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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > Has anyone's posthumous catalog been handled better than Miles Davis?
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Thread started 10/21/16 10:21am

Curt

Has anyone's posthumous catalog been handled better than Miles Davis?

Perhaps there are other dead artists who have received the star treatment and had bigger posthumous hits, but I can think of no other artist whose catalog and plethora of recorded material that rivals Prince who has had their catalog treated better than Miles.

I'm not just talking about the remasters and special edition vinyl editions for the masses, but Miles is someone whose estate really gave his fans what they've always wanted after he was gone.

All of the music is centrally located and available at milesdavis.com.

It is clearly organized by the period in which it was produced. Sometimes it aligns with a band, sometimes it is a period of time, and sometimes it is genre based.

And they have also done a tremendous job releasing around 8 or 9 multiple disc sets, some with 7 CD's in them... These sets are the ones that are really for the fans as a single disc might have 3 or four different versions of the same song, or single 30 minutes versions of a song that take up most of a single CD.

And these come with IMPECCABLE liner notes that educate the listener, informing them that the final version on the official release included the first two minutes of version 3, the last two minutes of version 4 and the intro from version 3,etc...

THEN they combined all of the releases into a single 43 CD set packaged in a replica of Miles' trumpet box for $500. Can you imagine if we had over 43 CD's of officially released music after Prince's death?? In a replica guitar case??

And the estate has been smart about licensing with multiple labels and marketing the work as "The Columbia Years", "The Blue Note years" etc.. to help new fans discover certain periods of time and allow all of the labels Miles worked with to get a piece of the pie. They also have grouped songs of the same genre and produced ballads / love songs compilations, electric compilations, compilations based on how the music was recorded ("The Mono Recordings"), and the list goes on.

In the last couple of weeks they just released another three disc set with over two hours of unrleased music from 50 years ago called "Freedom Jazz Dance"!

I can think of no other artist whose music has been treated and released more comprehinsively than Miles Davis. Is there anyone I'm missing?

I'm saying all that to put it out there, that in my opinion, this is who anyone trying to market and protect the legacy of Prince should be talking to...

~C

[Edited 10/21/16 10:29am]

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Reply #1 posted 10/21/16 10:26am

NorthC

Frank Zappa maybe? Both Miles and Zappa are artists that I like, but I'm no expert.
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Reply #2 posted 10/21/16 10:46am

morningsong

Interesting.

[Edited 10/21/16 10:47am]

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Reply #3 posted 10/21/16 11:21am

novabrkr

They're a bit of an overkill in the sense that very few people actually had the money to acquire those sets. They're the same people who have ended up buying the same tracks on different releases several times, which is fairly typical for fans in a certain age bracket and with rather high income levels, but for the young pop / rock fan...eh. I think I'd keep it at 3CDs at max at a time.

Not sure what the demand for such sets these days are anyway, as I think the type of "luxury sets", as the ones for Miles, were released when people were still buying CDs more regularly. Seems that a lot of the interest is actually on vinyl these days.

The Miles boxed sets are great to have, but they're a bit problematic in the sense that they have tracks on them that really aren't from the sessions that produced the albums released as boxed sets. They also kind of overlook the importance of albums like Live-Evil and Big Fun, which are legit Miles Davis albums from the 70s, by scattering the tracks from those albums across the different boxed sets.

But, yeah, I agree that something similar would be cool with Prince. I hate thought of having to buy the same tracks over and over again though.

[Edited 10/21/16 11:22am]

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Reply #4 posted 10/21/16 12:32pm

NorthC

Like I said, I'm not an expert on Miles or Zappa, but I know that Bob Dylan released an 18 CD set of studio recordings from 1965-66 (and 6 CD and 2 CD versions) last year and is coming up with a 36 CD set of live recordings from the same period and guess what, there's rumours of another box set from the 70s coming up next year. Bob's management obviously thinks his audience has money to burn! Those multi-CD boxes are obviously for completists only, but the idea is good: release everything from a particular period on a limited edition multi CD set and compilations for those who are fans, but don't need to hear everything. That way, you keep everybody happy. Archive releases like these won't race to the top of the charts, but Prince fans, like Dylan fans, are collectors, so something like this could work. And it would keep Prince's legacy alive.
[Edited 10/21/16 12:36pm]
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Reply #5 posted 10/21/16 1:50pm

RaspBerryGirlF
riend

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NorthC said:

Like I said, I'm not an expert on Miles or Zappa, but I know that Bob Dylan released an 18 CD set of studio recordings from 1965-66 (and 6 CD and 2 CD versions) last year and is coming up with a 36 CD set of live recordings from the same period and guess what, there's rumours of another box set from the 70s coming up next year. Bob's management obviously thinks his audience has money to burn! Those multi-CD boxes are obviously for completists only, but the idea is good: release everything from a particular period on a limited edition multi CD set and compilations for those who are fans, but don't need to hear everything. That way, you keep everybody happy. Archive releases like these won't race to the top of the charts, but Prince fans, like Dylan fans, are collectors, so something like this could work. And it would keep Prince's legacy alive. [Edited 10/21/16 12:36pm]

I think Dylan is also definitely another great model in terms of outtake and concert releases that one would hope that the Prince estate would follow, I assume the only reason he wasn't mentioned yet in this thread is because he ain't dead! lol

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Reply #6 posted 10/21/16 10:58pm

Curt

novabrkr said:

They're a bit of an overkill in the sense that very few people actually had the money to acquire those sets. They're the same people who have ended up buying the same tracks on different releases several times, which is fairly typical for fans in a certain age bracket and with rather high income levels, but for the young pop / rock fan...eh. I think I'd keep it at 3CDs at max at a time.

Not sure what the demand for such sets these days are anyway, as I think the type of "luxury sets", as the ones for Miles, were released when people were still buying CDs more regularly. Seems that a lot of the interest is actually on vinyl these days.

The Miles boxed sets are great to have, but they're a bit problematic in the sense that they have tracks on them that really aren't from the sessions that produced the albums released as boxed sets. They also kind of overlook the importance of albums like Live-Evil and Big Fun, which are legit Miles Davis albums from the 70s, by scattering the tracks from those albums across the different boxed sets.

But, yeah, I agree that something similar would be cool with Prince. I hate thought of having to buy the same tracks over and over again though.


[Edited 10/21/16 11:22am]



Hmmm, to me, all of the problems you list are the exact reasons I think the die hard fans would love it.

There is not much that says expendable income and elitist more than $300 prince tix sell out in 2 minutes

They put out enough versions of kind of blue every other year for the masses to fund these CD boxes and they should sell purple rain over and over until it becomes a fixture in the rock top 10 in my opinion.

I also expect that unless the vault is completely categorized and released chronilogically we have tons of "misplaces" songs on albums. The same way they misuse "big fun" would be easy to do with Camille tracks that spanned multiple eras but that would make each release interesting to me...

I'm one of the completions who would buy different versions of the same track over and over again so it's probably why I support this approach.
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Reply #7 posted 10/21/16 11:00pm

Curt

NorthC said:

Like I said, I'm not an expert on Miles or Zappa, but I know that Bob Dylan released an 18 CD set of studio recordings from 1965-66 (and 6 CD and 2 CD versions) last year and is coming up with a 36 CD set of live recordings from the same period and guess what, there's rumours of another box set from the 70s coming up next year. Bob's management obviously thinks his audience has money to burn! Those multi-CD boxes are obviously for completists only, but the idea is good: release everything from a particular period on a limited edition multi CD set and compilations for those who are fans, but don't need to hear everything. That way, you keep everybody happy. Archive releases like these won't race to the top of the charts, but Prince fans, like Dylan fans, are collectors, so something like this could work. And it would keep Prince's legacy alive.
[Edited 10/21/16 12:36pm]


Totally agree. I tried to get into Zappa but it is even more out there as some of the Miles electric era stuff which is "challenging" to listen to.
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Reply #8 posted 10/24/16 5:41am

kitbradley

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I'm always looking on dustygrooves.com for the latest releases/reissues and it seems like for the past several years, someone is always releasing reissues on Miles like every other week!

"It's not nice to fuck with K.B.! All you haters will see!" - Kitbradley
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Reply #9 posted 10/24/16 3:54pm

morningsong

Well, given that this is about posthumous catalog, I'd like to hear about others. It's interesting to see what actually gets done.

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Reply #10 posted 10/25/16 7:23am

Curt

kitbradley said:

I'm always looking on dustygrooves.com for the latest releases/reissues and it seems like for the past several years, someone is always releasing reissues on Miles like every other week!

True, but those bi-weekly reissures rarely have new material on them. However, the sound quality is often times improved from the original with modern day remastering techniques.

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Reply #11 posted 10/25/16 1:14pm

NorthC

^ So those are basically the same records over and over again?
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Reply #12 posted 10/26/16 3:54pm

bobzilla77

Yeah I think the Davis family has really tried to make every last note available. The latest Freedom Jaz Dance set has the entire session tapes from Miles Smiles, including false starts and banter.

.

That might be kind of overkill for some people... how bad do you need to hear the takes that got rejected? But they tend to be pretty affordable and I'm sure there are some people who really appreciate the ability to study his work so in-depth. And if not, well, Miles Smiles remains available as a cheap single disc.

.

King Crimson do a good job making their catalog available. If I went on a spending spree on dgmlive.com I could end up spending $1000 on box sets alone. But they tend to be packed full and good value for the money, the latest is 19 discs (CD, DVD Video and DCD Audio) and retails for $140.

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