Which artists or changes would give SACD and/or DVD-Audio the biggest boost?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Oct 10, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I feel it is time for a collective reality check for SACD and DVD-Audio.
    Some may argue that SACD has gotten a major shot of adrenaline with ABCKO's mass release of its 22 Rolling Stones albums on hybrid SACDs. The problem, as has been discussed here extensively, is that the Stones hybrid discs are being marketed as "Remasters", with little or no advertising of SACD compatibility. The packages for the discs make no mention of SACD. As a result, I am not particularly comfortable with the notion that the Stones hybrid discs have given SACD any sustaining momentum.
    Creedence Clearwater Revival is set to be introduced to the world of SACD, but as much as I love CCR, they do not have the widespread appeal of the Stones. Furthermore, the CCR SACDs are not going to be mass-marketed. So, while we music enthusiasts and audiophiles will Hoover up any CCR SACD that Steve Hoffman tosses our way, I don't see these discs amounting to an epiphany for the audio world at large.
    Another drawback of SACD, and one that has been discussed here for around two years, is Sony's insistence on releasing single-layer SACDs, meaning discs with no CD layers. Sony seems to have ignored the fact that the CD is the standard format and that people do not have SACD-ROM drives on their computers, portable SACD players, or SACD players in their cars. For the past two years, Sony could have been giving consumers SACD by default in the form of hybrid discs, but it has not.
    The picture isn't entirely bleak for SACD. Despite the dubious marketing by Sony and of the Stones discs and the small-world marketing of the CCR discs, the fact is that major artists are or will be on SACD. This could lead to a domino effect where other major artists might wake up one morning and say, "Hey, I wanna be on SACD too!". It remains to be seen whether or not we will ever see this happen. We can and should continue to hope that this will be the case.
    DVD-Audio, unfortunately, has struggled mightily from the beginning. We have seen some great titles from artists like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, and Metallica, but the release of such blockbuster titles has been few and far between. In addition, the format has taken intense criticism from the audio pundits in four key areas. One is Warner's insistence on using a copy-protection watermarking scheme that some consider audible. The second is the DVD-Video-like authoring of discs to include on-screen menus for track selection, thus requiring a video display in one's audio system (some discs can be operated easily without the display, but others cannot). The third is the inconsistent inclusion of discrete stereo tracks on discs, even within one label (e.g., Warner). The fourth is the lack of stereo material provided at the ultimate resolution offered by the format, namely, 24/192.
    Despite the above-mentioned issues surrounding DVD-Audio, the format has a lot of merit. DVD-Audio represents an improvement over the CD. Also, more hardware manufacturers are currently on-board with DVD-Audio as compared to SACD (though the increasing number of universal players could balance things out over time).
    In all of this, I see the field of high-resolution audio wide open. Although one might argue that SACD has the edge, this argument is largely offered up from the subjective vantage point of the audiophile. The fact is that neither format has made a major dent in overall music software sales. In these early days of development of the two formats, a major release campaign of a top-shelf artist, meaning with effective marketing, coupled with a paradigm shift (i.e., hybrid SACDs from Sony or no watermarking on DVD-Audio discs), could truly bring one or both formats into the public consciousness.
    What do you think is necessary to bring SACD or DVD-Audio into the limelight? Is it a major artist? If so, which one or ones? If you are thinking of an artist or artists, consider which format will most likely bring them to the world of high-resolution audio (i.e., due to record label constraints). Let's try to keep a bias for one format out of the equation. In other words, let's avoid discussions of Madonna on SACD since it is highly unlikely that Madonna, a Warner artist, will come to SACD.
    Perhaps you think a marketing shift will make the biggest impact for one or both formats. What is the nature of the shift? How could it change the face of the recorded audio market?
    Maybe you think one or both formats is on the right course. If so, feel free to make the status quo argument. For example, some folks have countered negativism towards low sales of SACD software with early sales numbers of DVD-Video discs. If you feel one or both formats is already on the road to success, please indicate your basis for that opinion.
    So, that's it. Talk away! [​IMG]
     
  2. Rob M.

    Rob M. Stunt Coordinator

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    I think it's going to take a major act releasing a new album and promoting the hell out of it to break one of the formats. Most of us here are willing to shell out for a new version of a title we already own, but the average music buyer is not.

    Imagine, if you will, that Creed (I know most people here hate them, but they are one of the biggest bands in the world right now) released their next album on DVD-A. Creed is on a small label that is distributed by BMG (I think). With their popularity, they could probably get anything they wanted out of the company to promote the release. Or, a more likely example, the next Metallica album. Point being, a band with a huge following that can get whatever they want from their label. Sort if like what Dishwalla did for Opaline, on a larger scale.

    NP: Pink Floyd: Is There Anybody Out There
     
  3. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    I only own two DVD A discs (Rumours and The Black Album) and have never heard SACD. The truth is not a lot of released discs interest me. I think what both these formats need is exactly what both of you said: Big Exposure. Big Band touting their new album on either formats. Even Brittney. However, I don't think this is the way the formats are going to catch fire.

    I had a friend over at my place a couple months ago. She knows The Black Album inside out albeit normally hearing it on less than stellar sytems. But when she left after listening to the disc in multichannel DVD A she was floored. Absolutely floored.

    These are the people they need to be after. Keep titles coming out. Big Band or not, they need to keep variety coming. Let people like me and many of us others show our friends (and the masses) what sound is supposed to be like instead of that shit sucking MP3. More variety = more exposure through you and me.

    Good topic Keith.
     
  4. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    From what I recall, when the Beatles albums were issued in 1987 on Compact Disc, record stores started to take the format seriously. Today, even a remastered Beatles catalog may not be enough to give either of these formats critical mass.
    Stereo is not new, and from a business standpoint very few people notice improved stereo fidelity. Therefore, multichannel sound is the way to market the new formats. People are already familiar with DVD-Video and are slowly acquiring home theater setups (if only HTIBs), so the migration path to DVD-A seems more plausible for the masses to follow. Unfortunately, the people rolling out DVD-A are not nearly as savvy as those in charge of the SACD rollout.
    Business decisions do not favor music lovers or technology lovers. Joe Sixpack is King of the bottom line. All proposals of new formats must please him. Some criteria for a new format in the mind of King J6P:
    1) Must be convient
    (Ex. CD was far more convenient than Vinyl or Tape: Small and thin, no dusting required, no rewinding required)
    (Ex. DVD was far more convenient than VHS: Small and thin, no rewinding required)
    (Ex. MP3s. Convenient since you don't go travel to get them)
    2) Must be affordable
    Somehow CD's were double the price of LPs and tapes and stayed that way for a long time. Why? Royalties to Sony/Philips (and price fixing). This is why SACD worries me a bit.
    MP3s again: they're free (as is broadcast radio). You've captured your teenage market instantly.
    3) Must have current popular titles
    DVDs only really started taking off when enough new movies were released to fill up a rack at the video rental place. The new sound formats are not releasing enough current popular titles yet.
    Technological bells and whistles scare away people, and unless the improvement in sound fidelity is striking to everyone who hears it (which it rarely is, except perhaps for multichannel titles) then the masses will ignore it.
    If SACD and DVD-A produce more multichannel recordings, they still should have a stereo layer for portable listening (students on buses with their discmans). In this sense, hybrid SACDs can win hands-down.
    We all know that the real reason these new formats are out is for the record companies to curb CD-ripping and copying. Unfortunately, the CD so good already that proposing a "better sounding" format is doomed to be ignored by the general public.
    In the end, however, SACD will likely win since Sony's pockets are deep, it controls many popular recordings, and I'm sure they'd like to restart the royalty stream that CDs once provided to them.
    -JNS
     
  5. Al B. C

    Al B. C Supporting Actor

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    Madonna is apparently already in the DVD-A camp, and I have heard more than one juicy rumour that Pink Floyd's "DSOTM" will be released on DVD-A next year.

    If they can pull off a trifecta and solidify The Beatles, then that just might be the straw!
     
  6. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    DSOTM was supposed to have been the inaugural DTS CD and it never came to be.

    They should go ahead and release WYWH as well 'cuz I'd buy that one too.
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Here's my votes:
    The Who (But ugh! More John Astley remasters. [​IMG] )
    Zeppelin
    Later Stones
    Beatles
    Pink Floyd (could you imagine Dark Side on SACD?)
    Pearl Jam
    Cream
    I got to be honest, it was Let it Bleed and Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out that really moved me to get a 45a... I can't wait for Sticky Fingers and Black and Blue.
     
  8. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    IMHO, it will take take The Beatles and possibly Elvis. Imagine if they re-released The Beatles and Elvis on SACD or DVD-Audio and promoted the shit out of it. The fan bases for these two acts is still very very high, and if we got proper promotion for either of the formats (Lots of TV ads and magazine ads) for these two, I think either format could really take off.

    -Dean-
     
  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Do we even want these formats to go mainstream? CDs, when done right, can sound great. Because it is now the main music format, rock artists get their music so compressed as to hinder the sound. At least SACDs and DVD-As sound good, still. A mass-market roll-out could ruin that.

    I am more concerned with quality, not quantity. I'd rather have two really great sounding titles that feature both MC and stereo mixes than 40 Silverline DVD-As.

    But, like any other product, for this to gain enthusiastic acceptance from a larger audience, it needs to be fully backed and supported by the folks in charge. The constant cancellations and delays tell me that this is simply not the case. Also, the artists themselves might take up an interest in the technology and promote it themselves.

    NP: Bill Evans, Moonbeams, SACD (CD layer)
     
  10. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    1. Continued production of cheap CD/DVD player models that incorporate SACD or DVD-A capabilities.

    2. All hybrid discs.

    If the switch-over is a stealthy one... cheap electronics offering SACD/DVD-A capabilities in addition to DVD and/or CD, and all hybrid discs in the music stores ...then it will gain acceptance in the mass-market.

    But I'm not so sure that the release of any single artist in a hi-res format, much less mucho contemporary pop/rock releases, will do it. I doubt the majority of contemporary pop/rock fans care that deeply about sound quality. Witness the prevalence of and preference for MP3 among this audience. Witness the general piss-poor recording and mastering of these titles. Hi-res audio, as an end in itself, might simply remain a niche for jazz and classical music lovers and gadget guys. But if the switchover is stealthy and completely backwards-compatible, then I see no reason - except possibly the cost of the media (but see the Stones releases, which are priced the same as other CDs) - that hi-res audio won't become mass-market. Whether many of those with SACD/DVD-A capabilities ever actually make use of it (I can foresee multitudes using only the digital connection and not knowing better... or even caring) is probably not even entirely relevant.
     
  11. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    I only have 2 DVD-A discs, Steely Dan and Foreigner.
    Though I don't have the home theater system setup to listen to them, they do sound great on my Sony pro logic speakers.
    On the KISS homepage www.kissonline.com, they have a feature, Ask Paul, basically its a forum where people send in questions to Paul Stanley and he does his best to answer them.
    I sent in a question a couple weeks ago regarding SACD and DVD-A and which one he or the band prefer to have their catalog released on.
    I'm still waiting for any response on the website!!
    I think having the Beatles catalog on either the SACD or DVD-A would give that format a large boost. Even an artist with a large catalog could give a increase in sales to the format.
    Heres my choice in artists who should make the jump to either format (but hopefully DVD-A) [​IMG]
    Pink Floyd
    Chicago
    Elvis Presley
    Eric Clapton
    KISS
    Genesis
    Paul
     
  12. Michael St. Clair

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    I say:
    The Beatles
    Pink Floyd
    Led Zep
    The Who
    Jimi Hendrix
    I honestly think a lot of older R&R acts would propel the formats more than newer acts, as the newer acts typically have a younger audience, with less disposable income, who think that MP3s sound 'good enough' anyway.
    I do think a lot of the older acts with cult followings (Zappa, Crimson, Genesis, etc) could help out more than one might think; they might have fewer fans, but the fans are rabid.
     
  13. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    I think a combination could do the trick. New and Old.

    Let me go with SACD because it has the features I'd like to see "win". Its CD layer, guaranteed? stereo track, and usability without a TV win my heart. Along with some people I respect believing it has potential for the best sound.

    So in Jeff's Dreamworld (TM), circa 2005, I CAN have Madonna on SACD, because it has become the dominant format, and even Warner realizes they'd rather make money than lose it.

    So then, the Newest Greatest Things (TM) are all released as Hybrid SACDs. The SACD layer (multichannel and/or stereo) presents with the bestest sound that the Smartest Engineers In The World (TM) can produce. Since in JD-2005 most DVD/CD players have full SACD capability, this is the layer that folks will hear at home. And life will be grand.

    The CD layer might have additional processing meant for a "better" car experience. Since the record companies have already decided that dynamic compression, etc. is necessary, the CD layer is the place for it, perhaps. You can copy it for the car, make MP3s, go crazy. Because the real goods is on the SACD layer. (Note, this is NOT a pledge of support for crappy production or dynamic compression. Just trying to keep Dreamland real and give the companies enough stupid things to do that they'll be happy)

    So then, every ad for an album on Mtv touts the virtues of the hybrid CD. New hybrid box sets of your old favorites appear. Even the little captions on videos list Hybrid SACD next to the album's title. Life is good.

    Who are the artists? I can't pretend to predict who will be the stars of Top 40 and Mtv. But you can't buy straight CDs of them anymore (and why would you want to?) because they are only available as Hybrid SACDs (most of the kids call them HS's).

    I'm much more interested in those new box sets that just came out, the ones where the SACD layer sounds better in ways than the bestest LP's we ever heard. You know, The Compleat Beatles Recordings box, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Van Halen. These are bands that have NEVER seen justice on the CD format.

    Of course, as things catch on, the rest of the Important Acts begin to trickle out on HS. Radiohead, Metallica, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Rush, Quiet Riot, what-have-you.

    Don't wake me up.
     
  14. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  15. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  17. Joe Cole

    Joe Cole Second Unit

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    Lee beat me to it:
    Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.
    IMHO CDs for the most part are in most areas, not as nice as LPs. But LPs are too high maintenance for me and costly.
    Three cheers for SACD! Hip hip hooray! etc.[​IMG] It truly does kiss the master tape and will only get better.
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lee, how was that Audio Week poll conducted? Whom did they poll? Did they conduct the poll in malls across the country or by making random phone calls? If they only polled subscribers or visitors to their web site, I would take the 42% figure with a grain of salt because the average listener does not subscribe or visit the web site.
     
  19. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    43% of SACD owners had 57% fewer calories after brushing with Krest.[​IMG]
     
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael, and 42% of SACD player owners recommend Trident to their friends who chew gum. Also, SACD has 42% less fat than DVD-Audio. [​IMG]
     

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