Back in the 70s I was doing research for Xerox University Microfilms in
Ann Arbor (UMI changed hands several times over the years from Xerox to
Bell and Howell, et al). Anyway they were interested in bringing out
re-issues of the London label on cassette, and were trying to find the
market. I researched and showed them where the market was (over 1
million record collectors in several genres, via a research report,
reported in Billboard...although I can't remember who generated the
research.) The business plan required a guarantee of $200,000 profit in
the first year...I guess they didn't think it was possible, even with 1
Trescott Research – Paul T. Jackson
Information & Library Development
26301 SE 424^th St., Enumclaw, WA 98022
Steven C. Barr(x) wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
>> It seems to me that record companies need to concern themselves more with
> marketing and libraries should focus on the preservation of our intellectual
> history. I also wonder if record companies should focus more on making history
> available, for I cannot help but think that there might be more of a niche
> market for those old scratchy records than they might have thought there was.
> Well probably not since the marketing of music, both classical and popular,
> seems to have the performer as its primary focus.I remember how quickly after
> his passing, the recordings of the great pianist William Kapell disappeared from
> the catalog. Once a musician is gone, they become part of a niche
> market...perhaps a market for those who are more interested in the music than
> the personality. I wonder how different the business of music would be if the
> marketing was based on the quality and content of the music...I know, a bad
> First...record companies:
> They seem to be permanently locked into the world they once lived in!
> The demographic to which they market (and have marketed since the
> "swing era!") is YOUNG people (with the age steadily dropping over
> the decades)...and the quantities in which they prefer to sell are
> in the "gold record"...now "PLATINUM record" category of numbers!
> Two things happened. First, "pop music" fragmented completely. From
> c.1936 to c.1942, they sold "Swing"...from c.1954 to c.1962 "Rock'n'Roll"...
> and in later years "Rock." Oh, they had niche markets...country, race,
> "easy listening" and some classical...but those were treated as
> "side issues" since they had small, but steady sales. These days, there
> is NO single format which enjoys...or CAN enjoy...the kind of sales
> figures they dream of! Even "Urban Dance" exists in a dozen or more
> Then, recording went digital. The young people, who were often
> "techies," quickly figured out that one could make identical copies
> of commercial records using only his/her/its computer...buying new
> releases was no longer necessary. So far, the industry has figured
> out no long-term way to stop this...worse yet, their attempts have
> turned many of their potential customers against them!
> So...the days of "Thriller"-level sales numbers are long gone...and
> the industry no longer has the infinitely-wise A&R people who can
> pull off coups like hiring Elvis! However, they seem to be VERY
> slow to realize this!
> Second, libraries:
> Again, as you note, the folks in charge of them seem to be locked
> into a fast-fading past...quite possibly because their positions
> (and status and income) came from taking course after course in
> "Library Science"...which taught them, mainly, one thing...how
> to acquire, catalog, shelve, store, lend out, promote, what have
> you...BOOKS! Yes...printed, bound collections of paper pages...
> which, although they are interesting as artifacts, take up a LOT
> of space (unlike digital ones and zeroes...!)
> The last sales flyer I got in my daily paper...from a local
> computer assembler....now offers one TERABYTE of storage as
> a standard feature. I suspect this might accomodate every
> published book that has ever existed (don't ask me to do
> the furshlugginer data entry...!) or come close!
> I agree (being a nut on history and artifacts, as my 40,000-odd
> 78's prove) that we need to construct some sort of facility where
> every existing information-related object (books, newspapers,
> magazines, recordings, photographs, possibly even all the odds
> and ends we accumulate like notes and wothaveya...) can be
> stored under ideal preservation conditions.
> Having done that, our next step should be to convert all of
> this material to digital form...text files, scanned images,
> sound files, usw. This could then be stored on an array of
> computers (the above 1TB machines cost about $Cdn1,000 or
> slightly less per each)...and networks connected to this
> "ultimate data mine." Once questions of copyright and
> income are settled (if ever...?) this could be made Internet-
> accessible. Thus, EVERY fact for which a physical record still
> exists would be available to everyone with access to a computer!
> While it would logically seem that there would HAVE to be a way
> of limiting access (say, to plans for nuclear weapons, or to
> the password to your bank account...) there is still a LOT of
> information in the world that can ONLY be accessed physically
> (and, often, has been long since lost!).
> For example, I'm trying to trace my ancestry on my paternal side.
> I would guess that some of the data I need was in Clinton (Ill's.)
> newspapers in the mid-to-late 19th century; however, it seems the
> only way to verify that (and access the data, should it exist) is
> to physically travel there!
> Possibly only to hear "Oh, we got rid of all those old newspapers
> a long time ago...we needed more space for current novels..."?!?!
> Steven C. Barr