A Different Take on Stones' Super Audio Labeling

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lee Scoggins, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I was talking with a very knowledgeable salesperson at Acoustic Sounds yesterday (having almost completely given up on Atlanta for Super Audio CDs), and we discussed the interesting and initially sad decision by ABKCO to leave off the Super Audio sticker on the Rolling Stones.

    His take was very interesting. He basically feels that Sony or the powers that be likely decided not to label so the CDs would remain in the rack among normal CDs. The whole SACD process is well mentioned on the disc itself and the digipak gatefold. So one can argue that Sony was just doing product placement in a way to avoid the "high end audio" bins at Tower for sure. That makes a lot of sense to both him and myself.

    What do you think?

    This is an interesting way to launch a stealth campaign. Of course it works best if only hybrids are released and then at some point the awareness level is raised. Sony has also been doing this with the Clear Channel alliance. I was listening to our most popular rock station in Atlanta yesterday during a drive and an ad came on talking about the Stones in Super Audio.

    Maybe we should be more kind to Sony....

    He also mentioned that DVD Audio returns are very high at Acoustic Sounds due to confusion and inconvenience related to the multi-channel settings. He believes their customer base does not like the requirement to sometimes have a TV monitor hooked up. Just some an observation which may factor into the whole format thing. It got me thinking that Mike Broadman may be right and there may not be a war so much as a skirmish, because audiophiles are so 2 channel centered and DVDA has a heavy home theater component.
     
  2. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    Smart move!

    -JNS
     
  3. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Jagan,

    Was that with or without sarcasm?
     
  4. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    I would have to say the ball was dropped on this one. I think better marketing would be to put a label on the outside mentioning compatibility with current CD players as well as future compatibility with Super Audio showing the consumer an extra bonus that they will not have to buy the discs again in the future if SACD does gain more ground in the marketplace.

    If the Stones can't sell SACD to the masses, then I don't know who can.

    J
     
  5. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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  6. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  7. Al B. C

    Al B. C Supporting Actor

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    They're not selling SACD to the masses because they are SACD's. They are selling remastered, non SACD labeled, CD's. Period.
    I'd like to see the numbers on who's buying them for what reason.
     
  8. Alan_Horner

    Alan_Horner Stunt Coordinator

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    Please.
    It's nice to want to have one's cake and eat it too, but that just won't cut it in this case.
    Assign whatever reason you wish regarding the active decision to omit any mention of SACD on the outer packaging of the Rolling Stones remasters. I personally agree that it was a conscious decision not to "scare" away buyers. IMHO that alone says something (and a very negative something) about the whole approach to promoting SACD, especially when a simple sticker stating that the disc will play in BOTH regular and SACD players would have been sufficient. And if you're assuming that the general consumer is too ignorant to comprehend such a sticker, then you may as well throw in the towel when it comes to promoting a hi-rez format.
    Be that as it may --
    If no mention of SACD is included on the outer packaging, one cannot use sales figures for the RS remasters to bolster the "success" of SACD. Of course, some folks are doing exactly that -- in error. There have been plenty of top-selling CDs released with HDCD encoding -- and even some that mention the presence of HDCD encoding on the (ahem!) outer packaging -- but I haven't heard anyone using the spin that HDCD is a "success" simply because an album so encoded hit the top of the charts.
    No brainer: if people don't know that what they're buying has X included, then they didn't buy it because of X.
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    If it wasn't for Sony's gross mishandling of the format, SACD could be synonymous with CD compatibility. I've heard some folks on this suggest that Sony should be offering SACD units for cars. Well, if their SACD's were hybrids it wouldn't matter so much that they don't, or don't yet. It's really a plain shame that Sony invented SACD and not some other company. Other companies could market it better. Sony makes the same marketing mistakes over and over, again and again.

    There are alot of folks out there that won't buy Sony products too. Player offerings from other manufacturers are just too few. That's proably due to Sony greed and shortsightedness...? I believe it is. If Pioneer offered a stand-alone SACD player of equivalent quality of a Sony unit I would choose it, proably.

    As much as I like SACD, on Sony's present course, I expect that in 5 years SACD will be another failed Sony format. I expect audiophile labels to stille be where I might be stille buying my discs from? I hope I'm wrong! But hey, this is Sony we're talking about.

    It proably was smart for ABKCO to distance themselves from Sony's baloney?
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    If we consider the installed base of CD players versus SACD players, there is no way anyone could say that sales of the Rolling Stones remastered discs is a feather in SACD's cap, even if the outer packages mentioned SACD capability. I am quite confident that most people buying the remastered Stones discs have no idea what SACD is and don't care either. Look how popular the Stones are. I am a huge proponent of SACD based on its clear improvement over CD, but I cannot allow my interest in SACD to cloud my judgment. The reality of the situation is that SACD is still a niche format and the CD is ubiquitous. I'm sure that the use pattern of Stones remastered discs being sold reflects this.
    SACD is in a Catch 22 of sorts in trying to gain mass acceptance. Many here, myself included, would desparately like to see Sony produce hybrid discs. The key arguments for such a move on Sony's part are twofold. For one thing, many of us can play our hybrid discs in our cars, on our computers at work, in our portable players, at our non-SACD-compliant friends' houses, etc. Secondly, it has been said that hybrid discs will get SACD into more people's hands. The hope is that people will buy hybrid discs, become curious about this SACD thing, and buy a player. The problem is, why would most people bother? They are perfectly happy with CD. CDs sound great to them. Their portable players, computers, and car players play CDs but don't play SACDs, so what's the point of SACD? The hybrid discs play in their CD and/or DVD players at home (hopefully), so why do they need an SACD player? For these reasons, hybrid discs might not further the SACD format. Hybrid discs of major artists may do little for the format. Hybrid discs shouldn't hurt SACD, but they may not help it either.
    If the Stones remasters had been released as single-layer SACDs, a la Sony's way of doing things, it would have been interesting to look at sales relative to the original ABCKO CDs, which presumably would have remained in print, over several months. Perhaps word spreading about the incredible sound quality of the SACDs would entice more people to buy an SACD player, if they cared about sound quality in the first place. The hybrid discs we have of the Stones offer CD layers that are far superior to the original ABCKO CDs, so many people might find themselves perfectly happy with the CD layers and will see no reason to buy an SACD player, as I said before.
    While Sony has been vilified for issuing single-layer SACDs, doing so is the only way that it can truly gauge the growth of the format. Obviously, hybrid discs that replaced the existing CDs would mean increased sales of SACDs, but it might not translate at all into success of the SACD format.
    SACD has a long road ahead of it. Advertising the format on the outer packages of the Stones discs would help, but would not bring the masses over to the format. Frankly, I'm not sure anything will. If the Beatles catalog is released on single-layer SACDs (i.e., with no CD layers) and no remastered CDs are issued separately, we might have something.
    By the way, DVD-Audio has a long road ahead of it too.
    [/rant] [​IMG]
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I tend to disagree with you Keith. Some people are buying SACD players to maximize their new Stones discs. I advised my brother-in-law on such this week. Advice on SACD player recommendations on forums seems to be up a bit too. If the Stones SACD's were single-layer I would of bought 2 instead of a bunch. With a hybrid disc I know it won't be obsolete come hell or high water either. CD players, average CD players, don't last forever and folks would replace them with SACD units to play their hybrid discs that they had accumulated. Sony is blowing SACD's chance. If it wasn't for hybrid discs I'd be alot more intrested in DVD-A. If the Beatles came out on single-layer SACD I'd buy 3 at most. Sony should be "submarining" the CD market with SACD, IMO.[​IMG] Recuerdos!
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael, I am coming from the perspective of the average buyer who doesn't frequent HTF or similar web sites to discuss audio or music. I am thinking of friends, relatives, and colleagues. They buy CDs and listen to music. Plain and simple. They buy components at Best Buy or Circuit City based on price, brand, and/or appearance. For most of them, sound quality isn't a consideration so long as there is no static or other distortion indicative of a defective component or disc. Some of my friends might buy a remastered CD of a favorite artist, but they can play the remastered CD on their existing player(s). Most of the people I know don't even concern themselves with remastered CDs. They don't like to re-buy CDs. They certainly don't know or care about SACD. I suppose if one of my friend's CD players died, he or she might replace it with a cheap SACD player. The problem is the selection is very limited. Note that Sony has not yet issued a replacement for the 'CE775.
     
  13. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    Sony has a suspect history with many of its products.

    I know for a fact that Car Audio enthusiasts hate Sony Head-units and amps.
    Sony is not even #1 for Televisions anymore.
    Remember the heady days of the Trinitron.

    Plus you add in the history of Sony's marketing debacles and many people would shy away from another Sony marketing push...this time it's SACD which actually is a great product.
     
  14. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    How about the fact that at the time when the biggest group of mass market SACDs (the Stones) are released Sony does not have any audio only SACD players announced or in production, and last years models are getting very very hard to find in most retailers. The Hybrid discs may intrigue buyers into trying SACD, but they need something to play it on.

    J
     
  15. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John said:

     
  17. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Earlier I said...
     
  18. Al B. C

    Al B. C Supporting Actor

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  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    The idea that people are too stupid to understand what a hybrid CD is digustingly insulting. If Sony actually thinks like that, then shame on them.

    "Duh, hybrid? Me no understand. Me can't play. Ooga-booga."
    Give me a break.

    There's no reason not have the SACD label on the outside of the disc. If they're worried about the explanation taking up space on the art work, they could put it on a sticker on the outside of the shrink-wrap, which is usually used for lame marketing slogans like, "Features the hits... including..." and so forth.

    It's bad enough we have the RIAA treating us like criminals, we don't need record labels treating us like morons.

    I would also find it ironic that the same industry that puts out CDs, remastered CDs, re-packaged, re-mixed, gold, fake gold, etc would bristle at advertising a new advanced format for fear of "confusion."


    Has anyone who fears multi-channel heard Tacet's DVD-As? Don't be so quick to dismiss the possibilities.

    NP: Genesis, Archive 1, disc 1
     
  20. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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