Why Not Single SKU SACD Hybrids?

Discussion in 'Music' started by John Berggren, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I'm wondering why we aren't seeing single SKU releases of new albums as SACD hybrids? The cost seems roughly the same for a CD versus an SACD (some difference, but not much on higher selling titles). This wouldn't cause confusion or problems for the end consumer or the retailers.

    I was noting this weekend as I tried to rip "Send your love" to my mini disc player from the standard layer of my Sting SACD that my computer refused to recognize the disc. Surely this would appeal to record labels concerned about the proliferation of MP3s.

    I think with Hybrid available the format could really take off if artists and labels just took the initiative. I really cannot conceive of a good reason for "Sacred Love" to have a standard version when single SKU SACD would likely bring the SACD Hybrid cost down towards the level of a standard release.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Michael St. Clair

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    Common sense says this is why:

    1) Limited production capacity
    2) Increased costs

    It's cheaper to do separate releases.

    Lee will likely come in and dispute this, with zero evidence.

    You can bet that if Sony could release a single-inventory hybrid of a brand new album of their top artists (Dixie Chicks, Beyonce, J.Lo, Audioslave) without cutting into profits, they would do it. It would be a marketing coup. But even at a loss, the capacity probably is not there. One of those albums can sell more than all the other high-res discs put together.
     
  3. Todd Phillips

    Todd Phillips Second Unit

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    I have no evidence either, just common sense.



    The first one sounds very valid. If you have a potential million-seller, but you can't make them fast enough, well...

    But production costs (recording/mixing) are the same if you are already planning a separate SACD release.

    I think higher manufacturing costs can be passed on to the consumer without much of a problem. There are plenty of RBCDs that cost as much or more than popular SACDs. So it would seem that any price difference shouldn't turn people away.

    And if you make enough you can lower the price through the economies of scale....which brings us back to production capability. But I still think, depending on the target market of course, that a higher price would be accepted.
     
  4. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    "My computer refused to recognize the disc" == recipe for massive returns. Lots of people now use computers to listen to their own music, or to download it to portable devices (iPods, MP3 flash players, etc.).
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

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    Beyonce's new album has sold 6 million copies and will possibly sell 10 million copies by the time it is done.

    The Destiny's Child albums sold about 10 million each.

    When you've got an album that 10 million CD buyers want, why would you decrease your own profit margin by even a thin dime per unit? You'd be out a million dollars...and the real numbers would be substantially higher.

    Why give a free high-res layer to 10 million people who aren't buying for a high-res layer?

    And no, I don't think increasing MSRP is the answer, especially in the face of piracy concerns.

    Look at Universal, they have slashed MSRP.
     
  6. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I guess I just have a different mindset. As a DVD consumer, I focussed on Anamorphically enhanced CDs well before I had a 16x9 television.
    Generally I prefer buying media that is future compatible. I'd have been happy to buy hybrids before I owned an SACD player with an eye towards buying one.
    I do think that if several newer artists released their next albums in hybrid only, many of their fans would take the plunge and get a player.
    It's just like any other media format, there has to be a killer app to get people motivated. If they announced that the next Madonna album or the next Britney album were coming out as hybrid single sku, nobody would bat an eyelash. Many fans would go get the equipment to play the new layer. Especially since combo players can be had fairly easily.
     
  7. Michael St. Clair

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    Enhanced DVDs don't have higher manufacturing costs than non-enhanced DVDs. Pressing enhanced DVDs did not require investment in special production lines; any DVD plant can press enhanced DVDs.
     
  8. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Well, the music industry doesn't seem to have a problem doing this with regular CDs, so I don't see the problem.

    BTW, I've never had a problem with a hybrid SACD playing in my computer.

    Jason
     
  9. Michael St. Clair

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    I have six DVD-ROM drives (three at home three at work, multiple computers), SACD plays fine in four of the six.
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I'd add a #3 to Michael's list. They have no current intention of mainstreaming SA-CD unless some series of unlikely events makes it's easier to do. Sony's involvement in the competition's format underlines that in my mind. I'm figuring I just may need a hi-end, possibly stereo only, dedicated DVD-A player for my stereo in a year or two...??? Maybe not...???
     

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