Washington Post: Audio Formats Stumble In Quest to Replace CDs

Discussion in 'Music' started by Marc Colella, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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  2. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    This article makes the incorrect assumption that many do: that industry leaders are trying to make high-res a mainstream format to supplant CDs.

    Nothing in their marketing or release schedule supports this assumption.
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I did find this tidbit in the article interesting:

    "During the six-month period ending in June 2003, only 100,000 DVD-Audio discs were sold, compared with 245 million CDs, the Recording Industry Association of America reports. Even traditional vinyl records outsold DVD-Audio -- by a factor of six to one.

    Rather than growing, sales of DVD-Audio discs are actually down from the same period a year ago."

    This is pretty much in line what people from Linn noted at a seminar I attended last week that unless something major happens with DVD-A in the near term, the only shot at a hi-re format succeeding will be SACD. DVD-A needs a shot in the arm soon. Each month that passes, it seems to fade deeper into the background.
     
  4. Michael St. Clair

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    The recording/production/mastering techniques are more important than the format...
     
  5. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Interesting statistic. Is this because vinyl sounds better? [​IMG]

    Another interesting ratio:
    A German audio magazine mentioned on Audio Asylum has stated that 10 million SACDs have sold versus just 500K DVD-Audio discs. I wonder if Edgar Bronfman is aware of this?
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    With hybrids, it is probably impossible to separate CD from SACD. While a DVD-A may just be bought to play DD oe DTS on a DVD-V player, in a similar manner as a hybrid, it's sales are evidently tracked differently. If and when flippers become commonplace, it should be interesting to see how they track those, especially if there also is a CD only release vs. a flipper. This article indicates the Stones sold over 1M and Sting's album is 650k -

    http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentSe...=1073280831250
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  8. ElevSkyMovie

    ElevSkyMovie Supporting Actor

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    Lee,

    Why does SACD have to win? Why can't we have two formats? Good grief, neither is selling well enough for any label to give two craps about. Why must you always do this?
     
  9. Michael St. Clair

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    I agree, but since over 90% of the titles released are not single inventory, it confounds me that the RIAA does not track/chart those discs in an SACD category. Where are the numbers?
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Michael, Sony single layers at this point in time make up a small % of the (around 1,600) total SACD titles worldwide (perhaps 15% at most). There are some other single layer discs, but Sony's represent the lion's share. Sony has started to announce the re-release of those titles as hybrids. It is obvious that the sales of single layer discs (makes no difference to me personally as I only play hi-rez discs at home and make CD-Rs for the car) vs. hybrids are going to be much smaller. I doubt Sony will ever do anything to help make that public as their strategy seems to be to replace CDs with hybrids (in some cases stealth hybrids like the Stones or Police). They are not about to release numbers, although likely better than those of DVD-A, will still be a tiny fraction as compared to CDs and far less than even vinyl. It's much easier for them to point to sales of the Stones or DSOTM and get other record cos. to releasr stuff so they can benefit from the licensing fee.
     
  11. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    The fact that someone only listens to the Dolby Digital or DTS surround tracks doesn't mean those people are irrelevant in a survey of hi-res format popularity. This would (falsely) assume everyone thinks that to enjoy surround music it must be in hi-res form. But unless a strictly monitored survey is done of dvd-audio buyers we'll probably never know the true numbers of dvd-audio hi-res surround fans vs. dvd-audio Dolby/DTS (non-audiophile?) surround fans.

    We'll have to keep an eye out for any sales figures from Universal since they have released several titles in both the dvd-audio and the non-hybrid sacd format; then we will have a decent idea of which format is doing better as far as fans of those particular musicians are concerned.

    LJ
     
  12. Michael St. Clair

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    Phil,

    I understand exactly what you are saying, and I know (as an SACD customer), but...

    There's still a difference between hybrids and single-inventory discs.

    Single-inventory discs are sold in the CD bins and marketed to CD buyers. They still make up a very small minority of the total number of SACD titles sold thus far. The sales of SACDs that are marketed and merchandised as SACDs are relevant, and it is bizarre that the RIAA does not track/publish them.

    Sony starting to reissue single-layer discs as hybrids doesn't change this much (unless they start going single-inventory on everything), and it certainly doesn't change the validity of past sales numbers.
     
  13. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    That 10 million SACD figure probably equates to around the same number of 500K - since that's the amount of people who purchased it for the SACD layer.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, we need sales figures for SACD-only releases (non-hybrid).

    As bad as 500K is, at least with DVD-A we know that they're at least using it for the DD/DTS tracks... which are true additional sales.

    Blue Note admitted that that Norah Jone's "Come Away With Me" hybrid disc didn't sell well. For a CD that sold about 10 million copies, this shows the little interest people have in hi-rez. They're playing it smart and are not releasing her upcoming release on SACD - since it would just increase costs with very little increase in sales.
     
  14. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    But that would also be unfair because it would ignore the people who bought hybrid releases for the SACD layer. For the non-rock stuff, that would probably be most of the buyers.

    The only way to completely accurately measure SACD sales is to ask everyone who buys a SACD why they bought it. Since this is impossible, it's not gonna happen.

    So if we can't have precise high-res sales numbers, we'll have to make do with imprecise ones. And here's your answer:

    THEY'RE LOW. VERY, VERY LOW.

    There's your sales stat.
     
  15. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Sony and Philips have probably done field research on this topic, but they would not be advised from a business standpoint to share the results.
     
  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    The posting on this I saw on one of the forums lacked any official confirmation. I have my doubts given the positive view Tom Everett has had.

    If there are sources you can share, please post them. It would be a shame not to get her new album in hirez.
     
  17. Robert A. Willis Jr.

    Robert A. Willis Jr. Second Unit

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    Part of the reason is the paucity of software. I have a DVD-A player and no SACD player. Lately I've been buying more SACD's then DVD-A's. At 48 DVD's I've bought just about everything I want 10 of which I really hate. My SACD collection is around 25 and I could buy another 400 and be happy.
     
  18. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    Since we don't know how many have purchased the hybrids for the CD layer (although I'm pretty sure the percentage is extremely low), we could at least see what interest there is by looking at the single-layer sales.

    There are enough newer releases that are single-layer which can give us a better indication as to how many are purchasing for SACD. For example, Beck's "Sea Change", James Taylor's "October Road", Bon Jovi's "Bounce", etc. These 3 have 2-channel and 5-channel, so it takes advantage of the format. Plus there are many 2-channel-only single-layer releases to look at.

    Does anyone actually believe that Sony and Universal doesn't know how many of their single-layer SACDs have been sold? They're not telling us because the numbers are extremely low and is embarrasing for the format.

    It's no coincidence that we only hear the sales numbers for hybrid releases.
     
  19. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Marc, Sony has revealed that the Stones discs have sold over 2 million units. The new Sting disc sold 650,000.

    Sony has been very forthcoming with sales of the big albums so far. They have also discussed the Dark Side of The Moon album unit sales several times at recent press events and in press releases. I think that sold around 1 million units.

    Nothing to be embarassed about there. In fact, it's quite good for a new format targeted at a subset of the market.
     
  20. Rob M.

    Rob M. Stunt Coordinator

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    Lee, look again at the section of Marc's post you quoted:



    The Stones and Floyd discs you mention do not fall into this category.

    I also find it hard to believe that the hybrid version of Sacred Love has actually sold 650K. Remember, this was not a single inventory release.

    As for why DVD-A sales are down, I know I haven't purchased one in more than a year, because there just hasn't been a title released that I wanted. Hell, my DVD-A player hasn't even been hooked up for the last 6 months. Meanwhile my SACD collection has more than tripled in the past year, thanks to the great titles released in 2003, like Peter Gabriel releases, Floyd, and Tommy.
     

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