Universal's Big Commitment & Sony's Strategy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lee Scoggins, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Buried in the new stories were some very positive comments from Paul Bishow, New Formats Director of Universal Music...

     
  2. robertLP

    robertLP Stunt Coordinator

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    Do you think they'll downplay mention of the SACD compatibility on the packaging? That way they could say, "2 million copies of this SACD have been sold!" in a year's time. Technically a true statement, but a gross misrepresentation b/c only a small percentage of people buying this will know what SACD is, much less have a player.

    Rob
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    *KeithH puts his Devil's Advocate hat on.*
    Lee, who are the consumers that Bishow is talking about? Has Universal polled random consumers on the street? More likely, they have read comments in the audio press or perused audio message boards such as this on and polled certain audiophile music retailers.
    I feel that the "consumers" that are happy with the Universal SACDs represent a small population of the music buying public. For one thing, standard CDs of all of these Universal titles are more readily available than the SACDs (the SACDs only became available at Best Buy recently, and they are not located in the CD department). Secondly, Universal has not aggressively marketed these SACDs to the masses. Thirdly, and probably most importantly, most of the Universal SACDs are single-layer discs. For these reasons, one should not assume that Bishow is talking about acceptance of Universal SACDs by the masses.
    As for the reactions from consumers towards Universal SACDs, I'd say they are mixed, not simply positive. If you peruse Steve Hoffman's forum and Audio Asylum, there has been a fair amount of criticism. The Getz/Gilberto and Ella & Louis SACDs are considered bright by many folks on these web sites. Also, there was a long discussion on Audio Asylum recently about the stereo SACD track on Beck Sea Change sounding no better than the CD. Finally, I read some criticism on Hoffman's forum about the multi-channel track on Ryan Adams Gold being encoded in just 4.0 instead of 5.1. Perhaps Bishow missed these comments. [​IMG]
    Don't get me wrong. I think things are looking up for SACD. The titles that have been released recently coupled with news from CES is very encouraging with respect to the future of SACD. However, at this point in time, on January 11, 2003, I feel we have to be objective about any positive comments regarding consumer reactions to SACD. Things are looking up, but we aren't there yet. [​IMG]
    *KeithH takes off his Devil's Advocate hat...at least for now.*
     
  4. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Robert asked:

     
  6. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lee said:
     
  9. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I think the Ryan Adams sounds GREAT. Unfortunately, due to a recent move, my system is only two channel right now so I cannot comment on the multichannel mix. It does seem to have a dedicated LFE channel for the two channel mix as I can clearly hear my subwoofer a poundin on all the tracks.

    Great album too...if I wasn't an SACD convert I never would have picked up this title and I really would have missed out. The first 8 tracks in order are all great. Haven't had time to critically evaluate the last 6 or 7.
     
  10. robertLP

    robertLP Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm talking about releases like the Stones, which I believe is their most successful "SACD" launch. They didn't exactly have SACD plastered all over it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe some, if not all, had no mention of SACD compatibility at all on the packaging, just on the inside. They wouldn't want to confuse the public, I guess.

    Rob
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Well, the public is easily confused, but it's clear that Sony and the rest of the SACD crowd are now convinced that this can be more than a niche "audiophile" market. I have mixed feelings about that - mass market appeal generally brings mass market concessions, the sort of gimmicky, flakey reputation DVD-A garnered in the audiophile community by pitching itself to the home-theater-in-a-box crowd.

    But it certainly needn't be that way, as the success of the Stones hybrids prove. Yes, those releases garnered some complaints for the occasional mismastering and the decision not to load 'em up with outtakes, alt. takes, etc., but there have been no problems relating to the co-existence of a hi-res layer for those who can access it, and no question that it's not a significant improvement over the Red Book CD layer.

    I think this cinches it. If it wasn't clear last week, or the week before that, I think it's clear as a bell today: SACD will thrive and high resolution audio is now well in reach of the masses. It seems nearly certain that the previous lack of total commitment to the hybrid format was due only to a shortage of replication facilities, a problem addressed by the opening of Sony's new facilities in Terra Haute and their all-hybrid announcements. It seems evident that the Stones experiment proved that these discs are best marketed in the same bins as all the rest of the music in the store - those oblivious or wilfully blind to anything beyond Red Book may remain so. Those in the know will also have their cake.

    I'll concede that there may yet be confusion among the easily confused, but after all one just sticks the round thing in the slot and pushes "play". I've seen a bona fide fool successfully operate a hybrid "Let It Bleed" disc. As they say, it's not rocket science.
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Evan,

    Based on everything I have read, the Ryan Adams Gold SACD has a 4.0 multi-channel track (no center or subwoofer).


    Robert,

    The Stones remasters make no mention of SACD compatibility whatsoever. As Rich said, the buying public is easily confused, and perhaps ABKCO realized (or feared) this. While those of us who are gung ho about SACD were disappointed because we want to see the format promoted heavily, in the end, it probably was smart for ABKCO not to mention SACD on the outer packaging.

    At this point, we have Stones hybrid SACDs readily available to the masses (with no remastered CD counterparts) with no obvious mention of SACD capability. On the flipside, all other SACDs state SACD capability clearly on the outer packaging, but they are not marketed to the masses (in other words, standard CDs of these titles are readily available). It will be interesting to see what Sony does with the Dylan hybrid SACDs. Sony will not be issuing remastered CDs, so it is expected that the hybrids will replace the existing CDs. Perhaps the Dylan hybrids will mention SACD capability on the outer packaging.
     
  14. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  15. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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  16. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  17. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I'd like to see all SACD's come in those other Jewell boxes that everybody but Sony has been using. That's a quick visual cue that a disc is a, hopefully, hybrid SACD. I hate those Sony outer covers. I saved them all but I'm tempted to throw them all away. I did throw away the one for Joe Satriani's ENGINES OF CREATION because it tore getting the disc out. I've had a hard time getting the disc out of them many times. I'm suprised I've only torn the one.
    SACD needs it's own look. I like's them other jewell boxes, whatever they're called.
    Lee, you need to bite a hockey puck and say sorry to Canada![​IMG]
     
  18. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael said:
     
  20. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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