Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Edition / Music
Certain record labels (for example, Roadrunner Records) have become infamous for releasing an album... then releasing it six months later with bonus tracks... then two years later with a bonus DVD... and it's even got to the point where they are releasing albums 10 years later with very little in the way of bonuses. There are currently at least five separate versions of Mercyful Fate's "Melissa" album available, not taking separate mediums into account (LPs, Cassettes) or the astonishing amount of compilations or especially live albums with songs from the album on them. This has become a running joke within the music community to the point where almost no one buys a Roadrunner album upon its release, because they can get it six months later with bonus tracks.
Dream Theater's newest album is a pretty good example. It hasn't been re-released with extras (yet...), but on the initial release, three versions were available: The standard album in CD or LP form, a 3 CD version with a disk of cover songs and a disk of instrumental versions of the regular album's songs, and another edition with everything from before, a lithograph from the artist who designed the cover art, a mousepad, and a DVD with isolated tracks for all the audio on the regular album so people could do their own remixes of the songs.
The "6 months later with bonus tracks" scheme is especially done with R&B and pop music. Several labels will release an album by an artist and then re-release it 6 months later as a "special edition" and release one of the new songs a few months before to radio, basically forcing fans of an artist to buy the album again with the artists' new big hit on it. Sometimes a record company will pull this a second time by releasing the album with the original tracklist, the 6 tracks from the "special edition" and 2-4 more new tracks just so fans have to buy an artists' album again.
And don't try to round it by just buying the new tracks from iTunes or Amazon Music; the record companies will sometimes seal off the new track as being an 'album-only purchase'.
British rock bands have gotten in on the "re-release with the new single on it" game. Want "Flux" by Bloc Party, "Kiss of Life" by Friendly Fires or "Heavy in Your Arms" by Florence + the Machine and don't want to buy the single? Guess what albums you're going to have to buy again?
There's also been a trend of record labels releasing both a "standard" and a "deluxe" edition for popular music acts at the same time. The deluxe editions usually have different artwork and anywhere from 2-10 extra tracks. Sometimes there'll also be bonus videos of the making of the album, music videos, track-by-track commentary, interviews etc.
13 Tales from Urban Bohemia by The Dandy Warhols had a 4 song 2nd disc included in the first pressing.
As part of its 30th anniversary, the Def Jam label released several albums as "deluxe editions" in 2014, including among others a 2-disc rerelease of LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out, multidisc reprints of both Public Enemy albums It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet, and one massive 6-LP "Greatest Hits" with a T-shirt, a collection of pre-Def Jam songs that contributed to the label founders' production styles, and a bound book with photographs and liner notes that could be ordered in either vinyl or CD format.
Faith No More's Album of the Year had a weird variation. The original release of the album had the regular version and a 2CD version with a bonus remix disc. The Japanese version featured two non-album tracks added to the end. A German Limited edition called "Competition Edit" added the two Japanese bonus tracks plus four remixes to the end of the first disc. These remixes were different to those on the 2CD bonus disc. So, if you wanted to, you could round up all the tracks by combining the disc from that version with the second disc of the 2CD edition, and have no repetition, but you would have to buy both releases to do it.
There's a super-limited expensive version of Paramore's third album, Brand New Eyes. Acoustic B-Sides, vinyl record, DVD, the works.
The Smashing Pumpkins (well, the newest version of the group) did the same with their seventh album, Zeitgeist, to a ridiculous extent: there are six versions of the album, the bonuses of which are all exclusive. (Ironically, you can't get the song Zeitgeist unless you buy it at Target.)
In a similar case of irony, you can't get the song "The Colour and the Shape" on the album The Colour and the Shape (both by Foo Fighters, by the way) unless you get the 10th anniversary edition of the album. Like the Pumpkins' Zeitgeist, it includes six bonus tracks; unlike Zeitgeist, they're all on the same version of the album.
A few Def Leppard albums were like this. For instance, the greatest hits compilation Vault had different tracks on the US, European, and Japanese releases; granted, the lineups were altered to reflect which songs had been hits in which region, so it made a bit more sense that regional albums be tailored, given that some songs that had been top tens in one country barely scratched airplay in others. And the Japanese releases also get bonus tracks not available on the other editions in order to encourage Japanese fans to purchase the domestic edition rather than import other copies. But then the YEAH! album got even worse than all this, mirroring examples above by having bonus tracks that were different depending on if you purchased it via iTunes, Target, Best Buy, or Wal* Mart.
Sony Records started re-releasing famous albums on major anniversaries of their original release (10th or 25th mostly) with the original album, a bonus CD (usually demos and/or outtakes) and a DVD with a documentary, music videos and some rare/live footage. Examples include London Calling by The Clash, The Holy Bible by the Manic Street Preachers and The Blue AlbumbyWeezer.
Weezer started doing this with new albums in 2008: their 2008 Self-Titled Album ("The Red Album") had a vanilla version, a deluxe edition with 4 bonus tracks, and a pair of additional bonus tracks for the itunes version, along with different bonus tracks for international versions, and a Japan-exclusive dvd. Raditude had a similar array of different versions, as well as an iTunes Pass version with remixes, alternate versions and outtakes. To be fair, the physical versions of the regular and deluxe versions for both came out simultaneously, with the deluxe version typically costing only slightly more, but getting absolutely everything including international bonus tracks could still be pricey. They also re-released their debut album (commonly known as The Blue Album) and Pinkerton in deluxe editions with bonus tracks and an extra disc with b-sides and rarities. The Pinkerton reissue was even released with a smattering of bonus goodies, including a diorama of the album's artwork, a reprint of the original lyric booklet, and a copy of the compilation Death to False Metal.
Independent label Inside Out (known in some territories as Inside Out Music) is rather fond of this, regularly releasing enhanced editions of albums simultaneously with the regular editions, as well as far more lavish special editions of older albums by their more notable bands.
A great example of a collector's edition done well is John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers' first studio album, Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. It contains the 1966 mono version and 1969 stereo remix, features early recordings of the band, done at the BBC and also early singles and promotional material. You also find alternate takes on songs and even earlier versions of them. Last, but not least, you get multiple live tracks with the band. You also get a great booklet, detailing the band and also a copy of the original CD booklet. Plus, the CDs themselves are modeled to look like old LPs.
Sufjan Stevens' Songs for Christmas collection got the deluxe box-set treatment: 5 discs, 40 pages of liner notes (including guitar tabs for most of the songs and short stories), an animated music video, a poster with a full-page comic strip on the back, and stickers. There was no Vanilla Edition of Songs for Christmas—most of the songs had leaked to the internet a year beforehand, and one suspects that this deluxe treatment was done to give fans some incentive to pay for songs they had already downloaded.
Similarly, his soundtrack for The B.Q.E. can either be purchased as a CD/DVD combo pack (including the soundtrack album, the complete film... and a Viewmaster reel) or as a vinyl album (with an accompanying comic book).
The Second Stage Turbine Blade has three extra songs; the epic "Elf Tower New Mexico", an acoustic demo version of "Junesong Provision", the demo version of "Everything Evil" and the bonus song "IRO-Bot" moved to it, from the original final song "Godsend Conspirator".
The band's latest album, Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume 2: No World For Tomorrow, has two versions, both with the same artwork on the front and back: the cheap one, with a thin cardboard CD case; and the expensive one, with a large cardboard box featuring a wide, amazing piece of artwork depicting various portions of a Sci-Fi battle that takes place sometime during the album's storyline, as well as a DVD showing a "Making-Of" video, a collection of photographs, and a bunch of AMAZING acoustic demos, all but one of them featuring semi-animated artwork video (i.e. drawings by the The Amory Wars/Coheed and Cambria artist, with flame effects added in, and pulsing lights, and panning over images)
Boris and Sunn O)))'s collaboration album Altar was released six different times in less than a year, including a single CD release, a double CD release in the US and Japan where both versions include different extra tracks, US and Japan triple LP releases which included DIFFERENT VERSIONS of the same bonus tracks from the CD release, and another 3 LP picture disc release that was sold only at one show in London.
Nine Inch Nails released the LP set "Ghosts" in 6 different editions, including a vinyl release and a deluxe edition containing 2 CD's, a data-DVD with audio streams broken down for mixing and sampling, a Blu-ray disc of the four albums and an accompanying slideshow, and a 48-page hardcover book. However, the Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition was the king, housing everything from the deluxe edition, plus a 4-LP 180 gram vinyl set in a fabric slipcase and two exclusive limited edition Giclée prints, numbered and signed by Trent Reznor.
Darkwave project Sopor Æternus & the Ensemble of Shadows released three different versions of their ninth album, Les Fleur du Mal: the CD of the album (~$20), a double-vinyl limited edition (900 copies, ~$60), and a limited edition CD boxset (2000 copies, ~$100) with the album, a 40-page book of lyrics and illustrations, and a 112-page manga about the album.
The soundtrack for Metalocalypse, "The Dethalbum", had a special edition that included a few extra songs and some audio skits. This edition was produced in such limited quantities that people were gouging the price at a minimum of $100.
A few fans were really ticked at how Starflyer 59's Ghosts of the Future and Ghosts of the Past were handled. Basically, the super deluxe edition (a vinyl box set featuring cool artwork) was released first, and fans who shelled out $60 or more for it under the impression that these tracks were exclusive to this set were less than pleased when the entire shebang was released as a much less expensive vanilla edition CD a year later.
The reissue of Pearl Jam's Ten came in a bunch of versions. A two-CD "Legacy Edition" which came with a remastered version of the original album, a new remixed version of the album and half a dozen bonus tracks. The "Deluxe Edition" added in a DVD of their MTV Unplugged show, and a final "Super Deluxe Edition" had all the other stuff, a vinyl LP copy of the album and remixes, also sold on its own, a recording of a live show on vinyl, a replica of the early PJ demo cassettes, and a replica of Eddie Vedder's lyrics notebook. Admittedly, there were a lot of complaints about the mixing/production of the original album, but still. Keep in mind that they're planning to do something similar for all of their albums, leading up to their 20th anniversary as a band. Follow-ups Vs. and Vitalogy were packaged together, in either a regular version with both albums and bonus tracks, an expanded one adding a live album, and "Limited Edition Collector's Boxed Set (5 LPs, 3 CDs, 1 Cassette, Digital Download, Composition Notebook, Memorabilia-filled Envelope)".
On September 9, 2009, EMI re-issued every album by The Beatles; the stereo mixes being released standalone and as a box set. A monaural set (the mono mixes preferred by the band and producer, plus mono mixes of the albums which were originally in stereo... with the albums being "mini-LPs◊") was planned as a very limited edition with only 10,000 copies planned for release. Massive pre-orders forced EMI to reconsider. When it finally came out, it had sold 12,000 copies in the United States in its first week. In Japan, it sold 20,000. New copies can still be found at online retailers such as Amazon.
The re-release of The Rolling StonesExile on Main St. got put out in four different formats: the regular single-CD version, a double-vinyl edition, a double-CD version with 10 bonus tracks, or if you really wanted to splurge on it, an limited-edition autographed version of the album signed by all the band members, which cost around $2000 upon release. An additional release called Exile on Main St.: Rarities Edition, which contained just the 10 bonus tracks, was also available exclusively at Target.
Though trumped by the above in cost, the current title-holder for music may be American metal band Lamb of God. Their 2010 anthology Hourglass comes in 5 versions: a 3-CD set, a US$100 set with all 6 studio albums on USB drives, a US$120 set with all 6 albums on vinyl, a US$260 set with the vinyl albums, USB drives, the 3-CD set, and an art book. And for the truly devoted, there's a US$1000 set with the vinyl albums, USB drives, 3-CD set, the art book, an autographed 8x10 picture, an "Hourglass" sticker, a 4-foot by 6-foot cloth flag...and a Jackson Signature Series Mark Morton guitar.
The first soundtrack for Glee came in three flavors - one basic 17-track CD, one with one additional song, and one with three different additional songs. They did it again for the Showstoppers album, this time having an additional six songs, as well as different packaging between the two.
Rhino Records releases boxed-sets containing (usually) all or a selection of a group's studio albums with alternate versions, b-sides and the like. They've done it with The Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, The Doors, and Black Sabbath, among others. The fact that these sets usually cost upwards of $50 AND are sometimes only part of a band's output is a bit grating, although when some of them include extensive liner notes and surround-sound, it's worth it.
Rhino also had a sub-imprint, Rhino Handmade, that focused on limited editions (of usually no more than 3000 copies) of rare works of certain artists, or compilations of long out-of-print material. Many of their releases have become collector's items and fetch high prices on eBay. Since 2013, it's been less of a label for rare work than more of a shingle for their collectible mainstream box sets.
Bauhaus albums have been re-released as Collector's Editions with multiple discs of outtakes, alternate versions of songs and the like. They're all a few cents shy of $30.
The Special Limited Edition of Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster included that and her previous album The Fame, as well as an artbook, posters, 3-D glasses, a paper doll, and a lock of Gaga's hair. A second limited edition was a Gaga-shaped USB drive that contained the album, artwork, music videos, and remixes.
U2 has been a fan of this since 2004, and their dedication to it has been steadily rising.
2004: The new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is released in three CD formats: a standard single-CD edition; a Deluxe Edition featuring a bonus DVD with documentary and performance footage; and a Collector's Edition that had an exclusive version of the CD featuring a bonus track (ironically, the song from which the album title was derived) and the DVD from the Deluxe Edition, packaged with a hardcover book. (This does not include the vinyl edition.)
2007: The 20th anniversary remaster of their 1987 opus The Joshua Tree is released in three CD formats: a standard single-CD edition; a Deluxe Edition with a bonus CD of B-sides and rarities, and a box set featuring both CDs, a DVD with documentary and concert footage from the era, a hardcover book, and some photograph prints. There was also a double vinyl edition.
2008: The remasters of U2's first three albums, Boy, October, and War, are released, each in two CD formats: a standard single-CD edition with newly expanded liner notes and full lyrics (which were previously not available), and a Deluxe Edition featuring a bonus CD of B-sides and rarities. Again, there were also vinyl editions. Notably, there were no bonus DVDs or hardcover books released this time.
2009, February: The new album No Line on the Horizon is released in four CD formats: a standard single-CD edition in a jewel case; a single-CD edition in a digipak with a download link for The Film of the Album, Linear; a single CD packaged with a magazine that also included the movie download link; and a box set with the CD, movie download link, and a hardcover book. This is again in addition to a vinyl edition, bringing the total number of physical formats up to five.
2009, October: The Unforgettable Fire, their fourth album, is remastered as a 25th anniversary edition, and receives the grand treatment of The Joshua Tree before it: a standard single-CD edition; a Deluxe Edition with a bonus CD of B-sides and rarities; and a Limited Edition Box Set featuring the two CDs, a DVD with documentary and concert footage from the era, a hardcover book, and five photograph prints.
2011: Achtung Baby, widely considered to be U2's best album, is re-released as a 20th anniversary edition (with "slightly cleaned up" audio as opposed to a full remastering, which the band thought unnecessary). This set the bar higher than any album before it, with five physical formats, including a single-CD edition; a Deluxe Edition with a second CD of B-sides, rarities, and remixes; a quadruple-vinyl edition with the same track listing as the CD Deluxe Edition. The last two examples embody this trope to a T. The Super Deluxe Edition includes six CDs (Achtung Baby, the follow-up album Zooropa, a CD of just B-sides and rarities, two CDs of remixes, and a "Kindergarten" version of the album featuring demo versions of each song in order) and four DVDs (the related feature documentary film From the Sky Down, the concert film Zoo TV: Live from Sydney, and two DVDs of music videos and other documentaries), all packaged in a very large hardcover book with 16 equally large prints (each one being one "panel" of the album art). The Über Deluxe Edition then outdid even that, with all the content of the Super Deluxe Edition, plus the vinyl edition of the album, five vinyl singles corresponding with the singles from the album, a series of badges, a special edition of "Propaganda" magazine (modeled on U2's old fan magazine), and a replica of Bono's "Fly" sunglasses, all packaged in a magnetic puzzle tile box.
When their out-of-print albums from the '70s and '80s get reissued on CD, it's usually as a two-disc deluxe edition, with demos and outtakes and the works. And in these cases, there is no vanilla edition. Albums that have gotten this treatment so far: Daniel Amos, Shotgun Angel, ¡Alarma!, Doppelgänger, and Darn Floor Big Bite. Songs Of The Heart also got a deluxe 10th-anniversary reissue, even though the original was still in print.
And for Terry Scott Taylor's 2010 solo album Swine Before Pearl, you could buy the vanilla edition, or you could pay an extra $30 to also get a personalized greeting from Dr Edward Daniel Taylor (Terry's crazy radio preacher alter ego). Or you could pay an extra $100 on top of that, to also get a personalized original song.
Autechre's Quaristice had a special edition limited to 1000 copies, with a metal case and a bonus CD, Quaristice Versions, which featured extended and alternate versions of the songs. The Japanese version had the bonus track "Nu-Nr6d".
The 2006 re-release of Klaus Schulze's Timewind had a second disc with the previously unreleased outtakes "Echoes of Time" and "Solar Wind", and the 2000 self-tribute piece "Windy Times". The CD's had a vinyl record-like texture.
Covenant's Modern Ruin has a limited edition with a bonus EP titled Wir Sind die Nacht (We are the Night), which uses samples from the 2010 German horror film of the same name.
Hoo boy, David Bowie reissues. Not only have there been quite a few reissues that count as these, some albums have had more than one, and gathering all the bonus material a particular album's had over the years may well neccessitate much searching and a deep wallet...
It started in The '90s. Most of the Rykodisc re-releases of his 1969–80 back catalog over 1990–92 had bonus tracks (alternate takes, demos, unreleased songs, B-sides, etc.), and EMI/Virgin followed that up by giving his 1983–89 output the same treatment in 1995.
At the Turn of the Millennium his newest albums had special editions available alongside the standard versions, and most of his solo output from The '90s had bonus track-heavy and/or 2-disc versions (Black Tie White Noise made it to three discs, but the last was a DVD). 2-disc reissues of three of his Glam Rock albums turned up as well. His first two live albums were given additional tracks and reordered to match the original setlists, and Young Americans included a bonus DVD of a 1974 TV interview and performance.
In The New '10s, there's been two-disc versions of his first two albums from The '60s and a Station to Station reissue that, in Special Edition form, includes two extra discs for his much-bootlegged Nassau Coliseum concert from 1976... and in Deluxe Edition form includes an additional two CDs (one with the mix the 1985 CD version had, one with the single versions of the songs), a DVD with a new surround sound mix of the album, three LPs for the original album and the concert, and from there such items as replicas of the tour's press kit, the official fan club folder, etc. from this period. And there was a third special edition reissue of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 2012 (previously, it had been reissued in 1990 and 2002).
Five Years (1969–1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) and A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982), the three box sets released (so far) spanning a certain era of David's career certainly count as well.
Epica did this in 2007 with "The Divine Conspiracy" featuring a high-quality hardbound digibook, and again with their 2012 release, "Requiem for the Indifferent." There are a few editions but the super-high-end "Mailorder Edition" includes the album, an instrumental version of the album, postcards featuring album art, and a certificate of authenticity indicating which copy out of a limited run of 500 the customer has received, all wrapped up in a pine box with the Epica logo and album title woodburned into the cover. Interestingly, some early releases went out with an unfinished version of the album's closing track, "Serenade of Self-Destruction", that was missing most of its vocals, and so are considered highly collectable.
The first The Hunger Games film has two different versions of the Songs from District Twelve and Beyond, which was a collection of pop, rock and indie tunes from (if only in the closing credits) or "inspired by" the film. The special edition of the album was little more than shameless marketing: the only new content you get is a download code (!) for a single bonus song, "Lullaby"; and the feelies consist only of "nine collector's cards" (basically a nine-piece double-sided puzzle of two of the movie poster designs), and a not-so-exclusive poster, which though nice, is a common promo poster design, not standard poster size, and printed on the back of the song guide, which itself does not have lyrics included to boot. Luckily, said "special edition" is only a few bucks more.
King Crimson's 1973 album Larks' Tongues in Aspic was rereleased in 2012 in several versions, the grandest of which came with 14 CDs of bonus material, claiming to include "every known note" recorded by the relatively short-lived lineup at the time. They one-upped themselves the following year with the set The Road to Red, a box set of live shows from between 1972 to 1974, along with new stereo and 5.1 remixes of the 1974 album Red, which spans 24 discs - 21 CDs, 2 DVDs, and 1 Blu-Ray disc.
The Postal Service's only albumGive Up was re-released as a two-CD "10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" in 2013. Disc one is a remastered version of the original album, while disc two collects B Sides, remixes and other previously released non-album material, as well as featuring two previously unheard songs. Making a pre-order of this version or buying a physical copy at certain record stores also got you feelies in the form of a postcard set featuring photos of the band.
Within the same year of its regular US release, Flume's Self-Titled Album was re-released in a "Deluxe Edition". It was a fairly generous four disc package, featuring the original album, two discs worth of bonus tracks (comprising a "mixtape" where rappers add vocals to previously instrumental songs from the album, remixes by and of Flume, and a Live Album), and a copy of Ableton Live 9 Lite including tutorials and interactive sessions for three of the album's songs.
The Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection re-releases classic Disney movies' soundtracks with bonus discs, containing such extra material as deleted songs and demo recordings, and digibook packaging, boasting production notes, lyrics, and pictures both archival and new. Sometimes, the soundtracks themselves also contain pieces of film score that Disney left off of earlier releases.
The golden Original Master Recording edition CDs of Oxygène and Equinoxe.
The limited box set The Laser Years exclusively contained Cities In Concert, an In Concert Houston-Lyon special variant with all music in full length — that is, until In Concert Houston-Lyon was replaced by Cities In Concert as part of the regular back catalog during the 1997 remastering.
The original eleven-track Jarremix with an additional Laurent Garnier remix has inofficially become that.
The Complete Oxygène is Oxygène and Oxygène 7-13, the latter with a bonus track called "Oxygen in Moscow", in a tall black cardboard case. Today, the case is the only reason to buy The Complete Oxygène because the bonus track is actually Claude Monnet's "Oxygène 12" remix also available on Odyssey Through O2, and even then you'll have a hard time fitting that box anywhere into your collection as it's even taller than a DVD case.
Aero came out as a CD, a CD with a video DVD of Anne Parillaud's eyes while listening to the album (as seen on the cover) and a CD with a 3-D video DVD of Anne Parillaud's eyes.
Oxygène – New Master Recording also came along with a video disk containing the Oxygène – Live in Your Living-Room performance recording.
The 2001 (though not the 2009) remaster of the Pet Shop Boys' Introspective includes the bonus CD Further Listening, which compiles B-sides, demos, and previously unreleased songs from the album sessions.
Vicious Pink's self-titled album was rereleased on CD for the first time in 2012, with the addition of various remixes of "Cccan't You See?", the extended versions of "Fetish" and "Take Me Now", and the previously-unreleased "I Confess".
Pink Floyd first had the 1992 box set Shine On, with eight albums and a bonus CD called The Early Singles, with the songs from the Syd Barrett era. Then in 2011, as their whole catalog was re-released, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall all got both "Experience" editions adding a bonus disk (concerts in the case of the former two, work-in-progress versions for the last) and "Immersion" sets with bonus CDs, DVD-Audio versions, videos on a DVD (and in all but The Wall, both DVDs combined in a Blu-Ray), and Feelies such as scarves and marbles.
As fitting for a band with a pirate image, a limited edition of Running Wild's album Masquerade came in a wooden box which featured the album, the Death or Glory VHS, and a treasure map. There was also an even rarer edition which came with a bottle of rum.