CD Boxed Sets Headed for Extinction?

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mojo-photo-boxedset.jpgWhile current releases by notable artists can still move some units, the CD boxed set may turn out to be a kind of global warming polar bear, feeling the pain of slipping physical music sales before the rest of the world. Reuters reports that fewer and fewer collections are being released, and quotes a music purchaser as saying “boxed-set sales have fallen off the cliff.” While SoundScan doesn’t have data specific to boxed sets, the last collection to be a hit was Nirvana’s With the Lights Out, which sold 504,000 copies. While a record exec quoted in the article downplays the sales slide with a Zen-like “everything is relative,” I can actually see a couple possible reasons for the downturn right there in paragraph two:

Only a handful of enticing boxed sets are due out at year’s end. Among them are Rhino’s long-in-the-works four-disc Jesus and Mary Chain collection, “The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities”; … and anthologies from Rob Zombie, Nina Simone, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and Hall & Oates.

Ahem! Sure, hooray Jesus and Mary Chain, but I can safely say that’s a niche product: I’m probably in the top 10% in terms of dedicated J&MC fans, and I can’t imagine plunking down $50 for that thing. Otherwise, holy moley, record labels: you’re telling me the Hall & Oates boxed set might be a commercial disappointment? This points out a generally-overlooked factor in the whole argument about the reasons for the decline in music sales: people want to buy good music that they actually like. Has anybody done any studies correlating the sales downturn with the appearance of Ashlee Simpson? Well I’ll get right on that.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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