Record Labels' Questionable Quad Release Program

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fizzywiggs41

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I don't know if anyone has discussed this previously , but I thought it's probably time to look back and question Atlantic Records choice of music to be released in Quadraphonic.

We know back in the 70's quad era .....the Atlantic , (Atco , Cotillion , etc ) Record labels had some of the biggest Rock acts in their catalogue.
Cash Cow Groups such as : Led Zeppelin , King Crimson , Yes , E.L.P , and Genesis ..failed to have anything in quad issued.

( The exception ....ELP's Welcome Back....live album in Q8. )
It's as if they were purposely overlooked !

These Iconic Groups , which are mostly progressive Rock , had no releases in quad , almost as if they were ignored by the labels executives.
Historically Atlantic was a feature label for Jazz , Blues and R&B Artists.

So apart from 2 albums from Eric Clapton and one each fr The James Gang and Black Oak Arkansas...Atlantic records went with their Jazz and R&B artists.

I was always extremely disappointed with what seemed to be Atlantic's Ageism choice . A lack of interest for a more youth oriented quad schedule for the 70's. This reminds me of the 60's saying " never trust anyone over 30".


Anyway,.... if anyone on QQ (or elsewhere ) knows why they didn't release any of those Major Prog Rock acts in quad , please pipe in with your thoughts. Also , Any and All opinions on this decision by Atlantic are appreciated.
 

Misterbee

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I was working in a record store in the late 70’s, and it never seemed like WEA really got behind Quad in a big way. Labels like Columbia seemed to be much more on the ball. Lord knows why.

Also, as a big prog fan, I wonder if it was because the recording process was already complicated enough. There was so much ping-ponging of tracks, and the recording sessions themselves often dragged on for ages, maybe it was just more trouble than it was worth for a format of unknown value? There are plenty of prog, and non-prog albums that I would love to hear in quad, and while I am grateful for the recent 5.1 mixes of some of the Yes albums, I do wish there were more.

BTW, had no idea that “Welcome Back…” was on quad 8. The shows that were recorded for that album were my first rock concert. How was it mixed? Was it crowd noises in the rear speakers, or did the synth track while around the room?
 

4-earredwonder

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I don't know if anyone has discussed this previously , but I thought it's probably time to look back and question Atlantic Records choice of music to be released in Quadraphonic.

We know back in the 70's quad era .....the Atlantic , (Atco , Cotillion , etc ) Record labels had some of the biggest Rock acts in their catalogue.
Cash Cow Groups such as : Led Zeppelin , King Crimson , Yes , E.L.P , and Genesis ..failed to have anything in quad issued.

( The exception ....ELP's Welcome Back....live album in Q8. )
It's as if they were purposely overlooked !

These Iconic Groups , which are mostly progressive Rock , had no releases in quad , almost as if they were ignored by the labels executives.
Historically Atlantic was a feature label for Jazz , Blues and R&B Artists.

So apart from 2 albums from Eric Clapton and one each fr The James Gang and Black Oak Arkansas...Atlantic records went with their Jazz and R&B artists.

I was always extremely disappointed with what seemed to be Atlantic's Ageism choice . A lack of interest for a more youth oriented quad schedule for the 70's. This reminds me of the 60's saying " never trust anyone over 30".


Anyway,.... if anyone on QQ (or elsewhere ) knows why they didn't release any of those Major Prog Rock acts in quad , please pipe in with your thoughts. Also , Any and All opinions on this decision by Atlantic are appreciated.
Probably because WEA had no financial incentive behind QUAD. After all, Columbia owned the SQ encode system and RCA at the time promulgated their CD~4 Discrete system. WEA probably had to pay royalties to RCA for licensing CD~4.

And let's not forget, the artists themselves who heard those various QUAD LPs in actual playback were probably not at all impressed with the results and history would prove them correct. Only the QR [QUAD OPEN REEL] system adequately conveyed 4 channel QUAD at the time and the expense of producing those open reel tapes prohibited a lot of releases in that format....as it utilized double the tape traveling @ 7 1/2 ips.

As to ALL the A+ list bands you mentioned who didn't have QUAD releases in the 70's, they were ALL British Bands and I don't know if QUAD was popular in Europe at the time. Perhaps some of our knowledgeable European QQ posters could enlighten us?
 
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winopener

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Quad was never popular in Europe, and when they tried a bit they tried late and bailed out quickly.
Look at:

- the timeframe of Q8 tapes in UK (72-74, only EMI and PRT groups)
- the timeframe of SQ/QS releases of non-USA acts (72-74 EMI PRT and CBS-related)
- the timeframe releases for the german Wea CD-4 (74-75? or 75-76?)
- the tentative of re-ignition of SQ in 1976 (France and Spain)

it all shows that there wasn't any strategy about it.

Not to say that the label that released the most quad in Europe was the swiss-based Senn-Sound (at least 65 Q8) with the vast majority consisting of cheapo current hit redone by anonymous coverer and frequently faked for quad release.

The only format that would had been a splendid showcase for quad was quad reel, unfortunately the market for stereo reel was a real niche by itself and only germany has some prerecorded stereo reel done in the early seventies (havent't seen one after 1972). No surprise that QR in all Europe were extremely rare and only few import-stores carried them by request.

Put into account the fact that there was a serious economic crisis by 1973... and you have all the reason why quad never gained any real traction in europe.
 
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fizzywiggs41

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I was working in a record store in the late 70’s, and it never seemed like WEA really got behind Quad in a big way. Labels like Columbia seemed to be much more on the ball. Lord knows why.

There are plenty of prog, and non-prog albums that I would love to hear in quad, and while I am grateful for the recent 5.1 mixes of some of the Yes albums, I do wish there were more.

BTW, had no idea that “Welcome Back…” was on quad 8. The shows that were recorded for that album were my first rock concert. How was it mixed? Was it crowd noises in the rear speakers, or did the synth track while around the room?

It was sold as a 3 tape set. 3 Q8's
The Q8 mix was at time a bit of ping pongy and one of the tapes is considered by some to be a bit crappy.
But overall it sounded great in quad. Not much in the way of audience in the rear channels , more true to their Quad Concert performances.
BTW It was considered at one time to get a Quadradisc album release . It even has the WEA Quadradisc logo on the Q8'S front art work. Fellow quad collectors waited with abaited breath for it's release back in the 70's.

And there is a version that is online somewhere as a converson from those Q8's.
 

fizzywiggs41

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Quad was never popular in Europe, and when they tried a bit they tried late and bailed out quickly.
Look at:

- the timeframe of Q8 tapes in UK (72-74, only EMI and PRT groups)
- the timeframe of SQ/QS releases of non-USA acts (72-74 EMI PRT and CBS-related)
- the timeframe releases for the german Wea CD-4 (74-75? or 75-76?)
- the tentative of re-ignition of SQ in 1976 (France and Spain)

it all shows that there wasn't any strategy about it.

Not to say that the label that released the most quad in Europe was the swiss-based Senn-Sound (at least 65 Q8) with the vast majority consisting of cheapo current hit redone by anonymous coverer and frequently faked for quad release.

The only format that would had been a splendid showcase for quad was quad reel, unfortunately the market for stereo reel was a real niche by itself and only germany has some prerecorded stereo reel done in the early seventies (havent't seen one after 1972). No surprise that QR in all Europe were extremely rare and only few import-stores carried them by request.

Put into account the fact that there was a serious economic crisis by 1973... and you have all the reason why quad never gained any real traction in europe.
True enough for Q8 and QR , but in Europe both SQ and QS albums were prolific on a variety of labels for a very long time in the 70's early on and even towards the end of the decade.

Mostly MOR from BASF/Acanta, in GERMANY with some on Electrola as well , and PYE in Great Britian.

And plenty of Classical quads on SQ and QS well towards the end of the 70's.
From labels such as EMI , Tudor , PYE , Harmonia Mundi , Eurodisc , perhaps others . Nimbus also had a few.(QS , and HJ).

In the U.S and Canada we had Classical SQ throughout the latter 70's from Angel , even some reissues in the early 80's.
Eurodisc in Germany did the same til the early 80's , again just Classical albums.

It would seem apart from a small number of Rock albums from Virgin Records GB , that (some )MOR , but primarily Classical albums tended to dominate the quad releases through to the end of the 70's.
 

ProgRules

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It was sold as a 3 tape set. 3 Q8's
The Q8 mix was at time a bit of ping pongy and one of the tapes is considered by some to be a bit crappy.
But overall it sounded great in quad. Not much in the way of audience in the rear channels , more true to their Quad Concert performances.
BTW It was considered at one time to get a Quadradisc album release . It even has the WEA Quadradisc logo on the Q8'S front art work. Fellow quad collectors waited with abaited breath for it's release back in the 70's.

And there is a version that is online somewhere as a converson from those Q8's.
It does sound really good. Someone pointed me to that conversion online recently. I'd always heard it was a mess, but I found it very enjoyable.
 

winopener

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True enough for Q8 and QR , but in Europe both SQ and QS albums were prolific on a variety of labels for a very long time in the 70's early on and even towards the end of the decade.
I wasn't considering classical music on my reply... it doesn't fit too much on my radar.

Mostly MOR from BASF/Acanta, in GERMANY with some on Electrola as well , and PYE in Great Britian.
The single label that had the most non-classical quad releases in Germany i think it is Ohr-Kosmic Kurier-Bellaphon. Basf or EMI Electrola didn't had many releases outside of classical music.

And plenty of Classical quads on SQ and QS well towards the end of the 70's.
From labels such as EMI , Tudor , PYE , Harmonia Mundi , Eurodisc , perhaps others . Nimbus also had a few.(QS , and HJ).
In the U.S and Canada we had Classical SQ throughout the latter 70's from Angel , even some reissues in the early 80's.
Eurodisc in Germany did the same til the early 80's , again just Classical albums.
Isn't Eurodisc a licensing of Czech Supraphon quads?

It would seem apart from a small number of Rock albums from Virgin Records GB , that (some )MOR , but primarily Classical albums tended to dominate the quad releases through to the end of the 70's.
Well, EMI did Atom Heart Mother, Dark Side of the moon, Wish you were here and Machine head. I wouldn't call these MOR... :)
 

fizzywiggs41

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There was one other Atlantic Quad album that was anything but American Jazz or R&B.

But it took a European twist and was released in Germany and the UK.
The Jazz Rock Fusion ..German group album from Passport , "Handmade" .

Obviously this album's release was from a European Head Honcho at WEA Europe who did not ignore a more youthful sound.
 

fizzywiggs41

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I wasn't considering classical music on my reply... it doesn't fit too much on my radar.
My radar either, but for some reason you did not mention most matrix albums continuance . I'm sorry if I got the wrong impression but you seem to mention the lack of Q8 and QR in Europe spelled the end of Europe's quad era.


The single label that had the most non-classical quad releases in Germany i think it is Ohr-Kosmic Kurier-Bellaphon. Basf or EMI Electrola didn't had many releases outside of classical music.

-I don't know of any BASF Classical just their MOR titles.
-OHR/ Cosmic Courier/Metronome /PDU pretty much had issued SQ records until 1976. They had SQ records in France , Italy, and Germany .
-Bellaphon/Bacillus is a separate SQ label from GERMANY.
-I'm not sure what Country in Europe Tudor is from , and they released Classical music in QS.


Isn't Eurodisc a licensing of Czech Supraphon quads?

-No , they're a GERMAN label, Supraphon Records are exclusive to the Czech Republic.

Well, EMI did Atom Heart Mother, Dark Side of the moon, Wish you were here and Machine head. I wouldn't call these MOR... :)

-I never suggested that they were , but EMI had many SQ quad albums on their Studio Two label, all MOR.

My point was that plenty of quad records were continually released in matrix quad albiet MOR and Classical but mainly towards the end of the quad era (late 70's).
I agree the pop /rock albums (apart from a few on Virgin) ended in 76.
Also Pink Floyd WYWH on EMl was released in 75 or 76 .
WEA Europe released albums in CD-4 up until 76 , 75 in the US .

edits-fizzy
 
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fizzywiggs41

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Probably because WEA had no financial incentive behind QUAD. After all, Columbia owned the SQ encode system and RCA at the time promulgated their CD~4 Discrete system. WEA probably had to pay royalties to RCA for licensing CD~4.

And let's not forget, the artists themselves who heard those various QUAD LPs in actual playback were probably not at all impressed with the results and history would prove them correct. Only the QR [QUAD OPEN REEL] system adequately conveyed 4 channel QUAD at the time and the expense of producing those open reel tapes prohibited a lot of releases in that format....as it utilized double the tape traveling @ 7 1/2 ips.

As to ALL the A+ list bands you mentioned who didn't have QUAD releases in the 70's, they were ALL British Bands and I don't know if QUAD was popular in Europe at the time. Perhaps some of our knowledgeable European QQ posters could enlighten us?

So you think it was a pro-American decision for Atlantic Records ?
That makes sense , apart from them releasing Eric Clapton.
 

4-earredwonder

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So you think it was a pro-American decision for Atlantic Records ?
That makes sense , apart from them releasing Eric Clapton.
I just believe the WEA Group and even MCA Records who owned NO 'financial stakes' in QUAD were much more cautious than Columbia/RCA who did profit from their respective QUAD systems and the cost of remixing the multitracks into QUAD and ordering separate LP jackets with the QUAD designations was a further deterrent. I did notice that WEA did release quite a few QuadReels as it didn't require any royalty fees and IMO, much better replicated the discrete QUAD experience which VINYL did NOT. And then there were those jazz labels [i.e. Impulse] and some pop recordings from MCA Records which chose the QS matrix route as, AFAIK, there were NO royalty fees incurred when using that system [but I could be wrong].

And yes, Britain's EMI records did release a slew of SQ QUAD Vinyl in the early 70's via both their EMI and Angel labels but ironically, European Classical labels DGG and Philips also RECORDED a slew of albums quadraphonically but NEVER commercially released them in ANY physicial QUAD format until just a few years ago when classical independent label Pentatone debuted them on their RQR series of SACDs through a licensing agreement.

And I do believe WINOPENER in his reply #5 on this thread adequately outlined the European approach to QUAD in the 70's.
 
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Marcsten

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Probably because WEA had no financial incentive behind QUAD. After all, Columbia owned the SQ encode system and RCA at the time promulgated their CD~4 Discrete system. WEA probably had to pay royalties to RCA for licensing CD~4.

And let's not forget, the artists themselves who heard those various QUAD LPs in actual playback were probably not at all impressed with the results and history would prove them correct. Only the QR [QUAD OPEN REEL] system adequately conveyed 4 channel QUAD at the time and the expense of producing those open reel tapes prohibited a lot of releases in that format....as it utilized double the tape traveling @ 7 1/2 ips.

As to ALL the A+ list bands you mentioned who didn't have QUAD releases in the 70's, they were ALL British Bands and I don't know if QUAD was popular in Europe at the time. Perhaps some of our knowledgeable European QQ posters could enlighten us?
Interesting perspective; The problem with it is that it is unique to the CD 4 labels. When it comes to the Command QS artists and the SQ artists, quad came out in large doses. OK. less for Command but it was very late to the party. The SQ artists had lots of material. Other than Jethro Tull, I am not aware of artists being hostile to quad and prevailing upon their labels to reduce their output and label it negatively. I think it was the labels. I could say some snark about CD 4 and why many labels were not fully on board, but I won't. I think it was not the artists but the labels. The CD 4 labels (in the US) were lukewarm and not wholly committed when compared to the SQ camp which churned out the whole catalogue within reason. And on the classical side, much the same. Look at Angel. SO it s not that Led Zeppelin said no quad so much as the WEA group was only half in, in my opinion. And their pressings were half assed too, compared to what the overseas CD 4 labels came out with, so that didn't help...
I just spent most of the evening listening to American CD 4s and they are not up to scratch. Period.
 

gvl_guy

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Interesting perspective; The problem with it is that it is unique to the CD 4 labels. When it comes to the Command QS artists and the SQ artists, quad came out in large doses. OK. less for Command but it was very late to the party. The SQ artists had lots of material. Other than Jethro Tull, I am not aware of artists being hostile to quad and prevailing upon their labels to reduce their output and label it negatively. I think it was the labels. I could say some snark about CD 4 and why many labels were not fully on board, but I won't. I think it was not the artists but the labels. The CD 4 labels (in the US) were lukewarm and not wholly committed when compared to the SQ camp which churned out the whole catalogue within reason. And on the classical side, much the same. Look at Angel. SO it s not that Led Zeppelin said no quad so much as the WEA group was only half in, in my opinion. And their pressings were half assed too, compared to what the overseas CD 4 labels came out with, so that didn't help...
I just spent most of the evening listening to American CD 4s and they are not up to scratch. Period.
And when Arista jumped into quad with CD-4, late in the game, they sucked. Same with A&M when they finally decided on CD-4. Terrible pressings and not very impressive mixes from both of those labels.
 

jaybird100

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And yet he had 3 solos in quad and of course Simon & Garfunkel -Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Columbia controlled the masters back then, so he had no say in whether or not they got the quad treatment. But once he gained control, he moved his catalog to Warner Music, who were more cooperative with his wishes. He's since returned control to Sony Music, but that doesn't mean there will be surround SACD's. That was, supposedly, a stipulation of the deal.
 

Mr. Poobah

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I don't know if anyone has discussed this previously , but I thought it's probably time to look back and question Atlantic Records choice of music to be released in Quadraphonic.

We know back in the 70's quad era .....the Atlantic , (Atco , Cotillion , etc ) Record labels had some of the biggest Rock acts in their catalogue.
Cash Cow Groups such as : Led Zeppelin , King Crimson , Yes , E.L.P , and Genesis ..failed to have anything in quad issued.

( The exception ....ELP's Welcome Back....live album in Q8. )
It's as if they were purposely overlooked !

These Iconic Groups , which are mostly progressive Rock , had no releases in quad , almost as if they were ignored by the labels executives.
Historically Atlantic was a feature label for Jazz , Blues and R&B Artists.

So apart from 2 albums from Eric Clapton and one each fr The James Gang and Black Oak Arkansas...Atlantic records went with their Jazz and R&B artists.

I was always extremely disappointed with what seemed to be Atlantic's Ageism choice . A lack of interest for a more youth oriented quad schedule for the 70's. This reminds me of the 60's saying " never trust anyone over 30".


Anyway,.... if anyone on QQ (or elsewhere ) knows why they didn't release any of those Major Prog Rock acts in quad , please pipe in with your thoughts. Also , Any and All opinions on this decision by Atlantic are appreciated.
Even if Harvest wasn't part of Atlantic, per the Marc Anderson listing:

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA -
The Electric Light Orchestra. Harvest Q4 SHVL 797 (SQ) [UK],
SQVL 1014 (SQ) [Brazil]

Back in the day, we had this album and it was indeed SQ.
 
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