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Would Focusing On An Entire Genre Spur More Consumer Interest in DVD-A and or SACD? Print E-mail
Friday, 19 July 2002
People are slowly learning that there are two exciting new competing audio formats but with 20 year old memories of the Beta vs. VHS battle, they are, for the most part, staying away from AV retailers and record stores to pop for a new player, receiver and an all new software collection despite lower prices, higher resolution audio and surround sound offered as added values.
Consumers have proven they are readily willing to part with their hard earned coin on DVD-Video players and discs despite the slumping economy, a rise in unemployment and the disastrous state of most of our investment and retirement accounts. What will it take to make the general public learn to love one or both of the new audio formats? The easy answer is more titles. With around 1000 titles for DVD-Audio and SACD combined (a good portion of them being stereo SACD re-releases - not surround mixes) there isn’t much to lure the mainstream music enthusiast into a four figure buying decision. If you are a hardcore Metallica fan, the Black album is available on DVD-Audio but that is it. Once you’ve played “Enter Sandman” 24 times at 130 dB, where do you go for your next musical buzz?

If record companies and media conglomerates want to really make these new formats take off, they need to produce large amounts of content inside the scope of one genre including large portions the catalog of hugely popular artists. Back to Metallica, if the Black Album is the best selling DVD-Audio title of all time, then why not get the band (who are reportedly in the studio now anyway) lined up with the original producers and engineers for remastered surround sound versions of a handful more of their back catalog? The projects could run concurrently and it would make financial sense, since you have all of the band in one place and all of the economies of scale from recording and mastering all at one time. From a musical software marketing perspective, you’d be able to keep the enthusiasm high with Metallica fans who have to be about the largest group of DVD-Audio owners so far. Buying a new version of Ride The Lighting, Master of Puppets and And Justice for All is a no-brainer for any Metallica fan with a DVD player especially if there is anything extra in the package like a music video, a b-side or anything.

On the same principal, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is one of the most lauded jazz records of all time and it sells well on SACD with audio enthusiasts. If Sony remastered, most likely in stereo, Steamin’ With The Miles David Quintet, Sketches of Spain and a few other five star titles, you’d have a good reason for non-audiophiles to say “Wow, I really like Miles Davis and I have never heard it like this before.” Right now, there are just too few good releases to even make up one good, complete night listening session in a specific genre like Jazz, Rock or Pop. When either of the formats reach a critical mass of titles, you’ll have a far more compelling reason for the general public to take the leap into a new format.

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