Los Angeles Times

Even in the streaming music era, the box set endures. Here are some of the year's best

It's hard not to wonder whether the increasingly elaborate (and pricey) retrospective box sets appearing these days don't represent the last gasp of a dying industry of music being sold in physical form. Since peak plastic in 2001, CD sales have dropped 88%, from 712 million units to 85.4 million in 2017, according to Nielsen Music.

But even as the industry shifts to streaming music, box sets offer labels and historians the chance to be curator, and that's still valuable in this everything-all-the-time era. Thus, 2018 brought a wealth of box sets that offer fans everything they may have wanted to know -- and then some -- about individual albums or the entire careers of some of pop music's most important figures.

Here's our highly selective roundup of the best of the year, as chosen by Times pop music writers Randy Lewis and Randall Roberts.

The Beatles, "The Beatles (The White Album)" (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe)

The seven-disc 50th anniversary "super deluxe" edition ($159.98 on The Beatles official site) of the Fab Four's sprawling 1968 double album serves up a genuine feast that should keep fans new and old nourished for weeks, months or even years. In addition to the vibrant yet historically respectful new stereo remix by latter-day Beatles producer Giles Martin, which highlights all the sonic richness, rhythmic punch and vocal

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