Back catalogs are big business in this music industry. It seems as though every couple of months you read about another artist selling their music to an outside source, like Neil Young going to U.K. investment firm Hipgnosis Songs Fund (run by music industry veteran Merck Mercuriadis) with 50% of his song catalog or Bob Dylan selling the masters of his works to longtime label Sony Music.
But when you consider how busy the catalog divisions of such revered companies as Sony, Universal and BMG are, it’s turning out to be a symbiotic relationship where the fan wins out in the end. Especially when it comes to emptying out the vaults.
This year, in particular, seemed to teem with catalog-based titles from some of the biggest names in the industry. And not just rote ‘Greatest Hits’ collections, but immersive experiences that allow fans to explore inside the creation of favorite LP with audio rarities and visual ephemera. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a fave, but rather an album so deep in an artist’s discography you forgot how much you dug it in the first place.
It wasn’t easy choosing just 10 box sets to include in this roundup. There was so much that came out this year from which to pick, given the grand carousel of Complete Recordings, Super Deluxe Editions and Bootleg Series-styled lost treasures on display. This carefully curated selection, however, will hopefully give you a good idea of the wealth of product available in 2022.