Grammy Awards 14: The Packaging Categories

Special Features / December 13, 2014

As part of the Grammy Awards, which will air on Sunday, Feb. 8th on CBS, they focus two separate awards on the best packaging found in the music world, something we obviously look at here, as well. The one we’ll be concentrating on today is the “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package,” which features work from The Numero Group, Third Man, RCA and Rhino.

You can see the nominees below:

Cities Of Darkscorch

Leland Meiners & Ken Shipley, art directors (Various Artists)

Label: The Numero Group

So this one is obviously close to my heart, as I awarded it with our “Best Vinyl Packaging” honor in our year-end guide. They took the 2xLP set and bundled it along with an original D&D style board game. The songs were based on the popular RPG games, making for a very uniform, interesting experience. I’m not sure anything touched its creativity this year.

A Letter Home (Vinyl Box Set)

Gary Burden & Jenice Heo, art directors (Neil Young)

Label: Third Man Records

The first of two entries from Third Man Records is the box-set from Neil Young, highlighted by a “direct feed from the booth” audiophile 12″ record. This was the record recorded in their Nashville-based booth. That audiophile record is accompanied by the standard release and the following:

  • Seven 6″ clear vinyl record booth discs
    1 standard CD
    1 standard DVD
    1 32-page,  12” x 12” book
    Download card to redeem the digital album of the “direct feed from the booth” audiophile version


The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27)

Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood & Jack White, art directors (Various Artists)

Label: Third Man Records/ Revenant Records

Another entry from Third Man is the first volume of their Paramount Records series. I feel like this one’s greatest quality is in its massive nature, with the six 180-gram records accompanied by 200 restored 1920s advertisements and images, a 250-page book, a 360-page encyclopedia and so much more. This thing is just, well…massive.

  • 800 newly-remastered digital tracks, representing 172 artists
    200+ fully-restored original 1920s ads and images
    6x 180g vinyl LPs pressed on burled chestnut colored vinyl w/ hand-engraved, blind-embossed gold-leaf labels, housed in a laser-etched white birch LP folio
    250 page deluxe large-format clothbound hardcover art book
    360 page encyclopedia-style softcover field guide containing artist portraits and full Paramount discography
    Handcrafted quarter-sawn oak cabinet with lush sage velvet upholstery and custom-forged metal hardware
    First-of-its-kind music and image player app, allowing user mgmt of all tracks and ads, housed on custom-designed USB drive
    Dimensions: Length 18.5″/ Width 16″/ Height 5.75″


Sparks (Deluxe Album Box Set)

Andy Carne, art director (Imogen Heap)

Label: RCA Records/ Megaphonic Records

So this one includes the music on a double 10″ set, but the highlights are 12 “individual data discs,” a 120-page coffee-table book detailing the album’s story and a deck of playing cards. As you can see, it comes in another hefty box, as well, while that artwork on the book and 10″ records corresponds.


Spring 1990 (The Other One)

Jessica Dessner, Lisa Glines, Doran Tyson & Steve Vance, art directors (Grateful Dead)

Label: Rhino

Rhino contributes the final entry, which focuses on 8 shows from The Grateful Dead in 1990. The 8 shows, on 23 discs, are accompanied by a 144-page book, art prints, replica ticket stubs and original art. A true replication of following these tour dates, that artwork is pretty dashing.


So, let’s hear it…..if you had a vote?

[poll id=”9″]

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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