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Thread: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonUrban View Post
    Thanks for the response, Jimby. You obviously speak with authority.

    One of the things I've always thought was that the format (and SACD as well) was not promoted enough to get the average Joe to notice. How do you feel about that? Did the DVD Forum guys drop the ball?

    Why wasn't DVD-A capability added to all DVD players? Why weren't the auto manufacturers used as a potential direct-marketing resource.

    It seems that the DVD-A folks got so preoccupied with the fact that their discs did not play on CD players that they lost focus that the product was a DVD format, and use that to their advantage.

    When Blu-Ray and HD-DVD hit the market, there were TV ads for them, and even though there was confusion, at least the general public new there were new formats out there. The old guys who grew up buying LPs and Tapes probably had no idea that there was a new format that they could put into their DVD players to hear their old favorites in a new way.

    A lot can be said after the fact, but it's just a shame that the whole HiRez audio from the major players failed. We did our part, but I can't help feeling that there needed to be more awareness in the marketplace. I remember meeting Acura owners, directing them to Best Buy to get discs for their cars, and having them find hardly anything they wanted to buy at that point.

    There were racks of (horrible) Silverline discs, and hardly any WB/Rhino/UMG/Capitol discs, because once they sold, they were rarely restocked. People could not buy something that was not on the shelves.

    Anyway, Now, a question for you.............What about those (Second batch) Eltons?


    The fatal hit that DVD-Audio took was when DVD Jon cracked the encryption of DVD-Video. Because DVD-Audio used a similar encryption (CSSII), the format was delayed by a year while a new encryption technology was vetted and implemented. People don't realize how significant a delay this was; Panasonic was in the process of shipping DVD-A players to stores when CSS was cracked, and had to recall the shipments.

    Anyway, by the time DVD-A was ready for release with a new encryption technology (CPPM) many manufacturers had decided to go to market with DVD-V players only. This split the market, with the majority of players being not compatible with DVD-A discs.

    As far as marketing, remember, there were not many ads for Blu-ray until the format war was over and HD-DVD had lost. DVD-A had a competitor in SACD, and Sony Music refused to put out their titles on DVD-A (under corporate direction from their parent). It would be as if Warner Bros still refused to put out titles on Blu-ray.

    Finally the labels don't have the budgets the studios have for marketing; we're much smaller.

    As far as the Elton John's, maybe one day.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by mch007 View Post
    Offcouse infrastructure is required to rip & sell thousands of titles. But one title still needs to be ripped only once, that takes 40-60 mins?

    We don't generally rip CDs to populate our asset database. It's more sophisticated than that. See my comment above about the aviation industry.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Are those Eltons like Don't Shoot Me and Rock of the Westies? If so, would the label make any money if they sold them directly without putting them through retail? Like the Rhino CTA disc. I'd love to hear these someday

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
    Are those Eltons like Don't Shoot Me and Rock of the Westies? If so, would the label make any money if they sold them directly without putting them through retail? Like the Rhino CTA disc. I'd love to hear these someday
    A combination of events has to align before they'll see the light of day. Right now I doubt that they are a priority, but I am sure the label will get to them sooner or later.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimby View Post
    We don't generally rip CDs to populate our asset database. It's more sophisticated than that. See my comment above about the aviation industry.
    I read that and I am trying to understand (really). From what I read it is not easier, not cheaper but more sophisticated.

    Is it like space-pen jokes that we know?

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Jimby - Thanks for the music industry insights offered today.

    Knowing that some terrific A-list titles are already mixed, ready and still gathering dust does get us going around here. I imagine you're aware of the Rhino Handmade CTA Quad DVD; could you envision Hip-O Select releasing the "missing" (or all) Elton John catalog titles prepared for surround with a low production run for all of the hardcore 5.1 enthusiast/consumers?

    An arrangement like that seems "near fetched" (realistic) to me, do you see barriers to such an idea?

    Thanks for being a QQ member.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by timbre4 View Post
    Jimby - Thanks for the music industry insights offered today.
    I imagine you're aware of the Rhino Handmade CTA Quad DVD; could you envision Hip-O Select releasing the "missing" (or all) Elton John catalog titles prepared for surround with a low production run for all of the hardcore 5.1 enthusiast/consumers?

    An arrangement like that seems "near fetched" (realistic) to me, do you see barriers to such an idea?

    Thanks for being a QQ member.

    Tim
    I doubt that they would make a limited run disc just for the tiny audiophile surround market, but stranger things have happened.

    Just to reiterate, many things about the business are opaque to those on the outside. Just to give you a hypothetical example of how this works:

    Let's say Artist "A" is well-known and has a catalog of back releases. The catalog division wants to release a remastered Greatest Hits double album set of this older material. However Artist "A" doesn't want just a greatest hits package, s/he wants to release a five album box set with new art and remixed audio.

    The label runs the P&L and figures it will lose money if they do the box set. However the artist's contract is coming up for renewal, and the label would like to keep the artist rather than having them go to another label. The artist also wants a new big website, and a merchandise deal. So the horse trading begins..."we'll handle your merch and website if you forget the box set." "No, no, I'll go somewhere else for merch." Blah blah blah, on and on. Then the artist changes managers, and the whole process starts again. It can take a long time to sort it out.

    Just because an album is released doesn't mean it made any sense to release it. Some are contractual obligations, some are poker chips, some are shows of goodwill, some are vanity projects, and some aid a long term strategy. Likewise an album might be held from release until one side or the other gets what they want in negotiations.

    So there are a lot of factors, including label and artist priorities that determine what gets released and what doesn't. It doesn't alway make sense but there is a weird logic to it when you see it on the inside.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Thanks for the second helping of realism. Having played in bands and watching the score form the outside, I realize what hits the market can be bizarre, obligatory or mere product.

    I was thinking that somehow Elton John or Greg Penny had some passion to do it that could increase the likelihood. Have been known to hallucinate....

    Please drop by the QQ more often.
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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by holland123 View Post
    But alas we are starting to see some good releases in dvd-a , my hope is that they keep coming, so for now let us all pray...
    praying..gif

    Who all wants to start a petition in favor for DVD-Audio discs??

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    That was tried for SACD and it got about 7000 signatures. A drip in the bucket (not even a drop) when the financial figures are looked at.
    :-jon

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by timbre4 View Post

    I was thinking that somehow Elton John or Greg Penny had some passion to do it that could increase the likelihood. Have been known to hallucinate....

    Please drop by the QQ more often.
    Greg Penny has a lot of passion for the material. I remember when he remixed Yellow Brick Road for DVD-A...at the time he was not able to cut a DVD-A ref disc for us, so he schlepped his entire ProTools system into our listening room and ran basically non-stop demos of the material for the entire day for all the catalog people. We were running the audio at such high intensity that our Bryston power amps' thermal cut-offs kicked in a couple of times and shut down the whole thing until the amps could cool down We had to bring in supplemental cooling (window fans) to cool the amps down.
    Last edited by jimby; 04-27-2010 at 12:22 AM.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    That experience most definitely qualifies as passion!

    I Googled his name a few months ago just to see what he's up to; always looking for that surround passion in print. He seems quite busy these days with other projects.

    Still hopeful that a coalition of artists, bean-counters and engineers will come up with a business model that works. Someday as you put it....
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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Hi Jimby, and thank you very much for your comments - very interesting indeed.
    Whilst I accept without any reservation at all that most DVDA titles sold very few numbers (10,000 to 20,000) there are other reasons for the lack of sales apart from the obvious "people are not interested" claim.
    When I first started to buy DVDA in 2000, I could not get them in the biggest stores in London on Oxford Street because they were up in the stock room.
    When I eventually found a member of staff who actually knew what I was asking for - most pointed me at the usual Dolby Digital encoded DVD-Video as DVD-Audio, telling me these were their only music DVD, and these were DVD-Audio because "they are DVD with music on them". I am not kidding. Anyway, the manager of the section told me they were not on the shelves because they had "no idea where to rack them and no promotional backing for them".
    Moving right along here, How do you expect to sell product of you do not tell anyone about it either? DVDA had almost zero promotion in the UK.
    The usual comments I get when playing friends DVDA titles is firstly "that sounds amazing" usually followed by "Why did nobody tell me about this format before".
    The promotion was literally non existant. I remember seeing a TV campaign for one title that was on DVD-V, DVD and CD. The campaign mentioned the CD & the DVD-V, but no mention of a DVDA at all.

    If a poorly promoted title can do 10,000 - 20,000 then what would a well marketed one do?
    I know of independant labels getting better figures than this with CD/DVDA releases right now.

    Re MP3. I have friends in record companies who tell me it is free money, which is where I get the information from. Sure you need to set up a database, but once it is set up it is a simple matter of maintenance, just like a company asset list. There is no physical media to produce, store or ship or associated costs.

    I cannot claim to know how major labels work - I have no experience of it. However, it does seem to me that they might have tried a little harder with high resolution, and Sony's torpedo into the bows with SACD over claims of concern re copy protection measures is risible given that watermarking is still uncracked. If everyone had got behind a single format from the start, it could have been a different story. That was never going to happen though.


    I honestly hope this has not come out as sounding too snippy. That is far from my intent, it really is. I appreciate that you have taken the time to drop by and post your thoughts on this subject, I really do, but find it very hard to reconcile the statement that selling 10 to 20,000 is not profitable. Perhaps not sufficiently profitable might describe the situation better??
    Oh well, whatever - nevermind.

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    1K Club - QQ Shooting Star neil wilkes's Avatar
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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimby View Post
    The fatal hit that DVD-Audio took was when DVD Jon cracked the encryption of DVD-Video. Because DVD-Audio used a similar encryption (CSSII), the format was delayed by a year while a new encryption technology was vetted and implemented. People don't realize how significant a delay this was; Panasonic was in the process of shipping DVD-A players to stores when CSS was cracked, and had to recall the shipments.
    Yet it did not kill DVD-Video.........
    Oh well, whatever - nevermind.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Hi Neil,

    When DVD-A was first scheduled for launch, the plan was for the CE companies, who had a vested interest in making DVD-A players succesful, to pick up a lot of the responsibility for promotion and marketing. After the launch was delayed for a year, and it became very obvious that DVD-Video was going to be a success without DVD-Audio, the CE companies were no longer that interested in marketing and promoting DVD-A. Their priorities had shifted.

    It is simply not possible for a couple of record labels to launch a new consumer physical format without the majority of the energy and funding coming from the CE companies. We simply don't have those kinds of budgets. At the time we knew that to successfully market a new format a minimum of $30-$50 million in marketing would need to be spent to get into the public consciousness. There is no way in hell that any record company is going to spend that kind of money on marketing when we don't get any patent royalties for the sale of the technologies (and patent royalties are where the real money is.) It just isn't in the realm of possibilities as the projected income from title sales would never offset the expenditure. Plus the market was going in a completely different direction with the portable MP3 players - the opposite direction from physical formats.

    The situation was complicated enough without SACD entering the market (and SACD was an attempt by Philips and Sony to extend their patent royalties on the CD, which were about to expire.)

    To your point of a particular title selling 10k units and not being profitable, there is this reality: the CE companies wanted big name, front line artists to put out surround albums. Frontline artists don't spend $10-15k on a surround mix; front line artists want particular high-profile producers to do their projects, and the costs quickly escalate. The mix costs got higher and higher as the bigger artists got involved, but their titles didn't sell more units to offset the costs.

    As far as everyone getting behind a single format, that was never to be. Warner had their relationship with Toshiba and the DVD-Forum, so they were not going to support SACD. Sony Music was controlled by Sony Electronics, and was never going to support DVD-A (even their Dual Discs didn't have DVD-A). Chalk it up to the downside of some content companies being vertically integrated with technology companies.

    And while all this was going on, the iPod was capturing the market. Your friend at the record company who claims that MP3s are free money is being short-sighted. The dis-aggregation of the album is responsible for a drop in baseline revenue. If the record companies are so profitable, everybody should be going out and buying our stock I don't see that happening.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by neil wilkes View Post
    Yet it did not kill DVD-Video.........
    What is obvious in hindsight was not at all obvious then. This was in 1999-2000.

    DVD-Video was replacing VHS. It was a huge leap.

    DVD-Audio was supposed to replace CDs. Not such a big leap.

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    1K Club - QQ Shooting Star Chris Gerhard's Avatar
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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimby View Post
    As far as marketing, remember, there were not many ads for Blu-ray until the format war was over and HD-DVD had lost. DVD-A had a competitor in SACD, and Sony Music refused to put out their titles on DVD-A (under corporate direction from their parent). It would be as if Warner Bros still refused to put out titles on Blu-ray.
    Warner was neutral at the start of the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD format war, releasing most titles on both formats with a rare release exclusive to HD DVD and even rarer release exclusive to Blu-ray with a big majority released on both formats using identical encodes. When Warner dropped support for HD DVD, that ended that format war. There was no way Sony was ever going to release a DVD-A nor was Warner ever going to release an SACD in the US. Panasonic never made an SACD player and Sony never made a DVD-A player so the DVD-A vs. SACD format war was not going to have a resolution and neither format would ever amount to much.

    Chris

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Jimby,

    Am I wrong in thinking that the DualDisc helped tank DVD-Audio? I mean, at first, as "fans", we were told the DualDisc was conceived to allow DVD-A discs to play in CD players, giving the consumer something they could use everywhere. However, the DualDisc had no requirement to have a DVD-A side. It turned out that most of them had "Enhanced" stereo at 16/48, or something similar, as the DVD-A DualDiscs were sought after by DVD-A fans (Brothers in Arms, Slippery When Wet, Talking Heads), the non-DVD-A Dualdiscs seemed to cause no stir at all.

    The fact that Sony jumped on the DualDisc deal was puzzling. Did they do it to help torpedo DVD-Audio, or were they really interested. Their Dualdiscs conflicted directly with their own SACDs (John Mayer, etc), and signaled not just the end of DVD-A, but the termination of their own format as well.

    A very curious move, going to Dualdisc. As an afterthought, I always preferred the "Deluxe Edition" approach, like WB did with the Flaming Lips, Morph the Cat, Running on Empty, Songs for Beginners, the R.E.M. discs, Seal's, and Capitol's "Love".

    The way the majors "throw in" a DVD-V with a Blu-Ray purchase for a movie these days, you would think that putting a CD in with a DVD-A and charging extra would have made everyone happy.
    :-jon

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    Signal Initiator Perpendicular's Avatar
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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonUrban View Post
    A very curious move, going to Dualdisc. As an afterthought, I always preferred the "Deluxe Edition" approach, like WB did with the Flaming Lips, Morph the Cat, Running on Empty, Songs for Beginners, the R.E.M. discs, Seal's, and Capitol's "Love".

    The way the majors "throw in" a DVD-V with a Blu-Ray purchase for a movie these days, you would think that putting a CD in with a DVD-A and charging extra would have made everyone happy.
    Didn't they do this exact same thing in the UK?
    At least, I seen the Talking Heads releases sold as double discs compared to the Dualdisc in the US.
    Great discussion!
    Keep it going.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonUrban View Post
    Jimby,

    Am I wrong in thinking that the DualDisc helped tank DVD-Audio? I mean, at first, as "fans", we were told the DualDisc was conceived to allow DVD-A discs to play in CD players, giving the consumer something they could use everywhere. However, the DualDisc had no requirement to have a DVD-A side. It turned out that most of them had "Enhanced" stereo at 16/48, or something similar, as the DVD-A DualDiscs were sought after by DVD-A fans (Brothers in Arms, Slippery When Wet, Talking Heads), the non-DVD-A Dualdiscs seemed to cause no stir at all.

    The fact that Sony jumped on the DualDisc deal was puzzling. Did they do it to help torpedo DVD-Audio, or were they really interested. Their Dualdiscs conflicted directly with their own SACDs (John Mayer, etc), and signaled not just the end of DVD-A, but the termination of their own format as well.

    A very curious move, going to Dualdisc. As an afterthought, I always preferred the "Deluxe Edition" approach, like WB did with the Flaming Lips, Morph the Cat, Running on Empty, Songs for Beginners, the R.E.M. discs, Seal's, and Capitol's "Love".

    The way the majors "throw in" a DVD-V with a Blu-Ray purchase for a movie these days, you would think that putting a CD in with a DVD-A and charging extra would have made everyone happy.
    Just for the record, I hated Dual Disc. The problem with Dual Disc is that the sandwich combo of discs was initially too thick (it violated the maximum allowed thickness of 1.5mm). So the replicators started futzing with it to make it thinner. They did this by thinning down the CD layer so that it was out of (Red Book) spec. This caused the pits on the CD layer to appear out of focus to the player's OPU (optical pickup unit). So to address that problem, they made the pits physically larger so the (now myopic) OPU could read them. Because the pits were now larger, fewer of them could be put on a disc, so the max running time was about 60-65 min. The whole thing, in my humble opinion, was a kludge, and we could never really guarantee that the CD layer would work in every player. The manufacturers responded with warnings about compatibility with their players, which helped sink the format (among numerous other issues, such as lack of marketing funds, etc.)

    Sony Music jumped on Dual Disc because SACD was tanking, and remember, Sony Music went through several changes of ownership at this time (being owned by BMG at one point). But they still refused to make their DD with a DVD-A layer.

    As far as including a CD with a DVD-A, that was a non-starter because of the extra expense, and the fact that the whole market was moving to MP3s. It was just not going to happen. The comparisons with the movie industry are imperfect because they are not the same products, and movies and music have different consumer expectations.

    Don't you guys get tired of talking about all this ancient history?

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Gerhard View Post
    Warner was neutral at the start of the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD format war, releasing most titles on both formats with a rare release exclusive to HD DVD and even rarer release exclusive to Blu-ray with a big majority released on both formats using identical encodes. When Warner dropped support for HD DVD, that ended that format war. There was no way Sony was ever going to release a DVD-A nor was Warner ever going to release an SACD in the US. Panasonic never made an SACD player and Sony never made a DVD-A player so the DVD-A vs. SACD format war was not going to have a resolution and neither format would ever amount to much.

    Chris
    Sorry, I meant Universal Studios, not Warner.

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    Board Operator JonUrban's Avatar
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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimby View Post
    Just for the record, I hated Dual Disc.
    I hated DualDisc too!

    Quote Originally Posted by jimby View Post
    .......As far as including a CD with a DVD-A, that was a non-starter because of the extra expense, and the fact that the whole market was moving to MP3s. .....
    If a label could sell a DVD-A disc for, say $18.99, to add a CD to the package and charge $25, wouldn't that work? There were quite a few of these, with "Love" probably being the most popular. It seems to me that would have been the perfect way to get the money back from the people who wanted the DVD-A, and having the product 100% compatible.

    Anyway, as you say, the the old H2O under the walkway.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimby View Post
    Don't you guys get tired of talking about all this ancient history?
    No!

    Actually, we all REALLY appreciate the insight. It's easy to think that we know what's going on and what should be done, but of course we don't. Hearing from people like you and Bob Vosgien (and Neil Wilkes too!) really makes me feel that this place is worth doing.

    And for that I say "THANKS!"
    :-jon

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    If the added expense of having a 2 disc set killed dvd-a/cd combos, then I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky we get any 2 CD deluxe editions of certain albums.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    I still say it doesn't have to be too late for dvd-a. It can be a great format, can support various sample rates and bit rates, and with the ability to add dvd-v content can be easily backwards compatible with the many home theater systems out there, and with the 5.1 and quad mixes just sitting in the vaults, there is a ton of material ready to go, and plenty of multi-tracks just waiting for remixing.

    All the labels would have to do is grow a pair, and use the technology just waiting to be used.

    Instead, we sit in the dark ages with CD, and inferior less than CD quality file formats. The labels just don't get it, it's not about the music to them.

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    Default Re: DVD-Audio backers - What Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyOfQuad View Post
    I still say it doesn't have to be too late for dvd-a. It can be a great format, can support various sample rates and bit rates, and with the ability to add dvd-v content can be easily backwards compatible with the many home theater systems out there, and with the 5.1 and quad mixes just sitting in the vaults, there is a ton of material ready to go, and plenty of multi-tracks just waiting for remixing.

    All the labels would have to do is grow a pair, and use the technology just waiting to be used.

    Instead, we sit in the dark ages with CD, and inferior less than CD quality file formats. The labels just don't get it, it's not about the music to them.
    You must have totally missed the points I made earlier in this thread. There are not enough people who care about Hi-Res audio or surround music to make the format viable. It doesn't matter how great the technology is, or how many masters are sitting in the vault. Selling 5k or 10k units of any format is not a viable option for the labels. If it were 100k units, it might make more sense, but we rarely sell that many units of DVD video concerts (even top name acts). At some point reality has to kick in (and it's usually on Wednesday mornings when we look at the Soundscan numbers for the previous week.)

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