A box set or boxed set is a set of items (for example, a compilation of books, musical recordings, films or television programs) traditionally packaged in a box and offered for sale as a single unit.
Artists and bands with an extremely long and successful career often have anthology or "essential" collections of their boxes of music released as box sets. These often include rare and never-before-released tracks. Some box sets collect previously released boxes of singles or albums by a music artist, and often collect the complete discography of an artist such as Pink Floyd's Oh, by the Way and Discovery sets. Sometimes bands release expanded versions of their most successful albums such as Pink Floyd's Immersion box set versions of their The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975) and The Wall (1979) albums. Pink Floyd have also released The Early Years 1965–1972 box set which features mostly unreleased material.
Other music box sets focus on a compilation of boxes of different artists from a particular genre such as Big Band jazz, 1960s rock and roll, or opera. They generally feature a large collection of various hits from some of the top artists of a particular genre. The scope of such box sets varies widely, with some genre-specific box sets (such as one featuring rock music) focusing on boxes of a specific style (for instance, guitar rock or "Summer of Love" music). Two of the best known companies for making box sets are Legacy Recordings and Rhino Records; both have won multiple Grammy Awards. Prior to Rhino and Legacy, companies such as Time-Life Records and Readers Digest also issued box sets.
In rare cases, box sets contain all original material such as 11-disc set Blue Guitars by Chris Rea, In Search of The, a 13-disc set by Buckethead, or Klaus Schulze's 10-disc set Contemporary Works I . Some box sets become best sellers, such as Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin (1990), George Strait's Strait Out of the Box (1995), Nirvana's With the Lights Out (2004) and The Beatles' twin The Beatles Stereo Box Set and The Beatles in Mono discography box sets (2009).
In classical music, box sets often contain all works of a certain composer or all works in a certain genre, like symphonies or chamber music, performed by a certain orchestra, ensemble or conductor.
Well-known authors and artists who have written or produced several related books or portfolios of fine art photography or other artistic mediums whose work is considered historically, culturally, or socially significant may have certain works sold as box sets. For example, one can buy box sets of the plays of Shakespeare, collection of J. R. R. Tolkien novels, or Ansel Adams photographic prints. There are now also digital boxed set collections, such as 21 Shades of Night.
Films, television and other video programs on Blu-ray and DVD are sometimes sold as box sets, as were certain titles on the now-discontinued VHS and LaserDisc formats. Such a box set might include an entire season or seasons, or the complete series, of a popular TV program, a collection of films by a well-known director or starring a well-known actor/actress, or a collection of films of a particular genre such as horror, sci-fi and westerns. Other criteria for box sets have included all films of a series such as the Star Wars series or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and a selection of adaptions of a particular author such as Stephen King or Jane Austen. Some box sets contain different versions of one film, as in the case of Blade Runner, and Alien Quadrilogy.
One of the most popular box sets of all time is "The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection" released in 1999 by New Line Platinum Series, which contained the original seven films, a bonus DVD containing special features titled The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia, two pairs of 3-D glasses for the last ten minutes of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, a commemorative booklet about the films titled The Nightmare is Alive and more. Other notable boxsets include the Dragon Ball Z "Dragon Box" sets, often considered to be the best release of the series to date due to the high quality of the remasters and the plentiful number of features, the "Shirley Temple Little Darling" DVD collection, an 18-disc DVD box set of Shirley Temple movies which were constantly advertised on TV for years as a "limited time offer", and the "Star Wars Trilogy: The Definitive Collection" LaserDisc box set, which was one of the last home video releases of the original trilogy before the special editions.
With the advent of streaming services such as Netflix, a "box set" also describes a series where all episodes are available to watch immediately, as opposed to traditional scheduling.