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CD Availability Nearing It's End And The Consequences

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On 4/14/2020 at 5:45 AM, One and a half said:

I also fear for SACD's demise, but it's held on this long despite many downs. Please remember, SACD has a huge following in Japan, SACD players are still being made with new models, examples from less than a month ago, Luxman, and Technics, their first SACD player. Even for popular music, SACD is easy for me to engage, I like what I hear, and still prefer it to digital files, even ripped SACD. 

 

Can make a whole afternoon roll by, one disc after another, totally enjoyable. Same, but not so much with vinyl, it's a different medium with flaws, can also play records one after the other. Must be something with rotating discs :)  

 

To elaborate my concern on the death of CD taking SACD with it has to do with the European boutique classical music labels whose hybrid SACD / CD issues are single inventory, meaning there is no separate CD edition.

 

In addition single inventory hybrid SACD / CD issues must be priced the same as regular CDs since most purchasers are buying for the CD layer. IIRC Robert von Bahr of BIS Records said that about 10 percent of his customers buy for the SACD layer. Thus, as people quit purchasing CDs the European classical labels may find it is no longer economically viable to release  hybrid SACD / CDs.

 

This would leave us with only the audiophile remasters from MFSL, Analogue Productions, etc. and the expensive Japanese SACDs. Hopefully SACD remains popular in Japan, Hong Kong and Asian countries.

 

On 4/14/2020 at 10:03 PM, TubeLover said:

I hadn't mentioned it before , but yes, losings any availability of new SACD's would also be a severe blow.

 

JC

 

I agree.


I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Sigh ... "CD" downloads have a long life ahead of them but I am downloading HD on Qobuz ... SACD unfortunately the state of DSF downloads is not so robust

 

Speaking of that Qobuz has a promotion going on where all the profits from download purchases are passed on to the artist -- so buy now!


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21 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

I hear that and I've heard it before but, in general, it does not agree with my experience.  I have not bought a CD in years and have no desire to.  Of course, I do prefer hi-rez and multichannel but, as with CD-level stuff, all via downloads.

Kal, don't you find that dealing only with downloads (excluding those you get directly from the record companies, (which I dont think are available to the general public?)  distinctly limits the music that is available to you? Many lesser known artists, or artists in less popular musical genre's  simply are not available via download.

 

JC

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On 4/10/2020 at 11:27 AM, TubeLover said:

I owned turntables and vinyl based systems exclusively from 1968 through 1990, and have been involved with vinyl in one way or another, for 50 years? How about you? 

 

JC

I hear you on your OP. I agree and lament the loss of CDs. I also lament the loss of all the new music.

 

I am (i guess i have to now say) a former songwriter/musician/producer who made music from mid 80s through about 2007. This was the end of the CD era, - destroyed by the greed of the Recording Industry, and their desire to get every 1/2 penny from everyone. This ended up killing creativity, and diminishing the amount of music. Plus, and even more insidious, - it completely ruined the ability of artists to invest the time to make new, good music: (recognizing the terms "new" and "good" are somewhat relative).

 

My main point to make is that there are many reasons, (some more significant than others), that have put this "state of the music recorded event" in the terrible state that it is in. No one can make a "fair wage" from being a full-time artist anymore, and that is really sad, - as the talent is still there, - but unfortunately, the hard-work of REFINING that talent is dead as we live in this "one hit song for $.99 or $12 a month streaming" world. 

 

My answer is to grab my fav nostalgia and pick up re-mastered recordings of early 90s to mid 2000s CDs where I can. Listen to French and International radio on the Internet for music that I like, and then try to buy the CDs on Amazon. And, go to BandCamp and download FLAC when there are no CDs. 

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1 hour ago, TubeLover said:

Kal, don't you find that dealing only with downloads (excluding those you get directly from the record companies, (which I dont think are available to the general public?)  distinctly limits the music that is available to you? Many lesser known artists, or artists in less popular musical genre's  simply are not available via download.

Not really.  (BTW, I was exaggerating before.  I have actually bought an average of 2-3 CDs a year because those recordings were unattainable otherwise.  This comes to, perhaps, 1-2% of my acquisitions but I don't know for sure.)


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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38 minutes ago, Albrecht said:

I hear you on your OP. I agree and lament the loss of CDs. I also lament the loss of all the new music.

 

I am (i guess i have to now say) a former songwriter/musician/producer who made music from mid 80s through about 2007. This was the end of the CD era, - destroyed by the greed of the Recording Industry, and their desire to get every 1/2 penny from everyone. This ended up killing creativity, and diminishing the amount of music. Plus, and even more insidious, - it completely ruined the ability of artists to invest the time to make new, good music: (recognizing the terms "new" and "good" are somewhat relative).

 

My main point to make is that there are many reasons, (some more significant than others), that have put this "state of the music recorded event" in the terrible state that it is in. No one can make a "fair wage" from being a full-time artist anymore, and that is really sad, - as the talent is still there, - but unfortunately, the hard-work of REFINING that talent is dead as we live in this "one hit song for $.99 or $12 a month streaming" world. 

 

My answer is to grab my fav nostalgia and pick up re-mastered recordings of early 90s to mid 2000s CDs where I can. Listen to French and International radio on the Internet for music that I like, and then try to buy the CDs on Amazon. And, go to BandCamp and download FLAC when there are no CDs. 


I think we see very different on this one. I believe there is more new music than any time in the history of the world. I could be wrong and would enjoy seeing stats. 
 

Nobody is stopping artists from making new music and selling CDs. Consumers have spoken, not the music industry, and selected streaming. 
 

 


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Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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3 hours ago, Vangelis said:

The point I was trying to make earlier was that it is painful to spend $20 plus on a Hi-Rez download just to find out your 16/44 CD sounds better. Of course this is not always the case, but happens far too frequently. I’ve purchased too many expensive downloads that ended up sounding like somebody just threw a tarp over my speakers.  I’ve often thought that these companies musr get feedback from their customers that this or that release that they’re selling does not sound as good as a CD, but alas many of those crummy sounding downloads stay in their catalog.   It’s easy to get involved with the technical aspects,  regarding perfect fit rates and which master was sent but the bottom line is, too much of the time what’s purchased doesn’t sound as good as the  inferior format. When CDs disappear I will be more dependent on streaming and downloads from companies like Qobuz & HD tracks. I’m hoping to find out that a purchased high res download from Qobuz will sound better than their normal streaming Hi-Rez. I have yet to try that. 

One problem when listening to 'snippets' on HDtracks is that they aren't sufficient (for me) to evaulate quality.   As you might  know -- I am interested in material that is either 'properly mastered' out of the box for immediate listening, or something that can be corrected.   I cannot always distingush, by simple listening, random bad mastering from the specific kind of 'bad mastering' that can be corrected.   The typical commercial digital quality starting from the middle '80s just doesn't cut it -- finding 'good stuff' is really hard.  (Good stuff meaning 'good immediately', or correctable.)

 

I guess I dont count much as a customer anyway - my concept of Hi Fi died in the late 1980's when I finally bought my last CD expecting that it would be 'audiophile quality'.  Now, I generally know that most pop CDs that I can purchase are NOT 'audiophile quality', and that includes pop *high res* downloads that I have purchased.

 

Losing a few customers like me didn't cost the industry very much, and they just keep on cheaply producing inferior quality over and over again -- who cares?, right?   The industry still has 99.999% of their customers who kept on buying the messed-up stuff, learning to accept/accomodate the damaged goods.

 

John

 

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3 hours ago, John Dyson said:

 

I guess I dont count much as a customer anyway - my concept of Hi Fi died in the late 1980's when I finally bought my last CD expecting that it would be 'audiophile quality'.  Now, I generally know that most pop CDs that I can purchase are NOT 'audiophile quality', and that includes pop *high res* downloads that I have purchased.


So which medium do you purchase? LPs?SACD? I hope not “none” because you are missing a lot of great music. 


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3 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:


I think we see very different on this one. I believe there is more new music than any time in the history of the world. I could be wrong and would enjoy seeing stats. 
 

Nobody is stopping artists from making new music and selling CDs. Consumers have spoken, not the music industry, and selected streaming. 
 

 

Hi,

Thanks for your comments. I could be wrong as well, - and I too would like to see some stats. I would be particularly interested in knowing how many artists out there have more than 50 or songs generating significant streaming revenue.

 

The old model, - (when I was playing), - was that the live shows/tours supported record/CD sales and lost tons of money. 

Now, - "groups" artists have to make money off of touring because they loose so much money by selling downloads. Again, - more stats are needed, but there is testimonial after testimonial of artists like Adrian Utley of Portishead where he stated that their latest recorded got more than a million + plays and he received all of $43 for that...

 

The Tidal model seems to me really mirror the Netflix model of eliminating music that doesn't have a certain level of popularity: this homogenizes everything.

 

But to your point, - I would need to present some statistics to support the above. It would be very interesting to know how many "working bands" are out there these days, and how many of those achieve sustainable incomes and enough compensation to make multi-song "albums" on a regular basis.

Cheers,

 

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2 minutes ago, Albrecht said:

Hi,

Thanks for your comments. I could be wrong as well, - and I too would like to see some stats. I would be particularly interested in knowing how many artists out there have more than 50 or songs generating significant streaming revenue.

 

The old model, - (when I was playing), - was that the live shows/tours supported record/CD sales and lost tons of money. 

Now, - "groups" artists have to make money off of touring because they loose so much money by selling downloads. Again, - more stats are needed, but there is testimonial after testimonial of artists like Adrian Utley of Portishead where he stated that their latest recorded got more than a million + plays and he received all of $43 for that...

 

The Tidal model seems to me really mirror the Netflix model of eliminating music that doesn't have a certain level of popularity: this homogenizes everything.

 

But to your point, - I would need to present some statistics to support the above. It would be very interesting to know how many "working bands" are out there these days, and how many of those achieve sustainable incomes and enough compensation to make multi-song "albums" on a regular basis.

Cheers,

 

I'm with you, stats would be great. The world has certainly changed. I've seen the testimonials as well but I don't think they are a good guiding post as to where the market should be. Portishead likely signed away its rights to everything, thus makes pennies for streaming. I would love to see what the rights holders made off Portishead. Then the discussion moved to those who make the money compensating those who create the content. I think going out it any other way is very backward. 

 

Money is being made by the labels / rights holders that's for sure. Artists must look at the labels and demand more rather than claiming streaming is the reason for their lack of income. Just my thoughts on this one. 


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Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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50 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I'm with you, stats would be great. The world has certainly changed. I've seen the testimonials as well but I don't think they are a good guiding post as to where the market should be. Portishead likely signed away its rights to everything, thus makes pennies for streaming. I would love to see what the rights holders made off Portishead. Then the discussion moved to those who make the money compensating those who create the content. I think going out it any other way is very backward. 

 

Money is being made by the labels / rights holders that's for sure. Artists must look at the labels and demand more rather than claiming streaming is the reason for their lack of income. Just my thoughts on this one. 

Really appreciate those comments. I come from "the industry" and my experiences as well as my fellow songwriters makes me sensitive to the exploitation of the majors; wherein, - it's the very tiny minority who are not exploited. I see this perspective as somewhat indistibutable, from MC Hammer, Madonna, Courtney Love, Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello, Robert Fripp, Joe Strummer etc. 

Besides the two (types) of citations above, - I am closely connected & associated with the Counting Crows, Cake, and Camper Van Beethoven. Some of the tales border on the comically absurd....     

 

But hey, - you are ultimately correct, - we need current stats. When we released our first CD, we got 17 points split between two songwriters which brought me close to $1.25 per every CD sold. And that was back in the day when it still cost the labels nearly $3.25 to manufacture each CD, - all told. Later, (in the early 2000s), - large CD runs & cuts in recording and publicity went down below $1.

 

As for Portishead, Adrian didn't sell his rights. Portishead had "reformed" and were considered a "working band." Yeah, - it would be interesting to see how much Radiohead are making right now. I would love to know to, for the sake of comparison, how much Beyoncé is making as opposed to commeasurate acts from late 90s. 

 

I remember hearing about Elvis Costello getting dropped by his label. Unbelievable. 

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1 minute ago, jabbr said:

streaming does rip off artists for sure

I think it's more of the labels ripping off artists, and consumers deciding they don't want to purchase all 12 tracks on a physical CD. 

 

Labels are making big money from streaming. 


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Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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18 hours ago, jabbr said:


So which medium do you purchase? LPs?SACD? I hope not “none” because you are missing a lot of great music. 

After my HiFi hobby *it died in about 1989/1990*, I would purchase a few CDs just for casual listening.   It was casual listening in about 2012, when all of the ducks came in order that I noticed a technically reproduceable pattern in the defective CDs.  That started a long investigation, and a few wierd starts, because the recordings are NOT pure DolbyA, but eventually ended up writing the DA and FA decoder (C4 someday -- but C4 is NEVER for consumer use.)

 

*  I think that my brain/hearing was fully mature in 2012, also without the pressure/stress of a job, that I could mentally process the audio more completely than when I was working VERY hard through my career between 1974 through 2012 timeframe (modulo some times for breakdowns/stress-out/etc.)  I had to be 100% alert and use all of abilities in most of my jobs/projects (e.g. if it cant be done, then give it to John, because he'll make it work.)

 

So, starting in the early 1990s',  instead of purchasing at least several CDs per week -- looking for the ultimate quality from MFSL (or Sheffield labs/whatever from the day), just buying 'music' from HiFi buys/Frys', wherever and generally PURPOSEFULLY ignoring the quality...  If I didn't ignore the quality during purely casual listening, Id' restart the feeling that I was being cheated.

 

John

 

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On 4/18/2020 at 6:58 PM, sandyk said:

 

 How do you know for certain that the downloaded file is a Bit for Bit identical copy of that on the CD version?

 

If any bits were missing, they couldn't have been very important.

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On 4/19/2020 at 10:33 PM, jabbr said:


For sure! Differentiate between downloads though and streaming — streaming does rip off artists for sure — if I like something I buy it and assume the artist is getting a reasonable cut — just bought a bunch of stuff on Qobuz today because they are claiming to give all profits to artists as a promotion. I hope it’s true. 
 

Id rather pay $$$ to an artist for live concert than scalper so understand the big rise in tix

I’m new to Qobuz, it’s perfect for casual streaming to finding new music. When I’m serious about best sound I go to my music library on the server  I have not purchased /downloaded music from Qobuz yet. Are you finding your purchased high res Qobuz down loads files off your server sound better than their high res streaming versions? 


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