Beatles reissues sold out at Amazon: Are fans screwed?

For true Beatles obsessives, the Sept. 9 release of all the band’s albums as a lovingly remastered box set is a huge deal. Sure, it’s expensive, but this is arguably music’s greatest catalog, finally brought properly into the CD era, sounding better than ever, with awesome-looking packaging to boot. So I happily went to last week to file my pre-order — only to learn that I was already too late. “We have sold out of our initial allocation of Beatles stereo box sets,” the impassive emporium told me, “but we will be receiving more inventory after release date.” After release date? Are you kidding me, Amazon?! You expect me to spend 9/9/09 sitting around listening to something other than this box set?

Evidently I’m not the only one who’s been plunged into this nightmare. “Hard-core fans are freaking out,” reports Hits Daily Double. Yes! That is exactly what I am doing! And while the stereo box set that I attempted to pre-order will presumably be back in plentiful stock soon (right? right?!), Hits mentions rumors that its mono counterpart might be limited to a mere 10,000 copies made. Oh, the indignity for any mono-loving collector who failed to pre-order promptly.

Until further notice, I’ll be sitting here like a fool, waiting for that email promised to send me once the stereo box set is available again. Has anyone else been put in the same sad situation? How mad are you that you, like me, didn’t remember to pre-order sooner? Argh! (And if you were one of the lucky few who pre-ordered in time, feel free to make me even more miserable by gloating in the comments section below.)

UPDATE: A representative for EMI, which is issuing both box sets, offered a ray of hope when contacted by EW: “EMI is continuing to manufacture and supply retailers with more of these limited-edition [mono] box sets.” And how about the stereo box set? “Yes, additional supply is being manufactured.” The rep could not provide a timetable for when the boxes might be back on sale, but still: Hallelujah!

More from EW’s Music Mix:
The Beatles on the Music Mix
‘Glee’ soundtrack announced: See it here!
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Jay-Z, Beyonce attend Grizzly Bear concert

Comments (65 total) Add your comment
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  • miche

    Not mad at all since I preordered my mono set in June. What worries me is whether it will actually show up. And when. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands (ears?) on these cd’s.

    But won’t Best Buy and other such stores have the stereo set in stock on 09/09/09? Alternately, can’t you just buy a stereo version of each CD separately?

  • couchgrouch

    I’m just gonna trade my old ones in at a brick and mortar cd shop. no prob at all.

  • michelle

    Call your local BORDERS store – they still have reserves available of the stereo box set. Limited stores have the mono available as well. Plus, while you’re there, you can pick up some of the other great Beatles items like t-shirts, posters, mugs, magnets, etc!!!

  • James L Howlett

    How many times can they try to resell the same thing to the consumer and expect us to buy? We’re past double dipping now. I bought the records, bought the CDs when they first came out. There’s no way I’m paying for them if and when they come out on iTunes (no need, I’ve ripped the CDs already) nor am I paying for another repacked reissue of the same music I already bought twice. Enough is enough already.

    • miche

      Not really sure why you’re so irritated. Is Yoko standing behind you forcing you to buy the remasters? And since this is only the second time the CD’s have been reissued in Beatle history (1987 was a long time ago), I fail to see how this is overkill or abusing consumers. Don’t buy them if you don’t want them.

      • chris

        Actually, it’s more like the fifth or sixth time these albums have been released on CD. They were originally released in 1983, then again in 1987, once more in 1993 and finally in 2000. Not to mention the boxsets with the American albums. James is right on the ball.

        Also, if the past remasters are any indication, the set coming out on 9/9/09 is going to sound downright terrible.

      • Jude

        No…this is the first re-issue since 1987. I remember because in the early 80’s all that was available were the dreadful germany star club tapes. EMI finally released them in 1987. This will be the first time we’ll get to hear every detail in their songs. This release is exactly how they heard their songs in the studio.

    • Rufus

      Apparently every 20 years is about right.

      And if you don’t want a copy, don’t buy one.

      Don’t download it either. You can’t haz remastered Beatles. Not yours.

    • Lynsi

      I’m sorry, but you and James are quite simply wrong. The original UK Beatles albums were released on CD in 1987, and have not been re-released until now. And to complain that this is overkill when artists like Bowie, Costello, the Stones, Hendrix and Dylan have all remastered their catalogs at least three times in the last 15 years is ridiculous.

      • James L Howlett

        Well first of all, the original Rolling Stones ABKO releases had technical problems, like being mastered at the wrong speed for example, and were in desperate need of a remaster.

        Second, Bowie and the Rolling Stones have switched labels many times over the years and the reissues are a result of a new record label trying to cash in on masters that they now have limited rights to (which doesn’t make me want to buy them again).

        Dylan, Hendrix and Costello’s remastered CDs, again, doesn’t make me want to buy them again.

        I guess arguing with all of you is useless. If you want to spend your money multiple times on the same thing, be my guest. FYI: The CD format is a dying format. I guess we’ll be having this same conversation in a few years when you all spend your money for the Beatles music (again) in the next format.

    • Bad Apple

      And James, you know they actually did REMIX the albums too in that long 4 year period, and will release these as well in a couple of years. John Lennon is probably rolling over in his grave, God Bless him.

    • Gerdog

      Duly noted. But this is how our system has worked and to tell you the truth, it’s what has made millions of hardcore Beatles fans what they are: treasure hunters. Whether it be the elusive German Vinyl pressing that contained the alternate version of a Beatles song that you could only get on that issue, or the Japanese Mono Red Vinyl box set that was limited to 1000 boxes (? I don’t know the actual number, but you get the idea) and we’re complaining about 10,000?…… the point is that yes, they soak us for our money, but because there has been such a clusterf**k of releases, it makes it kinda fun IF….IF…. your up to the game. And after 40 years, that I actually pulled out the cc for both boxes and the ‘Box of” whatever, hell, I’m having fun at 50 years old again!!! And that, my friends, is priceless!! You can always flac it on numerous websites if you don’t have the cash to pop for the sets. But in any case… it WONDERFUL that these four guys, coming up from the slums of Liverpool still command our attention after all these years???

  • Isolde

    Barnes & Noble still has it.

  • susan

    How much does it cost on Amazon?

  • DavidFSF

    Limited mono release, are they frikkin kidding!? In the worst economic times in recent history, they’re going to crap on all the fans who might need a little extra time before they can be double-dipped? (couldn’t put the mono/stereo on one disc, huh?) I’m a 40+ year fan who’s never heard the monos and would love to have them on CD, but you won’t take my cash next year instead of right now? Smart. Way to discourage copying.

    • Eric

      itu judulnya bukan love love love, tapi all you need is love, ndul Nothing you can know that isn’t knownNothing you can see that isn’t shownNowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to beIt’s easyAll you need is love,Love is all you need

  • Winona

    I personally am not worried at all – I can’t afford the large amount for the box set, so I’ll be buying the individual CDs one at a time (probably one a month) until I have them all. Now, the fact that the library where I work is ordering the stereo set and I’m not sure if it was ordered in time… hmm… *that* could be problematic.

  • Michelle

    Isn’t it going to be on iTunes the same day? I thought that was part of the whole “repackaging’ thing…

    • Eva

      The Beatles have never been available on iTunes. And as of now I don’t think that there is a digital outlet for The Beatles – although the individual member’s music is all available. And as memory serves me I do believe that they might develop a website specifically for downloading digital music but that it probably will not be with iTunes.

  • Marie

    Is it possible they did not think there would be enough demand for the mono set? I have mine ordered. Then I questioned whether I chould cancel. Then the reviews came out and I know that the mono box is something I crave. It was how the Beatles and George Martin wanted it to be heard. The stereo box may have been produced in greater quantity. I think there will be enough for all by holiday time. Relax.

  • orville

    They’ve taken the price off the site–how much is it?

    • noggster

      it was 170 pre-order and almost 200 in Amazon and 175 at Barnes and Nobles at one time but close to 200 now. I wanted to think about it before buying but it sold out before I could even consider spending that amount for cds

  • Classic Film

    So they are saying the Mono set will not be sold at any retail store such as Best Buy on the 9th? Seems strange that this would be available only through the internet.

  • Steve

    It’s not the CD era anymore, it’s the Blu-ray era. Spending 4 years archiving all these master tapes at 24-bit/192kHz resolution only to release them on paltry CD in 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution? No vinyl? No Blu-ray?
    EMI won’t get my money for CD’s, I’ll wait on next years vinyl releases and then probably buy the Blu-ray’s when they come out in 2012 as part of 50th anniversary celebrations!

    • Robert Leffel

      The Blu-ray era? You must be joking! There will never be a Blu-ray era. You might own some Blu-rays, but they will never be as cheap an commonplace as cd/dvd’s. Movies will be downloadable before they really catch on.

  • Mikie

    Amazon doesn’t list a price for either the stereo or mono sets. Can someone who knows tell us how much were they selling each set for?

  • Mikie

    Never mind, just saw the post from Noggster above (would have deleted my comment if I could, but can’t)

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