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What is a promo box? E-mail

The term "promo box" is used generically to describe custom made boxes that are used to store Japanese mini LPs.

Disk Union

The majority of these boxes are created by a Japanese company "Disk Union" and they are truly promotional. They are "given away" as an incentive to people who purchase the entire set of a particular release. Each release is usually for one artist and also is usually on or around a specific date.

For example, Toshiba may release 10 mini LPs for a single artist over a period of a month or so (if not all on the same day). Disk Union purchase a set number of these and hold them in stock until the last is released. Meanwhile Disk Union create a special box using artwork usually based on, or directly derived from, one of the artist's releases.

Disk Union offer the box as an incentive to those who purchase all 10 titles in one lot from Disk Union.

These releases from Disk Union are often also accompanied by "promo obis" and, more rarely a replica of another 33rpm or 45rpm cover (such as Zappa's Uncle Meat Box).

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Other Boxes

Manufacturer Boxes

Occasionally the record companies produce boxes for housing sets. In most cases these are sold at a markup (therefore they cannot be considered strictly "promotional"). Often the CDs contained within the box cannot be purchased separately (other than on ebay of course). The Rolling Stones "Bigger Bang 2006" box is a good example.

Home made one offs

These are "labours of love" and usually are not sold. There are exceptions but anyone selling these usually makes it pretty clear. Also, the quality ranges significantly.

Copies

In recent years a number of highly popular boxes have been illegally manufactured and sold on eBay and elsewhere (Amazon second hand dealers). These included the black Led Zeppelin Box and both Mono and Stereo Beatles Remasters. Thousands have been made and, arguably, there are as many fakes as there are originals.

Fakes

There are also some unofficial releases (not Disk Union and not Manufacturer releases - fakes in effect). An example is the "Exciting the Who" box (the 2005 release, not the 2006 version which is official).

Are these legal?

The official releases are obviously legal.

The Disk Union boxes are also legit. There are occasions when Disk Union has announced a box and then has not produced it. It is believed that this happens because they have not been able to finalise the usage of the artwork (any artwork) on the box (Pete Townshend for example).

The others are (theoretically) illegal and would normally also contain fake mini-lps, but not necessarily. If the collector has filled the box from a number of different sources then the box will likely contain a mix of genuine and fake mini LPs.

Buying these boxes

Disk Union does not ship these boxes outside Japan. The only way to buy them is from someone in Japan or on eBay.

 
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Featured Releases (A selection of...)

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Front cover (main) image of WPCR-14304 : Cooper, Alice : Billion Dollar Babies
WPCR-14304 : 2011-12-21
Warner Music Japan : Cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissue from Alice Cooper featuring the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD players) and 2011 remastering. The cardboard sleeve features double jacket with an inner bag and WB moss green label. Comes with a billion-dollar bill (reprint), a description, and lyrics. Part of a twelve-album Alice Cooper SHM-CD cardboard sleeve reissue series featuring albums "Pretties For You," "Easy Action," "Love It To Death," "Killer," "Schools's Out," "Billion Dollar Babies," "Muscle Of Love," "Welcome To My Nightmare," "Goes To Hell," "Lace And Whiskey," "The Alice Cooper Show," and "From The Inside."
Front cover (main) image of DU-BOX045 : Emerson, Lake + Palmer : Tarkus Box and Obis
DU-BOX045 : 2005-09-28

Tarkus promo box and obis released to accompany the first K2 24 bit release of the first five ELP albums.

The artwork is darker than the album cover. It came with 6 promo obis, 2 for Trilogy.

Some of the images shown here include all but one of the Tarkus Mini LP releases spanning 1994 - 2008

 
Front cover (main) image of Rush-Sector-1 : Rush : Sector 1
Rush-Sector-1 : 2011-11-21
Box 1 from a 3 boxes set. Each box is numbered. These are official releases by Universal Music. Each box set has 5 cds and 1 DVD. Each cd is in a replica mini LP sleeve. The DVD is in Surround sound. Each sliding box has a picture from 1 member of the band. On top of the boxes, you find part of the logo that is on the inside of the 2112 cd. Once you put the 3 boxes one beside another, you have the complete logo.
Front cover (main) image of ACDC-BOX : AC/DC : Guitar Case Box
ACDC-BOX : 2008-06-01
Warner Promo Box with presenting the form of a guitar hard case. This box was received by mail in coupons. The promo set included also 2 T-Shirts.
 
Front cover (main) image of 7243 5 51728 2 : Duran Duran : The Singles 81-85 Boxset
7243 5 51728 2 : 2003-04-22
This Boxset covers the singles of Duran Duran from 1981-1985. 13 discs including all the original B-sides. The packaging is a flip top box with each single in a mini-lp style reproduction of the original artwork from the 7" and 12".
Front cover (main) image of EMER-BOX1 : Emerson, Lake + Palmer : Brain Salad Surgery Box
EMER-BOX1 : 2002-11-21

Front opening promo box and obis from Disk Union came with first five albums in 20 bit K2 : VICP-62114 to VICP-62118

(Images courtesy of The Brain Salad Surgery site http://www.brain-salad-surgery.de/.)

 

See all Featured Releases