Interesting comments on SACD from a recent show

Discussion in 'Music' started by Phil A, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    http://www.audioholics.com/news/pres...onference2.php

    "Here George Massenburg dropped the next SACD fact:

    "Sony has cut their $10 million promotional budget for SACD. That’s another sign they’re giving up on SACD."

    A younger guy in the audience said he worked in Sony duplication and that as far as he could see they still had a production schedule for the SACD hybrid discs. The Phillips gentleman from the previous seminar claimed that Sony had only withdrawn the $10 million because they (Sony) felt the format had reached "critical mass".

    From the audience it was noted that Kawakami (Sony’s lead man in promoting SACD for eight years) had gone on the record stating that they were having "a hell of a problem with dual disc".

    It was also noted that the Sony/Philips patents on CD were running out in Europe. Regarding the hybrid disc problem, Philips’ man said that they had proposed that the less expensive route in the long run might be to simply put a CD and DVD in the same box.

    George Massenburg ended with "Don’t ask me how I know, and believe me, I hope I’m wrong by this time next year, but to the best of my knowledge SACD may no longer be promoted by Sony." (Editor’s note: This was not recorded in real time, so this quote is the closest and most accurate paraphrase of what George Massenburg said.)

    This was the end of the conference. I would note that the only Sony exhibit I saw at the show was for their replication division. To my knowledge no Sony SACD representative actively took part in any of the Surround 2004 programs."
     
  2. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    I think we've heard these type of rumors before. Is Sony a key player, in both software and hardware on a worldwide basis, in SACD anymore? Seems like others have taken up the baton and started running with it. The arrival of DualDisc may muddy up the puddle but I think SACD has such a headstart that it will be dumb to abandon it now. Didn't I just read in Stereophile that vinyl and SACD were the only formats showing growth?

    On the other hand, has Sony given up on MiniDisc yet? If MiniDisc can still survive, I seriously doubt SACD is in trouble.

    BTW, SACD is closing in on its 2,500th title....currently at 2,384 titles.
     
  3. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    Sounds about right.

    I think Sony's realized that it won't get any better for SACD - and there's no use dumping money on this niche format.



    It's not a good thing when your format is being compared to MiniDisc in terms of success. MiniDisc may still be around - but it's so irrelevant in the marketplace (especially in North America).

    What motivation would there be for labels and manufactures to support SACD if Sony themselves don't care?
     
  4. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Make it a hi-rez DVD-A and CD in the same box and I will be a HUGE customer (not that Sony would ever do that!). I wish they had done that all along.

    But a DVD and CD in the same box is nothing I need unless its priced at CD prices, in which case I would just view the DVD as a free bonus.

    And even if Dual Disc has both hi-rez and CD, I am still very leary of taking any sort of DVD in the car; too susceptible to scratches.....I suppose I might still buy, but the CD would get duplicated instantly to create a car copy.

    Having said all that, marketing $$$$ or not, I am enjoying the SACD's I have and will keep buying even if it stays a niche format ala Laser Disc.

    BGL
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I have no problem with either or both formats remaining niche. I am happy for the good software. The article also indicated:

    "The Universal Music Group said that they were on schedule to have ~350 SACD titles by year’s end but only about 35 DVD-A titles saying for DVD-A that "the numbers are nothing to write home about". On the whole all three panel members gave numerous examples of how they are attempting to grapple with the multi-format packaging schemes that are coming to market."

    The above is not surprising since Universal has opted to release both and I have one on DVD-A that was recently announced as coming to SACD. I prefer the ease of the SACD format since I listen in stereo about 85% of the time. As formats catering to audiophiles, more of which seem to have embraced SACD vs. DVD-A, it is little wonder their DVD-A sales are lagging. They should have just made the decision to do one or the other or do all jazz and classical on SACD and all pop and rock on DVD-A. I won't even consider a Universal DVD-A at this point. If Warner comes out with a DVD-A of music I like, I just buy it as there is no chance they will do SACD.
     
  6. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I'm inclined to trust people closer to the source than George Massenberg. After all it is common for promotional budgets to run out. Nevertheless we are still getting 90 discs a month so the market must be holding up.

    I think the most balanced and intelligent view I have heard recently came from my discussion with Bob Harley at HE2004. He felt Super Audio with remain strong in audiophile circles for years given the experience he has had looking at audio trends over the past few decades. He said every label he knew was deriving big profits from the sales of SACDs.

    Phil, I think the wide disparity for Universal in titles between SACD and DVDA is simply due to the fact there is 10X more demand for SACD.

    I would not rule out Warner doing SACD as they are a new company with new management and anything is possible.
     
  7. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    This confirms my suspicions about Sony for the past year. With their meager SA-CD output, and lack of marketing, we didn't really need an announcement to figure out that they have abandoned most efforts with SA-CD.



    Guess this means a portion of the audiophile market is critical mass for the format. The best we can hope for is that Sony begins licensing out some of their properties to labels who want to put out SA-CD.

    Let's see what Dual Disc brings.

    J
     
  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    If you go to www.sony.com, and start looking around for SACD items, it certainly took me a lot longer than I thought it should to find some. I remember when SACD was displayed prominantly on their home page. Unfortunately, it also seems to me that there's less emphasis on it by them.
     
  9. Kris Deering

    Kris Deering Stunt Coordinator

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    They have already been doing this, which is the reason there are so many SA-CDs out there. But it doesn't seem to have done much good for Sony. People can associate with the lable DVD far easier then SA-CD. I bet if you were to go into any major city on a sidewalk and poll people on if they have every heard of SA-CD or what it did for them, less then 2% could tell you. Hell I bet over 80% of the people who have bought SA-CDs don't even have the capability to play the high rez portion of the disc. But by the same token I bet the same can be said for DVD-A, but at least anyone with a DVD player can take advantage of the multi-channel aspect, which isn't the case with SA-CD. And lets be frank, if you want this stuff to appeal to the mass market, multi-channel is going to sell it a hell of a lot faster then high resolution. Personally I want the high resolution aspect as much if not more then MC, but for the average joe, high rez isn't going to be realized or important on their setups.



    In the end I just hope that the studios decide to go the two disc route with a standard CD and a seperate DVD-A. I would also like to see pre-done MP3 tracks on the DVD so that the consumer would have them at their disposal from the start, I think this would help the format along as well. I think if the studios went this route, there really wouldn't even be a need for SA-CD anymore as it would bring nothing to the table.
     
  10. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I said:


    For me, Dual Disc will be a non-starter w/o a proper hi-rez DVD-A side, and even then I do have some reservations. But I agree it would be worth some extra $$$ if they do it right.

    However, for me a DVD-V and a CD has little value. While I do own a dozen or so concert DVD-V discs, there are very few that I have also bought on CD (when its available). While I enjoy the concerts, the SQ is normally not that great to justify a CD purchase of the same material.

    But this thread is about SA-CD, and Sony's support or lack thereof for it. I consider myself bisexual(!) when it comes to hi-rez audio, and I hope both sides continue to put out product that interests me.

    BGL
     
  11. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    My sources tell me that Sony is in fact the only holdout - a lack of hi-res surround on the DVD side. And I see this hi-res thing very similarly to 16:9 enhancement. In the early days of DVD-V, 16:9 transfers were not the norm, but now it's seen as a necessity - even to those "late adopters" who don't have widescreen TVs!

    Just my $.02,
     
  12. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    I guess that depends on the definition of "big". I highly doubt the profits are that large.
    Imagine how much smaller the profits will be when Sony stops covering the costs.

    I honestly see a big drop in SACD output in the future.
     
  13. Kris Deering

    Kris Deering Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Brian

    I see what you mean now, I agree. A CD with a seperate DVD-V included wouldn't be a draw for me either. While I would probably enjoy a MC mix even if it was just DD or DTS, I would be far more inclined to spend my money on a high rez disc.

    I too am bi-rezual and have enjoyed plenty from both formats. The advent of universal transports has made it easy in that regard. Enjoy!
     
  14. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Very good point. If the profits were anything to sneeze at, they would be mentioned on Sony's quarterly and/or annual reports. As it is, mention of SA-CD has been missing from action from these reports for quite sometime.

    We should give Lee a break though. He really loves SA-CD and has for years been trying to promote the format and tell us that it was growing greatly and almost at the "tipping point". This was obviously an incorrect line of thinking, and far from the actual reality of the situation. At the very least, we can thank him for promoting a format with increased sound quality over CD.

    J
     
  15. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I love SACD and Hi-Rez as much as the next person. But reality is reality. SACD is a niche format that has been embraced by audiophiles and therefore a large % of th releases are done for that market. I have an excellent multi-channel set-up but prefer stereo 85% of the time. Many of my audiophile friends either don't have a multi-channel set-up or a half-assed one. DVD-A with it hardware/software issues to get to 2-channel (which is also not a software requirement) and less releases (in total and especially not) geared towards the audiophile market.

    So in essence we have an SACD market that Sony has come around to beleive will not be mainstream and therefore not be that bonanza they envisioned for license fees to replace expiring ones on redbook CD and they are therefore not as gung ho as they once were to say the least. Add the Harry Fox royalty issues and that does not help. DVD-A is also a niche market. Warner the main proponent has not released a ton of stuff to say the least. Universal has a record of doing both and either the DVD-A follows by a short period or audiophiles choose to wait for stuff that they figure will come one on SACD after DVD-A like "Love Scenes" which I just picked up. There are audiophile friends I have with high end systems that have neither format. They choose there equipment to maximize the quality of the mainstream format, CD. They are not about to invest in an expensive universal player with HD-DVD not too far off and not the type to buy a cheaper (universal) player at least to this point. If the formats remain a healthy niche and prices of universal players continue to head south, then there will be more people with the capability to play the hi-rez formats and a less than majority % of those will.
     
  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    They did a leveraged buyout a month or two ago and now Edgar Bronfman is in charge. They have laid off hundreds and there is a new management team. It is FACT that they are a new company. They are sponsored by private equity firms which further changes the dynamic of the business strategy. Where have you been?

    You should know about the changes in the music business given that you are an editor of a audio video site. I recommend highly the Wall Street Journal which has excellent coverage of the Big Four labels.
     
  17. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I have been consistent here in mentioning about a year ago that I changed my mind regarding mass acceptance. Nevertheless this format is a godsend for those of us who appreciate great sound and I personally have a list of titles that number more than I can afford. My collection is approaching 500 titles.

    Do I wish we had the Beatles or Van Morrison or some current "day and date" pop titles? Hell yeah! But there's not much I can do except support the format, keep involved in recording sessions, talk it up here on the HTF and Steve Hoffman boards, and see what happens. It's possible that DualDisc might bring us some good hirez titles so I look forward to late October to see what is going on.

    "So in essence we have an SACD market that Sony has come around to beleive will not be mainstream and therefore not be that bonanza they envisioned for license fees to replace expiring ones on redbook CD and they are therefore not as gung ho as they once were to say the least."

    I don't recall Phil Sony ever promising mass acceptance, just wider acceptance as the format got established. They are making good money on the format as I have been told from reliable sources. This also supports their business in pro equipment sales via Oxford.
     
  18. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    A few dozen? Which titles?
    Can you back that up?

    Blue Note dropped SACD because it didn't sell well and because Sony wouldn't foot the bill.
    Those two reasons show that there can't be enough profit to make it worthwhile - even when you have a multi-platinum artist like Norah Jones signed to the label.

    And if there's such a big profit to be made, why has Sony trickled out only a few releases within the last year?
     
  19. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I don't know why Sony does what they do, but I suspect that the profit part is not holding back Sony releases as I have been told by their executives that Super Audio has been a good investment for them.
     
  20. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    What's else could be holding them back?
     

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