Although the various Amazon sites around the globe are ripe with absolutely crushing reviews of an otherwise great collectors boxed set,”Miles Davis: The Complete Columbia Album Collection”, I have to add my two cents as well.
I have seen some badly-produced reissue boxed sets in my life, simply because I seem to be buying too many of them, but this one really is the icing on the cake. One could argue that for a reasonably low price, customers shouldn’t complain that much, but collectors being a larger part of the target audience for this one (despite the fact that collectors already have most of the Miles Davis they’ll ever need), Columbia/Legacy went out of its way to ruin this one.
As I also managed to get hold of a box at a drastically-reduced price, I can confirm all but one mistake for my boxed set as well:
- The lid on my box was split at the left corner which makes it pretty much unusable. The powers that be decided to use cardboard which isn’t nearly strong enough to hold all the CDs.
- Most single cardboard sleeve replicas are not glued properly and come apart at the seam. In my box, this was the case for each and every one. Had I kept the box, I don’t think a single sleeve would have survived 2009.
- 12 CDs in my box either had glue residue or scratches marring the surface of the CD.
- Some people received CD 1 of a double-CD twice. CD 2 was missing altogether.
- The size and weight of the box also didn’t really seem to jell with Amazon’s way of packing and shipping this kind of boxed set and many people reported dented or otherwise damaged sets.
In the end, many people paid between $250 and $350 for a boxed set that is neither complete (hence, as usual, the title of this boxed set … I guess) nor packaged in a way to get any real enjoyment out of the box. I do believe that those people who keep it will have to remove the CDs and move each and every one into jewel cases along the way and what was the point of the boxed set in the first place then?
Along with the fact that the cover reproductions aren’t even close to the standard many Japanese reissues have set time and again (the Beatles’ boxed sets being but one example), what we get is a pretty useless boxed set, albeit at a competitive price of something like $2 something per CD.
No matter where you stand on this issue, Columbia/Legacy blew this one big time. The mind also does more than boggle at the absolutely shoddy quality control of the people in charge. Either they didn’t give a hoot about their customers, or they had to submit to a majority vote by people higher up in the hierarchy who perhaps noticed the faults of this set and decided to go ahead anyway. In my mind, the serious problems with this boxed set can not have gone unnoticed, so what I’m left to believe is that they actually thought they could get away with it … again. If you have spent as much time as I have researching various collectors boxed sets and reissues, you also know that, for example, this wasn’t the first time that Sony/Columbia have had problems with glue residue on CDs.
All of this just reminds me of an apparent disdain for customers – especially collectors – that crops up again and again when we talk about any kind of collectors item (the German complete Carl Barks collection at way over 100 Euro per volume was marred by faulty slipcases which constantly had to be replaced, various complete DVD editions of TV series changed either packaging or format (4:3 to 16:9) after a few volumes, CD boxed sets contained unplayable CDs (The Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens, for example), etc., etc., etc.
I don’t think that the companies releasing this shite into the wild know what kind of pain in the neck it is to constantly have to return faulty products. In a globalized collectors market, people don’t always order from the nearest dealer and, for example, to have to return this Miles Davis boxed set to the States from Germany (which I thankfully don’t have to do) or to return hardcover tomes that weigh half a ton practically the day you get them is just asking too much of any customer and shows that not much thinking (if any at all) has gone into a product before it was released.
All this really achieves is that people like me, who are the lifeblood of the industry (you know, the idiots that actually shell out all the cash for these collectors items) simply stop buying them. I haven’t bought a DVD in this country for nearly two years. I’ve (almost) stopped shelling out money for collectors boxed sets until I’ve checked each and every online site for quality reviews, and I have simply stopped searching for these kinds of items on a regular basis. Once bitten, twice shy. Hell, I used to be on the lookout for new and exciting items each and every day, today I check once a month at the most. Actually, this year I didn’t search for any at all and was merely alerted to them via two or three forums I’m a member of. After this disaster, I’m also thinking of turning off notifications re these kinds of items altogether and resort to having a look once a year when the Christmas sales hit the various online retailers (but not before having checked what is actually worth my money).
So, in short, the industry has scared away one customer, me, and if many others are at all like me, a large number of collectors who would have been willing to support the various reissue programs.
Actually, amidst all their constant and extremely annoying whining, complaining and suing of their customers, the various record labels and publishing houses are doing their own very damn best to shoot themselves in the foot time and again. It’s only a matter of time until they’re either gone altogether or unable to give us collectors what we really want. They’ll be dead and although I would be the first to moan their absence, their untimely demise will probably be well-deserved, simply because of the unbelievable stupidity apparent in so many of the products that could have been … but weren’t.