Record Labels' Questionable Quad Release Program

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steelydave

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That reminds me, I found an article in Billboard a while back about the launch of the Reel Society in mid-1976 that has some good info about how it got started.

I got kind of excited at the sentence that said "Three John Denver albums, and Tomita's "Snowflakes are Dancing," possibly in quad, arrive from RCA." but I think what they mean is three John Denver albums in stereo, and the Tomita album in stereo and possibly quad - though I guess the possibility exists that RCA was sitting on some unreleased John Denver quad mixes, given how popular he was in that era, and the only Poems, Prayers and Promises was released on Q8.

Billboard-1976-08-07-p54-reel-society.jpg
 

4-earredwonder

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That reminds me, I found an article in Billboard a while back about the launch of the Reel Society in mid-1976 that has some good info about how it got started.

I got kind of excited at the sentence that said "Three John Denver albums, and Tomita's "Snowflakes are Dancing," possibly in quad, arrive from RCA." but I think what they mean is three John Denver albums in stereo, and the Tomita album in stereo and possibly quad - though I guess the possibility exists that RCA was sitting on some unreleased John Denver quad mixes, given how popular he was in that era, and the only Poems, Prayers and Promises was released on Q8.

View attachment 67243
Great article, Dave, but I really don't recall new open reels being that cheap ...... $8.95 with a 15~20% discount which would put them on parity with QUAD vinyl.

But of course we didn't have the internet back them and 'deals' like this weren't heavily advertised as Open Reel, especially, was a miniscule segment of the music buying public.

And when Columbia started duplicating their tapes at 3 3/4 ips.....and other labels followed [i.e. Capitol/Apple released Sergeant Pepper on a 3 3/4 ips Open Reel], it put that further nail in the coffin of Open Reel.
 

gvl_guy

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That reminds me, I found an article in Billboard a while back about the launch of the Reel Society in mid-1976 that has some good info about how it got started.

I got kind of excited at the sentence that said "Three John Denver albums, and Tomita's "Snowflakes are Dancing," possibly in quad, arrive from RCA." but I think what they mean is three John Denver albums in stereo, and the Tomita album in stereo and possibly quad - though I guess the possibility exists that RCA was sitting on some unreleased John Denver quad mixes, given how popular he was in that era, and the only Poems, Prayers and Promises was released on Q8.

View attachment 67243
I remember hearing about quad John Denver's. Timing wise and popularity wise, it should have happened and never did. Would be a great Dutton Vocalion release if it actually exists. 🙂
 

4-earredwonder

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I remember hearing about quad John Denver's. Timing wise and popularity wise, it should have happened and never did. Would be a great Dutton Vocalion release if it actually exists. 🙂
AFAIK, only John Denver's POEMS, PRAYERS & PROMISES had a QUAD remix/release:

JOHN DENVER -
Poems, Prayers & Promises. RCA PQ8-1711 (Q8)
 

gvl_guy

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AFAIK, only John Denver's POEMS, PRAYERS & PROMISES had a QUAD remix/release:

JOHN DENVER -
Poems, Prayers & Promises. RCA PQ8-1711 (Q8)
Yes. But I was thinking that there might be more that never got released. At least that's what a lot of us heard. Odd that PP&P was released in quad in 1971, the guy was hugely popular, had 4 more albums by 1974 (including probably his biggest song ever, Rocky Mountain High,) and they never released quad versions. 1971-1974 was the quad era!
 
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4-earredwonder

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Yes. But I was thinking that there might be more that never got released. At least that's what a lot of us heard Odd that PP&P was released in quad in 1971, the guy was hugely popular, had 4 more albums by 1974 (including probably his biggest song ever, Rocky Mountain High,) and they never released quad versions. 1971-1974 was the quad era!



And even more odd: Poems, Prayers & Promises was only released on Q8 ..... not even CD~4 vinyl!

And does SONY still control the Denver catalogue or since his untimely death, does the Denver family control the rights?

EDIT: The Answer:

 
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gvl_guy

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And even more odd: Poems, Prayers & Promises was only released on Q8 ..... not even CD~4 vinyl!

And does SONY still control the Denver catalogue or since his untimely death, does the Denver family control the rights?

EDIT: The Answer:

I'd be happy if they just issued a surround Blu-ray or SACD of his greatest hits.
 

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steelydave

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Surprising too because aside from Rocky Mountain High, which was recorded and mixed by Ray Hall (who I can't find any quad connections for), all of Denver's albums from 1973-1976 were recorded at quad-equipped studios by engineers with quad experience. Farewell Andromeda was mixed at Morgan Studios in London by Roger Quested (who did the quad mix of Cat Stevens' Buddha and the Chocolate Box there not that long after) and all the others were recorded and mixed by Mickey Crofford, who did the majority of the Hugo Montenegro and Henry Mancini quad mixes (amongst others) during the same years.
 

4-earredwonder

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Surprising too because aside from Rocky Mountain High, which was recorded and mixed by Ray Hall (who I can't find any quad connections for), all of Denver's albums from 1973-1976 were recorded at quad-equipped studios by engineers with quad experience. Farewell Andromeda was mixed at Morgan Studios in London by Roger Quested (who did the quad mix of Cat Stevens' Buddha and the Chocolate Box there not that long after) and all the others were recorded and mixed by Mickey Crofford, who did the majority of the Hugo Montenegro and Henry Mancini quad mixes (amongst others) during the same years.
Apparently, perhaps Denver wasn't impressed by the QUAD demonstrations I'm sure he was privy to coupled with the perplexing fact his only QUAD album was never released on Vinyl [only Q8].

The heading of this thread THE RECORD LABELS' QUESTIONABLE QUAD RELEASE PROGRAM is indicative that a lot of celebrated and multi platinum artists of the QUAD era probably felt the same way about 'altering' their stereo masters to accomodate those rear channels because sadly, the format would've indeed had the major boost it so desperately needed to make QUADRAPHONIC SOUND the 'next BIG sensation' its creators had envisioned.

And even to this day with the technology very much in place, a lot of artists still feel that way.:cry:
 

Q-Eight

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Apparently, perhaps Denver wasn't impressed by the QUAD demonstrations I'm sure he was privy to coupled with the perplexing fact his only QUAD album was never released on Vinyl [only Q8].

The heading of this thread THE RECORD LABELS' QUESTIONABLE QUAD RELEASE PROGRAM is indicative that a lot of celebrated and multi platinum artists of the QUAD era probably felt the same way about 'altering' their stereo masters to accomodate those rear channels because sadly, the format would've indeed had the major boost it so desperately needed to make QUADRAPHONIC SOUND the 'next BIG sensation' its creators had envisioned.

And even to this day with the technology very much in place, a lot of artists still feel that way.:cry:
It is baffling, isn't it? Especially when you consider the route popular music was taking back in the 70's with full, lush recordings. Heck, even some Jim Croce records got the whole orchestra with piano and strings. And then by the age of disco??? Man, I've sunk my teeth into some recently unearthed disco multitracks and Disco was MADE for Quad. 24- tracks, tons of space for vocals, percussion, instruments.... and yet we have very, very little disco in Quad save for Van McCoy, Walter Murphy and a few tracks here and there now considered to be disco.
 

Owen Smith

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Quad and surround are niche, sales will always be low. Why should an artist spend time on a mix when it will make no difference to how successful they are and how much money they make? I suspect this is the reason a lot of artists are uninterested.
 

gvl_guy

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Quad and surround are niche, sales will always be low. Why should an artist spend time on a mix when it will make no difference to how successful they are and how much money they make? I suspect this is the reason a lot of artists are uninterested.
The one in the "chain" with likely the least concern about money, it's the artist. His/her/their agents, the record labels, etc are the people looking to make big $$$$. Real artists want their work heard, their "art" to make a difference or impact. Just MHO.
 

jaybird100

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It is baffling, isn't it? Especially when you consider the route popular music was taking back in the 70's with full, lush recordings. Heck, even some Jim Croce records got the whole orchestra with piano and strings. And then by the age of disco??? Man, I've sunk my teeth into some recently unearthed disco multitracks and Disco was MADE for Quad. 24- tracks, tons of space for vocals, percussion, instruments.... and yet we have very, very little disco in Quad save for Van McCoy, Walter Murphy and a few tracks here and there now considered to be disco.
There was also at least one Gloria Gaynor album that MGM released in QS, but with no indication of it on the album cover, nor the label. Having played one of these through the SMv2, I can verify the encoding.
 

mlrocker

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I agree with your point, but wrt today, it's almost the opposite in many ways.

They'd rather sell 5,000 copies of a big box with some outtakes, stickers, book, etc at $100 than 12,000 copies of just a stereo/5.1 BD-A of the main album at $25.

Or do both - but do the 5,000 of big box first and then 8k-10k of the single disc a year later to maximize profits.
This is interesting to me, like what would be the budget on big box with a $500,000 projected sales. What's the targeted profit margin of both the box and the BD-A, with and without the surround sound remix? AND is there market research that goes into the process?
 
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gvl_guy

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There was also at least one Gloria Gaynor album that MGM released in QS, but with no indication of it on the album cover, nor the label. Having played one of these through the SMv2, I can verify the encoding.
I'm pretty sure it was the original pressing of Experience on MGM Records. At least I read that somewhere. It's on my "wishlist."
 

MidiMagic

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It is baffling, isn't it? Especially when you consider the route popular music was taking back in the 70's with full, lush recordings. Heck, even some Jim Croce records got the whole orchestra with piano and strings. And then by the age of disco??? Man, I've sunk my teeth into some recently unearthed disco multitracks and Disco was MADE for Quad. 24- tracks, tons of space for vocals, percussion, instruments.... and yet we have very, very little disco in Quad save for Van McCoy, Walter Murphy and a few tracks here and there now considered to be disco.
There may be a reason: Royalties.

I hear a lot of quad mixes in disco. Most of them seem to be in Dolby Surround.

It is quite easy to make mixes in Regular Matrix quad in a standard 4-bus mixer. I do it all the time. But as soon as it is advertised as being in quad, ROYALTY PAYMENTS to those with the patents. So no mention of quad means no royalties. They can't prove the quad in the mix was intentional. The engineer could say he was trying for wide stereo. Wide stereo = RM LB and RB.

Sansui even offered the use of its matrix royalty free. But court and patent office decisions say that Sansui did not own the patents. Peter Scheiber's patent covered all matrix systems. So all overt matrix quad recordings owed royalties to Scheiber, and he often sued to collect.

Play them through an RM decoder and see if you don't get quad.
 

gvl_guy

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It is baffling, isn't it? Especially when you consider the route popular music was taking back in the 70's with full, lush recordings. Heck, even some Jim Croce records got the whole orchestra with piano and strings. And then by the age of disco??? Man, I've sunk my teeth into some recently unearthed disco multitracks and Disco was MADE for Quad. 24- tracks, tons of space for vocals, percussion, instruments.... and yet we have very, very little disco in Quad save for Van McCoy, Walter Murphy and a few tracks here and there now considered to be disco.
Which Walter Murphy?
 

par4ken

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It is baffling, isn't it? Especially when you consider the route popular music was taking back in the 70's with full, lush recordings. Heck, even some Jim Croce records got the whole orchestra with piano and strings. And then by the age of disco??? Man, I've sunk my teeth into some recently unearthed disco multitracks and Disco was MADE for Quad. 24- tracks, tons of space for vocals, percussion, instruments.... and yet we have very, very little disco in Quad save for Van McCoy, Walter Murphy and a few tracks here and there now considered to be disco.
I for one don't miss the apparent lack of quad disco!!!
 
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Owen Smith

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The one in the "chain" with likely the least concern about money, it's the artist. His/her/their agents, the record labels, etc are the people looking to make big $$$$. Real artists want their work heard, their "art" to make a difference or impact. Just MHO.
Yes but unless the artist is interested in quad or surround they're not going to spend the time on it. If a surround remix is just a chore for them, they're going to write new music or play golf etc. instead. The only thing that would get them to do a quad or surround mix if they're not an enthusiast themselves is money, which isn't there.
 
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