By the way, another part of this market implosion is of direct concern to collectors, archivists and
librarians on this list.
MANY CD titles are being taken out of print, and not because a reissue is made with a better
remaster of the same material. One of the first consultant-driven cutbacks a megaglomerate makes to
keep its stock price from cratering is to make a an ever-higher cutoff point for number of units
sold per time period in order for an item to stay in-print. This especially effects classical and
jazz recordings, which tend to sell more like a tortoise, annuity-like, as opposed to short-term
hits that then fall off into oblivion. A large body of material that was readily available for
purchase in the mid-1990's is simply not available as packaged CD's anymore. Some of this material
has migrated over to iTunes and Amazon, but in lossy-compressed formats.
There is a slight upside to this. Right now, and I doubt for too much longer, there are lots of
still-shrinkwrapped copies of CD's taken out of print floating around in the Amazon "buy used and
new" and eBay universe, peddled by smaller-scale sellers around the globe. Most of these units were
bought for pennies on the dollar from bankrupt retailers and are sold well below original list price
and sometimes below typical street price for a copy of similar material still in print on a
different album. And at least one music-releasing company, Concord Music Group, has taken to selling
directly to customers at very competitive prices and discounts like free shipping for orders over
$50 and 11th CD free, etc. I would imagine the underlying strategy for Concord is to get rid of
warehouses full of CD's returned from defunct retailers like Tower, but they also might have hit
upon a better business model, cutting out the retailer for at least some of their sales and reaping
the full retail margin.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Lindner" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 8:54 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] The "dumbing down" of Downloaded Recordings
> Is it just me who wonders about this? With the hundreds of articles I have been reading on the
> changes in media distribution (literally hundreds and is this a REALLY big surprise??) I have not
> read one - not one - that makes any mention of the fact that the quality of the recordings being
> distributed by download are significantly compressed and poorer then those distributed on media.
> Of course it does not have to be this way - there is no reason why .wav files could not be being
> downloaded instead of AAC or MP3 - but no one seems to care - at all.
> I figure that if anywhere - the members on this list should care. I don't get it - why aren't
> people complaining? Has our benchmark for quality become Apple Ipod earbuds? Tell me it isn't so.
> While people are spending untold thousands on Krell's and esoteric speakers what we are
> witnessing here is a recording media and quality implosion and I for one am concerned that
> getting a recording that is of the former relatively high (ok we can debate that but this is not
> the real point) quality of recordings on CD will become an impossibility in the not too distant
> future. How come there aren't a bunch of audiophiles - or professionals - or both - speaking up
> and saying to the downloading public and to the distributors - hey wait a minute - if I am
> paying the same prices for downloading as I am for physical media - the least you can do is give
> me the same quality.
> All I hear is - silence. To me this is a HUGE threat - even short term - to what you are going to
> be able to listen to, and the quality of what you will be able to listen to.
> So, members of ARSC - I ask you - to discuss this - and - OK I will say it - as an organization -
> take an actual position on this subject - let the world know that this is a BIG issue. That is
> right - I am actually advocating for standing up and talking out loud - not to our group but to
> the rest of the planet. If we are not going to take a stand on this - what will we take a stand
> on? Get some manufacturers behind you - you know the Krell and "monster cable" kind of folk that
> have lots of marketing smarts - because there really isn't any point in spending thousands of
> dollars on esoteric gear when the quality of the recordings will not let you hear it anyhow. They
> have allot to lose also. What we are talking about here is the dumbing down - the AAC'ing of all
> distributed music and I for one think this is an issue. Does anyone agree?
> Jim Lindner
> Email: [log in to unmask]
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