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Author Topic: Are The Beach Boys letting their fans down with digital only archival releases  (Read 3083 times)
GoogaMooga
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« on: January 17, 2020, 06:44:48 PM »

When I see these announcements for archival releases as digital only, I feel let down. I am strictly old school, must have physical product, jewel case, booklet, and all. I have never downloaded anything, wouldn't even know how to go about it, my hard drive is empty with regard to music, it's CD all the way.

So I can't really get excited about a 68 set as digital only. But I am happy with anything physical, I buy all of that. I can understand going digital only for things that might incur a loss as a physical release, but really, how much extra would it cost to press a few thousand of the 68 set, print the booklet, etc.? I can't imagine anything of quality would lose money as a physical release. So what is holding them back? Some corporate decision?

I think it's a little bit greedy, if it turns out that anything they put out must make a substantial profit. If they wouldn't lose money on a physical release, there is really no excuse for not releasing a physical CD product.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 06:49:07 PM by GoogaMooga » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2020, 07:24:18 PM »

Physical sets would be nice, but we are very, very, very, very, very lucky to have gotten what we have been getting thus far, and that's just the unfortunate nature of the industry these days.

What's far more important then a physical release is the quantity of mindblowing tracks. The more the merrier.

We are supremely lucky to have Mark and Alan getting this stuff in such great audio presentation for all times. Not saying I don't agree that physical would be nice… but I can't say that the band is "letting the fans down"…

It's strictly a business decision, and I'm actually very surprised that they have let as many "warts and all" tracks out as they have, so actually IMO they are doing quite the opposite of letting us down.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 07:24:48 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 09:02:35 PM »

If it’s easiest to release stuff as digital only I say go for it.  I just wanna hear everything I can to be honest
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2020, 12:30:16 AM »

It is not the choice of The Beach Boys or BRI to do digital only - any physical release has to be done through Capitol, and the final decision is theirs.
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2020, 06:45:23 AM »

While I completely agree that having physical sets alongside a digital release would be ideal, I do want to say that there is a huge benefit to storing your tracks on a computer/cloud service: if you ever somehow lose your collection (be it burglary, house fire, etc.) you can still access the music that you paid for. And while I see your point about owning a physical product, in the end what we appreciate the most is the music - and hearing this either by CD player or in FLAC from your hard drive will give you the same experience when the music hits your eardrum(s). I just recommend that you back up your investment - some fans have lost so much because they didn’t do this.

And I’m not sure if it’s greed or just a logical conclusion the record company came up with: back in the 90s we got 2 box sets? We got some compilations but, outside of the GV set and The Pet Sounds Sessions we got nothing close to what the ‘68, ‘67, KAEOS set, Big Beat, ‘65 Live, ‘66 Live, etc sets offer. This last decade gave us TSS and MiC, but on top of that we got yearly copyright releases that fans could only dream of decades ago. Pumping out yearly CD packages probably would’ve cost more than the record company liked. But instead we are friggin blessed that digital music is a thing...because otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten all of these recent sets as we have them now...’67 Sunshine has 109 live tracks on it, not counting the other 2 sets associated with it for that year. I don’t see Capitol spending money putting 109 Live tracks on CD for few fans who would buy such a set physically.

The Feel Flows set is said to be released as a physical set, so you will definitely be able to enjoy that this year.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 06:52:51 AM by rab2591 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2020, 07:45:12 AM »

Obviously 109 live cut on CD is not viable , nor am I entirely sure I need all that. I didn't get the Sea of Tunes boxes either. Feel Flows as physical - that would be fantastic!
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2020, 08:29:47 AM »

Probably to the chagrin of older fans, I was so thankful that the Sea of Tunes sets were made available digitally from some, uh, "blogs". I still have those stashed away on a hard drive.

Regarding Feel Flows, here is a quote that Wata posted last month:

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At a November 17th show in Morro Bay, Al said they’re working on a box set with material from Sunflower and Surf’s Up (with “Feel Flows” as the working title). Bruce Johnston told u/HellaciousMedic at a recent BB show that a box set will come out in February 2020.

Implying that a physical set will be released - which makes sense as the copyright release was snubbed this year. Fingers crossed!
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2020, 12:45:58 PM »

When I see these announcements for archival releases as digital only, I feel let down. I am strictly old school, must have physical product, jewel case, booklet, and all. I have never downloaded anything, wouldn't even know how to go about it, my hard drive is empty with regard to music, it's CD all the way.

So I can't really get excited about a 68 set as digital only. But I am happy with anything physical, I buy all of that. I can understand going digital only for things that might incur a loss as a physical release, but really, how much extra would it cost to press a few thousand of the 68 set, print the booklet, etc.? I can't imagine anything of quality would lose money as a physical release. So what is holding them back? Some corporate decision?

I think it's a little bit greedy, if it turns out that anything they put out must make a substantial profit. If they wouldn't lose money on a physical release, there is really no excuse for not releasing a physical CD product.


I'm old school, too. Downloads and that stuff to me is like when I used to sit by the radio and push "record" when a good song came on. It's not something I would pay for. Our local libraries have a digital service, hoopla, where you can listen to or view digital media for a few days - you don't pay for it, and you don't "own" it. That's as far as I want to go with that. When it comes to buying music or movies, I want something I can hold in my hands. I want artwork, liner notes, the whole deal. But the industry is going the other direction now. People fell out of love with cd's.
The exception, of course, is the revival of vinyl, but new vinyl is outrageously priced. So I continue to buy cd's as long as they make them. When they're completely gone, I don't know what I'll do.
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2020, 02:43:02 AM »

I also wish there were physical releases with these archival releases, especially with a huge concern about their availability in the future - If released in physical format, you can acquire a secondhand copy of the album even if it's out of print. In digital-only releases, on the other hand, the albums would be impossible to acquire legally once they were taken down from the online stores/streaming services. So when copyright extension sets came out in the last couple of years, I bought them as early as possible not to "miss" it in case of their being taken down (as well as the reason I state later).

On top of that, some of the digital-only releases are regional: "Big Beat 1963" was not released on online stores in Japan, making it impossible to purchase the album legally without a foreign credit card and VPN. Hence I have never got to listen to the album (and I hate to get it from, uh, you know, unofficial stores/sites). These are the biggest problems I have with digital-only releases.

That being said, I still think these releases are far, far better than nothing, and I really appreciate the fact that those fabulous pieces of music are now open to public, which I hadn't expected at all in 2016; thus I pay money for them gladly, even I feel a bit unsettling for buying downloads.

Plus, there's another strong incentive for me to purchase them: apparently the continuation of these archival releases are at stake. To quote Alan Boyd on this forum from 2018:

Quote
It is becoming so incredibly difficult to get the corporate support that enables these highly specialized niche oriented projects to happen at all...And this time it hurts a little, because (as you may have noticed), there is no promotion for this year's stack of tracks. We're hoping and praying that people who appreciate the hard work that goes into these projects will support that work by buying copies/downloads and proving to Universal Music that there is a market for this kind of Beach Boys archival collection.

It appears that they might shut down the archival project for the Beach Boys if they deemed there weren't enough market for such releases. So, low sales for digital-only archival releases could shut down the chance of future archival releases, let alone physical reissue of past digital-only releases.

To stand the frustration of not having the music on physical format, or not to have these archival releases at all? I'd say it's no-brainer.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 02:45:50 AM by Wata » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2020, 04:54:15 AM »

I agree with the OP, but it's worth noting how much commercial value a 60s band has in 2020 to justify physical releases. They weren't even selling well back then! Also, I really don't want this to come across as an "OK boomer" putdown thing, it's just that the vast majority of music consumpton are strictly digital download or streaming. I'm 28, and I haven't listened to a CD in....10 years?

I fully understand you though, the physical releases are the best. They might not very realistic anymore, unfortunately  Embarrassed
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2020, 11:43:14 AM »

Coincidentally enough, I sold nearly all of my CDs over the past week. I still have the Pet Sounds Sessions box, MIC box, 2-cd Smile sessions box, and the BWPS cd though. I was just tired of the physical space all the CDs were occupying, when I almost always listened to music though my computer. I only used CDs when in my car, but I can just get an ipod and car adapter for that now.
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2020, 12:27:41 PM »

I burn my digital purchases to CD. Nowadays, we listen to music more in the car than anywhere else and are trying to find a way to put a 10-disc player in our new vechicle. We still buy a lot of CDs and, when we had our old vechicle with a 10-disc player, it was great to throw in a bunch of our new purchases and listen.

Most of my digital purchases are in Apple's m4a format and the new vehicle's system only plays mp3s. Converting things to play on the car system is a time-consuming pain-in-the @ss. We have Sirius for a three month trial and have no interest in continuing it (or getting any other streaming service). Anyway, CDs serve us best, and there is a single disc player in the car and multi-disc players in our home.

Now, if I can just find a Walkman-type tape player to patch into the new vehicle's sound system.  Grin
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 12:28:44 PM by Emdeeh » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2020, 01:17:09 PM »

When I see these announcements for archival releases as digital only, I feel let down. I am strictly old school, must have physical product, jewel case, booklet, and all. I have never downloaded anything, wouldn't even know how to go about it, my hard drive is empty with regard to music, it's CD all the way.

So I can't really get excited about a 68 set as digital only. But I am happy with anything physical, I buy all of that. I can understand going digital only for things that might incur a loss as a physical release, but really, how much extra would it cost to press a few thousand of the 68 set, print the booklet, etc.? I can't imagine anything of quality would lose money as a physical release. So what is holding them back? Some corporate decision?

I think it's a little bit greedy, if it turns out that anything they put out must make a substantial profit. If they wouldn't lose money on a physical release, there is really no excuse for not releasing a physical CD product.



I was you, up until a year or two ago.   I needed my cds, liner notes, etc.   But really, it's almost over.  For true music lovers, it's time to adapt.   I've been in your place, and it's better beyond.

It's a matter of where your digital 0's and 1's come from.  A compact disc is made from MINING petroleum and aluminum, MANUFACTURING in China, paper probably from a tree farm but coated in protective chemicals and ink, ..more plastic for the case .   
Corporate decisions, greed, profit are why CDs exist in the first place, and why they are going good-bye.   

Digital file or CD,  they are both "corporate" formats.    There's no conspiracy, meanness, or insensitivity on display here.   They WOULD lose money on a physical release.   I imagine if you opened up Capitol's books, you'd find that either they have lost money on the last several physical products, or their accounting is trending in that direction.  There's not enough of us physical product likers around anymore.    Do you want human beings working at Capitol to get fired and lose their job for pushing physical product that incurs a loss? 

If we don't budge, it means we don't get to listen to any more new unreleased Beach Boys stuff.   Is devotion to a dying corporate manufacturing process enough to keep you from hearing an unreleased vocal performance from Carl Wilson? 

My head is harder than most people's.. but CDs are just things we're used to .... I'm doing what it takes to let Carl, Brian, Dennis, Mike, Al, and Bruce sing new tunes in my ear this year and next no matter what.
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2020, 02:38:20 PM »

^ Well said
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2020, 02:55:04 PM »

Its really not that big of a deal. If you need a physical copy, burn it on a CD
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2020, 05:25:38 PM »

I don't understand why they can't do a limited edition run of physical copes. Print a could of thousand and they would easily sell out
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2020, 06:54:46 PM »

^  Similar to the Grateful Dead archival releases.  I personally don't have any issue with digital-only releases since that's the way of the future in music.  I just want to hear more previously unreleased music from this group.  Some people are simply too materialistic.  Get with the times!
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2020, 06:57:02 PM »

^  Some people are just too materialistic.

Media companies are greedy.
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2020, 01:20:53 AM »


I burn my digital purchases to CD. Nowadays, we listen to music more in the car than anywhere else and are trying to find a way to put a 10-disc player in our new vechicle. We still buy a lot of CDs and, when we had our old vechicle with a 10-disc player, it was great to throw in a bunch of our new purchases and listen.

Most of my digital purchases are in Apple's m4a format and the new vehicle's system only plays mp3s. Converting things to play on the car system is a time-consuming pain-in-the @ss. We have Sirius for a three month trial and have no interest in continuing it (or getting any other streaming service). Anyway, CDs serve us best, and there is a single disc player in the car and multi-disc players in our home.

Now, if I can just find a Walkman-type tape player to patch into the new vehicle's sound system.  Grin


Continue to burn all the CD-Rs you want, but these days for listening in your new vehicle it's easiest to put your music on your phone and simply stream to your vehicle's audio head unit via Bluetooth.

But if you still want to go the disc route, since you mention that your tracks are in Apple's aac M4a format, it's easy to burn your music to CD-R as MP3s using iTunes or Apple's Music App. Just create a playlist for each desired disc, then Burn Playlist to Disc > Disc Format > MP3 CD.
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2020, 08:43:16 PM »

Actually, I could just line-in my cd recorder to spotify or whatever and record the songs to disc - free of charge.
But i'm told that's stealing, even though streaming plays are counted in Billboard's chart listings.
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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2020, 10:38:16 AM »

This is a very interesting discussion topic with many facets, and the potential for deep explorations and analysis and a few diatribes too. Maybe that will come soon.

But I just wanted to add some perspective that's been bugging me especially in the past week or two after a few pieces of info were made known to me.

First, and I've said this many times and people outside the innermost corporate bubbles of the music industry seem to agree and have for years: The music business in general f***ed up and missed the boat when digital formats first became legit. To avoid a long diatribe, the summary can be as simple as saying in the year 2020 the corporate music business entities are STILL trying to figure out how to properly account for and tabulate online music plays and streams. The companies who chart music are STILL trying to figure out how to tabulate sales in terms of plays and clicks versus physical sales and "needle drop" calculations of old.

It's a giant clusterfuck. Yet some artists are making huge amounts of money while others are getting royally screwed.

So the two events that came into my sphere are these:

A chart came out listing the top selling vinyl LP's (newly pressed vinyl, that is) of the past year and the past decade.

The biggest seller on both charts...drum roll, please...Abbey Road by The Beatles. Yep: A 50 year old album topped both the year-end sales chart and the decade's chart. And it's on Capitol - home of the Beach Boys who this discussion is all about - and even one of the Beach Boys' many greatest hits comps landed at #6 on the 2019 charts.

Since Billboard now requires a subscription to read articles you click on, follow the money again folks, times are tough in the music biz...here is a summary of the article from another source (at link), and I'll copy and paste the chart itself. Fortunately this one lists actual sales numbers as in units sold, unlike other charts where such info is a mystery.

https://consequenceofsound.net/2020/01/top-selling-vinyl-decade-2019/

Top 10 Selling Vinyl Records of the Decade
01. The Beatles – Abbey Road (558,000)
02. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (376,00)
03. Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (367,000)
04. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Legend (364,000)
05. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (351,000)
06. Michael Jackson – Thriller (334,000)
07. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (313,000)
08. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (304,000)
09. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (286,000)
10. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (283,000)

Top 10 Selling Vinyl Records of 2019
01. The Beatles – Abbey Road (246,000)
02. Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (176,000)
03. Queen – Greatest Hits 1 (139,000)
04. Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (123,000)
05. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (Original Soundtrack) (108,000)
06. The Beach Boys – Sounds of Summer: Very Best Of (107,000)
07. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (92,000)
08. Michael Jackson – Thriller (88,000)
09. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Legend (84,000)
10. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (78,000)

In both cases, both charts, 9 out of the 10 are *legacy artists* with an average age of the album being around 40-45 years old. So that chart gives some added perspective to a point...yet you look at some of the so-called "official" reports on vinyl sales, as if Amazon is the only outlet to buy vinyl, and you'll see Harry Styles' LP sitting at #1. How many copies has Harry's album sold to hit #1? No info unless you dig really deep, and even then, it's not even a valid tally since most of the tally rests on Amazon orders.

Confusing, right? Consider this, the other facet of what I saw.

One of the students I work with showed me this YouTube video last week. It's called "The Duck Song". Watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q

This YouTube video has as of this morning 415,181,341 views. That's 415 MILLION views. Was it just me saying WTF?

So factor in this video having over 400 million views, and Abbey Road, the top selling vinyl of the decade, just cracked 500 thousand.

*That* is the perspective to consider when talking about physical releases, downloads, streams, etc...it's not the same game being played. You can't expect a legacy release on vinyl or a box set package to go anywhere near the numbers and totals of the Duck Song, or even a video of Justin Bieber grooming himself in front of a mirror.

So why is there an issue of so-called "sales" hanging around proposed legacy releases from the likes of The Beach Boys? If success in the vinyl game as of 2020 is half a million copies sold over 10 years for Abbey Road, are there still industry folks balking at niche markets and niche releases, or are they seriously looking for Bieber and Cardi B type online numbers from legacy acts?

It's beyond frustrating.

The mindset has to be adjusted a bit, from the industry to the artists to the fan bases.

If someone opens up a taco stand type of food truck that becomes popular in its own area, to the point where people line up for their food daily and they sell out of their food regularly, that would be considered a success, especially if that food truck remains busy and in business over 5 years. Their numbers back up the success of that food truck business.

But if someone were to put those numbers next to the numbers of tacos and burritos and enchiladas and whatnot sold on a daily basis by big chains like Taco Bell and Chipotle...that food truck would look like a failure in comparison.

But it is not a failure within its own niche market and demographic.

See where I'm going with this? If Capitol as a company sees their label's albums placing in 4 out of the 10 "top vinyl sales" charts, and they have an entire division devoted to legacy releases in a genre that is now something like less than 5 percent of total sales overall by category, and still release regularly on that division's label...what does it serve *not* to release legacy material as we're discussing? I sometimes wonder how fans don't get that, and wonder even more why the corporate types don't seem to get that.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 10:59:56 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2020, 12:38:41 PM »

I could write pages and pages on this, but ultimately, as far as BB physical releases, there's a point where you have to jump off and absorb some new format.

We can't all still wait for new movies to come out on VHS. Heck, a lot of stuff doesn't even hit home video anymore, you have to stream it or buy it digitally.

So with music, it's clear the main thing that warrants budgeting for a physical set for the BBs (in terms of CDs anyway) are the album catalog, hits sets, and select archival projects. That's due to the overall market conditions for music, and also specifically to how well BB releases sell. Archival BB releases don't sell a ton of copies. 

The big "dumps" of archival stuff have to happen digitally. Complaining about not getting this stuff all on CD isn't going to accomplish anything. For whatever reason (and I think the reason is they make little to no money doing it), a lot of this stuff will either come out digitally, or not at all.

Not only does dumping this stuff to digital end up having less overhead costs, but it also probably lessens the amount of red tape involved in getting the stuff out.
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2020, 05:46:38 PM »

I could write pages and pages on this, but ultimately, as far as BB physical releases, there's a point where you have to jump off and absorb some new format.

We can't all still wait for new movies to come out on VHS. Heck, a lot of stuff doesn't even hit home video anymore, you have to stream it or buy it digitally.

So with music, it's clear the main thing that warrants budgeting for a physical set for the BBs (in terms of CDs anyway) are the album catalog, hits sets, and select archival projects. That's due to the overall market conditions for music, and also specifically to how well BB releases sell. Archival BB releases don't sell a ton of copies. 

The big "dumps" of archival stuff have to happen digitally. Complaining about not getting this stuff all on CD isn't going to accomplish anything. For whatever reason (and I think the reason is they make little to no money doing it), a lot of this stuff will either come out digitally, or not at all.

Not only does dumping this stuff to digital end up having less overhead costs, but it also probably lessens the amount of red tape involved in getting the stuff out.

That last paragraph is key. If this stuff being digital-only even amounts to one extra song being released (than if there was a Vinyl counterpart), I'm all for it.

What I mean to say is, even if there was going to be a big 5LP set that has every single track from the digital releases… the potential layers of red tape could jeopardize certain tracks coming out. At all.

It almost seems like some tracks just squeaked out, even though I would assume that everyone had to sign off on stuff. But the point is, the more stuff gets put under a microscope, scrutinized, thought about, options weighed etc., all of that could mean that a track which was going to come out gets second-guessed and nixed. In all formats.

I just think nobody should rock the boat. We should be grateful, and simply allow the current situation to just keep unfolding with more releases like the ones we've been getting. If we are lucky enough to get a vinyl release then so be it, but ultimately it certainly isn't my priority, and I think anybody who is a fan of the band should prioritize songs getting released at all over the preferred format. And yes, I say that even knowing that there is surely a niche market for this stuff on vinyl. But let's be grateful for what we have, which is a lot.
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2020, 11:10:25 PM »

I just need to add this: I am not a fan who needs to hear 69 different takes of She's Goin' Bald, or every concert from a  given tour (i'm a Dylan fan, but I did not buy the 1966 tour box or the Rolling Thunder box - i'm fine with having just one or two shows to represent those tours). So if the digital dump is equal to five cd's  and the physical release is just 2 cd's of that stuff, I can live with that.
There's only so many hours in a day. I don't know where some of my friends find time to listen to all the stuff they buy. It's hard for me to fit that listening time in as I am working 2 jobs where I am not allowed to play music; and my third job is MAKING MUSIC.
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Gettin Hungry
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« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2020, 10:36:02 AM »

I just need to add this: I am not a fan who needs to hear 69 different takes of She's Goin' Bald, or every concert from a  given tour (i'm a Dylan fan, but I did not buy the 1966 tour box or the Rolling Thunder box - i'm fine with having just one or two shows to represent those tours). So if the digital dump is equal to five cd's  and the physical release is just 2 cd's of that stuff, I can live with that.
There's only so many hours in a day. I don't know where some of my friends find time to listen to all the stuff they buy. It's hard for me to fit that listening time in as I am working 2 jobs where I am not allowed to play music; and my third job is MAKING MUSIC.

I agree wholeheartedly. The gazillion sessions of a particular song are interesting and cool to be able to hear, but it's not something I'd listen to often. If there were a physical released, I'd want it to focus on the cream of the crop, the most fully formed tracks.

Going back to your Dylan analogy, they basically had two versions of the Basement Tapes: Bootleg Series boxed set. You could get the six-disc complete version with EVERY TRACK recored, or a two-CD (or three-LP) version with the "highlights." 
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