Edition Tour double LP of The Future Bites that was available exclusively on Stevens website includes as content ? I ordered it back in October 2019 and never heard what was special about it , picture disc set maybe ?

    • Phil Morris says:

      It was (is) double *vinyl*, i.e. the album plus an exclusive 7″. There was a great deal of confusion over it being a picture disc, with initial reference to it being so in some entries, but it seems it won’t be. Not sure of any colouring, however. Nor when those of us who ordered will actually receive it.

  8. Michael says:

    Fine idea – exclusive boxset/track and proceeds to charity – but he should have raffled it instead and SW fans worldwide would have gone crazy (rightfully) AND he would have made more money for charity.

    • SimonP says:

      That’s probably a better idea. Two thousand tickets, limited to one per customer at a fiver each. Same amount of money raised. Or do ten thousand tix at a fiver each and raise five times the amount…

  9. Kauwgompie says:

    Great interview. His new music sounds amazing. I absolutely love it!

  10. Carlos says:

    A very good conversation, thank you. Steve Wilson shows a lot of good sense in his opinions and answers here. And he reads this forum too!

  11. Ex-Oligarch says:

    Interesting conversation with Mr. Wilson. He always seems to come off as a bit of a kindred spirit for many fans of a certain age. Although I haven’t really enjoyed his music since the first couple Porcupine Tree cassettes, I can’t help but admire his contribution to so many great reissues, and the records he made with Opeth are works for the ages. If any PT or Wilson fans haven’t heard them, consider this a high recommendation.

  12. Fogarrach says:

    Good interview. Yet, in my opinion…

    This item doesn’t belong here. Better suited to an afternoon auction show or a late night arts programme. It’s the worlds first £10k marble to the buyer, and not much use to the rest of us in the world.

    Imagine what would be getting said about this stunt had Paul McCartney done it. Maybe 1 copy at £1m including his MBE.

    It would sell, but it would hardly qualify as discography material.

    And as for his views on 47 versions… each to their own, I’d suggest Steven digs out his pet sounds box set.

    As for all proceeds going to a charity. Does Steven mean £10k will go to the named charity?

    As someone with experience of that. All too often, that phrase hides the considerable production and preparation costs that get deducted after all the acclaim has died down.

    • Ex-Oligarch says:

      Wait wait wait… You’re saying that an interview with a guy who is putting out a super deluxe edition of his most recent record, in which he discusses his views on compiling and marketing super deluxe editions, his own enjoyment in buying super deluxe editions, and other super deluxe editions he has worked on for other artists, “doesn’t belong” on the super deluxe edition website?

      Then you accuse the interviewee of prospectively breaking faith with his chosen charity?

      Geez, dude.

    • Gary says:

      I’ve noted, particularly of late, the exploitative way companies are trying to flog product and though this isn’t directed at the wares of Mr Wilson there is the adage that any publicity is good. Personally, it’s getting tiresome as there seems no end to the variations on offer. You may argue that all options are valid for someone somewhere but from my own collecting viewpoint where does it all end? I noted The Bangles ‘Sweetheart of the Sun’ on purple vinyl in the U.K. recently and duly pre ordered a copy. This has now changed to coke bottle clear and yellow splatter. No big deal but the purple vinyl is available in the US, as is an orange and red splatter edition (that I also opted for – cos I’m a bit sad that way…) and that’s before Doll Revolution is reissued in pink vinyl for the Black Friday promotion. The shenanigans regarding McCartney 3 and the route physical music promotion appears to be taking will, I feel lessen the desire for it as people will ultimately feel ripped off, as indeed I did before cancelling the forementioned pre orders……

  13. CJ Feeney says:

    So, what colour will the 7″ vinyl be?

  14. martin farnworth says:

    if there were notes relating to Wilson’s latest/concept about promoting the boxset then SDE had to be involved for obvious reasons. there’s something righteous about it how it fits.
    I have to wonder are all his albums worthy of such deluxe treatment. After only buying a couple of them I feel I could easily tire of it. Admittedly the Hand. Cannot. Erase deluxe one was excellent, arguably too good even . Where he complains about some middle age men box ticking and it not being about the music for some that might be contradictory in thatcase as that box set seemed rather more than just about the music with all the extra bits and pieces in it.

  15. johneffay says:

    It’s a cool idea, but not as cool as The Residents’ $100,000 Ultimate Box Set which came housed in a fridge.

    Any love for Bass Communion round here? I think Cenotaph is the best thing Wilson has ever done (& I like most of his stuff).

    • martin farnworth says:

      I have the first album. May get round to the rest. Very transcendent and escapist stuff. Rather good too.

  16. WILLIAM ENGLAND says:

    Do you think that’s Elton’s Christmas list?
    (He’s definitely taking himself less seriously as he gets older)

  17. Phil Morris says:

    “Interestingly”, his US official store clearly didn’t get the memo: the Ultra-deluxe set is on there for £46 less than the £10,000 price-tag (in GBP) and you can order more than one copy of it right now.

  18. Dean says:

    Interviewing Steve Wilson and not nailing him down on which Tull albums we’re going to get in Surround ought to be unlawful. Sure he’d get tired of it. And? LOL

  19. Quante says:

    Hi Paul,

    That’s an excellent interview – great questions, open and honest answers, and a good theme of discussing music as collectable art; with the added bonus of a generous charitable act.

    It’s nice to see individualism and open minded thoughts being expressed by Steven on the subject of box sets. In so many industries, peoples responses are bland, collective, protective and defensive; driven in part by fear, the need to play the game, to keep in with the in-crowd, and stay employed.

    Steven summed up perfectly the difference between an industry selling brilliant product that we all wish to buy, verses the current proliferation of releases and box sets that resemble the emperors new clothes, and he called it out for what it is.

    My favourite put downs in the comments on McCartney’s new release was Paul McMoney (Hugh Hall) and Paul McMarketing (Stephen King). Judging by Steven Wilson’s comments about likely non-artist involvement in some of the release decisions, this means that the commercial teams around the likes of McCartney end up helping to wreak an industry that the consumer loses faith in. There seems to be no ‘off switch’ in the pursuit of greed, via the exchange of tat for cash. Rather, it’s a case of we screwed them last time, let’s see how much more we can screw them for this time.

    I’m looking forward to The Future Bites. It sure did this year.

    puptonbluton – we must live in a parallel existence, except my financial black hole is this year, and like you I really haven’t missed those releases I thought I needed. Nothing Is Essential – it could be the follow up to The Future Bites.

  20. CJ says:

    I was only familiar with Wilson from his mixing work on reissues, but this site has really turned me on to his solo music. I love the clips that are posted in this article. I have to track down more of his albums and check out Porcupine Tree as well. Thank you for the recommendation!

    • Klaus says:

      @CJ:

      Once you’re dealing with his earlier efforts you should definitely check out “No-Man” and the solo work of their singer Tim Bowness too.
      It was the first musical project that Steven Wilson had some success with and it shows the melancholic side of him very well.

      It was the first i ever heard of SW (though in the beginning it was more Bowness’ voice that i loved) and i had the very rare opportunity to watch the band play live outside the UK (capacity 500, attending about 300, seated).
      When seeing (and listening to) SW on stage i began to suspect that he might be the one that had the main responsibility for what i liked about the band.

      Getting into Porcupine Tree later on and then also SW’s solo recordings made proof to me that my suspicion was right…

      • CJ says:

        Oh wow–I listened to a selection of No-Man tracks, and I just finished ordering as many of the full-length albums as I could find by them. They really are amazing. Thank you!

  21. Christophe says:

    Very interesting interview from a very interesting artist. Knowing how much has he been involved in the 8 King Crimson boxes set through the last 10 years i m surprised by his observation on the 1969 content (even if he is partly true …i got it and listening to audiences restored cassette bootleg is an act of faith …still have not started the sessions)

  22. Hugh Hall says:

    Paul, can we expect this interview to be published in a lovingly crafted numbered edition – of one?!

  23. Peter Muscutt says:

    I’d have loved it if there was something on the (commercially available) deluxe set that WASN’T on the super-duper £10,000 box set, so you still had to get another box set to own all the content…only kidding!

  24. Gary Shaw says:

    I unfortunately only found out about Steven, and his brilliant former band Porcupine Tree, a few years ago, but have been buying his and their back catalogues ever since. Including the 13CD Porcupine Tree boxset released last Friday.
    He does seem very down to earth, with a sense of humour, and also a truly massive music fan and collector himself, so what he said in the interview made a lot of sense.
    However, as much as I don’t have £10k to spend on his ‘edition of 1’ version, I also thought that £75 was a little steep for the other boxset of the new album. I’ll probably just go for the standard BluRay.
    A lot of his fans have apparently complained about his new musical direction, but then I have found that a lot of Progressive Rock fans (and some Prog bands too) ironically don’t like music or musicians to progress!

    A few people have mentioned the Wu Tang album, but did any one see about the Gene Simmons boxset, and the high priced variations of that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Simmons_Vault

    • GTR says:

      I recall seeing some pix of Gene delivering the boxset to the homes of some fans who bought it. He did a short set of tracks in the living room of one fan and Ace Frehley was playing with him. I’d imagine if you were a Kiss fan that would be pretty hard to beat and probably worth the money too.

  25. madman says:

    I thought the title and the concept were hysterical. The interview was entertaining and informative, as usual. I’ve never really listened to anything Steve’s been involved with, but it might be time to change that.

  26. David says:

    Will this be packaged properly for posting or will they just slap an address label on the side?

  27. puptonbluton says:

    Great interview. Steven Wilson makes some very interesting and erudite comments regarding the obsessive tendencies of (mostly) middle-aged men, of which I am of course one.

    When I was in a bit of a financial hole a few years back I had to refrain completely from buying any SDE’s and managed it by telling myself how little I needed to hear those previously unreleased outtakes and rare 12# versions. Surprisingly, I survived this audio famine.

    Now I’ve got a bit of disposable income again I’m snapping up bargains like the Tangerine Dream box, that I didn’t even think I wanted. Obvious to say perhaps, but having the money to spend does fuel unnecessary spending and the collection continues to grow, despite protests from my partner, and to the eye-rolling hilarity of my teenage kids. Somewhat morbidly, I often contemplate what will happen to my collection when I croak. My kids clearly won’t be interested, and I recently toyed with the idea of selling it all and moving to streaming.

    Needless to say, I’m still buying more….

    • Vishal says:

      Great interview Paul! I’ve been following Steven Wilson since his PT days and had the opportunity to catch him live, luckily before the pandemic hit. He really comes across as a genuine artist and above all a genuine person who cares about music and giving back.

      And puptonbluton glad to read that am not alone, exactly the same situation as yours except that my kids aren’t teenagers yet but they have already started rolling eyes at the piles of records and CDs and asking why do I need them :) I am just waiting for the day when they have the self-realization as to why someone needs music in their life and how songs can be the sole constant and companion for every moment of your incredible life! cheers!

  28. Pete says:

    I’d like to buy it but I’m not sure it would arrive in time for Christmas. Does anyone know the shipping times?

  29. Arnd says:

    “If the person that buys it wants to share it on YouTube, that’s entirely their choice.”

    Is it? I mean, if “The Taste Maker” shows up online somewhere (it will), they know, this time, exactly who to sue … except the buyer gets an official license to share the track.

    • Hugh Hall says:

      Firstly, it may not show up online somewhere.

      Secondly, I think should the uploader be threaten legally all they need to do is produce Paul’s interview and it’s “case closed m’lord.”

    • Gisabun says:

      @Arnd:
      The guy who bought the box set has SW’s permission to release The Tastemaker as per the 20 minute unboxing video on YouTube.

  30. Kevin says:

    I can’t say I’m familiar with Steven’s work beyond his remix work for other artists, but I absolutely applaud this. I think it’s hysterical, with a solid multi- pronged message behind it. Excellent.

  31. Ouch says:

    Its still better value than the Pink Floyd box sets

  32. Edward Fitzgerald says:

    Nothing against Steve Wilson but I can think of a dozen albums that if there had been just been 1 copy the world would be a better place.

  33. Bill says:

    Why is that a ridiculous statement, its an opinion…

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      My assessment of your statement is also an opinion. It’s ridiculous, because a person doesn’t become “completely repulsive” if they put on different clothes.

  34. John S says:

    I don’t know much about Steven Wilson or his music, other than the fact that he’s had the approval of the XTC camp to help with their remixes and reissues, but I think this is brilliant – excellent comments and sentiments from Mr Wilson, and I admire the playfulness and wit behind his gesture. Plus, let’s not overlook the fact it’s a fundraising project for a very worthy cause.

  35. Ralph Mac says:

    I like his thinking. I honestly think he should have gone the whole way and auctioned it raising even more money for the charity. I have a slight reservation remembering how the Wu Tang Clan auction went

  36. Colin Harper says:

    It would give us all something to talk about if Fab Macca bought it (using the proceeds from all those ludicrous variants of his latest thing). Instant karma, I suppose.

  37. In the late 90s, I believe, Merzbow sold a limited edition of 1 of a CDr. The packaging? It was in the CD player of a Porsche (or similar luxury vehicle). I don’t remember all the details, and it may be apocryphal, but I loved the story.

  38. RODOLFO MARTIN says:

    Paul,
    do you think Steven can sign the box? Would that be a different price?

  39. Matt says:

    A bit out of my price range (and never heard of Steven Wilson before now?)

  40. Bart says:

    I love porcupine tree and SW solo albums up to To the bone. Newest SW music is completely repulsive. Wilson lost a fan…

  41. RODOLFO MARTIN says:

    What can I do if the copy is damaged during shipping?
    Will Steven deliver it personally?

  42. andrew r says:

    How about a face to face chat with the man for 10,000
    With a photo at the end of it where the buyer explains
    His reasoning at taking part in what is the ultimate art installation. Just a thought

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      There’s a decent chance and SDE reader may buy this, so if that happens then YES I would love to have a chat with the person about their purchase!

  43. Chris Squires says:

    Maybe time for an SDE curated Top 10 countdown from the 15th to 24th December, with accompanying videos of course, the 10 greatest re-issues and boxed sets of all time plus honorable mentions?
    That’ll put the cat among the pigeons. (as long as the cat is at least 2m away from any pigeon I think we can get away with it).

  44. Wayne C says:

    I have only recently got into Steven Wilson, (after finding the Home Invasion Concert by chance on Amazon Prime). I sat there open mouthed thinking to myself “How on Earth have I missed out on this magnificent talent!”. Totally blown away and amazingly I knew of Porcupine Tree 20 years ago but never listened to any of their material until Lockdown also!. Monumental ability and probably the only good thing to come out of it for me personally. I’m now a fan. If you have Prime advised to take a chance you won’t look back if you like quality progressive music.

    • Wayne C says:

      Could I also add, this is a great idea and a tremendous cause, I actually think Steven is under pricing it. £10,000 isn’t much to some people especially for something that nobody else owns, I hope the special track in this box is tightly copyrighted so that a potential buyer cannot make presumably a lot of money allowing access to it etc. Good cause for sure. I would expect completists losing sleep thinking of second mortgaging their home!.

    • Hugh Hall says:

      There was an article in the Guardian on Steven 3 years ago and the headline was “Steven Wilson: the prog rocker topping the charts without anyone noticing.”

  45. Ken.e says:

    Great idea for charity. I am sure that this set is done from an artistic perspective and agree with your comments about only a limited number of people will be disappointed. Steven Wilson’s deluxe sets started it for me with Porcupine Tree The Incident. I agree with the comments about many box sets being filled with mostly air and others being very good. The Wildflowers and Prince sets to me were fantastic and are really focused on the music. The John Lennon Imagine set was also very insightful but in a different way, I do look forward to the similar treatment of POB.
    At times I see albums I really like being released as deluxe sets only to be disappointed with content and or the price tag. Alternatively I see sets on this site that are incredible however not fitting to my personal interest musically. I love it when the two come together. It’s one of the reasons I stop by the site so frequently.
    Great article.

  46. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Are the postage costs included?

  47. Mike M says:

    Limited to one copy only, shame was hoping to buy two copies so I could keep one sealed.

  48. Jules(Rules) says:

    Tim Chacksfield.

    Otherwise, great interview! Interesting concept. I love how Steven hasn’t entirely lost touch, how he points out the cynicism of the McCartney release and how he mentions mastering. He still sees our concerns because he’s a fan himself, in addition to being a musician, producer and mixing engineer.

  49. Kevin says:

    Great interview. Nice to see its not just us getting a bit of fatigue with recent release practices.

    Must be cool to know he sits and watches your video’s. He seems like down to earth music fan like ourselves.

  50. Klaus says:

    So far i thought Steven Wilson to be a decent (and incredibly talented) guy.

    This interview only supported that notion.

  51. Francois says:

    He is creating additional content, lots of videos as he says. Maybe these could make a good addtion to the deluxe boxset, HD downloads with surround sound? There is clearly no time to add these as Blu-Rays in the deluxe edition.
    I really like all of the already released singles, he clearly is getting better and better and most aof all his music has more and more diversity to it, which I love.

  52. Roberto R says:

    Paul, you should buy this incredible box set, for a great unboxing video -)

  53. John Barleycorn says:

    That was very good and insightful.
    I think he hit the nail on the head several times but particularly with men of a certain generation who are box tickers. You get a lot of those on *here* who get irate by the fact that some reissue has omitted a rare 7” Serbian remix or whatever, complete utter nonsense of course but you get those “fans” who want it even if they will only play it once – or never.
    The whole SDE concept is fine if you can control your emotions and purse strings but it is in danger of propelling itself into parody (if it hasn’t already).

  54. John MC cann says:

    If your reading this Paul mc cartney ?
    Please buy this!, And you can tell this guy Wilson you bought it with your MC cartney 111 wedge!

  55. Mauro says:

    Interesting insights into this interview, very beautiful Paul, one of the best you have done.
    If we then think that some artists / record companies offer super deluxe box sets at 250, 500, 1000 € £ $, but compared to the contents of Wilson’s box for a good purpose…
    BRAVO STEVEN!

  56. Marc says:

    A great interview. I don’t know Steve Wilson, but I will listen to some of his music now. He seems to be a nice, down to earth guy.

  57. Tim Abbott says:

    He’s still about £990,000 behind Wu Tang Clan.

    Must try harder.

  58. SeanL says:

    What a fantastic interview Paul, thank you. His work has generally passed me by but after reading the interview I fully intend to investigate more, I like artists with integrity whether they sell millions or hundreds of copies of their work, usually their output has far more depth to it.

  59. Carsten says:

    Should have been an auction! That should have been interesting to watch.

  60. Peter Muscutt says:

    The concept kind of reminds me of the old Jean Michel Jarre LP (I think it was called ‘Music for Supermarkets’ or something similar) where I’m sure there was only one copy ever made, and the master tapes were destroyed immediately after.

    • Caroline says:

      There have been quite a few one-offs over the years and the quality of lathe-cuts has improved to the point where this is now very accessible. For instance, Andrew Liles (musician, artist and sometime member of Nurse With Wound) recently did a small edition of c. 20 where the b-side of every LP was different.

      • Ex-Oligarch says:

        As you point out, tiny editions, all the way down to a single copy, aren’t that unusual in the sound art/noise/experimental underground. It’s just that most of the artists are so obscure, so unknown outside the subculture, that they make Andrew Liles look like Elton John!

    • Fortyfabio says:

      Music for Supermarkets (83) was composed and recorded by JM Jarre to be played at an art exhibition, after the art objects were auctioned, Jarre decided to press 1 vinyl copy and get it auctioned too (almost 70k francs were paid). The master plates were destroyed (like the engraving plates are usually destroyed by the artists after printing limited runs), but the master tape and the multitracks were left intact. Later Jarre himself made one radio broadcast of the music, quickly the album were available as a bootleg, those “original” vinyl bootlegs are very valuable on their own. Jarre used some elements of the multitracks in Zoolook(84) and in Rendez-vous(86).

    • WILLIAM ENGLAND says:

      Again, yes – one copy. However, after the auction, the full lp was broadcast on Radio Luxembourg (I may be wrong about the station) so there were many bootleg copies on lp/cd/tape.

      • Derek Langsford says:

        i too was reminded of Music for Supermarkets of which I have a CD copy. It has two versions, the original (almost unlistenable by modern standards) taped off the Radio Luxembourg (AM) broadcast, and a cleaned-up version, which though still poor, is more gentle on the ear and sensibilities. Intriguing look into JMJ at the time, though as William writes, elements did appear in his subsequent albums.

        Writing about JMJ, I though after the 30th Anniversary Edition of Oxygene and Teo and Tea in 2007, both released in 5.1, we’d see more of his albums released in 5.1. Would love to hear some of his other albums mixed in surround. I dream of a compilation of his albums in hi-res on blu-ray with 5.1 mixes.

    • Patrick Gleeson says:

      The master tapes of Music For Supermarkets still exist – it was the master plate to cut the sole vinyl LP that was destroyed. Some of the album resurfaced in other releases: Part 1 was released on the Planet Jarre compilation, Part 4 became Blah-Blah Café, Part 2 was remixed and became Rendezvous 5 and Part 7 was remixed and became Diva. The current 3rd) owner of the LP is unknown.

  61. gary oliver says:

    doesnt include alternate colour medal ribbons for me … im out
    .

  62. Ed says:

    Wisdom comes with age …
    This is so much more intellegent than the days he was destroying iPods.

  63. Dylive says:

    Ordered! Well, just kidding…
    But, 10.000 pounds and not even a signature with personal handwritten dedication to the buyer?

    • Peter Muscutt says:

      If he sells it, I’m sure he’d chuck one in if the buyer asked…maybe if they donate extra to the good cause, perhaps!

  64. B57 says:

    hey Steve/Paul,
    will the ultra deluxe box come shrink wrapped?
    love Eltons bit

  65. Liam Bastick says:

    I’ve pre-ordered two copies… the painting analogy is a fair cop though.

  66. GTR says:

    I think he articulates the growing exploitation of fans very well. His point about ‘…manipulating the completists…’ is spot on. This reminds me of the recent superb Go-Betweens box sets. I now own a second hand paperback which once belonged to Grant McLennan (and before that his local library). I’m happy to pay extra for something this unique.

    Didn’t Wu-Tang Clan do something similar with an album with only 1 copy of it? But let’s not give Sir Paul’s people any ideas…

  67. Steven Roberts says:

    According to the website this is already SOLD OUT.

    Does this mean it just hasn’t gone live yet, or did someone make Steven an “offer he couldn’t refuse”?

    Curious to know what this ends up going for if/when it ends up on eBay.

  68. Funny: the ULTRA DELUXE MUSIC PRODUCT ON OBSOLETE MEDIA is listed as ‘sold out’ already (but, as you stated, it will go live on Friday. Still, imagine, someone having already bought it …)

  69. FANTASTIC interview! What great insights. Well done, Paul.

    Interesting track listing for the cassette. Just 3 songs on the B-side. Perhaps these are the longer ditties?

    SIDE A

    1. UNSELF
    2. SELF
    3. KING GHOST
    4. 12 THINGS I FORGOT
    5. EMINENT SLEAZE
    6. MAN OF THE PEOPLE

    SIDE B

    7. PERSONAL SHOPPER
    8. FOLLOWER
    9. COUNT OF UNEASE

  70. stephen king says:

    What, no marbles?

  71. Jim says:

    Holding out for a deal alert on this one, tbh.

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