I don't know if there's a specific Thread on this already, but If DVD-A (DVD-Audio) or SACD (SA-CD) were to make a comeback, which format would you choose?
Up until last year, I was a die-hard 2-channel audio nut until I purchased my first AVR.
After purchasing my AVR, I discovered Room Correction, and would choose DVD-A because all SACD (DSD) is converted to PCM anyway prior to RC.
Thank you very much for your help and giving us the “inside baseball” as to what happened from the record companies point of view. It’s needed and greatly appreciated. We’re all sitting at our computers wondering what happened to DVD-A/SACD as we listen to the greatest mixes and sound quality (including Stereo) that has ever been invented in the history of music (until the Blu-ray era).
#1 Question of great concern many of us here have:
Are the record companies taking proper care of Master Multi-track Tapes and Quadraphonic/Stereo Master mixes Tapes in their vaults from decades past by transferring them to digital form so the material is not lost to the ravages of time? Or do they need a profit incentive to do this?
Again, thank you for your help.
It may be that the labels can't sell enough to make the profit that they feel is necessary for it to be worthwhile. I can't help but feel like it's corporate greed that drove the decision to dump dvd-a.
Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate you sharing the inside views that drove some decisions that I feel are poor decisions. And I hope you don't feel like I'm attacking or flaming here. I'm just trying to share my strong opinions. I just find it hard to believe that, while the industry continues to make a profit selling CDs, DVDs, home theater systems, speakers, vinyl, turntables, that the industry is completely unable to find a way at all to make any profit selling high resolution discs. I just feel like it's really corporate greed that drove the decisions to abandoned the dvd-a format, and I still can't help but feel backstabbed by the industry that I supported.
I wish someone would have some balls, and give dvd-a a real launch. How many titles did the CD launch with? How many for dvd-a?
We've had to deal in the last 10 years with problems like the gradual disappearance of 3M digital audio recorders from the early 80s. (We had to fly an engineer to Minnesota to spend a few days in a former 3M engineer's basement transferring a bunch of the Steely Dan masters to modern 96/24 PCM format.)
That is not to say that everything is preserved and nothing is lost, but we try our best.
Can we please get back on track? We're lucky enough to be able to correspond with someone who speaks from authority. Let's not get into arguments with him!!
Here's a question for you. It must have been expensive for a label like UMG to support both SACD AND DVD-A. As I recall, UMG leaned more towards SACD at first, and with more titles (Eltons, etc). Was this because Sony "chipped in"? If so, why did UMG bother with DVD-A at all? Was it an artist driven choice?
Also, are there any figures on how many titles were pressed. For example, the second Michael McDonald SACD was in stores for only a few minutes. I would assume that one had a real short run, and there was no DVD-A of that title like the first one.
Also, the Steely Dan early titles. How close did they get to release?
One last Q: Once the titles were withdrawn, why doesn't a label call them back and try and sell them directly to generate some cash back instead of destroying the stock? I know it's probably not worth doing, but it would make for some good PR. Folks are spending a lot of money on eBay for titles that the labels could sell themselves.
You are thinking that the labels are monolithic organizations that are entirely in control of their fates. That's not how it works. In the case of technology and formats, we are entirely dependent on CE manufacturers and their commitment to their formats. We cannot make a format succeed on our own. In the case of artists, we can't make them do anything they don't want to do. We can't stop them or their managers from negotiating huge budgets in return for their support, or withdrawing their support entirely. We can't even make our own labels support different initiatives because they all run as separate business units with their own priorities. We have restrictions working with other music companies because of anti-trust regulations. We are dependent on the entire ecosystem being favorable to our initiatives - the wind at our back, so to speak. The wind was never at our back with DVD-A.
For example, Apple spends something like $500m a year on advertising and marketing. That is a commitment to their technology. That's what it takes to drive something into the collective consciousness of consumers. That's what it takes to move the needle. It doesn't hurt that they have products that people want, but their revenue didn't really take off until they stopped focusing on computers and started focusing on iPods and iPhones. They still have less than 10% market share of computers. They managed to figure out what people really wanted, and put their energy behind that. But it still costs them hundreds of millions a year to keep people wanting more. And they still have flops like the AppleTV.
I am going to say this for like the thousandth time...the majority of consumers are not interested in surround sound music, and couldn't give a rat's ass about hi-res audio. They're moving away from the CD and to MP3s because MP3s give them what they want; convenience and portability, because that's how most people want to consume music these days.
True. My friends and other family members don't even have stereos in their houses, they have iPods and iPod radio docks. That's their music library. Their handful of CDs sit in a closet and once ripped to their iPods are never seen.
The iPod goes in the car, on the road, to the beach, to the kitchen, living room, wherever the person goes. He gets his own music when and where he wants it. No setting up speakers, no sitting in the right spot.
Face it, we're all weird. No one does what we do. Sad, really.
Sometimes I guess it's hard to face reality!
More proof the labels just don't get it.
CD had how many titles at launch?
DVD-A had how many?
I'm not saying dvd-a definitely could have taken off like the CD. I'm just saying that if the labels gave DVD-A the launch that CD got, it would have stood a fair chance.
Can anyone prove that to be wrong? Yes...by actually trying to do it.
And I know it would take more than just the labels doing it. The state of the industry is a sickening thing, they kill themselves by fighting themselves.
Besides, we don't even have to talk about discs when it comes to high resolution and/or surround sound.
What about flac? Lossless. You can easily do CD quality audio with the downloads using that. You can do better than CD. It's great.
And, while I haven't actually tested it myself, I've not had a need or reason to, it can support 5.1.
And if high resolution isn't worth doing, then how come vinyl continues to thrive? How come audiophile releases continue to be released? There is very much a market for high resolution audio.
If no one cares about surround, why do 5.1 systems continue to sell? Why is 5.1 standard on just about any dvd you purchase?
Heck, it's difficult to even get a 5.1 system anymore, it seems anything has the capability to do 7.2, or more.
And yet the music industry is still cranking out and churning out CDs and mp3, complete with brickwall limiting, completely ignorant at the possibilities there for the taking. These companies need people with visions running them. The music sucks, the looks of the bandmembers are more important then the talent of the bandmembers, the loudness of the CD is more important than the quality, and the cheapness of the media is more important than the technology.
And they wonder why sales are down. yeah, it must be the downloading.
Sorry, but I can't help but feel nothing but utter disgust for the music industry as a whole these days.
I think I've gone off topic.
So we started out supporting DVD-A, and as DVD-A began to falter, we began supporting SACD.
As DVD-A sales numbers dropped, I am sure the IO (initial order) for units dropped as well, which probably explains why some titles were hard to find. Also, because the titles weren't selling, stores just didn't want to stock them. I have no idea what happened to excess stock; not my department.
I know some titles are going for $$ on eBay, but it's probably not worth it to do a replication run as the costs would eat up any profit. We would have to sell tens of thousands to make starting up the engine worthwhile. So hang on to your copies. There probably won't be anymore for quite a while.
As far as Steely Dan, I think that the only other title that Fagen and Becker wanted to release in surround was Aja, but unfortunately two of the multi-tracks were missing ( I believe they were Black Cow and Aja). Without those, we couldn't do a surround mix, so no release. Everybody looked all over for those tapes for years, but they are gone.
Back when that album was recorded, archival discipline was, as we say, much looser
Would the "big labels" ever consider HiRez surround downloads?
Even if you took all of the titles that were released on DVD-A and/or SACD and sold them online, folks could make their own DTS CDs, DTS DVDs, DVD-Audio's or Media Player files. Maybe that's the next step for surround. Labels like AIX have started doing this.
Go ahead and mock me. At least I have vision of the true potential of the technology, something that no one in the industry seems to have.
I fail to see how any sane person can look at the number of homes with 5.1 systems in them, the number of 5.1 systems that sell, and the fact that dvds have had 5.1 just about a standard for years now, and come to the conclusion there's no demand or market for surround.
I mean, for crying out loud, when I sit and watch the big bang theory on tv, every scene change has a woosh sound effect that moves to the back of the room. Even TV sitcoms are getting 5.1. But not music? How can anyone not think this world is insane when we give tv commercial jingles the 5.1 treatment, but take the art of music and brickwall limit it and compress it into a crappy mp3?
Ok, I guess everyone else is crazy, and I'm the only normal one.
But seriously, jimby, I'm not trying to just start a meaningless debate. Obviously there were a lot of things stacked against dvd-a that caused it to fail. I understand that. I'm not trying to debate for the sake of arguing. I'm just taking the same stance I always have, to challenge the music industry as a whole, labels, equipment, all of it, to stand up to it's potential, with the talent it seeks out and backs, the quality of the media it releases, the technology it uses, and everything.
I'd like to see brickwall limiting ended. Is that unreasonable? Is that a fantasy world?
I'd like to see music be about the music, and not the looks of the bandmembers. There is so much undiscovered talent out there, do we really need another Britney Spears?
As you said, you're already sticking your toes in the water with HD Tracks. I'd like to see more of that. Flac is a wonderful thing.
And with the number of 5.1 systems already in people's homes, I'd just like the music industry not to forget about 5.1. It may never be the biggest selling thing and the biggest money maker. But it doesn't have to be a loss, either. We're the people you can count on to buy the quality product, and spread the word to our friends. I know the technology isn't quite there yet for downloadable 5.1, how many computers are setup to play it? And how easy is it to burn to a disc? But with the right advances, the future holds the possibility for it.
Or at least the future in my crazy insane fantasy world.
People do not have the same expectations for music. Period.
When I put on "DVD-Audio", guests can't understand why there isn't motion video too. Stereo listening is too well ingrained and portability + short attention spans + other priorities take precedence over serious listening. We are a small group stranded on an island.
I was a TV buff years ago and with the advent of computers, I don't care much about TV at all these days. Life isn't what it used to be and surround music is something most people cannopt wrap their heads around it. Even when somebody gets excited, do they get off their ass and get their own setup? And if you were lucky enough that they did and found out there wasn't a whole lot of surround music software to play on it, did you ever hear the end of that?
It will never be mass market and I've accepted it. I will concentrate on something realistic for the niche I am a proud member of.
Let's please keep this going in a positive direction. Thank you.
Moderator, Musician, Foole
Daddeo 2013 Selected Songs link:
Do we always have to argue. What are we, the Steve Hoffman forum?
Ok, sorry for getting off on a rant, but ultimately my message is hopeful. I still think there is hope for our niche to continue on. I know it's a niche, and perhaps the suggestion that 5.1 releases may become mainstream is a fantasy world. But, it just seems that our niche is getting less and less and less from the industry. I'd like to see the industry give us at least a little bit.
But, the latest offering from Rhino is certainly showing hope. Plus, if we can get the quad mix of Metal Machine Music on dvd AND blu ray, the possibilities are still endless.
Speaking as a consumer, the only thing I didn't like about DVD-A was the cumbersome need for a video monitor to operate it in 5.1. Different discs had different menus, so punching buttons without the screen had aggravating results. Dual-layer SACDs could also entail a pushing of buttons in sequence for each disc. The beautiful thing about DTS CDs was that once you had the system set up, you just put discs in and pushed the play button.
If any Blu-ray developers are reading this, please don't ignore the needs of the consumer.
Another issue we’ve wondered about is what are the amount of sales that would be required for out of print or older releases? We do understand that big sales from popular artists are important to keep the labels going. But if there is a certain market for well, Quadraphonic titles and the Master tapes are there in the vaults and costs to release a product could be kept down to turn a profit, might smaller runs still work? Perhaps DVD-A/SACD was not a 100% failure in that a permanent market was created, if only 10 to 20,000 fans, if that’s the case. We have more people adding Multi-Channel with Blu-Ray/HDTV to their homes as well. Could there be a new business model or way to make small runs work? If expenses are kept low enough and other stars align, smaller profits from many different small releases might work. Perhaps it's not so simple.
Regarding releasing older material, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) would appear to be doing well with their back catalog of movies from MGM and pre 1950s Warner films (many titles are being released monthly now on DVD and Blu-Ray for the first time and sold at TCM.com). I know film / music are different animals, and a certain business model or market needs to be in place in order to turn a profit for there to be more releases. Many old films from the 30s and 40s are getting releases on DVD/Blu-Ray now that a market has sprung up for them. Of course interest is there for these films now because TCM has been broadcasting them for more than 15 years (having its first film festival in Los Angles last week).
The #2 question would be:
Could the Quadraphonic mixes be added to a release as an "extras feature" on a DVD-V or Blu-Ray concert title (assuming other factors also align)? Or could an interested 3rd party be granted a license for Quadraphonic material if they were to pay tape transfer expenses, royalties and other expenses?
If there are no immediate plans to release certain Quadraphonic material in the vaults now, might a 3rd party be able to generate a certain amount of income with perhaps (hopefully) not much effort on the major label part, letting the 3rd party that wants to license the material do the heavy lifting with costs, etc. with its own business model. Perhaps one of the smaller labels within the Record companies’ control could release such Quadraphonic material, assuming all the ducks were in a row.
Again, thank you Jimby for all your input here at QuadraphonicQuad.com.
The other problem is that there is no demand for this material. Believe me, if the label thought they could sell it and make money, they would be inclined to go in that direction. But the reality is that the demand just isn't there. Now if and when there is a real demand for multichannel material, I am sure the labels will step up and dust off the old mixes, but it's hard to make a case right now to the artist and label management that reviving this material will result in anything other than a fruitless exercise in expense and hassle. The ecosystem that supports multichannel content has collapsed, and it needs to be rebuilt before you'll see content being released in any quantity.
I don't understand why there's this perception that the ecosystem that supports multichannel content has collapsed, while multichannel systems continue to sell, and a large amount of homes have the systems already in them. What more is needed for the industry to think it can release what people already have the equipment to play?
I certainly understand the difficulties in working out things between the labels and artists, and have seen how that can be a slow time consuming process, and easily dismissed with how busy everyone can be. But I think many artists would support reissues. It just requires a bit of communication, and a bit of motivation. That's why I continue to push for it, and ask for it.