On 10/07/06, steven c wrote:
> see end...
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
>> On 07/07/06, Tom Fine wrote:
>> You are correct. There were probably 50 more CD's that could have
>> been done (perhaps more if one considered being completist on the
>> mono stuff, which was an unlikely track because there was specific
>> and limited interest in the pre-1956 catalog and that interest was
>> addressed with the handful of mono reissues). Universal decided to
>> discontinue the reissues in 2000 after scaling back the previous two
>> releases. Many of the titles are still in print in the US but seem
>> to be taken out of print in most other markets, which is pretty
>> idiotic since they sold extremely well in the Orient and Europe. A
>> good classical issue is like an annuity -- keep it in print and it
>> will keep sending checks to the home office.
>> While there are probably some on this list who are passionate about
>> small-group and chamber music, in Mercury's case it never sold as
>> as the orchestral and band recordings, so it was considered at the
>> bottom of the pile for reissues. Solo and concerto stuff like Janos
>> Starker and Byron Janis were big sellers originally and were big
>> sellers on CD. Point is, the reissue was a commercial undertaking
>> was very profitable), so what was reissued and in what order was
>> considered very carefully.
>> It seems to me it is time some of the classic recordings (in all
>> genres) were recognised as cultural treasures, so that reissues like
>> these could be subsidised by UNESCO, the big Foundations, or
>> Governments in various countries, just as art galleries and opera
>> houses are subsidised.
>> While there may sometimes be a profit to be made from reissues,
>> there is not. Or only enough to support a one-man-and-dog record
>> with consequent poor distribution.
>> There are many recordings that should be permanently available to
>> in the highest possible engineering quality, for the same reason
>> anyone can walk into the National Gallery and look at the pictures.
> Well, to be honest my knowledge of classical music is considerably
> less than encyclopedic!
> However, I suspect it works like popular music, in that about 1% (if
> that) of the back catalog generates any significant interest...and
> thus profit...for those who try and sell the reissue product. For
> example, BMG/Sony/Gawdknowswhoelse can probably sell Caruso
> retrospectives... but when it comes to obscure artists doing equally
> obscure works, one might expect sales figures in single digits? Of
> course, should one be an aficianado of that artist or composer, one
> would want any reissue (but that's one copy out of the six or eight
> that would be sold?)...
I think it would be more like a couple of thousand. There are dozens of
small labels issuing reissues of quite obscure artists, and it must be
worth their while. Testament is a strong example, their issues are all
licensed from the majors. APR, who issue piano recordings, seem to own
the tapes of Fiorentino that they issue.
My impression is that there is a good market in Japan.
> So, from the fan's viewpoint, it is important to get and keep that
> recording into someone's catalog...but from the multinational-
> commerce viewpoint, only reissues that produce significant amounts
> of profit will ever see "the light of day." This means that IF the
> "one-man-and-dog" (would you settle for "one-man-&-cat?") firm is
> either satisfied with the miniscule profit figures that accompany
> reissues of obscurities (or, better yet, the man...and possibly
> the pet are devotees of artist, composer or whatever, and thus
> willing to put out reissues at a dead loss) or have other reasons
> to justify the project.
There could be enough profit for a small company with low overheads, but
not enough for a major with a big head office.
> Sadly, the US copyright laws (soon to become the prototype for
> ALL copyright laws?) make it totally illegal for the chap-&-pet
> operation to reissue material without the (very expensive)
> permission of the multinational conglomerate who own the copyright
> on the original recording!
> Just cross your fingers that Canada's currently US-ophilic Federal
> gummint is slow in extending the copyright term to reach back far
> enough to cover Edison's recitation of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
> (or any sound recordings made in the Roman Empire or ancient
> Greece should same be discovered by archaeologists...)! I have
> some 40,000-odd (some VERY odd) sound recordings, about 99.5%
> of which I could legally reissue from here in Oshawa, Ont'o.,
> Steven C. Barr
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