In the case of music, box sets are usually made up of three or more discs, covering a broad range of the music of a given artist or genre. Artists and bands with an extremely long and successful career often have anthology or "essential" collections of their music released as box sets. These often include rare and never-before-released tracks. Some box sets collect together previously released singles or albums by a music artist. Other music box sets focus on a compilation of different artists from a particular genre such as Big Band Jazz, 1960s Rock & Roll, or Opera. They generally feature a large collection of various hits from some of the top artists of a particular genre. The best selling box set to date is Nirvana's With the Lights Out. Two of the best known companies for making box sets are Legacy Recordings and Rhino Records. Both have won multiple Grammy Awards. Many heavy metal and hard rock artists release multiple box sets throughout their careers. They are often released as collectors items after the original release of the standard version of the album. In rare cases box sets contain all original material such as In Search of The, a 13 disc set by Buckethead or the Merzbox, a 50 disc set by Merzbow in which 20 of the discs are of new material while the other 30 discs are catalog material.
Films, television, and other video programs on DVD and VHS are sometimes sold as box sets. Such a box set might include an entire season or seasons 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 DVD 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.
In the field of publishing, 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.
Box sets can contain collections of items other than music, video, or literary media. Some examples include a box set of basic carpentry tools, a barbecue cooking utensil box set, and a box set of loose-leaf tea varieties. Box sets generally offer a number of items normally sold separately as one set.